Skip to main content

tv   Politics and Public Policy Today  CSPAN  June 14, 2016 5:00pm-7:01pm EDT

5:00 pm
would be -- that would be the lead element that would be of concern. can you build this so that you do get true speed of response. can you say a bit about that. >> well, it depends on the bug. i mean you know, the flu pandemic is just going to move so quickly that i tonightdon't think this instrument is sufficient preparation for a flu pandemic. if you ask very simple questions about the flu pandemic what if we had an effective vaccine do we have the facilities in the world today to produce a vaccine quickly enough to have an impact i think the answer still is no. are we incentivizeing r&d on vaccines against the fast-moving i viruses. i think the answer still is no. and, you know zika is an example of what we fear the most, which is zika -- in the case of zika it's an old virus acting differently.
5:01 pm
and, of course, the biggest one is a new virus altogether that acts in ways that are extremely the chance destructive. the chance of that happening is very high, so it's not enough but at least it's something, you know, and people keep asking well, it's too expensive and i have to keep saying compared to compared what? compared to what? is there another pocket of financing that is looking specifically at preparedness, making arrangements with responders, trying to get ahead of an outbreak. even for, you know, any disease at all, do we have that system anywhere and how would that right work. right now it's us it's the u.s. government, it's other donors. but we see that putting out sufficient resources to respond to a pandemic even in the wealthiest countries in the world can become political. we have to find a way to take it away from the political realm. >> now, it involves roughly $50 million a year in cost over that
5:02 pm
36 months so you're getting the $500 million, you're getting $150 million cash window with a $150 million investment over that period with the key donors. you're in the process of raising those funds and you're making progress presumably in the next several months you'll have that. and the premiums will be paid by donors for the i.d.a. countries. is your vision to move this so that countries are -- so that the premium rates drop over time and that you convert to where the countries themselves are beginning to pay for this? >> i think it will always be difficult for the i.d.a. countries to pay those premiums. but i think that once we refine the instrument, once we know better levels of preparedness, i think -- part of it is we're going to have the courage maybe along with the insurance
5:03 pm
industry to publish data on preparedness and you think that this is something that will create a lot of concern among the public in middle income countries, for example, wow, we've just learned that we're completely unprepared. and there's a possibility for us to purchase insurance. now, i think -- i think pandemic insurance could work in any country in the world. tom frieden's talking about $5 billion, whereas it might be difficult to get all of that in cash upfront, maybe we could agree on paying, you know, a premium for the possibility of having access to that when you need it. now, there would be a lot of negotiations and there would be a lot of discussion that would have to go into that but, again it is in the interest of the insurance companies to stop pandemics in the united states. you know, probably the biggest holders of business disruption insurance are companies in the united states. so i hope that this becomes a
5:04 pm
real industry. i mean, i don't -- early on i don't think everyone thought that fire insurance and auto insurance all these things would become as ubiquitous as they are because it doesn't make sense. i have to really take my hat off to the early adopters because they really pushed it. there were times when their own companies were saying it's so complicated, let's just stop, but they kept pushing it pmi. he said, you know we haven't done a good enough job at explaining the power of insurance and mark carney who is the central bank governor in canada now is the governor of the central bank, the royal bank of england. mark said that one of the things that we have to rediscover in development work is the power of insurance because it is it leverage leverage. it leverage in the purest sense.
5:05 pm
and i think we don't use it >> i enough. >> i would expect that you're going to need to demonstrate that it's possible that an insurance instrument can apply to a pandemic threat that could come from anywhere, right? i mean, when you're putting catastrophic bonds together for climate change, or for natural disasters, you can focus on regions that have a shared vulnerability that's been proven over and over again. here you're dealing with sng that is much more globalized, it's not concentrated necessarily regionally and the threat may pop up and really be just a single country rather than something that's a consciousness within an entire >> region. >> say a bit about that. >> so the hope, of course, you know we're starting off with $100 million in the cash window, but we hope that grows because that's the window that will really be available for anything anywhere and i think we're going to have to have both. i think we're going to have to have defined insurance for specific outbreaks and the cash
5:06 pm
window. but the but the hope is this, that when you purchase the pandemic bond, you know it's capital at risk. if all of the $300 million is disbursed you're not going to get that. you'll get your coupon over the next three years but you're not going to get back the principal you put in. but what we hope is that for outbreaks because we have the cash window and because the insurance part of it will be more focused on the more frequent kinds of activities, that at the end of three years we may have disbursed 10, 15, i don't know how much but we would have done it in three villages to stop something before it started. i think that's what's going to prove the effectiveness of the pandemic facility is that we're now going to support w.h.o., paho, all these other agencies to get out there. you know during ebola there really was a concern about there resources. there was a concern that there were not the resources to be
5:07 pm
able to respond effectively. that has got to go away. we've got to get rid of that altogether and these agencies that are charged with hunting down these epidemics have to say in this case money is not the problem anymore. >> what we saw in ebola and i think this is very relevant to this new facility is that for multiple directions there was huge hesitation to decide to and act. and that came from worries about the investment and trade it disruptions. it was the political pressures that came to bear upon the w.h.o. emergency committee. there was a -- it was the memory of perhaps bad decisions that had been made four or five years earlier that had washed back. so, all of those political calculations are going to come in as you put together the committee that's supposed to be the decision-making mechanism i would think you would be subject to many of those same kind of
5:08 pm
>> i complexities. >> i think, you know these things are always political, but my own sense of it is that, first of all i think one of the discussions we had early on in our involvement in ebola was how aggressive should you be in utilizing the international health regulations, the ihr. and i was there in 2003-2004 when we were redoing the ihr and the reason we redid the ihr we didn't think it was robust enough because certain countries hid cases. so we made it more robust. i think the ebola experience i hope anyway has convinced us once and for all that aggressive investigation is not sng that's an option. we have to do it. and i think that if there is the sense that that's automatic -- an automatic dispensing of resources that there will be less hesitation. and what we will tell every single country in the world the most important thing you can do is to scream that you've got a
5:09 pm
problem as early as possible because now there's financing. there's a coordinated response and let's stop it at three villages instead of turning it into an economic fiasco, an economic and human fiasco like ebola was in those three >> let's countries. >> let's chat for a moment and then we'll turn to our audience just about how this relates to u.s. approaches. the u.s. is not, you know -- is not expected to make a major cash donation. you referenced that country se saysments of the preparedness will be very important of raising requirements, the vulner vulnerabilityies and requirements the global health agenda is putting a big emphasis on that. say a bit about how this facility, this one slice, fits in terms -- in your mind in terms of the u.s. approach on building capacities post-ebola and what are you looking for in terms of support from the united states to make this work.
5:10 pm
>> first of all, we're in constant communication. tom is an old friend from tb days, we worked together on tom tom frieden. and and we're constant lir workly very closely with cdc. u.s. spent, you know, more than a billion dollars on responding in liberia. the liberian health minister said -- i'm not sure if this true or not but the liberian health minister told us if this had been in place the liberian situation would have been completely different. and so i like to think that that would have been true. first of all what would have been different. even if it were today the coordination among responders is much better than before. the willingness to go into a situation knowing that there is now economic support is much greater than before. once we get this online there should be -- there should be no hesitation at all.
5:11 pm
and that at the end of the day will have a huge impact on the united states. i mean the u.s. can control its own borders. it can control what happens it does inside. it does a lot of work in many countries in the world to try to prevent these pandemics but i think it will be a very strong piece of support for the global health security agenda. it's not enough. there's still a lot more that we have to put in place. let's collect -- we're getting to the end of hour here. we're going to take four quick comments, single interventions, please, then we'll come back and we'll close. yes, right here. and right here and here and i here. i apologize to those that we're not reaching but we're at the limit here. yes, please. please identify yourself and be very succinct. [ inaudible ] thank you so much for everything you've done to really change the
5:12 pm
world and [ inaudible ] forum we're serving as the private sector lead in this supply network for pandemic preparedness response -- >> it's great. yeah. >> >> [ inaudible ] and world health organization and we're working with your colleagues and the private sector countries johnson & johnson and u.p.s. and the process now we were able to get the world health organization the list of critical products they would need in -- [ inaudible ]? >> that's great. >> we're now going through the list and finding suppliers who manufacture each of those items but still very complicated -- >> please, we need to move on. >> anyway, we're very eager to >> engage. >> great to great to >> thank you very >> thank you very much. >> i'm not sure >> i'm not sure if your microphone's working. was that working? >> i could hear her. >> i mean we could hear you but for broadcast purposes.
5:13 pm
got to make sure the mike's working. okay. right here, please. okay. right here, please. >> hi. >> hi. i'm from i'm from japan international corporation and first of all, congratulations on the launching of this facility. i think it's a very big shift from what you term as pass the hat financing, so one thing congratulations. one thing i wanted to ask you about your take of the threat of amr which was one of the pillars of the g7 agenda. what you think is the risk and how world bank is going to >> first respond. >> first of all let me say i am so grateful to the japanese prime government. prime minister abe himself really pushed to get this done and i think it was done quicker because of prime minister abe and deputy prime minister's aso's support. we just did this deep dive with
5:14 pm
>> jika. >> finish your thought. >> amr is a huge issue and i am seeing my buddy from drug resistant tb days. we knew this for a long time and the reason amr is so hard because the incentives are not we would aligned. we would like to have the major drug companies who are the best at coming up with new molecules involved in this, but the incentives are not aligned because the minute you get a new antibiotic you have to restrict it, right? what is the cost of the antibiotic of a single dose of an antibiotic that you need to get to to have a market-based it's, you know incentive. it's, you know literally in the millions of dollars because it will be so severely restricted in every form knewularyformulary. i talked to prime minister cameron who this is a big concern of his and i think we have to be very creative. is there a possibility of a bond, you know, a sort of
5:15 pm
superbug bond where once the drug is brought to market that the drug companies can sort of walk away from it and that the people who purchase the bond will be -- i don't know the we've been answer. we've been working on this. there's dndi. you know we've been working on this forever. the gates foundation has had huge success in bits and pieces but on this one the problem is the incentives are not in line. we have to think about this in a completely different way. >> thank you. yes, please. you had your hand up. yes, please. and then over and then over and then and then i apologize we'll take two more and then we're going to close. yes, yes, >> i am >> i am a department of state foreign service officer on detail to amazon web services. my question is what do you recommend as the first step for tech companies in particular who have solutions to help with early warning signs and disaster prevention and response and mapping and things like that? >> so, real quickly, you know, after ebola, i was having dinner
5:16 pm
with the head of vodafone and he said, you know, we had cell phones in a box we could have given them to you, but nobody nobody called. nobody asked us. it's just what we heard earlier. we have to make prearranged agreements with all the tech companies and figure out what they can do and my understanding is that conversation is ongoing right now. but anyway we need to figure out what it is that's needed from the tech companies how we can, for example, use social media, how we can use smartphones and when the plan is ready we'll have all the prearranged agreements. you have to have things like, what are they called, indemnification agreements all aligned ahead of time. we think that the pandemic facility will be part of putting those together. >> one last comment, please. thank you. >> thank you very much. and congratulations. my name is john hassle with aids health care foundation.
5:17 pm
dr. kim, would you kindly define the problem with the middle income country. the mic definition used in determining eligibility for global fund assistance, for lower drug prices and the aids response. can you -- can you -- it's used for the bank's purposes but other groups use it as eligibility requirements that eliminate some of this assistance for middle income countries and thank you very much. >> yeah. i mean, you know, for us it's -- it was not put together with the intention of making countries unqualified, you know -- disqualified from receiving grant-based funding. we do it in order to determine who is eligible for, you know, what kind of level of con so i so i actually don't know the answer to the question in terms of what's going on in these other agencies, but we're certainly open to having a
5:18 pm
discussion about how our criteria -- [ inaudible ] -- right so i don't have an answer for you. >> i apologize. we've gotten to the end of hour and we do have to stick to schedule for a couple of reasons. so please join me in thanking dr. kim. so, please join me in thanking dr. kim. congratulations. congratulations. . . . .
5:19 pm
with with the political primary season over, c-span's road to the white house takes you to this summer's political watch the watch the republican national convention starting july 18th with leave coverage from >> cleveland. >> so we'll be going into the convention no matter what happens and i think we're going to go in so strong. >> and watch the democratic national convention starting july 25th with live coverage from philadelphia. >> let's go forward. let's win the nomination and in
5:20 pm
july let's return as a unified part >> and >> and then we take our fight for social economic racial and environmental justice to philadelphia, pennsylvania! >> every minute of the republican and democratic party's national conventions on c-span, c.-span radio and c-span michael fallon is joined by other military officials who folk about ongoing strategies to stabilize the middle east and russia's role in the fight against isis. this is just under two hours. >> welcome to this inquiry on british military policy towards iraq and syria. and welcome back secretary of we
5:21 pm
state. we saw you two days ago on the subject of russia. would your two colleagues mind introducing themselves for the >> record. >> good morning. my name's mark carlton smith. i've been serving in the british army for the last 30 years and i'm now the director of operations in the ministry of defense a post i've held for the last four weeks. >> congratulations. >> wilson, director operational policy at the ministry of >> thank you very much defense. >> thank you very muc coming here today. i'm afraid our numbers are slightly depleted because of a breakdown on tube services but i hope we will be augmented a little bit later on. so our first question is from johnny mercer. >> thank you very much. good morning. secretary of state, i was wondering if you could start by outlining, please what is the uk's national interest in the middle east and north africa? >> the middle east and to some extent north africa are fundamental to this country's
5:22 pm
security its stability and its prosperity. we rely we rely on a series of partnerships in the region to help us manage threats from the region, crime, terrorism, and now the challenge of migration. but we also need to ensure that the energy supplies that we rely are secure that our trade routes are secure and that is why we maintain in the region a credible and persistent defense this presence. this is a region that is extremely important to both our security and our economy. >> so thank you. and we've done a lot of sort of traveling around trying to understand what is the west's -- or what is, you know our collective strategy in terms of dealing with the challenges that
5:23 pm
come out of that part of the world at the moment and we certainly found it in there washington. there was a real struggle to understand what is the strategy, what is the sort of holistic, you know, bringing everyone with you-type strategy that we're engaged in at the moment in that part of the world. i was wondering if you could outline what that might be and whether or not the whole of government is working towards that. >> well, the >> well, the strategy is to help to stabilize the middle east where there is instability. the war in syria has been raging for some five years now. the instability in iraq is back much further than that. it is to help stabilize the middle east which is one of the key regions of the world and more recently to counter the global terrorist threat that daesh presents in which we all have an interest. that's the basis on which we've
5:24 pm
assembled this extraordinary coalition over 60 countries involved in one way or another in combatting the daesh. and in helping to support the legitimate governments of iraq and elsewhere. >> what is the -- what is -- because we've heard from some like general simon mayor and others that that doesn't seem to be this sort of all-embracing strategy that everyone is sort of has bought into and wants to what is see. what is the sort of end state? what are we looking at? what is the vision that we are selling not only to the uk population for them to sort of get behind in terms of, you know supporting military operations, but, you know for the theater. for the area this is taking what place. what is the end state. what might it possibly look what like? what might successfully condition those? >> first the general was a key part a key adviser to us and to
5:25 pm
me in this -- in this work. made a huge contribution in his period in office. and we work -- to answer your earlier question, we work at this across the government. you know, we work across government and you see that captured in the most recent strategic defense and security the review. the end state is a situation in the middle east where these countries are stable again where we can rely on the trade routes and the energy supplies and the partnerships that we need to keep this country safe. and in which elected and legitimate governments are able to provide a future for their people that does not involve them emigrating. >> and just -- just finally if i may, what is the -- i mean,
5:26 pm
that's the end state that's very clear. how do we get there? what is the -- what is the thinking around operations against daesh, you know, how we -- how are we actually going after this threat? how are we actually stabilizing these countries? people sort of buy into the fact this is what we're trying to do but how are we doing this and how does what we're doing fit into the larger strategy perhaps with the united states? >> well so far as the campaign against daesh is concerned, daesh was probably at its peak in the summer of 2014 just before i arrived at the ministry of defense and we're now well into this campaign to counter daesh in iraq where considerable progress has been made now in pushing daesh back the euphrates and up the tigris and liberating towns and cities and territory that it formerly held. in syria the situation is
5:27 pm
obviously more complicated but again daesh has come under some pressure from the kurdish forces and the syrian moderate opposition, and overall i think in the coalition that we've mobilized and, you're right, to refer to the united states leadership in which we and other countries are supporting the united states. the coalition overall i think is making progress. but that military strategy against the daesh is only part of a much wider strategy which includes communications work in dealing with the way in which the daesh has been able to promote its ideology. that work is actually led by the united kingdom by the communications team in the foreign office, by work against daesh's finances and by work across the security agencies and departments to stem the flow of foreign fighters. so this is a -- you know this is an effort -- a multiple
5:28 pm
effort right across the range. >> thank you very much. >> richard? >> the prime minister has called this, he's used this generational endeavor struggle, and that it's going to take a long time and therefore a whole other different departments of government are involved. a criticism that some of us have heard from somebody who from a military background who is working in the cabinet office was to say that the civil service on this issue it's a military expression never seemed to have a nafi being the occasional in the army where you sit and talk to people from other organizations and understand what they do. he said i find civil servants in the cabinet office who don't know about some brigade or don't understand what's happening in dcle on radicalization and don't understand what's happening in your department. can you reassure us that that -- if that is the case it's being addressed or if it isn't the
5:29 pm
case that -- >> well, it might have been the case many years ago but we now have since 2010, of course, the national security council and the national security secretariat precisely based in the cabinet with the key coordinating function and you see that well reflected in the most recent sdsr. and, you know, i have been -- i've worked in other departments but since coming to the ministry of defense i've been very pleasantly surprised at the degree of interdepartmental coordination that there is. and you've seen that not just in the middle east, you saw that in the work to deal with ebola in sierra leone, for example the ministry of defense had to work alongside and we do that now in our work of stabilization, of peacekeeping and indeed of operations. in iraq we're working closely on the table stabilization effort
5:30 pm
as each of these cities and towns is liberated. >> thank you. >> madeline? >> if i can take you back to the middle east and north africa, in terms of lessons learned what have we learned from the libya campaign of 2011? i'm thinking particularly in relation to the impact on neighboring states if you were secretary of state. i'm aware in relation to syria there's been huge destabilization in jordan and turkey, iraq, again, turkey saudi arabia, kuwait. and in libya, algeria, and tunisia and egypt. what are we doing when we make our decisions to make sure we're not deflecting the conflict and the impact into neighboring states where currently there may not have been any problems. >> well, i think there have been issues with respect in many of these states in north africa in particular and indeed further
5:31 pm
south in central -- in east africa and in west africa. and i'm not sure that, you know, necessarily military intervention in one state has increased instability in another. but i think you're absolutely right to say each time what are the lessons that we learned. and i think the principal lesson and i wasn't involved in it at the time, but a principal lesson i would draw from the libyan campaign which applies today to iraq and syria is that military progress has to be matched by political progress. you can, you know, to some extent combat the terrorism push the insurgencey and defeat it militarily but that's not going to be lasting unless you got a political settlement that genuinely has the trust and support of the local people where that insurgency was. >> if i could just come back if i may. secretary of state i absolutely
5:32 pm
agree with you about the importance of having a civilian settlement, a political settlement that builds a new and viable state. but i have to say in terms of libya, i do think the impact on algeria in particular has been great as many fled south into niger and mali and created and added to the conflict in those so i must so, i must say i disagree with you in terms of some of the impact there. >> well, i mean, you know, you're right. obviously libya has been unstable for a very long time. we have been working extremely hard to bring about a political settlement in libya. we thought we might have had one by now. we thought we would have one last autumn. we now have a prime minister in tripoli, in charge of a government of national accord. we're beginning to see some of the institutions of the state that he's going to need fall
5:33 pm
into place around him. i was able to speak for the first time to a new defense minister on monday afternoon. and we will be ready to help. and we need to do that because the only way in the end whatever the insurgencey is the only way it will be done is a military settlement that everyone can buy >> thank into. >> thank you. douglas? >> we've douglas? >> we've had quite a few witnesses who have alluded to the fact that while we're conducting operations in syria and iraq at the moment, the impact has been negligible, it's had a very small impact. i wonder what the from your perspective what you think the impact of uk -- the role of the uk has been in the international coalition and especially since the national affairs strikes in >> syria. >> well, i'll give you my answer and ask the general to add to
5:34 pm
the that. the more technical perspective. we've made a huge contribution. and i don't agree with your we assertion. we have made a huge contribution to the overall coalition effort. we're one of the very few countries that has been providing the intelligence and surveillance, aircraft flying almost nightly. we've been flying strike missions daily six days a week now for nearly two years. and we have made a huge contribution on the ground, too, in training a very large number of the iraqi forces and the peshmurga forces and the progress that the iraqi and the kurdish forces are making on both river valleys would not have been possible without that training and without the close air support that the coalition provides and i'm proud of the role that the raf has played in but that. but perhaps general mark might be allowed to add to that in
5:35 pm
terms of the uk impact. >> thank you, secretary of we've state. we've always described daesh and its project caliphate as having really three dimensions the principal being the manifestation of the caliphate itself and the geography associated with that and the second being its wider footprint and its subsequent connection with an affiliate network. and with respect to both degrading and containing and setting the conditions for the subsequent defeat of daesh in its core heartlands in the caliphate itself, the trick was to grow, regenerate and train the iraqi security forces in the first instance so that they could stabilize the security of the capital, that they could secure the heartlands of the sunni population across the central belt predominantly anbar province and the euphrates river
5:36 pm
valley and then they could concentrate their tactical forces to at some subsequent juncture secure mosul which was effectively any way iraqis second city but acting as one of the twin capitals of the caliphate. so the so the geography suggests that the forward and rather irresistant mowirresist ant irresistible forward momentum have been halted. >> a subsequent question. you suggest that's training that's taken place of security forces and so on in iraq really hadn't materialized in terms of its effectiveness [ inaudible ] baghdad as well, you know we're still moving between safe zones
5:37 pm
and it's a country not at ease with itself in any sense. so we've already put a lot of resources into training and making sure that these, you know, the iraqi forces were in a position to protect their own what confidence what confidence have you got that we're not just going to keep that cycle maintained at that level and consistently have to go back to, you know, go through the same process again and again, you know, because that's not from this committee but from the report outside in the way of the world probably that's what's going through their head as well. >> do you want to start with >> that? >> well, i don't think we've reached critical momentum and yet delivered a critical tactical mass for the iraqi security forces when they effectively dissolve in the autumn of 2014 they purported to have, you know, in the region of 180,000 to 200,000 on their
5:38 pm
books that seemingly evaporated it overnight. it takes a reasonable amount of time to regenerate a capability, to recruit from a base that, you know, into a security apparatus that's got the skill sets, has got the moral component to fight a tactically dangerous and resilient enemy and it's got the equipment to undertake sustained operations and we're only now into the second full year of this commitment and certainly the coalition commanders in the theater would expect this to, you know, be a minimum commitment of something in the region of three to five years. >> yeah, just another question. in terms of the coalition as a whole, again we've heard from the secretary of state that the progress is slow but deliberate that the -- you know you've been there and you're acting as
5:39 pm
part of the coalition and perhaps there are parts of the coalition that are not moving as quickly as you would have wished. you know what's your you know, what's your of the current of the current coalition and the military operation in syria and is there anything in that as a key component of the coalition itself that you would want to accelerate or see change? because obviously a slow deliberate progress is perhaps good at this stage but, you know, it's using valuable resources and so on from our country. so how do you actually make sure that you are part of that coalition and not a much more determined way to see if we can see any way there is light at the end of the tunnel and reach the end of the tunnel quicker than we're expecting? >> i think there's real momentum to the campaign in iraq.
5:40 pm
there is real momentum to the campaign in iraq. clearly progress has been made. i think it took eight months to liberate ramadi. it took eight weeks to liberate id and a week or so to liberate al rookbar so there's a sense of iraqi and kurdish forces that advancing. that needs to be sustained. and the united states has made very clear to the coalition that this is the moment actually to step up and they have asked all members of the coalition to look and see what more they can do. and we are looking to see what further -- further we can add to the particular fight. i'm announcing today as an example, mr. chairman, and perhaps this committee ought to hear it first i'm announcing we're sending an additional air seeker aircraft into the theater to improve the surveillance capability that we have. this is an aircraft as you know that collects and analyzes
5:41 pm
intelligence but which helps us to better more quickly identify and select targets in the so we are so, we are continuing to step we up. we meet regularly, the defense ministers and the coalition, and we are urging other countries in the coalition to do the same and we've seen some very welcome announcements from other european country that they're prepared to do more. but general mark may want to add something about the effort in >> syria. >> i think there's a clear distinction between the coalition's contribution in support of the iraqi government and that that it's able to manage in syria. because clearly in iraq we're supporting the sovereign entity. and a unitary military command against a clearly -- reasonably clearly identifiable military threat. those those relative advantages don't pertain in syria where we're
5:42 pm
marginally engaged from the air only across a much less homogenous battlefield where the identification of the multifaceted parties, agencies and militias is much more difficult to determine. and, therefore, with respect to harnessing, you know, a significant ground component that might maximize the tactical advantage the coalition might provide clearly proves that much more difficult. >> thank you. >> one follow-up. >> all right. >> just in terms of the decision made by parliament to move on to your strengths any idea how much the cost of that progress has been to date from the date that parliament made the decision with regard to that? >> i don't think -- >> you don't count the beans? >> we do very carefully count the beans but i'm very happy to provide the committee with an
5:43 pm
estimate of that. i don't think we've completely yet released figures for the cost in '15-'16. but the cost i think in the -- i think it would be best if i return to that. >> excellent. >> thanks. >> thank you, douglas. general i'd like to follow-on with you if i may from what you just said that unlike in iraq, in syria we are, to use your words, marginally engaged from the air only and that this is partly because of the question of who are we supporting on the one of ground. one of our terms of reference is to ask the question will air strikes alone be effective in degrading and defeating daesh. so, from the purely military perspective, would you give your opinion as to whether air strikes on their own could defeat daesh or simply degrade them to some extent. >> well, my view is that air
5:44 pm
strikes on their own are not going to defeat daesh. but they are going to both degrade them and constrain their ability to continue to develop. and materially they are already having an effect. of course, our contribution over syria isn't exclusive to we're striking. we're also delivering very substantial surveillance and reconnaissance which is even more essential over syria where it's far harder there are -- you know to make precise targeting decisions without having a footprint on the so ground. so there are a number tf particular targets sets. the first is the ability of the caliphate to command and control itse the second the second is to tackle the finances and reduce its and liquidity. and the final piece is to destroy some of its critical infrastructure and i think in all three respects, air
5:45 pm
power plays a vital role, but insufficient without coordination on the ground to subsequently defeat. >> exactly. so, this is what i expected to hear. so what so what we're talking about is if this organization is going to be defeated it has to be defeated by the use of air power and support of forces on on ground that we feel able to support. can i support. can i run over the statistics to make sure i've got them right that have been supplied in various tables. now, in iraq taking the figures from the beginning of december december -- because that's the point at which we began air strikes in syria as well. in iraq my understanding is that there have been over 760 air strikes in iraq against 1,349
5:46 pm
targets in iraq. over the same period from the beginning of december, when we began in syria there have been 43 air strikes. against 103 targets in syria. isn't this pretty much what we would expect when we are working closely in cooperation with active fighting forces on the ground in one theater, iraq but the same cannot be said of the other theater syria. and just to complete the set of statistics, my understanding is that our estimated number of enemy combatants killed, although i appreciate can only be an estimate, for that period beginning of december to the end of april in iraq is 518, a sizable number. but in syria, it's only 22.
5:47 pm
and the 22 are made up of zero in december six in january, 16 in february zero in march and zero in april. would you like to comment on whether or not that is precisely what we would expect given the different circumstances of having fighting forces on the ground in one theater that we are closely supporting by air strikes but not having the same helpful situation in syria. >> well, let me start and then general mark will come in. let me start by saying i think it's extremely misleading to look at statistics in that particular way. we're only able to estimate enemy killed in action. these are very crude estimates because we obviously don't have people on the ground where we attack. can't investigate every single attack. the aim the aim of these missions is not to kill as many daesh as
5:48 pm
it possible. it is of course to degrade them from -- on occasion by tackleing their leadership but in the end to try and undermine their will to fight by attacking their command and control, their infrastructure and so on. so it is far too simplistic simply to measure a mission by the number of people that are killed and as you yourself i think are implying, you know, many of these missions are to gather intelligence rather than to inflict casualties. it is the preplanned missions that are usually targeted at infrastructure, where, of course, we take very great care not to kill people. we take care to avoid civilian casua but perhaps but perhaps general mark would add to that. >> well, i think your statistics currently characterize the nature of the tactical campaign at the moment which is in the
5:49 pm
first instance focused on a strategy of iraq first. and we have now in the game of the second year building up the iraqi security forces and they are beginning offensive combat operations up both river lines the euphrates and the tigris. the weight of our effort will be in terms of close air support provision in order to ensure, you know, a tactical overmatch as they come up against the opposition in these river valley towns and cities. by comparison, in syria the object is to disrupt command and control and to interdict and disrupt lines of communication and that speaks to a target array that is principally infrastructure based and, of course, once you've destroyed the infrastructure, you don't need to revisit it nearly as frequently as you do on the tactical battlefield in support of ground troops.
5:50 pm
>> that's precisely what i expected to hear and i'm sorry the secretary of state thinks i'm trying to extrapolate from from the numbers of people killed. the point i'm trying to put to the point i'm trying to put to you is that in iraq we are you is that in iraq we are having something like 15 times having something like 15 times as many air strikes as in syria. as many air strikes as in syria. i don't think that is open to i don't think that is open to dispute and the question has dispute and the question has already brought out that where already brought out that where as many of these air strikes are as many of these air strikes are in close support of ground in close support of ground forces fighting one country, forces fighting one country, they are not in the other. they are not in the other. so they are indeed in syria, so they are indeed in syria, targeted largely at targeted largely at infrastructure. infrastructure. can we have any idea, if you can we have any idea, if you can't tell me today, can you can't tell me today can you
5:51 pm
write to us on how many write to us on how many occasions out of the 43 air occasions out of the 43 air strikes that have been carried strikes that have been carried out in syria in december, out in syria in december, january, february, march, and january, february, march, and april. april. four months period, how many of four months period, how many of those were in support for forces those were in support for forces fighting on the ground; and if fighting on the ground; and if there were, how many of those there were, how many of those were in support of kurdish were in forces fighting on the ground in syria or other what you call moderate forces fighting on the ground in syria? have any of our air strikes in syria been in close support of non-kurdish fighters fighting on the ground in syria? >> now, yes, they have. and most recently in the last few days. north of aleppo in the fighting that's taking place along the maro line. we have had the r.e.f. engaged there. i think we probably could get i think
5:52 pm
you that kind of information. i don't have it immediately to hand. we are part of a coalition. we are part of a coalition. the selection of whose aircraft, the selection of whose aircraft, a part of each particular a part of each particular mission is something that's mission is something that's decided on, on a coalition decided on, on a coalition basis. basis. but we will do our best to get but we will do our best to get you that kind of information. you that kind of information. >> could i amplify the sense >> could i amplify the sense that in terms of coalition that in terms of coalition targeting, there's much less of targeting, there's much less of a distinction made between syria a distinction made between syria and iraq because the plan is to and iraq because the plan is to tackle daesh across its length tackle daesh across its length and breadth and it's clearly and breadth and it's clearly important to pressure it in its important to pressure it in its rear areas, which is a job rear areas, which is a job associated with syria. associated with syria. and so while the geography and so while the geography battle might suggest that it's battle might suggest that it's in support of iraqi kurdish in support of iraqi kurdish forces, we're not doing
5:53 pm
forces, we're not doing necessarily as much as we like necessarily as much as we like in syria. in syria. in fact, we're pressuring the in fact, we're pressuring the entire daesh network in the entire daesh network in the areas where it's most areas where it's most vulnerable. vulnerable. >> the reason behind this >> the reason behind this questioning, and i would like to questioning, and i would like to know if the secretary of state know if the is able to tell us that which forces other than kurds the air strikes were in support of north of aleppo, the question that's in my mind is the much vaunted figure of 70,000 moderate fighters and if there were 70,000 moderate fighters whom we began air strikes in syria in order to support, one would have expected there to have been a considerable number of our air strikes in support of such forces fighting on the ground in syria. and that doesn't seem to have and that doesn't seem to have happened. happened. >> well, you haven't seen the >> well, you haven't seen the figures yet and we will provide figures yet and we will provide
5:54 pm
you with the figures. you with the figures. >> considering there were only >> considering there were only 43 raids in all against 143 43 raids in all against 143 targets over four months and a targets over four months and a large proportion of those you've large proportion of those you've already heard against already heard against infrastructure, there couldn't infrastructure, there couldn't have been many. have been many. >> you're simply referring to >> you're simply referring to the r.e.f. strikes. the r.e.f. strikes. there have been strikes by a there have been strikes by a series of aircraft, every night, series of aircraft, every night striking. striking. but we will get you the figures. a significant proportion of even the r.e.f. strikes have been support of the syrian democratic forces and so far as the figure of 75,000 is concerned, when you say it's much vaunted, we continue to confirm that figure. all our intelligence suggests is that there are still of that order of people fighting the syrian regime and there have been fighting them now for over five years. and which itself, i think is a testament to the size of the opposition that there is.
5:55 pm
>> well, we'll come back later to the composition of that and to what extent it is or is not islamist. and in relation to raqqa, which has been described by our prime minister as the head of the snake, in relation to raqqa, the syrian defense forces have been built up largely by the americans. but my understanding is that force which is going to launch an assault, hopefully to defeat daesh and raqqa is predominantly made up of the kurdish ypg forces, about 80% of it, i believe is made up of the kurds. so my question is actually this: supposing the kurds and limited number of nonkurdish syrian forces succeed in taking control of raqqa, to whom will we then hand over control?
5:56 pm
because i can't imagine that kurdish forces would be willing or able to remain in control of raqqa indefinitely. so who would we be looking to hand raqqa -- under whose government would raqqa proceed to be? who would supply the occupying forces? >> well, there are a number of assumptions. i think i would question at least some of them. there will certainly be a strong arab component alongside the forces that i hope will encircle raqqa. it's clearly going to be a long campaign, and we're off that at the moment. but we see kurdish and arab elements under pressure from the regime. we already see them taking on
5:57 pm
daesh in the northeast and northwest of syria. >> well, the military contribution of the syrian democratic forces has suggested thus far that they represent the single most capable maneuver force within an exclusive focus on fighting daesh. wider opposition elements find themselves in a multidimensional fight against regime, regime-backed foreign militia and other elements within the opposition itself. so it represents in some respects the most capable and homogenous organization with a tactical ambition in the first instance to secure their
5:58 pm
traditional northern syrian kurdish. >> so, we have a force that hopes to take control of raqqa, the center of headquarters of daesh. and about three quarters of them are made up of kurds, this force. they will not be welcome there indefinitely, even if they are -- even if they are successful in taking control of raqqa. and so the problem arises is it so often arises in these circumstances, what do we do after the initial military success in terms of creating political stability? and the problem that we have in syria, as you know, is that apart from the kurds, you've got assad on the one side and you've got a variety of fighting
5:59 pm
organizations on the other side, the majority of whom are islamist. so who did we hand over control of that city to in the long term? i'm still not clear. >> in the long term. >> or the median term. >> we want to see raqqa return to legitimate authority in syria. and when you say there are all these different factions that have been doing the fighting, they are now starting to do the talking. and they're meeting as part of the forum that we've started to work syria towards a new settlement that does not contain assad and can start building the institutions that syria will need, not least its own moderate syrian forces. >> well, mind you, secretary of state, of a written answer that you gave last year.
6:00 pm
in october last year. and you were asked which moderate non-islamist groups with credible ground forces other than kurds are fighting daesh and syria. and your response was "there are a number of moderate opposition forces focussed on fighting the assad regime, many are also fighting isil, in areas of strategic importance, for example, north of aleppo. the vast majority of these opposition groups are islamist and similarly, the prime minister on the 12th of january said in referring to the 70,000 moderates, he said i repeat though that, yes, some of the opposition forces are islamist, some of them are relatively hard line islamists and some are what we would describe as more secular democrats. but this seemed to me to be something of a deconstruction of this idea that there are 70,000 moderate forces in support of whom we are waging a military campaign in syria. >> well, i think you're continuing even now to cast
6:01 pm
doubt on this figure of 70,000, which we continue to confirm. it's odd that a battle has been fought for five years if there wasn't a substantial opposition number of opposition fighters. >> the question is -- and no one doubts there's a lot of opposition fighters. the question is whether they're moderates or whether they are islamists. the prime minister himself admitted that a significant number were relatively hard lined islamists and we've had witnesses that make it quite clear that the overwhelming majority of opposition forces with guns are islamists, which is exactly what you just said in october in response to the written question. >> first of all, i'm glad you're
6:02 pm
not resigning anymore from the figure of 70,000. because we've had loose talk of bogus battalions. >> i am because i'm saying that the 70,000 so-called moderates are in large part islamists and that's why bogus battalions of moderates. there are battalions of islamists. the question is are there 70,000 moderates, and you and the prime minister seem to admit that these forces are overwhelmingly islamists. >> well, the test is are they prepared and this is a test that since october, we've had to consider who is the right people to engage in the talks for
6:03 pm
political settlement. the test of all these groups is are they prepared to live within a plural political settlement that can in the end be democratic and take syria towards elections and that is one of the tests that is applied and i think should be. perhaps dominic here would like to say a word. >> sure. and the nature of these islamists. we are clear that within the 70,000, they are a group of non-extremists opposition which we could imagine buying into a broader political settlement in syria. that isn't to say that all of them are exactly the same. essentially they are what we
6:04 pm
view as nonextremists. >> let me close and then give ample time to develop a thesis as well. what dr. kagan said to us in america. he said "virtually all the opposition is islamists one way or another at this point" and went on to say "we make a distinction between those, referring to jihadists, and political islamists groups tied to the muslim brotherhood, the likely assaults of acceptable allies that we could work with." so it appears to be and we've had similar evidence from other experts. it appears to be fairly well conceded that the majority of the opposition fighters, as said in your own written answer, a
6:05 pm
heavy majority of them are islamists, it's a question of distinguishing between those regarded of beyond the pail quite rightly, such as jihadists and so forth and other islamists who might be more closely affiliated to organizations like the muslim brotherhood. that seems to be what we're getting from the experts. do you concur with that? you're saying that the so-called moderates, are like the muslim brotherhood? >> well, i think we can start -- we can argue for a very long time about these precise definitions of what is a moderate muslim and an islamist or beyond the pale. the political process now getting under way does enable us to start to ask these various groups to make their choice. and to be part, eventually, of a democratic process and to my
6:06 pm
mind that should in the end be the test as to whether they can live under some form of secular and plural settlement. >> as long as assurances can be believed. >> we're trying to bring peace to this country. what is really important is to get the civil war stopped, get people to focus on the danger of the daesh and get them defeated and give syria a future to which its own people can have confidence in, rather than be driven to make a very dangerous crossing to europe. >> richard. >> try to bring peace to this commission. can i suggest, ask you to comment on this. 70,000 as a percentage of the precivil war population of syria is 1.5%. i would be surprised if there were not that number of relatively secular individuals who have, given the right incentives, would be prepared to
6:07 pm
coordinate activities in fighting daesh or the regime. but the key point i would like to ask you about is what are we talking about here? we're not talking about little green men on one side and civilians on the other. our activities in iraq and syria can be in support of a structured force of some sort or to alleviate the pressure on two individuals with ak-47s protecting their village. and i think the committee would benefit from a clear understanding of what we're dealing with here because this is a fluid, multifaceted conflict with individuals
6:08 pm
protecting the house, their village, their valley, their faith in some cases and in some cases a concept that might be wider than that. and i hope that you might be able to bring to our report a clear understanding about what friendly forces exist out there, accepting that there are degradations and moderation in the conservative party, so i'm sure there are in syrian politics. >> i do, just to start, do think the committee ought to ask itself, given the might of the syrian forces, the mite of the syrian war machine, how it is that they've been defied for over five years, since march 2011, if there weren't 70,000
6:09 pm
people taking them on? i hope the committee will reflect on that. >> that's not in dispute. the question is whether they're moderates or islamists. >> they're fighting the regime. >> on the question of the moderate or islamists. what it comes down to is nonextremists we believe will be committed to an enduring political settlement in syria when it comes. i don't have the details in front of me but they're for various different levels of military capability. is that the question that you're getting at? some more organized than others. i don't know if mark knows anymore. but we can possibly write to you. >> i would say, i think your characterization sounds broadly accurate. that at this stage, in a very brutal and bloody struggle, a degree of pragmatism characterizes the approach of a kaleidoscope of multifaceted organizations fighting for their lives, their freedom and their families. and therefore in the local tactical circumstances in which so many of these individuals and small pockets of organizations find themselves, all sorts of compromises and marriages of
6:10 pm
necessity are made to survive. and whether they're more or less extreme, i would expect that they all demonstrate a kaleidoscope of loyalties, interests and objectives. some of which converge and some of which are distinct. >> thank you. >> obviously, we're working with a series of different forces and a great deal of support with the iraqi army, as it stands, but there have been concerning reports of human rights abuses by the iraqi army. so, i wondered what we're doing to investigate them as number one and number two, have we incorporated additional training into or engagement with the iraqi army about what is and isn't acceptable in the 21st century military world? >> absolutely.
6:11 pm
this is formally part of the training that we offer and we start with assurances from both prime minister abadi and from the kurdish regional government that any allegations that are made will be properly investigated and that they too are committed to respecting the rules of armed conflict. but general mark might want to add. >> you make an important point and it's one that has been recognized by the coalition that it's absolutely fundamental in growing a new iraqi forces that we do so on a basis that's compliant with humanitarian law
6:12 pm
and with the law of armed conflict. and so those very specific syllabi underpin all the training now being applied to the iraqi security forces and instances where it's breached and is evidenced, clearly, therefore is recorded with the iraqi government. >> so, it's being -- one of the concerns is this is the counterterrorism force, but when we were out there was viewed as the most effective force but also given that we think this is about sunni and it's not going to help us with long-term counterterrorism efforts, or counter-radicalization either. how they're being reported and recorded is one thing. what happens next? >> well, where allegations are
6:13 pm
made and sometimes of course they come through and we hear about them. they are then raised by our embassy in baghdad with the government of iraq, they're raised by the consulate general and we do have these assurances that these allegations, when they are made, will be properly investigated and we have assurances from both, as i said the prime minister and from the president of the kurdish regime and we have that already instances where the kurdish regional government has conducted internal investigations. for example, there were allegations about ill treatment in a particular operation, and those allegations have been properly conducted. -- properly investigated. >> i think the key point is where those allegations are held up, then they remove the material support it's providing
6:14 pm
in those services. so where there are a variety of militia, they're not giving additional support of those ground organizations. >> thank you. >> do you think that daesh is now adopting strategy and changing their tactics, and do we need to change our strategy? has it been effective? are they adapting to it themselves? and therefore, changing their tactics? and secondly, if we take down one city at a time, on up to mosul, is this going to allow them to reinforce other areas of control, and are we in a position where we can attack dash simultaneously in mosul and anbar, for example?
6:15 pm
>> so, daesh right now their strategic strength is drawn by the administration of that conflict. and so, in terms of protecting that, they're drawn increasingly into a tactical effort to hold and defend the ground against the iraqi security forces in particular. who will only grow in strength, confidence and capability over time. and they have to make a judgment as to the extent they're prepared to give the territory to the caliphate in terms of the preserving firstly critical combat, to protect their strategic centers of gravity, particularly mosul and raqqa. and secondly, the weight of effort that they might then allocate to an indirect approach, which would see them mutating slowly to a high-end insurgency. and at the moment, they're demonstrating a degree of ambidexterity. they're clearly able to run
6:16 pm
large suicide truck bombs into baghdad. that's effective in destabilizing iraqi government, and it leads to the transfer of combat forces from the battle field and back to baghdad to protect the city. but their ability to sustain both the conventional and the irregular effort will be something that will become a much more difficult balance of resource over time. as to whether it's correct for the coalition to be conducting simultaneous concurrent activity towards mosul, up the euphrates valley to try and isolate supply routes into raqqah and syria, i think it's important that we view daesh as a wider network and that we tackle it across its depth and its breadth which includes overwhelming it with a degree that it's confronted by. because they will find it increasingly difficult to
6:17 pm
allocate resources against these pressure points, particularly when their own command systems are being effectively derailed. >> so, you want to come in on that particular point. >> general, i'm sorry. can i clarify something you said. you said troops, because of the threat from daesh, the iraqi troops heading back to baghdad, when we were there, there was already a concern that there were too many troops in baghdad and they weren't be deployed elsewhere? are we seeing more troops returning from the iraqi army to protect baghdad? >> no, what i was saying the daesh strategy in terms of
6:18 pm
mounting a suicide bombing campaign in the capital will be designed to fix an excess of troops focussed on the security of the capital and therefore to the commanders in the field. >> which is currently -- it's at least a third or more of the iraqi army is deployed around baghdad, at least that's what we were led to believe. >> that's not a statistic i'd recognize. >> as far as mosul, raqqa are concerned, you say we're getting to a position where we can simultaneously attack these locations in these cities. we move to being able to do that? >> there are two principal fronts in iraq, well, three actually in iraq alone. because the iraqi security forces are on axis both up the euphrates river valley and in terms of stabilizing its front lines is threatening mosul from the east, north and northeast and it's perfectly feasible for the iraqi security forces to
6:19 pm
manage that degree. and yet, at the same time across the border in syria, daesh is clearly having to absorb an air campaign against it and the prospect of having their main supply routes to turkey being cut by syrian democratic forces. >> i was going to ask about the supply routes. how successful is the coalition in destructing the supply lines for daesh? are we successful? >> no, we're being very successful on the principled main lines of communication. so, in february, shadadi, which sits on the main route between raqqa and mosul was recaptured by syrian democratic forces. it looks today as though they're maneuvering to cut the main route north into turkey that runs into raqqa and on
6:20 pm
thursday/friday of last week, the iraqi army secured which ships between amman and jordan and baghdad and so it looks as though daesh are now struggling to retain their hub and spoke concept. >> and that's communication -- that's a line of communication -- >> it is. raqqah is considered to be the principle attacker for aid with facilitation with the access routes running north into turkey. >> the next point is there's been concern that dash is using chemical weapons in some areas.
6:21 pm
what are we doing to support the allies and what kind of chemical weapons are -- where do we get them from? >> well, we think there have been credible reports. prince pale from opcw. >> sorry? >> that stands for the organization for the prohibition of chemical weapons and they have independent reports that they graze in their works with the utmost confidence, that there have been some isolated use by daesh of improvised chemical weapons, probably drawn from a variety of industrial chemical sources. the products that they are reporting is predominantly sulfur mustered. it hasn't proved particularly effective on the battle field. they've put it in explosive projectiles and land mines and the explosion and blast itself renders the agent neutral. >> thank you very much. richard. >> gordon gave evidence and he
6:22 pm
said he's seen cases coming to hospital and he has been trying to find and source and equipment, very basic equipment, particularly to the kurds. that is one of three very quick questions i got for you. do you think we could provide more protection, particularly as difficult operations like the taking of mosul become nearer and the possibility of improvised chemical weapons became part of the legacy, certainly the heavy machine guns we've given to kurds, reported to us as being battle winners. and there's a shortage of ammunition. it would be a great shame if we weren't able to continue to support that and the third question is about training. it was reported us to that kurdish commanders were saying that those troops that have gone through british army training programs were four times as effective as those that hadn't.
6:23 pm
and can i answer your comments as to whether that sort of assistance will be continued or forthcoming and particularly the ammunition point that was made us to. >> as i said earlier to the committee chairman. i had been asked by the american leadership of the coalition. each country's been asked to look at the contribution it's making to see what more it can offer. i announced additional troops back in march and we continue to look all the time on what more we can do to support the momentum of the campaign. on your three specific points, in terms of protection, this is something that has to be done across the coalition, on a collegiate basis, rather than individual countries making
6:24 pm
offers. we are specifically asking the iraqis to use the coalition mechanism so we can determine exactly what they believe the risks are so we can help meet those requirements when properly identified. so that work is in hand at the moment. so, on the ammunition, yes, the heavy machine guns we supplied, which i've seen in training, have proved very effective. we're now looking at a further package of ammunition to support them that goes through various processes, including approval by this house, but i hope that additional ammunition can be supplied in the next few weeks. training, general mark may want to add. i think our training is highly valued by the iraqi and kurdish forces there. we selected iud training. right at the beginning as a specialism. i think right pieces of niche training because there's so much ied by daesh in the it turns from which they've been driven. but general mark, do you want to add on further training. >> the training issue is clearly
6:25 pm
progressing constructively and positively. the question is the degree to which the infantry trained soldiers integrated into our wider all arms capability that is both logistically sustainable, that has the right command and communication systems, has sufficient combat engineering support. because it's mostly static defense along the peshmurga line and we would expect to sustain the effort we're doing at the moment. coalition commanders are not yet reflecting with the specifics to the krg that there's yet a deficit in terms of the training pipeline and its capacity to push through. so, there's clearly a minimum critical math to the reserve recruiting pool and reservoir of
6:26 pm
available man power in the krg and at the moment, you know, it seems to be in balance, those that are coming through. people are not waiting to be trained. we're able to train all those that present themselves. with respect to evidence, i think there's a specific point as to the degree to which the regime, of course, retained chemical weapons capability and the recognition they almost certainly do and a significant portion of the barrel bombs have a chlorine element to them, and there's uncorroborated evidence that they may or may not have used sarin agent. but regime storage facilities associated with the regime feature high on the coalition target list. >> if you can report back that we were very impressed by the training package that was offered by the princess of wales and all ranks are expected to have done it, got something out
6:27 pm
of it themselves and if that can be developed, i think it delivers what we all want in this place and what the greatest does and it's great for the soldiers concerned. can i move on to talk about daesh, a big spot on the map of daesh's areas of control diminished. what happens then? trying to get some help about how we can support whatever emerges, preventing it from being a vacuum into which other forces might move and making sure there's stability and infrastructure in all the other things that we take for granted in a civilized society. so what happens as they're pushed out of certain valleys to make sure. >> that's the key charge, not just that they are peaceful with you but the population returns,
6:28 pm
that they have the confidence to return, the essentials of life will be provided and, above all, there will be security and policing. that is work, stabilization work, that we do in conjunction with our colleagues and it also requires continuing political reform in iraq and we have encouraged the reforms that are needed in terms of national guard and policing. to be able to organize the essentials of life for their people. dominic may want to add. >> a political framework people are prepared to buy into, it
6:29 pm
relies on local security that people have faith and are prepared to buy into and it relies on legal services provided and some at a local level, some at a national level. it would be a classic example where the counter ied area is, of course, important. one of the shortfalls, i think, at the moment most of the ied capacity is in the iraqi security forces who are clearing areas and moving on to the next battle and leaving potentially a number of ieds behind to clear through other mechanisms and we're working through the u.n. and the mine action service to make sure that's done. it's absolutely essential in the political framework that people buy into the return home. >> my final question is about the political strategy and to try and understand what is being
6:30 pm
done across the board to try and make sure there aren't more benign political forces that want what we all want to achieve which is a degree of stability in this country and whether the military activities are properly being backed up by efforts to encourage forces in moderation to reoccupy areas, to try and find a political solution. i recognize that is a wider issue than just an mad issue but if there is a real political imperative in finding a
6:31 pm
solution. >> well, there is on our part and on the part of the coalition. but i think you're right. my worry is the military progress is actually getting ahead the political progress that we need not being sufficiently backed up, and that's why we are looking to see what we can do to help the economy of iraq, which has obviously suffered quite significantly from the drop in the oil price, the chancellor announced a package of assistance through the world bank when he was at the g7 last
6:32 pm
week and why we continue to urge political reform in baghdad and why our diplomats have played an important role in trying to bring baghdad and nabil closer together to encourage the kurdish mps to baghdad. and we continue to emphasize to prime minister abadi this is not going to last unless he can properly bind in the tribes of anbar and unless he can provide the degree of reassurance to the sunni population that they're not going to be exposed again to any of the kind of malevolence they had under the previous regime. >> i'm sorry. is there a role for other agencies whether it's ngos or even the private sector that can deliver that degree of stabilization that we're going to need once the military phase is over? >> yes. in some cases it will be provided by ngos. clearly the politics has to be solved by the iraqis themselves and the iraqi government. the local security has to be provided by local security forces that people can buy into, but some of the services can be provided are externally and so
6:33 pm
we're putting money in ourselves to that and working very closely the stabilization unit that we have here in the uk, working closely on that. the difficulty is the pace because the military campaign is being successful but arguably the politics is lagging behind and the stabilization more generally. >> thank you, richard. phil? >> militarily it's been suggested one of three things and one is the daesh return into insurgency in afghanistan or libya, or it would increase the number and scale of terrorist activities. do you think -- which one of those do you think could happen or do you think all three could actually happen and what's the uk doing to prepare? >> well, on the insurgency as we see in afghanistan, and i imagine for a while, we will have to support in dealing with the counterterrorism effort even if daesh is pushed out of the country. so far as daesh's ability to
6:34 pm
expand abroad, we've already seen daesh grow quite rapidly in northern libya. we are intensifying our efforts to support the government in libya and to get it to focus on what needs to be done to stop the daesh spreading westward from sert and on the -- i'm sorry, i forgot the third point. >> on the scale of terrorist attacks -- >> well, that certainly is possible. elsewhere in proportion to the way they're being diminished in their caliphate and we will have to continue to be extremely
6:35 pm
vigilant about that. >> it was worth reminding ourselves daesh itself is an evolution from al qaeda and iraq which was, you know, an insurgency and a terrorist organization. reaching back to some of those roots, it has the dimension which can be sustained irrespective of its numerical and geographic strength and critical mass and no dilution to the international effort to continue to identify and defeat it. thirdly, where it becomes displaced, it lays an onus on the international community to continue to reinforce the strategy of hardening the
6:36 pm
regional neighbors in terms of their ability to be able to handle this sort of low level ebb and flow of insurgency. >> the activity -- the success we're having on the ground in iraq and particularly in syria does make -- does put pressure on daesh and their ability to engineer and launch external attack plans. there is that argument but equally and they find it harder to cooperate as well when they don't have the freedom, the time, the space to do that. >> what, in general, the financial revenue that isis is getting or daesh is getting, what's your goal? what are we doing to try to
6:37 pm
defeat not just militarily but specifically the financial. >> yes. it's a battle that has to be waged right across the spectrum. access to finance, in the early days they seemed to be able to trade in oil. they seem to be able to get some revenue from selling art and artifacts, antiques around the world. that, too, is being constrained so there is a lot of work going on to limit their sources of revenue. we take the lead here in the united kingdom, the foreign office is staffed by people from other countries as well. some of that messaging through new social media to take down websites, to reduce the amount of tweeting and whatever else they're employing so there's a lot of work going on there to try and make it more difficult for them to get their message
6:38 pm
out. and there is also work going on to limit the number of foreign fighters joining them. there is evidence now the numbers there have dropped off quite markedly from the early days as the different countries of western europe have begun to tighten their controls on this to restrict people's travel and take passports away from those likely to go off and fight daesh. and who are develop as we have for some time their own deradicalization programs at home. so the military part of this is just one strand. >> on the finance side do we have any evidence of private donations from individuals that were donating into daesh? >> just countries financing
6:39 pm
daesh. there may be some private flows of financing. daesh's particular financial networks -- their system of finance we are working to understand that. and measures they may have been using. >> the final point deals with the affiliates of daesh as well. what kind of analysis are we doing to find out, you know, the countries, what kind of analysis
6:40 pm
have we made of that threat and what kind of threat to the affiliates cause to the uk and the homeland? >> there are very different kinds of groups and some affiliates are taking the name and bought into the ideology but are using the brand. some aspire to have more established links with daesh in iraq and syria. the agencies are obviously keeping an eye on them all and key to the strategy in dealing with that whilst they're in their relative infancy it gives the opportunity and to nip them in the bud. as mark said, building the capacity of local and security forces and agencies to deal with the problems before they expand.
6:41 pm
>> the threat to the united kingdom? >> i wouldn't want to comment in open session on the intelligence that we have. clearly the daesh can happen very rapidly. clearly we need to be aware of exactly that particular danger but i wouldn't want to be drawn further into that. >> temporarily i'd like to move away from daesh just for a second. they're not the only threat that we place on the ground in syria and we've taken significant evidence of the threat they face and some of the evidence suggests that actually the threat to coalition forces and in the longer term comes from men rather than from daesh. the fact we know they are
6:42 pm
currently attacking the allies that we're supporting in terms of the free syrian army, what additional support we're providing. >> one of the very most extreme hard line groups and it emerged in syria in 2011 as an adjunct to daesh which was then very iraq centric. it is the strongest aq franchise globally. it has its strong hold in italy province. it's certainly a spoiler in the political process, this represents a petri dish, it's not a homogeneous group at the moment. a significant portion are syrian focused. a wider wrapping to aq-aligned
6:43 pm
elements that might harbor ambition to use syria as a springboard for international terrorist attack planning. probably vary region to region. there is potentially a small element of british foreign fighters, the specifics remain unclear. the strategy is to deny the political and the operational space and including the communication platforms. not to regard it as a tool that can be used and manipulated in syria but to recognize it as a wider and enduring common threat. although if we were to determine there was a very specific direct and imminent threat to uk security we would legally be
6:44 pm
able to do so. >> we did get quite strong it testimony. it could be the worst threat. tim marshall said it is much deeper than daesh and inside the opposition movement, it is a longer term threat. so is the danger fee face that whilst isis has been unusual in seizing and holding territory and thus making it more visible, once the campaign succeeds in taking that territory back, we
6:45 pm
will then face a longer term, more typical international terrorist threat without the advantage of being able to see what's happening and that a lot will defend on the nature of the government in syria as to whether or not this major al qaeda affiliate is allowed to form a new springboard for worldwide terrorists. >> well, i think there's a real danger that it will remain an abscess in the system. >> nothing more than that? >> i think much more than that is to speculate as to what this end game really looks like. i mean, when one gets to the scenario where there is an
6:46 pm
enduring and enforceable ceasefire that sets the conditions for a political conversation and transition, the assumption is that a political framework supported by security apparatus is afforded including with the international community's contribution sufficient resilience and capacity to be able to target that specific threat, would only survive if it was left with the space to do so. >> you can see what's at the back of my mind here which is if we end up with a successful removal of daesh/isil that an islamist government in place, that islamist government, even a
6:47 pm
moderate islamist government such as a muslim brotherhood one would be ill-equipped to contain a lasting threat from effectively al qaeda and syria and we know what al qaeda can do when it has a base. >> yes, but we also know what the international community is able to do with respect to the leadership threat in waziristan so it's not as dramatic and insoluble as you might infer. >> that's very clear and encouraging, thank you. can we move to richard. >> in order to achieve that enduring ceasefire and the political process the general has just described, we have to do something that's very difficult and we have to appease russia. work with them both strategically on the ground and in order to achieve that we might have to go back on our
6:48 pm
stance in places like crimea. what is your comment on that? >> i think we touched on this on tuesday. it's perfectly possible and proper for us to engage with russia where we have interests in common. the condemn nation of what russia has been doing. they brought back the settlement on nuclear power, has been engaged in the syrian peace process. is beginning to get involved in the libyan talks as well. so we would continue to urge russia to play a role in syria and it's in their gift to do it. it needn't be linked to our policy anywhere else.
6:49 pm
if that's what you were suggesting. >> yes. >> some people suggest we should be going further and examining sanctions because -- >> the sanctions, mr. benyon, are not there as a punishment. they're there as a condition and will apply. they're not there for any other purpose. russia can have those sanctions lifted if it gets on and encourages the full implementation of minsk. >> strategically on the ground it must be a confusing aspect. we spoke with the team that are targeting in syria and i know there are discussions that try to ensure there are no accidents, but it must be very confusing when a country like russia with its power moves in
6:50 pm
and starts operating across the piece with relatively little cooperation with the coalition. and starts operating across the piece with relatively little cooperation with the coalition. >> there are more than discussions. there are arrangements in place to deacon flikt the space too to make sure there are specific gaps. there's not the cooperation or coordination of targets. we're very clear about that. russia is not part of the coalition effort. >> thank you, richard. should we be pleased or sorry that the syrian government with russian and other outside help have regained palmyra from daesh?
6:51 pm
>> i don't think i'm pleased or sorry about anything that happens in syria but do you want to add to that? >> well, i mean, i would say if it, you know, means what remains of the historic site of palmyra is preserved, then that's probably a net benefit. i think the strategic to palmyra and daesh would be control of the associated gas fields and it's important that doesn't fall into their hands. >> so there can be some circumstances under which, the choice of which is the lesser of two evils. and in this case palmyra is either going to remain under the control of daesh or be seized by syrian government and russian backers. there can be some occasions when it might be a net benefit for
6:52 pm
the sereyrian government to make some progress. >> i'm certain it's a net benefit to those who it continue to survive in palmyra today. >> thank you for that. the second point is, and i think i know the answer to this already but do you accept, secretary of state, it is perfectly possible to stand up strongly against russia where our interests clash in one theater such as central europe and eastern europe whilst for hardheaded tact value call reasons, finding ways in which we can cooperate with russia when that is the only alternative sometimes to the continuing control of territory by daesh terrorists?
6:53 pm
>> broadly i do accept that not just for hardheaded reasons for humanitarian reasons within the gift of russia to bring this quite indiscriminate killing to an end to use its influence constructively and to respect the cease-fire we thought we had organized back in february. it is within russia's gift to do that and we will encourage them to do that while taking perhaps the hard headedness is on the other side. taking the hardheaded approach to what they've been doing in europe. >> now, you mentioned the cease-fire there. the cease-fire didn't apply to daesh. everyone is allowed to go on fighting daesh. and that means that with the syrian government forces under less pressure from opposition fighters other than daesh, the syrian government with its russian backers have been able to go on the offensive rather
6:54 pm
more than they did in the past against daesh. colonel steve warren is the u.s. department of defense spokesman, and he had this to say on the 20th of april. he said when the russians first came in they claimed they wanted to fight isil and in reality only a small fraction of their strikes were against isil. about 80% were against the opposition. since the cessation of hostilities was declared we have seen that shift at one point in the last week or so the russians estimated more than 70% of their strikes were against islil. so doesn't this suggest that if there could be some form of hardheaded -- i use the term again -- cooperation with
6:55 pm
russia it would be easier to get rid of the isil menace rather than trying to have a situation where we want isil to lose and the syrian government forces to lose as well? >> it sounds superficially attractive but it would leave moderate forces at the mercy of the regime and we've seen the discriminate nature of the attacks on them not respecting the laws in which thousands of civilians have been killed. perhaps general martin will give you a better military answer. >> well, i suspect where they've reapportioned their assets from attacking the opposition to daesh it's where they've been confronting competition for the strategic national resource of the country and where the regime and russia's own strategic interests have been threatened by daesh. not as a net contributor to the wider international effort to defeat daesh.
6:56 pm
>> so once again, we come back to the question of what sort of regime is going to be left at the end of all this? and perhaps it's another occasion to revisit the question of how the moderate forces are, but this seems to be the key as to whether we end up with either a brutal dictatorship once again an islamist regime which might be unhelpful in the global war against terrorist movements. >> but i'm not sure that the choice ought to be as stark as that and that is why we're working in the international syrian support group to bring about a better alternative. syria had elections before. iraq has had elections. afghanistan has had elections and there's no reason why we
6:57 pm
couldn't lead syria in the fullness of time after the supporting war toward a settlement where it has the kind of you know plural democratic government that iraq has. >> and you think russia might be willing to allow assad to be replaced then? >> well, i would hope so. there have been some signs toward that. >> thank you. johnny? >> thank you. and i just want to come back to the broader strategy we were talking about earlier. and if -- thank you very much for onlying along today. the challenges are humbling in both the scale and the perplex perplexity of the threat that you are, as a team, up against at the moment. but to general mark, do you feel that this strategy -- i mean it's quite difficult to really grasp what it is -- do you feel
6:58 pm
that the men and women who are serving on these operations do they really get it? do they get the bigger picture? do they get what we're going after? do they feel entirely unencumbered? is there more you'd like? do they feel entirely unencumbered in this fight to degrade, to set conditions for success and whatever that success may look like in the middle east? >> well, you will recognize more than most in a sense the professional satisfaction those engaged in the struggle draw from it and we've already heard the extent to which the princess of wales found it professionally stimulating and challenging in terms of supporting the training of the peshmerga. i don't feel that the british army per se feels that it either lacks for, you know public support, material
6:59 pm
sustainment or indeed a clear sense of what the purpose and object of the coalitionest effort in iraq and syria is. they have a clear recognition now of the wider threat that daesh represents. but they're working in support of you know an international effort but more importantly with respect to iraq a sovereign government that needs to survive. >> okay. thank you. and more a general point because i think we're coming to the end now or toward the end. sorry. sorry. but for people like me who, you know, have a low level of understanding and engagement of these things and so on it would seem we've made two fundamental errors that characterized the last 15 years of engagement. one of those is the failure to really go for corruption, perhaps in afghanistan and things like that.
7:00 pm
and, you know, in the fight at the moment. and the second one is the inability to have the political stomach for the fight. so we have seen -- we've often seen the operations previously in the middle east and afghanistan defined by the electoral cycle in some cases. and the feeling that we've certainly come across in witnesses to this committee and visits to baghdad and so on, that we need to fundamentally rethink how we go about these things and we need to have the stomach and the will to really see these things through. how do you think we can do that better both in parliament and nationally, and do you think we need to have a completely rejigging, rethinking of how we see these operations


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on