tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN October 3, 2015 6:00am-8:01am EDT
country. there is a question of resources, of course. i think that the u.s. system has the most serious vetting system in the world. if you look at what other countries that resettle refugees, they don't come half the way the u.s. does in vetting the people in which it meets. the u.s. resettlement program has a tremendous quality, which is it chooses people on the basis of the vulnerability. when you look at people who suffer torture and the sort of criteria the u.s. uses, i think you already have a filter that is then deepened by the work of homeland security. so i think there is certainly the technique and the capacity. for syrians, i do understand it will take sometime to reach the
numbers because i was told that the intel that the government has on the syrians is not as good as the one it had on the iraqis, et cetera. so there are genuine difficulties that will have to be overcome, but our experience over the past 40 years in dealing with resettlement is that this country has the expee willingness to do it when the conditions require it. >> let me just some discussions right now about us working with russia as it relates to syria. and i just want to understand from your perspective, dealing with refugees, are they fleeing assad's barrel bombs or are they fleeing isis? i know they're fleeing both. generally speaking can you get at for this discussion the greater roots or roots, if you will, of why they're fleeing the
countries briefly? then i want to follow with questions. go ahead. >> last week in greece over the course of two or three days, i must have spoken with 200 or 300 refugees, the majority of them syria. the answer to your question, it depends where in syria they're coming from. they're from aleppo, greater damascus out in the east of the country. it's a different situation in different parts of the country. but the point that you made, they're facing a movement -- on one hand they have the barrel bombs of assad. on the other hand they have the terror of isis. it's almost as they flee from the barrel bombs they end up being driven into the hands of isis and that's what's forcing them out the particular circumstances in different parts of the country are obviously a matter of detail. but there is a wider significant point. 95% of the barrel bombing attacks that -- and other attacks that the assad air force are undertake ing are not again
isis targets. >> if i could, so people understand, these are just against civilian populations, right? >> and other rebel group. and some of them are against other rebel fortifications. but it's certainly the case that a very small proportion of the bombing raids are targeted on isis. >> does anybody differ or want to add to that? >> i would just add, having been in iraq last week, that it very much differs depending on the circumstances. for example, i met with a couple of sisters who had recently escaped, having been sold to three different men. they're now living in a container with another family. clearly dealing with enormous trauma. and they don't really have a sense of what their future is. and they have no ability to imagine going home, which is
true for a number of minority populations that have been pushed out of their homes. in the absence of security guarantees they're saying we want to be resettled. we can't go back unless there's security. so, that's one set of specific issues. but i also met with a young sunni woman who had been studying for her university exams when isis swept through mosul. she fled with her family, living in a very crowded apartment. she hasn't been able to resume her studies. it's been over a year. she is just wondering what is her life likely to be. and she also wants to go to europe. so there are lots of reasons that people are desperate to envision a better life. >> let me just ask this question. so, if an effort -- it's hard for me to contemplate this even. if an effort were put in place to strengthen assad, which is what russia and iran are pursuing right now, what effect would that have if we were somehow a part of that or winked
and a nod and said that was okay, what would that do from your perspective, based on what you're seeing on the ground relative to the refugee crisis. i think i can answer for you. if you would, answer for the recor record. >> i congratulate you on the precision of your question and leading a humanitarian organization, i'm going to have to be extremely precise in my answer. i mean, i think that from our point of view, the violations of international law and basic rights are coming from all sides but the majority are coming from the assad government. secondly, it's evident to anyone who reads the newspapers or follows the debate that significant actions by the assad government have bolstered isis
and have enabled the growth of isis. thirdly, any diplomatic or political approach needs to address both sides of the coin if it is to have a chance of success. >> i would just add that, as we mentioned earlier, there is a tool. u.n. security council resolution 2139, unanimously passed, that has not been upheld by key actors in the region who are now making different moves. and so there is an urgent opportunity to ask, push for key actors to take that seriously. that addresses the targeting of civilians, the barrel bombing, the withholding of humanitarian assistance. >> i know i'm running out of time myself. i would say i don't remember many u.n. security council resolutions that have been adhered to.
when they're not adhered to, we just change them to something that can be adhered to. so i'm sorry, i'm a skeptic. but dr. gavinon? >> i fully subscribe to what david was saying, regarding the source of the main drivers of exxodus. of course, there are changes. clearly driven by the isis offensive. if you speak to refugees on the border, the majority will refer to the barrel bombing. this is the story we get on and on and on. syrian doctors who work for ngos who have a 501-c3. i'm not talking about wild groups, et cetera. and my fear is that any attempt at peace that does not immediately have an impact over how, in this case, barrel bombing are being used against civilian are going nowhere, will
be -- >> if i could, unless the barrel bombing stops, the refugee crisis will continue to get worse. and just in closing, i apologize to my colleagues here, are any of the arab countries, saudi arabia, some of those that are working to unseat assad in certain ways, are they taking any refugees at present? >> they're not signatories to the 1951 convention. they don't recognize the status of refugees. they would say there are 500,000 syrians living in saudi arabia and 120,000 syrians living in the united arab emirates. some arrived recently, others have been there for a long time but their status is not as refugees but as migrant workers. >> thank you. thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and thank you. i would like to thank our witnesses today, not just for being here today but what you're doing in the middle of a huge
crisis. we all empathize. i would like to start with you. in 2011, u.s. created a vacuum in which isis began to grow. they needed land to legitimize the caliphate. they've done that. now we've seen in the last few weeks the formalization of russia's presence there with military troops and so forth. in the last five years especially, we've seen iran and russia supporting the assad regime, which we've been talking about today. my question is what complication does russia now showing up with military presence and do you have any perspective, being in the region -- you talk about development and humanitarian help coming together. i would like to know how this development and the lack of a u.s. strategy in the region complicates your ability to deal with the ongoing crisis. i have a couple of follow-up
questions about that on prevention. >> thank you very much, senator. i should say that every time the senators applaud the work of our organizations it's very reinforcing for our staff out there in the field in really the most dangerous places doing extraordinary work i want to thank you very much for what you said, which i see as a tribute to their work. i think that in respect of the complication, i think you said, that's been inserted by the russian moves over the last two or three weeks, i have to defer to those who are privy to the intelligence and to the military option making that's going on as the leader of a humanitarian organization, what i have to keep on stressing is that all the decisions, both military and political and humanitarian need to be made with the needs of the citizens at the heart. what i would point to the last five years is the extraordinary
fragmentation and complexity that's developed both within syria and within iraq as well. and that complication makes it doubly difficult for us to do our job. the negotiation that's necessary to have local consent to deliver aid depends on engaging without building an array of local actors whose power changes sometimes on a weekly basis. the wider point about the russian role, i think, has to be split into two parts until the passage of the u.n. security council resolutions, there was no cover for the cross border work that we and others were trying to do. and so the issue then is trying to get that cover. since the passage of the resolutions, however, we haven't actually been able to do more work. we found our situation constrained in part by the position on the battlefield but also the lack of official backing from those who supported the resolution. that's why the emphasis that nancy has put on turning those words and that resolution to
action notwithstanding the history that the chairman referred to remains very, very important. security council resolution is only as strong as the nation states who back it and their willingness to see it through. >> you know, yesterday -- and i want to move this question now to assad and putin's relationship with assad. yesterday made a comment, and i quote, refugees undoubtedly need our compassion and support. the only way to resolve the problem is to restore statehood. my question, and i'll start with dr. gavinaw, can we solve this problem as long as assad is barrel bombing his own people, targeting open markets and children? the question before us is can we solve this? one level is obviously the immediate crisis and then the long-term solution. as you said, this is no longer a blip. it is a trend. if that trend is there, going back to what senator cardin
mentioned earlier, we have to develop a different strategy. this is not just about feeding people for a few weeks. it's about educating, training. in trying to prevent this now, at least getting at the immediate crisis, how should we look at putin's comments relative to assad and what iran's position has been over the last decade with regard to bashir assad? >> i can only answer this from the perspective of what i heard from refugees. i hope you'll take my answer in this context. i certainly think that if negotiation takes place with assad and has to be credible with a large number of people who fled the country, they should be an immediate stop to the deliberate attack against civilians. any process that does not control that from day one will be doomed. it will not lead anywhere in terms of satisfying.
it's very violent. whether he is prepared to do that is a precondition for getting into peace negotiations, i don't know, to be honest. and i'm not anywhere close to this discussion. but i think it's essential that people are going to be associated through a peace settlement, have to make a commitment to stop immediately the sort of deliberate attack on civilians. in a conflict there will always be civilian casualties by the very nature of the contact. but the deliberate attacks on civilians is something that is far too egregious to sustain a peace process. >> we've all traveled to the region. senator card sbinin and i were this spring. if the united states had accepted refugees that would be the size of england, for example. they're overwhelmed. we see that. what i'm really concerned about long term are the children. we talk about it being half the problem basically today. will you speak to that and elaborate a little bit more
about what we can do in the immediate future and what the long-term implications those are? it looks like a breeding ground for dissent. will you speak to that and what we need to be doing now in order to prevent further exaggeration of this crisis in the future? >> yes. you're absolutely right. there is an enormous population of children who are out of school, both from the syria crisis and iraq and through the region who are the next generation growing up without a future, without a sense that they have something positive to connect to. and so as we look regionally at this whole issue of how to counter violent extremism while at the same time we are not, as a global community, enabling these displaced kids to connect to education and something more positive in their lives, we are absolutely creating, as the activists in iraq told me, you
know, seven hot spots. seven time bombs. and so there was a very important effort launched two years ago cold no lost generation, an effort to gather focus across the humanitarian and development community on education and on enabling there to be fuller support for kids. and one of the challenges that we have -- and david spoke to this -- is that we get trapped inside the differing mandates and stove pipes of the way in which we deliver humanitarian and development assistance. and so my hope is that this current crisis will really catalyze us to move further and faster on some of the innovative ways that we know we can use to provide more appropriate assistance that gives people a chance to have a living, to get the kind of help they need to recover from trauma, to get their kids educated.
that is one of the most important things that would enable people to not leave the region because they have a sense that only by going to europe or the united states will they have an opportunity for those basic ways of having a more dignified life. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. i might just point out that barrel bombs are being delivered by air. i think everybody understands that. i can't imagine what these many refugees and people around the world are thinking about nations like the united states and others that know this is happening as we're sitting here in these nice circumstances and are continuing every day to allow that to happen. plus the torturing of people in its prisons yet we're going to the u.n. security council and talking about hollow, hollow resolutions. anyway, senator menendez? >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you all for your
testimony. let me just briefly join the chorus of voices that have recognized the international rescue committee. i've done work with them. it's extraordinary work and should be incredibly proud to lead them. as someone who comes from a community that were refugees to the united states, i have a very strong appreciation of the willingness of the country to accept those who are fleeing for whatever the reasons. so i'm a strong supporter of broadening our response. but i also understand that at the core of the problem, as miss lindbergh said in her testimony, that the most generous contribution of the united states only scratches the surface. at the end of the day unless we get to the root causes, we are treating symptoms but not the causes of what makes people flee from their home. and in this case and in the case of syria, the ongoing conflict.
the barrel bombing, which unfortunately is in and of itself a horrific act, is also exacerbated by the use of chlorine gas in violation of international standards as well as my thought was that when this committee passed an authorization for the use of force to stop assad's use of chemical weapons against its people that we would be looking at a permanent stoppage of chemical weapons against its people. and while i certainly rejoice in the fact that we did do a lot to relieve the risk to the people of syria by a variety of chemical weapons, we have not relieved them from the total risk at the end of the day. and so at some point, it is hollow if you don't follow through. so what i wanted to get a sense
of, first of all, on your statement the most generous contribution of the united states scratches the surface. maybe plrks millibrand, you can help me with this, too. in other countries, the number of refugees flowing into them, what would be the percent, vis-a-vis, taking place? >> one-fourth of the jordanian population. in occurred stan it's one-fifth of their population. these are unimaginable numbers. >> 20% to 25%? >> 25% in jordan is syrian refugee right now. lebanon, sorry. >> just to follow that, 85% of the world's refugees are in developing countries. the european comparison would be germany has agreed to take 500,000 refugees -- accept 500,000 asylum claims over the next year and each of the next three years, a population of 90
million. italy, population of some 60 million, has taken in each of the last two years 120,000 refugees. the uk prime minister has pledged they'll take 4,000 a year in a population of 60 million. you can see the variation there and the big gap between the neighboring states in the middle east and the european government. it's worth saying the u.s. at its peak was taking about 180,000 refugees a year in '89, '90, '91. >> so 85,000 total refugees, that is not necessarily syrian refugees, that would be about 2% of the american population. so i say that in the context of understanding the challenges of other countries here compared to
what the united states is looking at. and i say to myself in that regard, you know, we are either going to choose to help countries where, in fact, refugees are flooding to in the first instance and to -- well, we are, to be more robust about it. or we have to think about what is a number that is acceptable here in the united states as part of an international commitment. but i want to go to the core question, which is how do we stop at -- i would assume -- correct me if i'm wrong for the record but none of you advocate that in order to stop the refugee crisis that we should accept the violation -- the violent violators of human rights and
core principles as a way to solve that. is that right? you're nodding, if you could say yes for the record. >> yes. >> okay. if that is the reality, in the case of syria moving away from assad, even in transitional -- but at the end of the day moving away from assad. i only see the circumstances getting worse, not better. we're doing nothing to stop the barrel bombing, including that with chlorine gas. we have russia, that is now sending all types of military hardware and creating an air base for itself in syria. i see at the end of the day that they have been a patron of assad and will continue to be a patron of assad until they see a solution that protects their interest at the end of the day. so, in the interim, i see them using that force. and whatever entity they are using that force again -- let's say isil, inevitably in a
circumstance such as this, it will create more refugees. and i see iran that has continued to support assad. so, i don't see a lessening of the refugee crisis. there are still, as i understand it, millions displaced, who have not become refugees. at some point their displacement is going to lead them to be refugees. when it leads them to be refugees we'll have an even more significant crisis. so at the end of the day, isn't our goal while in the interim doing everything we can for those who sought refuge to really dedicate ourselves to ending the violence, stopping the barrel bombing and getting a transition in syria? because if we don't do that, there isn't enough space, time, money to ultimately meet the
crisis of the lives of these people. >> senator, you spoke very powerfully about symptoms and causes. and you have to treat the causes as well as the systems, i think you're saying. you're absolutely right. the way i would put it for my own organization's work, we can staunch the dying but we have to stop the killing. staunching the dying is very important. we could be doing much, much better. we could also be doing more than staunching the dying. we could be staunching the radicalization, the misery by much more effective work by both inside syria and the neighboring states. if your question is, are there true limits to the effectiveness or impact of humanitarian work in the absence of peacemaking of a serious kind the answer has to be unequivocally, yes. until we stop the killing we're not going to be able to be doing justice to the people on the
ground or the values that we all stand for. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. senator gardner. >> thank you, mr. chairman. miss lindbergh i have a couple of questions for you. security council resolutions in 2014, couple of security resolutions passed, in february 2014, you mentioned demanded parties promptly allow humanitarian access and resolution 2165, calling upon notification. >> i think as david mentioned there is a monthly report on progress and there is a routine where lack of progress is reported and there isn't any teeth in the resolution to do anything about it. hence, senator corker, your
skepticism. you know, there isn't a chapter seven provision because there isn't agreement among the security council members. and for a number of years there was a bit of a charade where there was not even full belief by all the security council members that we had a humanitarian crisis going on inside of syria. i think what is going on globally today makes that a very difficult case for people to still make, for countries to still make, that we don't have a humanitarian crisis of truly epic proportions. and it does provide one tool for forcing the conversation and forcing the agreement that the killing is at the root of the crisis. >> in terms of 2139, what ought we be pushing in terms of -- >> i'm sorry? >> 2139 in terms of what we're pursuing. >> there's no enforcement built into the current resolution.
it was a hard-fought effort to get the passage of it the way it was and it is without teeth. >> okay. you talked a little bit about -- in response to the chairman's question, a little bit about barrel bombing and isis and the movement that you described, what would change if the refugee crisis if barrel bombing were to be stopped? how would that change the refugee situation? >> well, it would certainly decrease the deaths as we've heard the targeting is often of medical personnel, of clinics, of markets. we've seen the utter destruction of cities like aleppo. people are fleeing often because their lives are just literally in shambles. and their loved ones killed. there is still obviously the threat of isis and of other
armed groups. it's a very chaotic situation. and yet in pockets there are efforts to still maintain a life. and there are efforts to still have local administration in parts of syria. and so i would add that we also need to continue and double our efforts to support those who are on the ground, who are seeking to create some sort of ongoing stable lives for their communities. >> would you like to talk about that in terms of putting an end to the barrel bombing, what that would do? >> as it continues with isis and others? >> there are two ways of looking at it. one is obviously on the more political side and that's something that you'll be thinking about as you contemplate your views about the ultimate resolution of the conflict. but there's no question of the position on the battlefield. it creates traction on the wider diplomatic and political front.
and i leave that to you. on the humanitarian front, there's no question that the daily humanitarian abuse -- someone said to me aleppo is hell. i had to escape from hell. it's as blunt as that. frankly, we've had our own people who are not actually our staff but were benefiting from our services go home. we lost seven of them. barrel bombed. now, this is a daily reality for people who are, to pick up something the chairman said at the beginning -- giving up hope. at the moment they say their chance as putting their fate in the hands of smugglers and criminals who say they'll get them to europe as offering them more than staying in their own homeland, in their own country. and that is obviously an
indictment of the global response over the five years of the conflict. >> now stretching across the swath of war-torn countries. as we continue this conversation i want to make sure we're providing the most effective support possible. humanitarian aid refugee aid in the united states, europe, isn't going to solve the problem alone. we have to get to the bottom of the barrel bombing and continued drivers of this conflict. because we can open up as much as we want but the crisis will still exist. >> thanks to the witnesses for the work and your testimony. just to explore, the u.n.
security council resolution, what it called for, has been incredibly disappointing. i know everybody worked hard to get it passed in 2014 originally. that wasn't easy. the fact that it was brought up in the middle of winter olympics in russia probably made it harder for them to throw the veto in with they have in the past with the eyes on them during the olympics. senator mccain was probably the first in this body, beginning really in the fall of '13, to start to talk about the notion of the no-fly zone, some military force to save space and most likely in the north of syria, turkish border where people could go if they're fleeing assad. they could go and the thought of that creation of that zone and protection of it with military force would allow the cross-border delivery of aid under circumstances where the aid workers and others wouldn't be jeopardized.
i was originally not a fan of that proposal. by probably february 2014, seeing the numbers dramatically increase, my first visit was at a time when there was 750,000 refugees and now it's 2 million. other countries are seeing the same thing. now we're seeing it spread through neighboring nations and throughout europe. it's not easy. i'm assuming that they're -- i assume there's a whole lot of challenges in doing that. but to me, it just seems like if we don't go upstream and try to create some safe area, with an additional nearly 8 million displaced people within syria, that the crisis is going to continue. and even if we wave a magic wand and say the u.s. will take ten times the number of refugees we said we would take, it's a drop in the bucket that compares to the challenge that is likely to come. am i wrong? is that a strategy that's the
wrong way to go about it? i'm not sure you would get a majority of votes in this body for it. i think the vote we had about using military force against the use of chemical weapons against civilians barely got a majority in this committee and likely will not get a majority in the senate or in the house. still if the administration were to advocate strongly for it, there is some bipartisan support for the notion. as folks who do this work, am i looking at this wrong? >> senator cain, i have long wrestled with this question through this crisis. you know, the history of safe zones and no-fly zones for humanitarian purposes is fraught with cases where it didn't work well and it's filled with moral hazard. and at the same time i think that as the crisis progresses and the level of killing continues -- that is prompting this level of crisis for us to continue to not take some action
that is forthrightly about civilian protection creates enormous tragedy for the people of syria and it's not at all consistent with who we are as a country. and it seems to me that as we did in places like kosovo that it warrants a very, very hard look that with our allies or through concerted diplomacy with other actors who claim to be interested in putting solutions on the table that we look very closely at how to provide civilian protection. what is the best way of doing it and have that be the joint concerted goal of our actions and look at what the military means might be required for no-fly zone or security area. >> other thoughts? >> i say two things, senator, about this. first of all, i think it would be very welcomed if the debate about no fly zones moved from
slogans to details because the details really matter. >> uh-huh. >> secondly, i think ngos like ours can offer the benefit of experience of different ways in which governments around the world have tried to deliver no-fly zones because we've suffered from the details being got wrong. and i think that immediately you see that a safe area which is designed to protect some people in some part of the country immediately creates the moral hazard that nancy referred to because, for us, barrel bombing any part of the country of syria is an affront. not just in parts of it. but that only is to make the point that, obviously, the debate about safe areas engages other questions and merely syrian protection, proposal for safe zones as recently in the armed services committee last week was for reasons beyond the
humanitarian. and that's why i think our best contribution is to advise on the humanitarian impact of different models of military and other action to protect civilians. on that basis i think we've got something to say without taking away from you the ultimate judgment that you have to make about who to put at risk and in what ways. >> but clearly we're all in a position here where the existence of a u.n. resolution that calls for cross border delivery of aid without the consent of the syrian government and the stopping of border bombing, that that resolution now a year and a half old with zero enforcement of it -- i mean, the impotence of that and the message that sends and the willingness of the members of those nations to do anything to back up their word is incredibly destructive not noenl this circumstance but generally. wouldn't you agree with that? maybe this is the wrong panel to ask this. but is there a legal precedent for a group of nations taking
action to enforce a u.n. security council resolution that the u.n. is unwilling to enforce? >> the closest precedent would be the kosovo experience. where obviously there wasn't a u.n. security council resolution and the u.s. administration at the time decided not to put a vote in the u.n. it didn't want a russian veto. but the action took place. i can't think of an immediate precedent at the time of the kind you describe. >> looking back on that action, what is the humanitarian sort of ngo's conclusion about that in retrospect? was that a good thing to do or not? >> having been with an ngo at the time, i think there was
widespread concern that kosovo was undergoing the beginnings of mass atrocities and that without the campaign, there would have been terrible, terrible loss of life in kosovo. and with some mixed feelings, there was gratitude that action was taken that saved so many lives. >> uh-huh. so action taken to save lives in an ethnic cleansing situation even without the predicate of a resolution council calling precisely for delivery of aid in this area. i know you can make mistakes and there's risks and mixed feelings about it. the general sense was gratitude that the actions were taken. what projections have your organizations done -- i'm about done but what projections have your organizations done about the likely pace of continued
migration out of syria the next year or two if sort of status quo continues? >> just to finish off on your previous question, the other relevant example would be the raw a. ndan genocide earlier in the '90s than kosovo, of which people have very strong opinions. >> and on that, just -- was there a security council resolution but no international action was taken or it was taken horribly late so that the -- you know, the slaughter was just dramatic levels before anybody did anything? >> i want to go back to your first question, senator, projections and outflow. i don't think we have numbers in mind. certainly the people leaving now, certain level of education and who have the resource to pay the smugglers. that is going to dry off. >> yeah. >> and the people staying in turkey, lebanon, jordan, et cetera, are those who are getting to the levels of absolute misery.
these are those we have to retain. >> i'm sorry, i didn't answer your question. we didn't make any -- none of our projections included a scenario where the german government would say three weeks ago anyone from syria can claim asylum in germany. and so the truth is what projections have we done? they need to be revised in a very substantial way. now i think it's only fair to the committee to say both within -- from within syria and from within the neighboring countries there's been a significant uptick in the last month or two months of people leaving, including people who are staff members and others. undoubtedly there's not just a movement inside syria, there's also a movement from people from syria and the neighbors are leaving. the second piece that's very significant is the number of people we anticipate crossing the agean during winter we
anticipate to be quite high. i was told that the u.n. are projecting 20,000 people to cross the agean in december, which would be unheard of. obviously, the dangers of hypothermia and other health hazards are very large. if where you're going with your question is do we have to prepare for very, very significant numbers, leaving syria and leaving the neighbors in the next year, the answer would be yes. and, obviously, what's happening in europe shows the difficulty of playing catch up on this. europe has had its eye on the euro crisis and the ukraine crisis. it hasn't had its eye on the refugee crisis and playing catch-up is in a much weaker position. there's a warning there about what might happen in the next year. >> i've gone over my time. thanks, mr. chairman. >> before turning to senator reyes to clear something up, senator cain mentioned the ethnic cleansing taking place in kosovo. for what purpose is assad barrel
bombing clinics and others? it's not a military strategy there. for what purpose would he be barrel bombing his own citizens? >> i've been interested in my two colleagues. there's two ways of seeing this. assertion of strength, display of strength and certainly he is engaged in using air power, the only force, syrian belligerent with air power to attack some of the rebel groups. and he is not taking any care as to where the mortars land. >> senator rich? >> thank you, mr. chairman. you know, when you look at this, this is a pretty depressing situation because the solutions that are on the table, as i
understand the u.s. policy, is that number one, the policy is to return people back to where they came from. that's the first objective. that doesn't work, number two, that they be kept safely in the areas where they're housed and only thirdly do you look at resettlement. if you look at those policies, you wonder if that really works under the present situation. i think the description of this is epic. certainly is an understatement probably. but these people that now have -- the number is about 20 million, as i understand it, worldwide. is that a fair number that you work with? you talk about 20 million people who have left their homeland and essentially people who maybe wouldn't have left under normal circumstances but now have been forced out -- once they've been forced out and they see what the rest of the world is liked they
aren't inclined to go back, as is the number one policy, supposedly, that we have, of seeing that they return to their homeland. so when you're talking about 20 million people, i mean, that number is staggering. what troubles me is after this has happened -- and people have watch this had with the internet we have now, the communications that we have now. what's going to continue to happen in the future to people who look at this migration that has taken place and have said, you know, i'm tired of living where i am. this isn't good here. i'm going to move on. even though they're not forced out that they are going to make that move and as you noted, the woman you talked to said look, there's only two places to go, the united states and europe. this is a challenge of staggering proportions. what we have now, which most people don't realize -- but i think what's coming in the
future when people see that this migration takes place -- and you can do it. you can become a citizen of another country by simply packing up and moving. how do you see this playing out? this is a problem that looks to me like it's just going to overwhelm the planet. anybody want to take a run at that? >> just to make you more depressed i think the relevant number is 60 million, the number of people forcibly displaced right now. 20 as refugees, 20 as displaced within their own countries. >> but probably subject to the same thought process i just went through. >> absolutely. >> we've left our home. why stop here when we can move on to -- >> i think we've talked a lot about some of the urgent, shorter term solutions that one
might employ in dealing with the roots of the syria conflict, which is this raw, bleeding conflict that is driving a lot of people through the region. i would put a couple of other considerations on the table. one is that in iraq where there is movement right now to cle clear -- we have the urgent opportunity to help people return where they're able to and where they would like to. and usip has been working with communities on the ground in places like takrete. you really need to work on a concerted dialogue process that gets rid of the mistrust and rebuilds the social cohesion so they can go home and live side by side with neighbors who might be different from themselves. and as we look at investing in our military action in iraq, we need to ensure that we are
investing in all of those solutions that do enable people to go home so they don't join that migration that you've talked about. among the syrians who are going to europe these days, among the 20 or 60 million, almost everybody is from a country that one would term as fragile. weak, ineffective or -- and/or illegitimate in the eyes of its citiz citizens. these are the countries that have the billion people living in poverty. they are the ones that have that mixture of owe pregnancy, of violent conflict and poverty that are driving people to seek better lives. longer term, we collectively need to refocus how we think about development programs, moving development, humanitarian assistance to work hand in hand with security and diplomacy.
we just had new, sustainable development goals passed in new york this week where there was the historic inclusion of something called goal 16 which basically calls for inclusive democratic societies with accountable justice for all. which sounds very polyanna-ish but every nation has signed off on this, giving us a platform for insisting that we not continue to have these kind of bleeding sores around the world that create these kind of humanitarian crisis. and keep so many people in misery and poverty. >> can i briefly address -- i think a very important point that senator rich has made, which is to understand the distinction between someone who is fleeing for economic reasons and someone fleeing for reasons of political persecution, which is what defines a refugee. it's a world on the move. there are 200 million people moving around the world for economic reasons.
and i think one of the lessons of this crisis is it's very important, indeed, to maintain the status of a refugee, well-founded fear of persecution and the erosion of that status has damaging implications for the politics of this issue and policy of this issue. the truth is, it's harder to reach america as a refugee than any other way short of swimming across the atlantic. the checks, the vetting, et cetera, are far, far tougher to arrive in the united states as a refugee than under any other visa or other regime. in a way you can understand that. because there are rights associated with refugee status that are earned. if you have a well-founded fear of persecution that you have rights and the state has obligations to you. i think it's important that we don't allow that status to be undermined. when it becomes part of a simple migration debate -- in honest truth that's what's happened in europe. for the confusion of the
migration debate with the refugee debate it's very, very hard to hold the public never mind to run the policy. >> interesting. thank you, mr. chair. >> before i turn to senator markey, to put things in context, our staff looked up the numbers relative to the yugoslav war of a decade. there were 148,000 people that were killed and 4 million people displaced. if you look at the scale, this one causes that to pale. and yet no real action relative to the barrel bombing. senator markey? >> thank you, mr. chairman. secretary milliband, i have been and remain a skeptic of policy recommendations that increase the risk of americanization, westernization, of the armed conflicts in iraq and syria. i would much rather see us work to influence parties toward
internal compromise as necessary to end violence and work together to establish governments that fully represent and fairly treat all people. most recently, we have heard that u.s. policy may be moving toward creation of so-called safe zones. protected by coalition air power where a moderate sunni force could be supported and where additional forces could be trained, internally, displaced persons could find refuge and syrian opposition could organize. but on september 16th here in the foreign relations committee we heard testimony who told us that such zones cannot be considered safe. i have been advised that there are three requirements for true, effective humanitarian safe zones. one, parties to the armed
conflict must agree to the creation of the zone and to respect it. and it is critical that this force not be a party to the conflict or supporter of any party to the conflict. thr three, the zone must be demilitarized meaning it must not be a base for any military activity or operations by parties to the conflict and this must be rigorously enforced by the impartial security force. in august, the u.n. special envoy for syria, stefan mistora completed a round of sanctions that the u.n. has endorsed. could you provide your opinion
on how diplomatic support for his efforts could be increased? how might a process create true humanitarian safe zones in syria that meet the criteria i just mentioned? >> thank you, senator. i would say two things. first of all, your skepticism about military engagement is widely shared and. >> the greater the responsibility to act on the humanitarian and the political. secondly, i said earlier that i thought that in the debate about safe zones, no fly zones, it was important to move from slogans to details, which is what you've done, and also learn the lessons of history. because all of us actually, my colleagues here, with far more personal experience than me, can speak to the different ways in which different tactics for the establishment of safe zones have
worked or have not worked. where i can comment and the well-known example of the kurds who were protected, in the way one of my frustrations is that we've got to go beyond just using those two examples as clubs with which to beat the argument. we need to get right underneath the details. the truth, to my mind, is that the situation in syria and iraq at the moment is unlike anything else we've seen before and we need to learn from history but not be imprisoned by it. you asked about the diplomatic engagement. the statement that is to look not just at the numbers but the absence of engagement.
so i think that's a contrast with general petraeus and think it's important to put that out here on the table. i think that's central to this issue. mr. chairman, i wanted to ask an additional question about yemen. >> sure. >> that can wait. is that all right? >> just out of curiosity, since we understand your point of view -- and i think david milliband does, too. are you saying on the other hand that you would support u.s. intervention to stop the barrel bombing if it was not about military activity taking place within that safe zone but protection of civilians? >> are you asking --
>> no, i'm asking you that just out of curiosity. because that would be a breakthrough. >> i think the breakthrough, honestly, has to be obama and yeltsin -- i mean obama and putin sitting down and reaching an agreement on this i think that's the only way it's going to happen. any other intervention, i don't think, will be effective in the long run. we need a political resolution of this and everything on the table. and we need the major powers to get this back out of the cold war framework. that's my view. >> thank you. >> and i apologize. >> mr. chairman, for the record, before i get or my organization get signed up to propose -- >> no, no. can i say you did not answer. >> i just want to say that none of these points of details really matter. let's take the point of a demilitarized zone. in an area of a country flooded with arms of all kinds is a nice
aspiration, but doesn't speak to the detail of the situation on the ground. and i would suggest that the imperative is to look at what a detailed proposal actually is and then measure it against the situation on the ground and the objectives for it. in the end the application of the principles is what's going to matter. frankly the devil is in the detail. my goodness, we've seen that in the last few years. >> frankly, miss lindbergh, looking back to last winter and spring, it seems we were on autopilot to support a decision to intervene in yemen without a full examination of alternatives. what are your thoughts on this? what do we need to do to assess what we might have done differently last winter and spring? particularly diplomat icadiplom? >> well, i would answer it this
over spending. back, the supreme back, the supreme to begin court is scheduled to begin their new term on monday. earlier this year, they conducted a poll for c-span of the supreme court and the impact decisions. you can see from the poll that some of the decisions are more familiar than others to americans, roe versus wade at the top with 67% familiar. 46% familiar with brown and the board of education and it goes on from there. here to talk more about the suprem
think the poll really shows that the supreme court is relevant. it is encouraging for us in the landmark cases and it takes a look at 12 decisions over time that have currency today and eight of those decisions are listed in that poll, so i think doesows that the court play an important role in society. the genesis of this was ruth bender ginsburg was talking to the national constitution center dinner and the constitutional center to be taken look at is not only the decisions
that people involved in the cases. we wanted to take a look at not only historic supreme court decisions that really the people involved, the personal stories, the people i cared enough to take the case all the way to the supreme court. host: one of the series air? and more background about how these cases were chosen. series is a 12 part series that begins monday, october 5, this coming monday as the court comes in on the first monday in october for the new session. each monday night of 9:00 until 10:30 on c-span and c-span3, we will do 90 minute programs and they take a look at all the 12 cases. host: in the background on how these cases were chosen? there are a lot more time, proby
over 20000 and we had to know it down to 12. you could do a parlor game because we came up with 12 along with our partners at the constitution center. we talked to constitutional scholars, legal scholars on the left and the right to come up with this list. it was tough because there are a lot of great decisions and important decisions not on the list that this is a good next, different amendments to the constitution, personal stories. sometimes these cases are cases where the court got it right and set precedents followed all the way through today and some of these cases, dred scott, korematsu are cases where maybe the court got it wrong. host: the supreme court kicks off the new term on monday. tell us which case you will be featuring monday night when the series against and why. mark: one day night, we feature
library versus madison, the foundation -- ball bearing versus matzo, the c as the ultif the constitution judicial review which is still being debated today whether the court is stepping into much. ande is a debate going on this shows relevance one the court should decide issues like gay marriage. marbury versus madison establishes that but it is a great case that shows the personal stories behind the cases. there is a battle going on in this between john adams, thomas jefferson, and john marshall, behind the scenes that is the story of this case. it has legal importance but the shows are also personal stories
that are engaging and i think eliminating all the time pwe ark eliminating all the time pwe the film documents the september 1963 trip of afghanistan's king and queen. mohammed zahir shah rain from 1933 until 1973, when a coup abolished the monarchy. returning to afghanistan after many years in exile, zahir shah was given the symbolic constitutional title father of the nation. as seen on the right in this photo, when hamid karzai was