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tv   Public Affairs Events  CSPAN  November 4, 2016 11:18am-1:19pm EDT

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graduated so i was born in 1979. i'm by a lot of measures one of the oldest millenials and i graduated from college in the spring of 2002, that was after 9/11, and after the dot-combust. my first was the city government was coming off a hiring freeze because of of that recession and because of 9/11. and i had no idea -- i knew i had a job when i graduated but i had no idea when it was going to start, i had no idea when i was going to need to move to new york and i sort of had to be ready and my first job was just up in the air for a really long time so for me and everyone i knew, the whole economy was really uncertain at that time, and we spent our 20s sort of catching up from that. this was especially true when we compared ourselves to the generation a little bit older than us when it seemed the internet was creating new industries and people were walking off after getting their diplomas with really great jobs lined up, and obviously, those
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of us who went to college were better than the age mates that were stuck in the booming service company who were, that was minimum wage jobs barely above minimum wage and those jobs were also really uncertain, they weren't getting full time hours, they weren't able to move up the economic ladder, and so we, but those of us who did go to college also financed it mostly with debt. since 1985 the cost of college has increased 500%, and so more people are borrowing money and more people are borrowing more money. the average student debt in 2004 for people who graduated that year was a little less than $20,000 and ten years later grown to $30,000 so college debt is fine if that translates to higher earnings down the road. after we graduated into the first recession we experienced the great recession. what was different for millen l millenials, economic downturns often hit the youngest workers hardest but the youngest group of workers hit by the great recession were hit harder and
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they took longer to recover than that same age group did in earlier recessions in like the 1980s and 1990s. and at the same time, the other trend is that the cost of living has gone up, and the jobs, the cities where the jobs are increasing so cities like boston, new york, d.c. and san francisco, cost of living has gone up really, really dramatically, so what you find is that people who are trying to cover the basics about 75% of their income is going to cover the basics. to just a point of comparison in 1973, the 50% of people's incomes were going to the basics like housing, health insurance and education, so a lot of millenials are spending almost all of their money on rent and health insurance, and so that means a bunch of things. that means that they're living in these basic cities and they are not able to get to the point where they're owning homes. so a group of millenials in their late 30s now buy homes at
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later ages and also by fewer homes so that means they're not building wealth. they are living in places as they mention on the earlier panel, places that are underserved by city services. part of the reason they are using things like lyft and uber to get home is that the city that they live in doesn't provide buses and metros to take them there so that's a different change. their work lives are also uncertain as was mentioned earlier. almost one in three people are supplementing their incomes in one way or other or they're working solely in the gig economy, and i'm freelancing as well and so a lot of people are just freelancing straight out, and it has its benefits. it means that there's a lot of freedom but there's also a lot of insecurity, and so you know, if you're a bartender and you also drive for lyft, it just means you could be working all the time and the benefits to having a job that i don't think weren't mentioned before is that jobs are there for you when you experience a downturn.
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so if you're a lyft driver and your car gets totaled you're not going to be able to earn money in that time. if you're a worker and you get sick there is nobody paying for sick days and so that changes the relationship people have to work. so things like sharing economy tend to make lives possible for people, so if you are living in a city and you can't afford your rent, you can go away for a couple weeks at a time and rent your home out on air bnb while uryou're on vacation but that really contributes to geographic inequality. if you live in a place where no one wants to go you're not going to be able to rent your place on air bnb. if you're living in a place that doesn't have the booming jobs are aware uber drivers aren't in demand, the ways you can supplement are kind of less, and in many cases, it's because people are not getting enough money from their regular 9:00 to
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5:00 jobs. 9:00 to 5:00 jobs are scarcer and don't pay the way they used to. because the cost of living has gone up so much, people are saving money for retirement. these kinds of trends can have huge consequences down the road. if you're not buying homes and not saving for retirement, even if you start doing that in your late 30s and early 40s, that is a step back. you have some catching up to do, and i think that's what we're seeing, we're going to see a lot in 30 and 40 years when millenials start to retire is that they were set back by this time period and the relationship that that has to the sharing economy is just that if you have, if you've been supplementing your work with things like uber and that uber fleet is replaced by driverless cars, then you haven't been building skills that other employers will necessarily see translates to their work and how do you move on from an economy with some of those pieces starting to disappear and at the same time you were not contributing to a 401(k) and you
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weren't buying a house and building wealth and able to save. i also want to think about the ways that the sharing economy could take the air out of some of the solutions, some of the older kinds of sharing we used to that were mentioned before. there was an old form of sharing and we had where we let the government do things like spread our risk around and do things for us. government programs like public transportation, all togetherpay for a service that was able to get us around in cities and suburban areas in more rural areas. that is also important because if new technology like charmless cars takeover, people who can't afford to participate in that are locked out of these new technologies. if you can't afford to buy a driverless car if you can afford to rent or hail, then you're going to start to see an increasing inequality broadly based around geography.
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we also used to, as i said, use the government to share risk. i think there's also because work lives sore insecure and could be sumer lives to some extent are insecure i do think there's a bigger appetite among younger workers to let the government or unions or more traditional seaming institutions take on some of that security for them and take on some of the risk for them. things like public option and health exchanges i think there's a political appetite there that wasn't there before. so i think it's just important to think about, continue to think about inequality and what people may or may not be able to afford if we're talking about ownership versus accessing services on a continuing basis. so that's it. [ applause ] >> thank you monica. i'd like to invite jen ma
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mclaughlin and the speakers join the stage. she say reporter and blogger covering surveillance and national security for the intercept. previously covered national security and foreign policy at "mother jones" magazine as an editorial fellow. jenna mclaughlin. >> these issues of ownership are broader reaching than that and i'm excited to talk to my panelists about it. so for our panel it's called the illusion of ownership and we touched on some of the concerns about losing our ownership of data, services, but we will talk about some of the other pitfalls. i'd like to welcome charles, the director of patent reform project of public knowledge and
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public knowledge working to reform patent law in order to enhance patent quality and prior to joining public knowledge he was a research assistant for professor paul owens who i also know so that's fun. patrick ross chief communications officer at the patent and trade office and he'll be able to tell us a little bit more about what the administration is thinking about these issues. so welcome. so to start our conversation, just i'd love to start with just kind of what are your guys' thoughts of the end of ownership the pitfalls that might occur that were not addressed in the previous panel? what kinds of things do we need to be thinking about besides, you know, will we be able to
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access uber and lyft and things like that. >> i'll go ahead and start. thank you for having me here. i'm glad to represent the administration on this. i do feel that president obama is truly our innovation president. we think about these kinds of issues every day so it's great to speak on it. provocative title, the end of ownership. i remember after 9/11 a futurist talking about the end of history. we're still living it. this election would be a good example of that. i think you can think more broadly about the spectrum of ownership and to the previous panel, my 18-year-old son turned 18 today. he's obsessed with cars. all i can think about is cars. his college won't let him have one as a freshman but i know we're going to have that conversation this summer. he gets all of his music through apple music. he has no desire to buy music. my daughter is 21, lives in los angeles. where better to own a car?
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she doesn't own a car and takes a bus to and from lift and takes an uber or lyft to see her friends or go to museums or bring groceries home. but she loves final. she's an audiophyle. i think it's important to remember as technology changes we still have vinyl even though we went to cds and mp3s, i think based on your economic situation as we just heard from monica or your own personal taste, we are going to have different approaches to each different product or service we buy in terms of ownership and i think that's all to the good. >> thank you for inviting me to be on that panel and thank you for putting it together. you know in terms of the ownership issues we've been talking about, i find that sharing is excite action, i take advantage of uber and lyft all the time. but it is worth considering why ownership is still important.
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i heard this story on the podcast where it talks about a design firm that designed the houses that were reconstructed for people who lost their houses in, during the chilean earthquake, and the houses they designed, they called them halfahouse. they'd build a house, traditional house. half of that would have your room and kitchens and bedrooms. the other half was unfinished. why? it was because they wanted to give the people moving into these houses the chance to have some ability to make these their houses to customize them, build them in a confissionration useful to them. the government provided building assistance services. they talk about what the store's look like. you go and half the houses look all the same. some of them have crazy stuff.
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you know, i think that really says something about why ownership is important and that it allows people to take advantage of the creativity and do things that are also really unexpected. a prover at mit eric vonhipple has done a lot of studies on what's called lead user innovation. the idea that when people purchase things, sometimes they come up with really creative uses that you wouldn't expect. you know, they might turn paper plates into frisbees, for example. that sort of creativity i think is something that really drives people forward just on an individual matter. i think this is really important to people in just their daily lives, but also as a society, because we take advantage of the learning that each of us can do, we put it up on the internet, teach other people how to do it.
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you go to and find things you can do. it is found in that depends on the basic right of ownership to do unexpected things with what you have. >> i think that's a really interesting issue and something we can ex-ploesh plore in a lot depth. we are really sure sometimes how much we own specific things. our homes, that's something physical. you sit in your house all day. this is my pillow. this is my chair. i own this. i could paint it a different color, whatever you're thinking about that. in terms of my phone in the software that's running on it, there are updates to that every couple days and you don't really read through what is going on in that update. oftentimes it's a security update you definitely should use. we don't necessarily know what's going to happen with those. we don't necessarily have a choice in terms of what is
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coming from that. how does our perception of ownership in the digital space sort of spill over to the physical and how much do manufacturers actually own certain objects? >> you know i think the really interesting thing these days is, you know for a long time, you know, chair, i assumed i own my chair. notebook, i assume i own my notebook. computer software not sure. you have to sign that giant thing nobody reads, you signed away all your rights and for a long time that was a simple distinction. there are a lot of court cases that followed this sort of distinction that software is one thing and physical stuff is another thing. today we have the things that your car has got a computer in it, thermostat's got a computer in it. your cat feeder has got a computer in it so it can feed the cat at certain times, and what that means is you've got this merger of things, and the boundaries of ownership aren't really as clear anymore. the companies who are
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manufacturing these devices are still taking advantage of the same techniques that they use in the software field to say you don't own this, we're only providing you with license so we can take it back from you whenever you want, or you're not allowed to use it on sundays or who knows what. it's a little different than saying you're not allowed to use itunes for improper purpose versus you're not allowed to your your thermometer for improper purpose. what is happening is people are starting to recognize that as devices have more software in it and as they're having to click through more of these contracts in order to own their own physical devices, that it's not as clear whether or not ownership is as simple as we expected with just owning a chair. >> and i think that's right and i think ideally we don't think about it, right? we're just getting our product or getting our service. you mentioned we own our home.
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i own my home, we're renovating my kitchen but i didn't ask my bank, technically they own it because i haven't paid it off yet. will mentioned well we buy our phones. i think this phone i did one of those two-year contracts where i just paid per month so technically verizon owned the phone until i hit my two-year mark, right? you mentioned manufacturing. i was fortunate enough to be in dayton two weeks ago and yes fortunate to be in dayton. it was actually a good trip. i was there representing commerce secretary pritzger for manufacturing day, toured five factories. it was interesting in terms of intellectual property and ownership of parts. a lot of auto manufacturing parts going on and through the supply chain and other parts. sometimes someone becomes an inventor and says i need the designed. so the manufacturing plant might sit down and if they're actually getting involved in it, they might become a co-owner of the ip. in some cases it's like i just need this made, they own the ip.
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in other cases maybe it's licenses. i saw these grills being made for dodge ram trucks. i assumed the designer was licensing that to ford or maybe they were selling it to ford but we don't think about that. you just drive the ram truck, right, and all this stuff is happening in the background, and it all works, and so we don't have to sit and think about intellectual property and think about ownership every day as long as everything works. >> absolutely. that's certainly something that kind of goes on the background and you may not notice when something bad happens, i guess. one thing that i think about a lot when i'm writing is the idea of technology and the law. technology has rapidly progressed obviously through the past years as we've seen it and seen the new services. has the law always kept up with that in terms of privacy, oftentimes it has not, something that i read about regularly and i honestly do not know all that much about patent law but i know that you both do.
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i'd love if you could talk to us a little bit about that. >> if i could just first talk. my immediate boss director lee talks a lot about this and how we're moving into this intangible economy, and leads to disruption. i don't think i've heard that word today but it's common in this space as we have these new products and services they're disrupting business models. i think airbnb can certainly talk about the mayor of new york and talk about some of the disruption they're experiencing in terms of regulations. it actually goes broadly. i do think it's important though to recognize that often you don't need to completely rethink the law. we've been using the term sharing economy, but in reality basically it's like a rental economy, right? in the '90s i was covering the tech boom and i would peer on the cnn program called "the new economy show." by its very name, the assumption was the economy was new., change your dog
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provider, change your world. then we have the bust. turned out it was just the regular economy. the sharing economy is changing the ways we interact with each other and products and services. but ultimately it is still driven by economic forces. i think susan would agree with that. you can work within the law, but you do have to recognize there are going to be implications if you're an entrepreneur and you need to maybe try to get ahead of those, which is what director lee advises people. >> one of the things i think is interesting is, you know, you can look how the law affects ownership but how ownership affects law. one of the things is when you you have a device that you actually own, you can inspect it, you can figure out how it works. what that means, there's a problem with this. you can figure it out and publicize and tell people there's a problem, you shouldn't buy this product, a recall things like that. a lot of times the devices are black boxes we don't know what's inside them.
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they put in restrictions to make it harder to open them up, figure out their security plays, and some of the protections are even technological protections, right, you know, technology that's preventing you from getting inside, but you might try to circumvent them. there are laws that make it potentially criminal to try to circumvent that sort of thing. that's somewhat concerning because it means that we can't actually fully understand even the things that we supposedly own. the whole thing with the bmw emissions scandal is probably one of the really good examples of that. people couldn't figure out that weeks vagen had this computer program inside them to cheat the emissions testing programs because you can't just go and open up the computer and figure out how the computer program works. they put layers of encryption and things on it to make it difficult to figure out what's going on. the car manufacturers have
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sought to block security researchers from actually doing that sort of investigation. in a pretty real sense i find that as unfortunate because i think it's a real public service when people go out and figure out that these products might have some sort of defect or some sort of problems, and to the extent that companies are able to prevent them from doing that, that seems pretty worrying to me. >> as a journalist, i speak for public awareness and transparency that's an important aspect of it. i also feel this could be an issue in terms of creativity. when you have a device or something that you use, you want to modify it in some way or you want to use that product to create something of your own. does your lack of ownership there cause problems for your sense of creativity and kind of in what ways do you envision that? >> yes, i definitely think that that's kind of an issue. one of my favorite websites is
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ikea hackers where people will take a chair and turn it into something like completely -- i think my favorite one was they took file boxes and turned it into an expanding table, so you flip out the file box and you can actually make a table of whatever size you want. people do really cool stuff with materials that you would not expect. but there are a lot of companies out there who really want you to use the products the way they expect. lexmark is the most famous companies. they sell toner car baits you're only allowed to use the cartridge once. once it's done you have to return it to lex mark, not allowed to do anything else with the cartridge and what that means is that if you come up with some sort of unusual way of using it, for example, i think there were people who figured out how to put food coloring into ink jet printer ink cartridges so they can print on cakes. if you figure out some cool thing like that you're not
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allowed to do it because the manufacturer has put in controls that say you're not allowed to do it and taken advantage of legal techniques to avoid that. >> did you want to -- >> yeah, i'm glad both of you mentioned that by the way. i like this notion of being an end-user creativity like with your ikea example. we do have just like with the supply chain we have creativity throughout the chain so somebody came up with a way to design those pieces of ikea furniture were you could assemble them with an allen wrench. in theory you can assemble them. some of us have had challenge with ikea furniture, but you think about lyft, so it just seems intuitively obvious to us. i enjoy using lyft and i like how easy it makes it to tip the driver. i like that feature. we heard that lyft recognized this need and designed some algorithms to solve it.
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that was creativity at the front end. and i.t. plays a role in that, too. it's important to recognize a think about ownership is end-user and think about ownership as a end user, but that's not a bad thing. there's a full chain of it. >> right, absolute, and then there are all kinds of new technologies coming out there that might change these questions of how is the patent office considering things like 3-d printing, how could that infringe on these things other people have created? >> we held an event a few months ago. we called it additive manufacturing because we're kind of nerdy but yes it's 3-d printing. one of the five manufacturing plants i toured only did 3-d printing and they've been around since '96. i find that fascinating this has been out in the marketplace for a while now. there are certainly implications in terms of copyright and patents and trademarks in the ability to download something that may have a trademark from somebody else and manufacture it yourself. i think the consensus though is
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that this is truly a revolutionary technology that is really going to improve our lives. at that manufacturing plant, they were designing these parts that were going to be used actually in machines to make other things. they were able to create passages and throw-throughs for example fluid and oil for viscosity that you literally physically cannot do with a drill. there is no way to drill through metal and get these things. right? and so, we are going to have to work it out. just like with any disruption, we're going to have to figure out the nuances of ip and some of them will make headlines. but more broadly, we will see greater economic growth and opportunity from this. >> one of the most exciting things about three d, there are a lot of great things about 3-d printing but one of the most exciting things i think is that it takes manufacturing that used to be in the hands of people who knew how the entire supply chain worked. they knew a fabrication plant
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and they knew the designers and they knew the specification for how to do the drawings. it takes all of that and it puts it into the hands of you and me. i don't know any fabrication plants that can cast metal for me, but i know how to type things, right, and so if i call it a design and i can design it using any one of the computer programs for 3-d modeling i can send that off to shape ways and a week later they give me the thing that i asked them to print. number one it's just really great. i'm really excited about the potential of 3-d printing for replacing kids toys. i have a 3 years old and he loses his favorite leo every week. so i'm very excited about that but more importantly i'm excited about the idea of fast pro poe ty prototyping. right now if i want to try out a new idea, i have to send it to
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the factory and take them a month and then turns that there's a problem. i have to redo the design and send it pack to the manufacturer. then it's very 3d printing. it's like i will redesign here and let's reprint it. it will take an hour. >> you think about the auto industry because we talked about cars here. traditionally, you get the new model every four or five years, right? the car i own, they actually completely changed the interior from the '15 to the '16 model. i suspect 3-d printing was involved in that in part, because they can make these fast prototypes cheap and on the fly. they can test them, run through. i think, we may not even 10 years from now since we're talking future tense, we may not have model years of cars. they may just keep iterating them in real-time. you just keep getting the latest one. it changes the way we think about things. >> definitely. i'm curious whether or not you both think that types of 3-d printing will butt heads with
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these big manufacturers, however you like, with like we talk about apple and the iphone. i think i know probably hundreds of people who have broken their i-phones. i'm not one of them yet, knock on wood. i probably will tomorrow, break my screen. we were discussing earlier in the green room about how it's incredibly challenging to replace that screen without spending a lot of money going to the genius bar, things like that. do you think things like 3-d printing, things like other solutions will be good for that but also butt heads with the big companies? >> so yeah, i was talking about my experience a couple weeks ago of replacing an ipad screen. the process of replacing an ipad screen in case any of you want to try this out involving prying open the glass with a pry tool with one hand while blow drying the glue that holds the glass together with the other hand because the glass is so thin, the glass breaks off into small
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pieces so you're sitting there blow dryer in the one hand, pry in the other hand, tiny pieces of glass are flying into your face, it's a wonderful experience. i did manage to do it, but what it says i think is, is something about the way that some of these manufacturers are treating these devices is that i also have, i also have an electric keyboard that i purchased maybe about six years ago. that thing is entirely held together with phillips screws. i can take a screwdriver, open it up, replace the logic board, clean off the keys, do all the things i want, screw it back together and it works fine. that process takes me maybe about half an hour. when companies move from things like standard hardware to these pentalope screws they use on laptops and to gluing things together and to parts that can't be replaced or parts that are cuss come fit so you can't replace them with other parts, it makes it a lot harder for
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people to engage in ordinary repairs of their stuff. and that means if my iphone breaks, unless you got a lot of skills and a lot of time or willing to go to some specialized repair shop you probably just have to throw it away. that's unfortunate for a number of reasons. unfortunate i have to throw the whole device away and second it is a recycling problem. because it contains lithium battery, glass, metal. you can't separate them all out. there's no way you can send that to a recycling plant. so i think this sort of trend is a little concerning. 3-d printing does make it a little better because it does offer the option of recreating very customized parts that you might not be able to find. there's a particular curve beze le on an iphone that is broken and you can't find a replacement for it. you can 3-d print it and you'd
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have it yourself. that i think is kind of cool. a lot of companies are not terribly happy with the idea. they want to be the only one selling repair parts and to be something of conflict of there. >> absolutely. absolutely. as a journalist who works with a very small segment, i work with people who are interested in things like security. i know there are a lot of users out there who have different priorities, maybe the standard iphone isn't necessarily a good example, they have good security, but the standard android user. most people have androids in the country but they don't have great security and when they push out the software and there's a flaw and they choose not to update it and these users have vulnerable to criminal hackers, sometimes even state actors, depending on who it is, i've not certain people who are certainly at risk to that ch. how do we incentivize companies
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to develop these things when they don't even give us the choice to do that. >> this is something the commerce secretary has focused on a lot, cyber security. ntia is a part of commerce and she works with them and other subagencies including the u.s. patent and trademark office. it's a real challenge. we work a lot with startups at the u.s. pto. and what you see with a tech startup is you see that engineer, the wozniak, let's call it. you see the evangelist, the jobs, and maybe they get in somebody who understands the money part which is good. so secretary pritzker and undersecretary lee like to remind people you should be thinking about intellectual property and cyber security. both of them are really hard to back load once you start getting down the chain, right?
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we're doing it through public education, we're doing round tables, we're talking to school s so we have maker camps where we bring many old ibms and help them understand these principles but it's a serious problem. >> and security is an interesting issue when it comes to like iot devices. we all know about the recent internet outage which was apparently caused by like iot cameras that were very easily hacked because they had a fixed user name and password that nobody could change, not even the users. and, you know, the thing is there are kind of two approaches. but what you would seem to want to do is lock the devices down as much as possible, don't
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access them, make it hard for anybody to figure out what's going on and that -- it sounds very attractive but the issue is that most security vulnerabilities that are discovered are not discovered by the company, they're discovered by third parties who, you know, do research on it, they do the fuzzing, they do the penetration testing and they realize there's something the company overlooked. a lot of claims, especially these internet of things companies, they're design companies and manufacturing companies and software is second or third down the list for them so software security may not be at the top of the priority chain for them whereas it would be for, you know, users and security researchers. so that kind of leads to a different approach which is open the devices up as much as possible, let people figure out what's going on, maybe make the software open source and that way -- take advantage of the crowd. they can figure out what all the issues are, they can report on them and then you can incrementally improve the device at a much more rapid space. so there is that aspect of
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owning and understanding devices that is significantly helpful to cyber security concerns. >> and you talk about security researchers there's also, obviously, some areas of the law where we could fear penalties messing with those devices. interfering with patents or the computer fraud and abuse act is something i run into sometimes. people ares p persecuted becaus they're doing research to help the company but they're penalized because they've accessed that system without authorization. what other sort of ways could people run into issues with doing that kind of tinker zblg so, you know, the most often cited legal concern for this sort of -- for this sort of activity is the section 1201 of the digital millennium copyright act. so that section was originally designed as a way of enforcing
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drm technologies on music or dvds or e-books. the idea was if they put on encryption or technological protection measure, they call it, that protects the internal copyrighted content, then efforts to circumvent that technology protection measure would be punishable as a crime and -- in civil lawsuits and any number of other ways. companies have sought to use that as a way of protecting not just copyrighted content, not just movies and e-books but also tractors and medical devices and all sorts of internet of things products. because they all have software on them and so the software is copyrighted and therefore the theory is any technological protection measures on the device are protecting the software inside it and i think the assertion of that law, apparently in a fairly strange way, that is somewhat
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concerning. and there are similar other issues with cfa, of course. >> so digital millennium copyright act is an interesting thing to bring up and there have been some isolated cases that were involved. questionable interpretations of that, you may know the u.s. copyright office has a procedure and you have probably participated in that where you can go and articulate ways in which they are not being used and they have created exceptions. we're not a law enforcement agency at the u.s. pete oto but did start a conversation on copyright and innovation in the digital economy and we did a green paper in 2013 and a white paper in 2015 p green paper is like here are the problems, white paper potential solutions, i didn't know that before i joined the government but we did it through the department of commerce and we received so many comments. public knowledge participated in
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those as well. we had round tapes around the country. one thing we kept hearing is that there are these issues but the marketplace is working some of them out so that was encouraging and that's not surprising because we've been talking all day about what do consumers want? what do we as ends users want? if you're going to have a bunch of consumers that are unhappy then probably somebody will try to target that. so not saying everything is solved or there won't be future problems but it's interesting to see based on what we heard that things are working themselves out in some ways. >> well i will stop monopolizing the two of you and open it up to the audience. remember our instructions to wake for the mike and when you're asking a question make sure it is a question and not just a statement. anyone want to kick things off? >> i feel bad because i already asked a question and that's why i was giving it some time. i'm curious about changing
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attitudes in this space towards patent law and ownership. are there partisan trends there? are there trends -- fault lines opening up between younger people who have different ideas about ownership and the role patents should play in that? i'm curious because i don't think about patents at all because i don't create anything but i wonder if i'm representative of a millennial who would be involved in creating something who would approach this without any of those questions about ip. so are you seeing resetting there? >> we do seem to live in partisan times, right? i will say you don't think about patents that much, totally fine with that. i mentioned my kids earlier, they've been forced to think about it far too often because i bring it up at the dinner table, they're both in college now, so they're freed from that. i will say for the most part intellectual property policy has been a bipartisan issue. in 2011 congress passed
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overwhelmingly bipartisan in both the house and senate the act which we've implemented at the u.s. pto and has provided by some tools to help improve patent quality, provided by stable funding, provided by post grant court so anybody can challenge a patent if they think it's illegitimate and bring it before the court. it's faster and cheaper than a u.s. court but i think what you're seeing here is is that to the extent that there are divisions and debates in the patent community it has to do with your business model, are patents essential to your business model or are they peripheral. you know, the little flowy writing and the pink, with lyft, that's part of their portfolio. patents varies from industry to industry and that's where the friction lies. >> addressing a part of that
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question, one of the interesting trends i see particularly among younger people is that we talk about the economy of cars and music and things, there's something of a sharing economy of ideas, too. it started with the -- i think it started with the idea of open-source software, the idea that instead of i created the software so therefore i will make money on it by selling it, i created the software and i'll share it with people and other people can improve it and we will have a big community of people helping to put together this cool linux operating system or open office word processing system. you get to different models of innovation for other things. one of my favorite examples is kickstarter. that somebody could have a cool idea and a lot of times they obtain patents or trademarks but sometimes they don't but the
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idea is the way they profit off their idea is by saying let's get a crowd of people who will be willing to contribute enough money to make it worth my time to manufacture this piece of art work or do any number of things. and that's in a sense really turns on its head the traditional way we viewed monetizing ideas i have the exclusive right to it and now i can make money. it's i have an idea, i'll ask people for money first and then make the idea. so as technology develops and as we have generational change, that's exciting to me. you can watch the rest of this event at we leave you now to take you live to the hudson institute in washington for a conversation on how the next administration will handle u.s. policy in iraq. the event just getting started.
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>> very honored to have with us a very distinguished panel. to my immediate left is dr. nuseva unis, a senior fellow at the atlantic council and director of the council's future of iraq program. task force on the future of iraq. to her left is dr. faisal i istraba istrabadi. he's a former iraqi ambassador to the united nations. he is the founding director of the indiana university center for the study of the middle east. a and he's a fellow of the american academy of arts and sciences. and to his left is michael pregent, he's a senior fellow here at hudson and he's recently returned from iraq from the front lines.
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he was -- mike was a -- mike was an intelligence officer in iraq and he's recently come back from the front lines and without further ado i think i'll just turn it over to mike to give us a sense of what he found from his trip in iraq. mike? >> thanks for being on the panel with us today. i recently returned from the front lines where i asked my former peshmerga general i used to work with when i was in uniform in 2005 and 2006 to show me the front lines. he wasn't able to do it initially because he's in be she a, but another kurdish commander was able to take me to the front lines to see what was going on. this panel is about how iraq is looking at the u.s. election. and what i want to emphasize is it's not what they're looking at next week on tuesday, it's what they're looking at the day after inauguration day. they're looking at january 21 and they're concerned about what the next 80 days look like.
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as you look at the mosul operation, it's supposed to wrap up ahead of inauguration day it's a timeline set by president obama and president abadi and that rush to complete this operation has me concerned, has the peshmerga concerned and has a lot of iraqis i talked to concerned in that in that ramadi was not a successful operation to defeat isis, fallujah was not a successful operation to defeat isis, tikrit was not, yet each is touted as how to do this right. you look at ramadi today, it lies in ruins, it's not secured, and the minimal force that iraq has left behind to secure the population from isis is dealing with a resurgence, is dealing with isis attacks so you look at mosul and a population center of 1.2 million with an approaching force of 30,000 coming at it,
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part of that 30,000 is an unsanctioned force that's been told not to participate by prime minister abadi and by the united states. it's not listening to us and prime minister abadi. and those are the she whi'a mils that are controlled by the irgc. and people say that's not true but if you look at the two commanders, the first one is the badr core commander, the second is a designated terrorist who leads a tab hezbollah, a terrorist organization. then you have another leader of a designated terrorist organization called asaab al hall hack, or league of the righteous. they said the mosul isn't about liberating the sunni population from isis or daesh, it's an operation to revenge or avenge what happened 1400 years ago.
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so the biggest problem i have is the comparison that i'm able to make between 2007 surge and this isis strategy today i was on the ground during the surge and i just recently came back. at no time will we have allowed or been a part of -- meaning supporting -- a military force that flies sectarian flags towards a sunni town and that's what's happening today. and as you look at the next 80 days, what can happen in iraq, we should all be concerned that iran, the militias, the parties that don't have the mission of securing the population or defeating isis believe they have 80 days to do as much as they want. this isn't only in iraq, also this in syria. they believe they literally have 80 days to get as much as they can and wait and see to see what happens with the u.s. election. i won't go into the specifics but we talked about that this
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morning. there's some interesting polling numbers coming out of iraq and it's not so much as who they prefer, they just want somebody to do something about it. 66% prefer hillary clinton, 19% trump. but both believe each will do something different than the obama administration. and that's what's important here. this current strategy isn't working. the players on the battlefield have priorities. the first priority should be defeat isis, second priority should be protect the population, third priority should be reconcile with your iraqi sects, meaning the sunni, the christians, the kurds, different groups to make sure baghdad is trusted. that's not the priority list. right now you have competing entities in mosul. you have to turks concerned that the shi'a militia will go after sunni turkmen. they're poised for that.
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you have to turks also concerned about kurdish expansion into mosul. you have the shi'a militias worried about kurdish expansion, you have to iraqi government concerned about kurdish expansion and the only thing we don't have to worry about in the mosul operation is kurdish expansion because the peshmerga are not going into mosul, they are taking blocking positions, they have a limit of advance, they won't be going into mosul because they're more concerned about what's happening in kirkuk. they're concerned about president ha shad al shabby. you have the shi'a militias, the pmus and the pmfs, off force of 100,000 iraqis, there are christians in there, 1%, sunnis, maybe 3% of the force. the people joining the movement believe they are doing the right thing. they want to go after isis. the leadership has other intentions. the leadership is focused on winning in 2018, getting more leverage over baghdad more than they have and the upcoming 2018
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elections but their leaders are rejecting abadi's call to not participate and they've also threatened to not only participate in the mosul offensive but to attack american advisors. that's concerning. while i was on the front lines we all talk about the shi'a militias, i saw militia flags flying and sectarian flags flying and i asked an iraqi officer who was there from baghdad, he was the commander or the operations officer for an artillery battalion and i asked him is that ha shem al shabby and he says no, that's the iraqi army. so it's not just the militias carrying these flags, the iraqi army are carrying these flags and every organization from cnn to bbc to al jazeera, anybody who's covering this war, every time they say the iraqi special operations forces are entering mosul and having success ignore the flags in the video they're
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showing and they should pay attention to it because baghdadi is paying attention to it. he just put out a call to everybody in mosul that the militias are coming. the sunni population is paying attention to it because they saw what happened in ramadi, in fallujah, they saw what happened. if you puoll a person from ramadi, you'll find they are waiting for the reconstruction money to come in, they're waiting for their city to -- at least the semblance of a beginning to rebuild the city, they distrust baghdad more than ever. they distrust united states more than ever and we are simply resetting the conditions that led to isis to begin with in this operation in that these towns aren't being liberated. they're being laid to ruins. they're being -- the population is being expelled and the strategy, there's such a low benchmark for success in this campaign that the strategy, to me, feels like as long as you can replace an isis flag with an
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iraqi flag you're finished. as long as you can do that in the city center you're done and that's not how you defeat an organization. the united states military never went into a town one time and claimed success. we learned in fallujah '04, '05, that you cannot destroy a city and expect to kill al qaeda, we just angered it, pushed it somewhere else and it came back with a vengeance. it was only when we tried to build temporary trust between the sunni population and baghdad with the u.s. being a guarantor that we were able to defeat al qaeda through sunni intelligence and sunni manpower and the same thing is happening now. if you pay attention to the mosul operation, you have sunni residents sharing intelligence with the peshmerga, with the iraqi army on isis locations, you have 300,000 sunni military people in moul, that's a conservative number based on 1.2 million people being in mosul
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that have not joined isis and that isis feels is a threat if this operation pushes them to a position where they feel this invading force isn't there to liberate them but to punish them much like mosul, fallujah and tikrit, then we're likely to see something very ugly that may be called success in the press, may be called success in this administration that will lead to a resurgence of some kind, whether it's isis 2.0 or isis morphing into an al qaeda model. i'm probably over time so i'll stop. >> before i pass the microphone to the ambassador i'm going to summarize what i heard you say in four points and you can tell me if i got it right or not. point number one, everybody on the ground is trying to improve their position before the new administration comes in under the expectation that the new administration is going to do something different and they want to position themselves to influence an administration as best as possible, number two, we
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have -- we, the united states, have no vision for the political -- for the post-conflict order that will follow the expulsion of isis. number three, we are unwittingly handing mosul and more broadly iraq to the iranians and number four we are alienating the sunnis in such a way that we have laid conditions for a return of isis as the defender of the sunnis. do you disagree with anything i just said? >> no. i'm glad you summarized it that way, it makes more sense than what i just said. >> what you said made great sense. >> the thing is, i'm taking a warning position based on what i've seen in the past, indicators and trends and i respectfully hope you can moderate my comments if they were too alarmist. i'm concerned this is a political timeline, not a timeline to defeat isis but a
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political timeline to claim success and then move to syria. look over your left shoulder and you'll see you haven't done anything in iraq to defeat isis you simply tell isis that it's not wise to put up an isis flag a city and claim it as yours unless you can shoot down american aircraft and that's the biggest lesson learned so far in this campaign. >> thank you, and with that let's pass it over to the ambassador, thank you for being here, we appreciate it. >> well, thank you very much for moderating and i want to thank the hudson institute for the invitation to speak here again. i particularly want to thank michael prejean for organizing the imagine and as well as to thank all my colleagues on the panel. let me look at it, if i may, from the perspective of what i think are in iraq's interests. we've been asked to speak for a relatively brief period of time. i'm a former trial lawyer and i
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usually can't clear my throat in ten minutes but i'll see what i can do. i think one of the biggest mistakes that the united states made in circa 2011 was its complete disengagement from iraq. i don't mean necessarily the withdrawal of troops, that's a more subtle question dealing with the -- i mean, i do wish the united states had maintained troops there but i also understand it from the perspective of the iraqi government refusing to give immunity to american troops and all that. that's a discussion i don't want to have at this moment, i'll get into it in questions and answers but i mean the intellectual disengagement and the sort of disengagement at the ground level so that you could treat iraq as a sort of -- the same way you might have diplomatic relations, say, with switzerland and that really is -- has been
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the strategy that -- if that's the word, that has been the policy in in case for too many years since. that is to say that while iraq is an inspect state and there are certain issues you don't interfere in with respect to independent states so if the then prime minister of iraq comes to the oval office and tells the president of the united states that i intend to proffer charges of terrorism against the highest ranking sunni in iraq the proper response two two states dealing with one another sbiptally is "well, that's an internal issue and we have no opinion on that" which is, of course, precisely what happened. it was easily predictable and many predicted that we were going to head down the road over the spectacular success of isil i don't think anybody predicted but that we were going to head down a road that would result in
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at least circumstances that are akin to the 2005 and 2006 and that unfortunately is where we ended up in the summer of forty with the fall of the city of mosul in half a business day, iraq's second-largest city, the population of 1.8 million. as mr. prejean said, the u.s. has not policy for the political dispensation in iraq after isil. i'm not talking about the narrower important but narrower issue of who governs in mosul and nineveh, governed after the fall of isil, that was an important question but i'm talking about the broader strategic question of what does iraq look like. the united states has been focused like a laider beam on the narrow issue of defeating isil militarily in iraq.
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but not for the political future of the country and i think that's largely been through throughout the obama administration. perhaps even before the obama administration. so iraqis i think, have a fairly good sense, an excellent sense of what it is we are fighting against. i think we don't actually know what we're fighting for. and i hope that as the -- obvious obviously within the next few days we will know who the next president of the united states will be, i hope that comes up to a very high level of importance in terms of middle east policy, iraq policy. iraqis have some decisions to make. do we, in fact, want to live in a united country? and if we do, what does that mean. do we want regionalism?
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do we want the kurdistan regional model multiplied throughout the country? do we want, in fact, a true federation. inherent in all of this is the kurdish question which has been raised although not lately by the president of the krg we have multiple opportunities over the past two and a half years, the president of the krg has talked about a referendum on independence. fair enough, i think most iraqis would concede if they have a right to independence if they want it. that would be their right. the problem is not that the problem has been that the kurds have neither quite been in nor quite out of the country and this is untenable. if they want their independence, fine, if not, i think that we
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need to be in a position where all factions actually begin to come together build a cohesive state, which we do not have now and i think that is something that the united states ought to press. i have one more point to make before i give up the floor. there's something that is unspoke than i know that i haven't articulated yet and let me do so so expressly. former u.s. ambassador to iraq ryan croccer once said that the americans are hard wired into the iraqi political system. and i agree with him. many positive things have occurred when the united states
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has engaged with the iraqi political system and too many negative things have occurred when it has not done so. there are many reasons for this that i don't have time to get into in my main remarks but would be happy to talk about later if it comes up. so it's in that spirit that i'm making all of my remarks. one of the things i think that the new u.s. administration ought to make an issue that i think is vitally in iraq's interests and that is the management of iraq's relations with its neighbors. iran's influence and physical present in iraq must be reduced. i know that's very easy to say, much harder to do given the histories of the governing political parties in the country. the physical presence of turkey in iraq, ha nato ally, after all, hopefully the united states
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still has some influence there, that simply is not acceptable. it is simply not acceptable to have a foreign head of state insisting he has a right to intervene in iraq as a protector of a group in iraq, that simply isn't tolerable, no iraqi government can tolerate that sort of interference and it's extremely destructive of -- it's an interference which is extremely destructive of the ability of the iraqi political class to come to a meeting of the minds as they used to say in the law of contracts. i'm a strong believer in a line from the poem by robert frost that strong fences make good neighbors and at least since 2003 we've ripped down all of the fences. this is actually one of the
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consequences of the disillusion of the iraqi army and security forces that we have paul bremer to thank for. that particular gift continues to pay dividends more than 12 years after ambassador brehmer left iraq. and we have to balance our relationship with saudi arabia. a policy should be -- it amuses me to put in the these terms because turkey is clearly abandoned the motto but it has to be the motto of peace at home, peace abroad. we will have an iraq knno piecef we don't strike a balance. we have tilted too far in the
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direction of bahrain in my view, we need to values between riyadh and ankara and if we don't then the -- our regional neighbors will continue to find ways of balancing against iran's outsized role in iraq. if the iraqi political class has not learned that lesson there will be very little room for hope or optimism, it seems to me. iran's role in iraq will always be destructive. iran will always want a weak iraq. it doesn't matter who governs s in iraq. if hamanahi's son became the prime minister of iraq it will be in iran's interest for iraq to be weak.
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i'm not saying we want the chaos they had in 2014. the last point i'll make -- and i have gone over my time, i apologize -- is that the pmus and militias have to be disbanded after the military operation is over and that is much, much easier said than done. i am told -- we'll see if this happens, that after mosul is liberated from isil to expect a fatwa from the grand ayatollah al sistani thanking the rank and file of the pmus and telling them they need to go home. as mr. prejean said, the leadership of the pmus have entirely different ideas but i have to say, to the extent that we maintain sectarian and nonconstitutionally based militias and allow them to roam freely, i couldn't agree more with mr. prejean than what he
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says about we're setting up the conditions for isil 2.0, 3.0 and 4.0, we have to look to rebuilding a state of iraq and that is probably harder to do now in 2016 than it might have been in -- first of all, there was no excuse for disbanding the state of iraq in 2003 in the first place, but i don't get to turn 2:00 back. it's probably harder to do now than in 2003 because there was no trust among the political elites in 2003, there is less trust now than there was then, but it's fatal if we are not to continue in this cycle, this sort of vortex increasingly descending at greater and greater speeds into a mortar rat from which it will be impossible to return and if we break apart under these circumstances we're far more likely to break apart into a moll ya than we are into
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three -- kurdistan, shi'a stan and sunni stan. and that should focus the minds of the planners of the next administration wonderfully. thank you and i'm sorry i went over my time. >> thank you, and at the risk of doing injustice to all that you said if i could turn it into one piece of advice for the next, president, whoever that might be. it would be that they should see the role of the united states as fending off the external players, especially iran, but iran, turkey and saudi arabia to create a space in which the -- a space in which the iraqis can work out their problems with each other without foreign intervention. that would be the number one priority or have a got that wrong? >> no, that is the number one priority but second and very closely to it is that the united states must actually also engage the political players inside iraq to help to facilitate, not
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dictate the term bus to help facilitate a process which leads to a mutually -- a modus vie venn di. we've never had a modus vivendi since 2003. and certainly obviously the constitution which i think has been a failure did not provide such a modus vivendi. so we need to rethink a working, functioning state in a very, very tough neighborhood. there's the exterm component but there has to be an external component. >> thank you. there unis, thank you for coming. the floor is yours and these gentlemen have put some perot vocativ theses on the table for you to address. thank you very much, one of the things that's been interesting about looking at the iraqi media coverage of the u.s. presidential elections has been that the coverage has been very, very sparse.
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and actually there's been a lot less interest and engagement in iraq as compared with other countries in the middle east in this election. and the reason is that iraqis don't know what to expect from either a trump or clinton presidency. they don't understand how the two possible administrations will differ from the obama administration and how they will differ from each other. so that's kind of the first obstacle when iraqis are really looking at this election and trying to figure out what they think and what their opinion is. actually, the foreign policy platforms of these two candidates have been very, very unclear and where they have been pushed they've been pushed on the syria issue and very rarely asked about what they would do differently in iraq.
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this has partly been played by the obama administration with president obama trying to wrap up the liberation of mosul in a neat little bow to end his presidency with a bang which is not really how counterinsurgency works but he keeps giving the impression he's dealing with iraq and iraq will be done by the time he leaves office and that's not -- it's not at all the case but it's rather let the other -- the candidates often the hook when it comes to explaining what their plan is for stabilization and for continued counterinsurgency operation. because the liberation of mosul is not the end of this and we really haven't heard a strategy from either candidate as to what they are going to do once they reach office. and of course the iraqis are super conflicted about this because they also don't know what they want the u.s. to do. a lot of disagreement in iraq.
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on the one hand, there's a lot of appreciation for the u.s. assistance in driving out isil and there's a pretty wide consensus that iraqis do want continued u.s. assistance to drive isis out of iraq and certainly once isis is driven out of these territories, as has been our focus, you know, i think u.s. assistance will continue to be appreciated in tajjing the inveftable circumstancesy that's likely to come nate iraqi cities after the labor ration -- the formal liberation takes place but beyond that the problem in iraq is that there is an incredible ir iranian capture of the iraqi media and it's less insidious than it sounds it's just -- you know it's just kind of -- you know people seeking to exercise
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soft influence over tv presenters, donations to tv channels, you know, there's a lot of relationship building that's happened and there's a lot of persuasion that takes place and it means that the kind of iranian narrative on what u.s. intentions are in iraq is very pervasive and the united states does an absolutely terrible job of public diplomacy, of talking to the iraqi public about what its intentions are, what its goals are, what the game plan is, what it's trying to achieve, right? and the fact that it's not trying to steal iraqi oil or be a conquerer or stay in iraq forever or use this as an excuse for some other nefarious geopolitical reason and we have to be able to effectively counter the kind of iranian
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driven narratives that come out of the iraqi media because the iranians are engaged and we're not and engaging with iraqi media is not that difficult. that's something we could be doing that we're not doing and as a result there's such a murkiness in the iraqi public consciousness about what level of u.s. engagement they want and how comfortable they are with it and what kind of time scale they want to see that continued engagement and i think u.s. policy could really benefit from a clear, sustained articulation of what our long-term strategy is in iraq and i think there's very clear things that we could be doing beyond the liberation of mosul and the next administration when it comes into office should really look at these key points. so number one we will not defeat isis when we liberate mosul so
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we need to have a strategy for continuing to partner with iraqi security forces and especially with iraqi intelligence to help to train them and build their capacity to conduct long-term penetration of extremist networks not just to show up in a sunni village and chuck everyone in prison, that's not defeating a counterinsurgency in the long term. you want to be building up real capacity to disrupt the financing networks, to disrupt the ied assembly networks and sourcing of those materials that are needed to assemble car bombs. they need to be effectively and systematically tracing the remaining networks that will go underground and that will keep isis alive in iraq to potentially for many years to come unless we offer the kind of support to the iraqi intelligence services that will be needed to effectively defeat this group once it's disappeared
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back into iraqi towns and cities. that's something we can offer, those are skills that the iraqi intelligence sources know that they need, know that they're lacking and that they respect from the american side, that they want those skills to be coming from the americans and that's something we can concretely offer and say that our goal is to help support the iraqi state to eradicate terrorism. that's something we can do and that's not something that's on a presidential election timeline. as long as it takes, as long as the iraqis need that support. the other thing that's going to be needed is the united states will not to act as a buffer and it doesn't want to play this role but between the iraqi kurds and baghdad. during the war against isis
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iraqi kurdistan has extended its territory by about a third, has seized almost all of the territories that were previously disputed between the krg and baghdad and there's a real risk that the iraqi shiite militias will once mosul is liberated will turn their guns against the peshmerga and try and retake kirkuk. there has to be a mediated diplomatic settlement to these territorial conflicts. we cannot afford to see iraq now on the -- having just retaken territory from isis but not tackled the root causes of the insurgency. we can't afford then to suddenly be distracted by this kurdish iraqi war over territory. and the united states is the power with the relationships,
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with the clout, with the international standing to be able to prevent actors from acting in an unrestrained way in this battle over disputed territory and to initiate a credible internationally respected process for mediating these territorial disputes and that -- you know, that's day one after mosul is defeated. we need to make sure that we're getting -- that, you know, the peshmerga and the iraqi counterterrorism forces and the federal police and the iraqi security forces are working so beautifully now, you know, together, to defeat mosul and then the day after we need to get these forces away from each other and out of the disputed territories so that we can avoid that conflict from happening. the other great risk is that the shiite militias have in many sections of the iraqi population become very popular for
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defending iraq against terrorism and, you know, it's partly a function of how unpopular minute stream iraqi politicians are for being construct and performing extremely poorly and we've got pro vings elections next year and parliamentary elections the year after and there's a very real risk that pretty hard-line parties could do very very well in those elections and i think something else the united states could be doing is helping to support, you know, moderate accommodationist inclusive iraqi leaders who are capable of delivering some of the kind of political compromises that are needed to bring about a genuine reconciliation in iraq and that are needed to address the root causes and drivers of extremism in iraq. to help them to better connect to their constituencies. to better deliver on what their
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constituencies are demanding and to remain credible political actors in the face of what promises to be a genuine political threat from a pretty hard-line set of groups that are likely to set the reconciliation agenda way back and that's something we can't afford to see but it's something we can help to tackle just by helping moderate political actors to perform better because they're underperforming so, so woefully right now. and the final thing that the united states can do and can articulate is that they can continue to act to rally global supporters together to help with the reconstruction of liberated areas. what we don't want to see is these liberated areas that have been devastated by air strikes and by the military campaign and
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by the ieds left behind by isis. we don't want to see these devastated areas, most of them are sunni areas. we don't want to see a second class or an underclass of iraqis living in very deprived economically deprived areas kind of cut off really from the political system and creating the conditions where radicalism thrives. we want to reintegrate these areas as quickly as possible back into the rest of the country. we want to get basic infrastructure set up, economic opportunities, education and that requires resources the iraqi government is struggling to find at a time of low oil prices and the united states has done a good job but can really continue to take a leadership role in this in gathering its allies and friends from around the world towards providing the resources that are needed and performing the kind of coordinating role in helping the
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international community to invest in the sablization and reconstruction of areas liberated from isis and i think those elements constitute a real vision for media to long-term engagement in iraq that's a genuinely positive one, that's helpful, it's something a lot of iraqis could buy into and help them make sense of what an american role would look like and what it means and why it's something that would be of benefit to them. >> thank you for that. i wonder if i could ask you one question to clarify your position with respect to the other two panelists. i heard you say that the -- that the iraqi media has been penetrated by the iranians and that there's a tendency to adopt the iranian line on what the united states is up to. but i didn't hear you wave the flag of concern about the role
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more broadly of iran in dominating or extending its influence over iraq that we heard from your colleagues. do you share their concern? is that a major concern of yours or are you seeing things a little differently? >> i am someone who believes that iran extends its influence where there is a vacuum and where the political costs are relatively low and we have made operating in iraq a very easy low cost high reward political exercise for the iranians and once we articulate our strategy for engagement and we offer something to our iraqi partners on the ground and say, hey, we're not just going to turn around and leave in six months and leave you in the lurch, we're real partners who are offering a sustained alternative. you know, there are many iraqis who have great antipathy towards
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iran and worry about the level of iranian penetration and about what iranian interests are in iraq but balancing against iran is very difficult when there isn't -- when you don't see a partner for balancing against iran with. and i think if we offer the united states as an alternative and we make clear that hey, we're around not just for five minutes, we'll be here and we've got your back and you can afford to be critical and you can afford to pursue your policies without fear of iran then i think the opportunity is there. i don't think the iranian role in iran should be something that scares off the united states from engagement. >> and so you are broadly in agreement with the also dhoor the job of the united states is to hold the ring around iraq and to help the iraqis needs@between them as they solve their own problems. okay, well thank you very much.
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mike, if i can come back to you, i think we've got a lot of agreement -- more agreement than i expected to hear in general picture of what the -- what the challenge is for the united states. i think there's also agreement with dr. younis made me realize there's broad agreement between the iraqi people and the american people that we're completely bewildered as to what this election will hold and have no idea what the future is going to bring. it seems to me that if we were to follow the average viewer, this is being broadcast by c-span and the average american watching this is going to be listening to this advice and saying what's the cost to the united states? what's the cost in dollars? what's the cost in military commitment? and one of the big take aways that we have over the last decade is that the desire among
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the americans to shoulder these costs is much less than some of us would have expected, with that thought in mind, could you talk to us? is there a way the united states can play the role that's being outlined here without a george w. bush-style reengagement with 100,000 or 130,000 u.s. troops? >> i think the most important thing is it's not the cost of the operation. let's say we went big and spent a lot of money on this. it would mean nothing if we announced we're leaving in six months. you can't build trust and relationships by saying you're going to do something and then leaving in six months so i would associate trust and belief in what we're saying. i'd weigh that higher than any costs so to the american people if you're watching this, the
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american people argue that if we don't address the iranian influence in iraq, we should just stop now because we're simply facilitating. i don't want to say the iranian takeover of iraq but we are partnering with militias not only out of uniform but the ddr process which is so important, that's disarming, demobilizing and reintegrating these factions like sistani will call for after mosul is liberated to reintegrate the militias, they won't stand out. they're going to be brought into the iraqi security forces and i would argue that that doesn't work because that was done in 2005 when we brought in the badr core and moqtada al-sadr's core into the national police and the sixth and ninth iraqi army division
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divisions it will be rejected by the population if it is the securing force afterwards. so what i'm saying none of this works unless there's a commitment to be that long-lasting partner in iraq. when you look at iraq, there's three consistent foreign policies in the region, russia has the same foreign policy position it's had for 30 years, iran has the same position and the kingdom of saudi arabia has the same position. i'm sure turkey may have the same position as well. the u.s. position changes based on who's in office and i've been told multiple times talking to iraqi sunni tribal leaders and peshmerga leaders that you're in a better position to be an enemy of the united states than a friend of the united states. you have more leverage as an enemy than as a friend that's very concerning. the thing that i would -- as we're look -- looking at the
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elections of 2017, in that, the militias believe they have a mandate, they believe they are -- they protected baghdad, they kept baghdad from falling to isis, the media supports that narrative, they're operating outside government control. if a body criticizes them, they can have them replaced they are going into the mosul operation because they want to. they need to be part of the liberation of mosul to claim success that it was because of them that isis was defeated. we need to be watching the iraqi election because that election is going to either get us back into iraq to defeat the second and third iteration of isis or too basically go into northern iraq to p iraq to protect the northern the militias.ions from what's
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their concern was s that the hash em el shad di was built to not to defeat isis, they're concerned the shi'a militias are there to retake kiir cook and baiji, other areas and that's concerning because they carry the iraqi flag so if the peshmerga fire on them as they approach, it's treasonous. they're firing on forces carrying the iraqi flag. next to that iraqi flag is also a militia flag or a religious flag that sends a message to sunnis that we are coming not as liberators but we are coming to demonstrate we have primacy now. the message is not only to sunni iraqis but to the peshmerga and the kurds as well that we are coming to take back what we want
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and this is what you hear from the leadership of these militias, again, not the food gays, they may be saying that as well but they believe they are joining something that is noble and right. the leadership. >> i'm concerned about the footprint we have right now in that 5,000 americans are in iraq and 100,000 shia militia members are in iraq led i the same people that targeted americans five years ago. they made these threats. i don't think we can do the leverage part where we start to curb or reign influence, try to
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get militias to stand down without putting our current footprint at risk of being targeted. >> so the 5,000 troops we have there are hostages in a sense or potential hostages if iranian policy were to change. >> our footprint is constraining our ability to go after isis. >> at the risk of putting you on the spot, how many troops -- >> 30,000 iraq's and syrians. >> we're talking a commitment of 60,000 troops. >> doesn't have to all be u.s., just nato-led, u.s.-led force -- that's u.s.-led, because i don't think iraq wants it to be russia led. they are tilt thanksgiving way if we keep disengaging. they are going to tilt that way. it needs to be a strong nato-led force that has the ability to say no, put pressure on baghdad,
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say no to iran and actually say we're here to give you the political space to reconcile with your community so that you don't have these fanatic-type organizations to come in and unseat otah advantage of a disenfran child operation that's being oppressed by its central government. we have that in damascus, baghdad. it's a recipe for isis, a recipe for instability. when have you a sunni population center that used to look to the left and say americans are here to help us and now look to the west and say what are you doing, tilting to the position in syria and iraq. >> thank you for that. mr. ambassador, do you agree with mike that the united states can fulfill the role you would like to see it play with a relatively modest commitment of force? >> yes, i think so. i'm also -- i'm aware -- first
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of all, i'm not a military expert obviously. he is. i'm not. but -- i think it is relatively modest. i don't think it's an appetite. i guess i'm the only one on the stage up here that doesn't live in washington or the environ. i come from the hoosier hot line as it were. i don't think there's an appear tied in the rest of the country for a large, long-term sustained presence in the middle east generally. anyway, not in iraq. but there has to be -- it has to be -- the american public will tolerate a policy -- support a policy that is explained to them in terms of american interests. that i think has been absent. what are the american interests?
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the withdrawal of the u.s. -- again, it's a complicated matter. aside from the military, the sort of political and intellectual withdrawal from iraq in 2011 leads to the rise of isil, which turns out to have all kinds of implications for vital american interests, not least of which is the effect that the refugee crisis it is in part causing is having on the european unity project, which has been a cornerstone of american foreign policy since the days of dwight d. eisenhower. so these things are in the interest of the united states, aside from the fight against terrorism, which is a common fight to all -- to the civilized order. i think the american people could be on board that program. iraq hasn't been in the ex at
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all other than who did support and when. that's a fairly, shall i say, mundane debate. the interests, if any, and i think there are of the united states have not been debated at all. i think there are significant american interests ensuring that iraq does not become a sort of sustainable environment for terrorism. >> doctor, are you enagreement? seemed to be what you are saying. there are impulses or p proclivities, in colinations of the actors on the ground in iraq to work in a way that would further u.s. interest if the united states would just change its posture. >> yeah. i think saying the american people don't have an appetite for engagement has been a bit of a copout for this administration, which is really saying we dob have the appetite
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for engagement. actually it's about explaining to the american people what the cost of disengagement are. if you want to engage, you need a conversation about the rirvegs to american interest in the world are and what the risks are to the kind of global order we've managed to build up. so we're prepared to cede the middle east to russian leadership? is that something in our leadership? are we prepared to leave iraq and syria without having achieved a genuine and sustainable defeat of isis. the other thing when you're talking about cost is a relatively modest military and diplomatic and political cost in the short run can actually save you incredible military cost in the long run, when you let
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instability take root and take massive swaths of territory and threaten not just regional allies but allies across the world and your self at home. suddenly then the cost becomes much more significant. so it's about assessing the costs of disengagement and a relatively modest investment out front can really pay dividends over the long run. >> can i ask you about the russian factor? if you were to answer those people who say -- which includes, i think, donald trump, that the russians broadly share our interest in defeating isis, why don't we bring them into the security architecture of the region and work with them. they and a lot of people as well believe iranian interests are broadly in alignment with ours. how would you answer that? >> the issue is that the united
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states fundamentally disagrees with russia and iran on what the root causes of extremism are. we believe that extremism is driven by unrepresentative authoritarian political policies that exclude sections of the population that are pressed and drive people into the arms of extremists and make the extremist narrative more and more popular and appealing. whereas the russians and iranians look at this as a problem of control. the state wasn't able to exercise sufficient violence to be able to contain this extremist population. so their entire policy for defeating isis is just bombing the hell out of aleppo. it's just the use of force, and they have no political strategy at all for dealing with what the
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drivers of extremism are. that's where -- look, we've learned this lesson a really tough way. we've engaged in iraq. we've engaged in afghanistan. and you know, you cannot kill an insurgency. you have to transform an insurgency. you have to reduce the drivers that inspire people to join these groups and you have to give people political alternatives. that's why we're trying to invest in governance structures that can actually offer people the things that they demand from their politicians rather than just simply relying on violence only strategy. >> ambassador, did you have a comment? >> two points. on the last one i'm not sure it's factually correct to say russians have been focused on isil to begin with. certainly in their first intervention which began about a year ago and ended more or less
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in march-ish of 2016 they were, in fact, more or less targeting the members of the regime who are not isil. it's not even clear. it seems they bought into the strategy, russians did, of being able to say it's me or isil by allowing isil to sort of survive. the other point the doctor got absolutely right is on the question of engagement and the false dichotomy that has been created by the administration in terms of engaging in iraq, you either send in 150,000 troops or you do nothing. this was the response in zero and the administration's response what to do in syria and she's exactly right that by failing to calculate the cost of inaction we have far, seems to
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me, exacerbated the problem in syria. you have a similar calculus to make in iraq. what vladimir putin -- exactly what his strategy is is another story, today is another story. today first intervention in syria, september, october 2015 that more or lesseneded march 2016, what vladimir putin proved in that intervention at least is that it's possible for a foreign power to intervene with a limited strategic purpose to achieve that limited purpose at relatively low cost and to press the off button. the limited purpose, it seems to me, in that first intervention was to sure assad did not fall. a&e achieved that with virtually no significant losses in it, relatively minimal expense.
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again, you're far more experienced on military matters than i. that's a lesson i would have wished that those who always say, well, do you want 150,000 troops or remember vietnam in the u.s. administration i wish those people had learned that lesson a year ago. >> just to build on your point, there are others who say the use of military force is inherently counter-productive and also refutes that argument as well, i think you'd agree. mike, i wonder if i could turn, we've got a few minutes left. everybody here flagged concern about iran in one way or another. i recently had a conversation with a very senior former military commander in iraq and discussed with him the role of iran in iraq. i posited the possibility that iran does not really want a
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unified iraq. it actually might be quite comfortable with a fragmented iraq and certainly an iraq in which the sunni areas are no longer really part of the political system. he, referencing other experts, dismissed this possibility out of hand. it came back to me, one of the comments that the ambassador just made, about iranian interests. i wonder if you can discuss this. do you agree a fragmented weak iraq or assume they ultimately want to see a unified iraq. at least on that narrow area we have a shared interest. >> going back to 2013, i argued iran needs the threat of isis to stay in iraq. it needs the threat of isis to stay in syria
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back to your point, the force is able to mobilize iraqi shia militias to go to syria. they didn't go to raqqah, they want to aleppo, other places, place that is would shore up assad regime, go after u.s.-backed rebels. they were comfortable working with the air force already and some leader have actually asked russia be involved in the iraqi situations. it wants to maintain leverage. one thing that kept al maliki was threat. nice to say, keep me in power or they will come back. i don't believe that iran wants isis defeated in iraq, but i
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also believe it is balancing the of defeating isis in name only with the political parties as they seek positions. if you just look at the motives, it's been to take over places, sunni triangle, birth place of saddam hussein, take over these places, punish in fallujah to protect shia fault line and allow everything else to just be pointed that way. that's where the enemy is. >> to build up the militias, which they have influence over on the ground as opposed to unified iraqi military. >> they have influence in iraqi military as well. federal police, ministry of interior, they just wear uniforms. these militia wins part of the
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hashd al-shaabi will brag i can wear the uniform of any military force on any given day. in many cases they have salaries from iraqi military and militias. at the end of the day will break towards influence to nfrl shia political parties beholden now to tehran. >> mr. ambassador, do you agree with that assessment? >> i do. look, i collect maps. and my oldest map, i think, is from the 16th century. i collect maps of the middle east. actually from iraq. my oldest from the 16th century. they got a little more expensive the further back you go. i only have one from the 16th century. over the centuries you can see baghdad in one map will be part of the ottoman empire, next iranian then flips back. countries may change -- regimes,
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governments come and go and regime's interest remain the same. iraq is battleground between great powers. it has been for centuries. with all respect to your senior former american commander, he ought to look at maps a little older than the ones the pentagon publishes today. these things have been going on in iraq for centuries. they will continue to do so, which goes back to my quoting robert frost about strong fences. >> dr. eunice, do you want to address that or have anything else to say before i hand it over to the audience? >> i note a little caution about iranian intentions in iraq. i think that controlled chaos is maybe pretty beneficial. a situation where there's some uncertainty, a range of actors that all have a relationship with iran where you can kind of
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control outcomes is really beneficial for iranian government. actual integration of iraq is not at all in the iranian interest. independent of kurdi afghanistan has been red line for the iranian government not least because this year we've seen a resurgence in the fighting in territories, taking up arms again, iranian suffering from their own separatist groups in their own kurdish region. the idea of having some separate sunni region in iraq that's supported by -- could be supported by saudi, see it as kind of talibanesque, that's not at all something iran is interested in seeing. >> but do you agree that pre2014 status quo of bombs going off in
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baghdad and creating uncertainty and some degree of chaos but not the threat of the total collapse of the state is in iranian interest? >> it's interesting because i think 2013, i think the iranians would see as kind of the perfect state of iraq. but of course, you cannot have 2013 -- >> sorry, for our viewers at home, could you -- >> 2013 you had a very strong maliki government pretty shia dominated with marginalized kurdistan and marginalized sunni population. and in incredible iranian influence over the iraqi government. the problem is the iranians might think of that as their ideal but you cannot have that without inevitable breakdown. can't have 2013 without 2014. i don't know if they have learned that lesson. >> not clear the iraq political class learned either. >> that's fascinating.
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okay. with that, let's open it up to questions from our audience. the gentleman in the sport coat there with his hand up. stand up and wait for our intern. >> thank you. i'm an adviser to apec. my question is to follow up on what has britney said on iranian influence not only for shiite militias, media, but government it's self. i understand there's been a very serious infiltration of iranian agents into various government agencies and security forces, intelligence. can you elaborate a bit more about what's going on? that's, i think, really threatening to iraq's future. >> and your question is to all of our panelists? >> yes. >> mike, why don't we start with you. >> my role in iraq, i was there from '05 to '10 in some capacity was to look at the intelligence services, specifically iranian influence within those.
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the sunni -- the inis is what it was called at the time, basically former baathist intel service set up by the agency. it was very effective not only going after al qaeda but militias. the shia political party in iran msnsa led by an iranian proxy. it was set up to mirror that organization. once we took the hands off in 2010 after maliki won the election, ins went away and they replaced it. you had former intel guys baathists, because they had to be baathists to get a job at the time. these sbblg officers went to ground in some cases, left the country, in some cases may have even joined isis in the beginning stages when it was a rejection of what was happening.
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my biggest concern was i literally saw units flip in 2005, sixth and ninth iraqi divisions had a healthy balance of 55% shia, 45% sunni where you didn't have to keep track of the numbers. it was an iraqi unit able to do things in baghdad. within a year when general dempsey took over, in charge of the process, reintegration of shia militias, both of those divisions went to 95% or greater shia with heavy militia infiltration. the one thing i will say about security forces and intelligence services, only participating in the isis population are peshmerga units. used to be kurdish divisions, battalions, iraqi army units, that has gone away. there used to be sunni battalions, brigades, sunni divisions.
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that has gone away as well. now we have a follow force of 150,000 iraqi military, predominantly shia and hashd al-shaabi. you have peshmerga outside of the ministry of defense, but still listens to it doing these operations. so the intelligence services if you want a good target you go to kurdish intel services. if you want a good target against isis go to some of the shia intelligence services but you're likely to get sunni military, the whole neighborhood is isis, let's destroy that. that's what we've seen in ramadi and other places. very concerned about that, not only the change in the structure of the security forces but also the intelligence services. more importantly the shia political party influence that kept that in place. >> mr. ambassador, any thoughts? >> one real quick thing.
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prime minister abadi inherited security apparatus. it's still in place. it's the same one. it debate go away when maliki went away. palqui obvious photographed with a radio talking to these very forces, moving them around trying to discredit prime minister abadi. >> so can we say maliki did not go away and that he has tied a body's hands. >> he has the luxury of in the being accountable for any of the chaos yet controlling a lot of it. >> would you say he's as influential as abadi, more influential. >> more influential. abadi is maliki circa 2005. maliki was a compromised weak candidate. prime minister abadi is him. >> mr. ambassador, do you agree with that assessment? >> no. the prime minister is weak. he is weak.
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it is true. i think in distinction with al maliki, al abadi has his heart in the right place. he came in as a compromised candidate when the united states was pushing for other individuals who were unacceptable to parties outside the shia alliance, including kurds and allawi, so it settled on prime minister abadi. this is a real problem. what maliki did when he first took over was to -- sort of expel from the secretary-generalship of the party. abadi should have done something like that to maliki with respect
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to the state of law and he didn't. that was a political mistake. a lot of kerfuffle going on, the beginning at least engineered by maliki. it's a real problem. i think it's part of the iranian game again to keep the state of iraq weak. to keep the politics of the state of iraq weak. this is fundamentally,ic, i'm going to go broader than your question. this is fundamentally the question we have to ask. what we don't know is what are people fighting for? there are certainly rank and file -- the the rank and file of the popular mobilization units and iraqi army, iraqi security forces as said are clearly fighting for iraq. the leerps in some in stabz are not. they are not fighting for a united iraq. they are fighting to protect
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political turf. they are fighting to protect baghdad and points south but not the unity of iraq. we have squandered, the united states have squandered, iraquis have squandered the last 2 1/2 years by focusing so exclusively on the military aspect of this and ignoring wholly the political aspect. the military is a necessary but not sufficient element without getting the political aspect right, the political environment right. we'll be back in this situation in two years and three years and five years. >> would you like to weigh in? >> i just said on the iranian point, i think it's less helpful to think of this in terms of iranian infiltration as thinking about iranian utility. part of the reason why iran gets to be so influential is because they offer things to iraqi politicians and military access that are useful. money. they really are helpful in gathering the votes together and
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helping to influence other actors and helping to build an alliance so you can get whatever your project is through the iraqi parliament. they are very influential actors in iraq but they are willing to get down and dirty and engage with iraqi politics on the level of individual politicians. figuring out what they want. they like doing some great congressional lobbying. it's not that nefarious. there are nefarious aspects to it. we can compete. we choose not to. there are people who will happily take u.s. help instead in building an alliance to pass something through the iraqi parliament that we think is actually in the better interest of stability in iraq


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