tv Hearing Examines State of U.S.- Qatar Relations CSPAN July 26, 2017 2:59pm-4:40pm EDT
groups out of qatar, out of doha altogether, where do they go and to mr. goldberg's point is there some, is there some benefit to having them there instead of in the arms of isis or in tehran? >> thank you. exactly i think this is precisely sort of the point. it's complicated. but what i would say is, maybe i'll start with an example of hamas and i'll quote an israeli former head of research, the former head of research for israel's military intelligence, who is brought up here a lot talking about incitement, saying nobody else is ready to help out but qatar when it comes to gaza. here's a perfect example of the situation we're dealing with three wars between israel and hamas over the last few years in gaza with large casualties for
the palestinians and the ids and the israelis are starting to realize maybe we should not be this approach is trying to squeeze hamas and gaza doesn't seem to be working. maybe we should think about a different approach and alleviate the humanitarian situation and try to establish channels with these guys, to keep the situation calm. who is the only real channel they have to do that? the qataris. so they've been using that channel and we've been helping to facilitate that channel. that's an example. if hamas was sitting in tehran, which is a likely outcome about what would happen if they were kicked out of doha, then think what you would see is no ability to actually communicate in that way and possibly hamas taking more aggressive actions and less ability to squeeze them. this isn't to justify the qatari relationship with hamas, i don't agree with that necessarily. i think it's a problem. it's not something the u.s. should not have a direct relationship with hamas, hamas is a terrorist organization.
bent on the destruction of israel. we've found this approach from the qataris has some benefit. we would like them to behave differently. at the same time they end up when we ask them do you think sometimes they're in the interest, they're able to push certain heaviers we are not able to push. >> dr. shanzer. >> thank you, congressman deutsche. i think, not even sure where to begin. in terms of the potential benefits from qatar working with hamas or allowing hamas to operate out of there it's sort of a counterfactual. we've yet to see what the benefits are. other than the fact that the israelis have allowed the qataris to provide assistance to gaza. not to hamas, but to the people of gaza for reconstruction. on that the israelis would agree it's been a positive. we would agree that it's helped perhaps forestall a major
humanitarian disaster. i think for that we should be thankful. from there i do have to question. it's not like hamas has a place where it can operate. it has a base in turkey. it has its home base in the gaza strip it operates out the west bank and sudan. lebanon, it has a major presence across the middle east. why does it have to operate inside doha. where they get a certain amount of legitimacy for this. perhaps one other thing to note here. is that people talk about how qatar may have helped bring the conflict to an end in 2014. if you speak to the other actors in the region. they will tell you whether it's the egyptians or the israelis or even others, they will tell you that it was the qataris and the turks that forestalled and ended the conflict. they continue to negotiate on behalf of hamas and i think that they probably in doing so, probably led to the loss of many, many more lives. >> gentlemen, time has expired. chair now recognizes the
gentleman from california, mr. cook, for five minutes. >> thank you, madam chair. my opening remarks, i talked about this news story about the north koreans working on the world cup and figures, that i read, 3,000 any article who talked about the possibility of whether they could be militarized. and this is a scenario that is kind of scary. we talked about the fact that we have our largest military base right there. which is as you said, insane. can you just comment on that possibility, where this is another dimension and another threat to this. because every week it seems that we have to re-evaluate, which is the number one dr. leavitt. could you start? >> i don't want to comment on a report i haven't seen. other than to say the north
korea issue is very important and pressing issue and in some ways much more important than this one to be sure. but in general, i think we need to learn ways to be able to leverage conversation, and if necessary pressure on qatar, on a wide array of issues that we have with them and this would be one more. you have to do that in a way that is flexible. we have many very positive relationships. with qatar. i would argue the way to be flexible is not to say it's perfectly okay to have x number of north koreans working in the country in a way we don't know. certainly for example i would make a difference between hosting certain leaders of hamas who are sitting in a hotel room as opposed to people like sul haruri who is believed to be in lebanon, but was sitting comfortably in qatar for quite sometime where he was plotting attacks against israeli civilians. that should be completely beyond the pale. i haven't seen this report, this would be another thing we have to figure out how do you have
multiple conversations with a country at the same time, you have agreement on some issues, great disagreement on other issues. we have done that very poorly across administrations. >> any other comments on this? >> i'll comment for a moment, sir. think it's important when you talk about foreign workers in qatar. the 3,000 that you mentioned are actually a very small number relatively speaking. in relation to the 800,000 plus foreign workers that are active right now in qatar. i've seen the reports of the north korean workers. the concern was not that they would be potentially operational. but rather that they were effectively slave labor. given to the qataris. and that whatever they were being paid was being remitted back to north korea and that this was an inadvertent way or a back-door way of financing north korea. so these are the concerns that we have. i believe that the qataris have
addressed this problem. last i heard. i've not seen a lot of updates on this. >> the reason i ask that question is because we're having a debate and everything else about the sanctions. against north korea. and this might be another variable that would be included in this. any comments on what happened last year. i was over in that area and the state department was quite frankly at that time. this was about a year ago, maybe a year and a half. they were arguing on behalf of qatar for the upgrade for the they thought it was be in the best interest. i was kind of shocked at that. in terms of foreign military sales. and do you have any comment on that i almost when i was there. viewed it as almost the middle east stockholm syndrome.
because they were very, very supportive of kwat where all its problems, it shocked me from a military standpoint. doctor, either one? >> actually i served at the pentagon for a few years on middle east issues so i can talk a little about this from my perspective this is the problem we have with all the gulf states, on the one hand there are arm sales are very useful to our industry. >> understand that. but i'm talking about the f-50 upgrade. this is a significant -- i understand your expertise in the pentagon, i spent a few years in the military, but i cannot find flooi an airplane. in regards to that weapon system, which is more sophisticated that some of the others. >> sir i was going to say that my issue is, i can't tell but that specific weapon system and that specific upgrade. i can tell you the generally i think we have an issue where we probably sell these countries too much weaponry because they
have the money. and what they need is lower-end technology to deal with counterterrorism problems and things like that, which are much more important. >> thank you very much. i yield back. >> chairman, time expired. the chair recognizes the gentleman from california, mr. liu for five minutes. >> thank you, madam chair. on jewel 9th, our secretary of state, rex tillerson, stated we call on saudi arabia, the unitsed arab emirates, bahrain and egypt to ease the blockade on qatar. later that same exact day, donald trump referred to the decision to initiate the blockade as hard, but necessary. then as you know, a few days later, the united states sells $12 million of fighter jets to qatar. so my question to the panel what is your understanding on the crept u.s. position on the so-called blockade? do we support it? do we oppose it? what is the answer to that?
>> general, i'll start i guess. i think others have comments. from my perspective, i think we have this agreement inside the administration. for the most part have seen this disagreement. i'm not 100% sure. i do think that what is does do is causes some confusion. because you can't really, secretary tillerson is clearly trying to act as a mediator. he was on a trip last week or a couple of weeks back to do that. meanwhile you have some comments coming from elsewhere. the qataris will go to the secretary of state and the secretary of defense seem to have positions more in line with their own and the emiratis, that's not an effective way to sort of try to conduct and mediate the conflict and i think it's causing some problems. it's ambiguous right now what the policy is. >> let me ask you another question. there have been various media reports, that trump organization has lots of businesses and saudi
arabia. and some of these other countries. but not in qatar. do you think that plays any role or could it? >> honestly. i don't know their motivation. >> what's behind it. >> there have been various reports that jared kushner basically got stiffed by some folks in qatar. do you think this could play some role in that? >> certainly a possibility but not something that i would again have any knowledge of. let's move on to a question i had mentioned in my opening statement. are there families being separated because of the so-called blockade based on their national origin? or any panel member? >> my understanding is at least that yes, there are issues where the qataris and you have a lot of people who are moving between the qataris, the emiratis and the various gcc states, so you are going to end up in
situations where all i believe qatari nationals had two weeks to get out of certain gcc states. >> you would be separating husbands and wives if they happened to be of different national origin, correct? >> what i've seen in the press, and have heard concerns about that. but i can't speak for their policy, obviously. >> okay. i met with various representatives from these gulf state countries, including saudi arabia and qatar. one of the things that the organization from qatar said with respect to taliban, they said it's true there is a taliban office in qatar. but that the u.s. asked them to open it. is that true? any one on the panel? >> i'll take a first stab at that one. the, as i understand it, there was a taliban presence that was already there. in doha. that were representatives of the taliban who had come there
before the opening of this office. then came the initiative by the obama administration to negotiate with the taliban. in an attempt to find pragmatic members of the group. so they essentially authorized the bha what became the taliban embassy, as i mentioned in my testimony this was something very frustrated to those within the afghan government who were struggling to for their own recognition of legitimacy. they felt this undermined them. i've heard this from a number of u.s. officials on both sides of the aisle. what happened after that was the trade for bowe bergdahl, who had gone missing in afghanistan. he was traded for the taliban five. this was facilitated by the qataris and the taliban five are high-ranking taliban officials. operatives ultimately came to qatar as well. they augmented the presence that had already been there.
since that time the concern has been not just that there has been an official presence of the taliban inside doha. but rather that also taliban officials, taliban militants have come in and they have reconnected with the taliban five and some of the others. there's concern that it's not just that presence that was first blessed by the obama administration, but that there have been some operational concerns as well. >> thank you and i yield back. >> the gentleman yields back. the chair recognizes the gentleman of new york, mr. zeldin for five minutes. >> qatar, a question for anyone who is able to answer, does qatar view hamas as a terrorist organization? >> or maybe a multiple choice. or does qatar view hamas as a legitimate resistance? or would you give it some other characterization? how does the government of qatar
view hamas. >> i'll start. the government of qatar does not see hamas as a terrorist operation. it's sees the violence that hamas carries out as being legitimate. and it continues to insist that overall, that the critique that has been leveled at the qataris over the last several weeks as the crisis has unfolded. they continue to say that they do not agree with the definition of terrorism. that their critics are using. i see this as a very poor defense. know exactly how we view the problem. and they are allies of the united states. they are hosting our air base. they know the difference between right and wrong, at least in the way the west view it is and they refuse to recognize it. and that's one of the problems that we have. i think a post-script. if this is the case with hamas, who else might they view
differently? how do they view the nusra front? do they see them as terrorists? probably not. what we see as a growing list of actors where we would disagree whether they are legitimate, illegitimate, terrorists, not terrorists. >> does anyone disagree with that? >> what option does we have, if at all to get kwat tore change their view of hamas as a legitimate resistance? >> in the first instance, there are already reports that qatar has asked at least six hamas members to leave the country. that's food, that means some pressure works. so long as there's no consequence, this is a no-brainer for qatar. kwat sr a small, but rich country. if it wants box out of its weight class, it can spend money or do other things that make it
more of a player. it's been able to make itself more of a player in part by reaching out to islamist groups that are beyond the pale for most. and therefore being a key intermediary. we collectively, especially coming right after the european court of justices ruling just now, upholding the eu's designation of all of hams. we need to make it clear to qatar that hosting and providing services to a group that is committed to the destruction of a u.n. member state and to civilians as unacceptable. i put that in a different basket from qatar's support to citizens in gaza. which the israelis fully support. it was done through israel. that's a different issue. if qatar wants to be a responsible player in that regard, fine. but hosting and providing a safe haven is a problem.
>> has qatar weighed in to the best of your knowledge with regards to the u.s. moving its embassy from tel aviv to jerusalem? >> are you aware of -- the nature of qatar helping in the mission to defeat isis? >> well i think that, yes, in that qatar hosts you know, our forces, at an elevated air base, where we have the caoc. which is basically responsible for coordinating all operations in iraq, afghanistan and syria. especially iraq and syria, a central element of our strategy. i just would -- >> i really should clarify, i mean other than the obvious that you know we have a base there, the nature of these
relationships with other terrorist organizations and their, they're very welcoming to just about everyone it seems. in the region. so outside of the obvious, what other, what can we add what could you add as far as qatar's other efforts. not supporting, not allowing us to operate there. but what else are they doing? >> not entirely sure i understand the question. but qatar is a member of the counterisis coalition. it's somewhat limited. flown some missions, but refused to drop bombs, flown behind other airplanes in case something happened to them. not nothing, but not as much as others. the biggest issue is across administration different political persuasions, we've been more interested in getting another number to add to the number of coalition members, adding qatar without insisting to be a part of it you also have to meet certain thresholds. it seems crazy to me they could
be part of the counterisil coalition while supporting other equally dangerous islamist groups. >> i would love to get into that further, but i notice i'm out of time. so i yield back. >> the chair recognizes the gentlelady from hawaii, ms. gabbert. >> i'm wondering if you can address the double standard that exists in that we're confronted with, with all of this attention being focused on qatar. with different members of the administration. very strongly calling out qatar for its support of terrorism. yet in the same almost in the same breath embracing saudi arabia and lauding their counterterrorism efforts when i think some of you have mentioned in your opening comments, saudi arabia's long history of supporting terrorism and exporting the wahabi ideology around the world that creates these fertile recruiting grounds
for terrorists groups like al qaeda and isis. would this speak of saudi arabia, turkey, and turkey's support of different terrorist groups in places like syria saudi support for al qaeda in yemen and their fight in yemen. all of this attention is focused on qatar, with very little if no passing mention. of saudi arabia's role in all of this. >> i want to make sure my colleague allows me to speak. maybe a couple of quick thoughts. number one you mentioned turkey. i think a whole other hearing should be done on turkey. the same sorts of behaviors we're seeing exhibited by the qataris, we have seen with the turks and we have seen them in very similar ways. i think it was just yesterday, i don't know if he's still there, but the president of turkey. mr. erdogan, was in doha and they are strategic partners.
i think we need to address this. the interlik air base, the turks host a hamas base, they've been known to open up their borders to allow nusra fighters to go back and forth, possibly isis fighters as well. there are a lot of problems with the turks that i think deserve some attention. >> i agree. >> i think the other thing matt and i have mentioned, the problem with kuwait, the fact that kuwait has become a mediator in this, is somewhat ridiculous. that the kuwaitis have been identified time and again by our former colleagues at the treasury department and current, is that the kuwaitis are a terrible problem rivalling that of qatar. as of saudi arabia, i would agree with the assessment that it has turned a corner. it's not out of the woods, but it has gotten a lot better. it's not best in breed, that distinction probably goes to the emirates right now. in the gulf states, but they still have their problems, too.
what i started to say at the beginning of my testimony and prepared remarks is that all of these entire gulf is a problematic region. i think the saudis were seen as the number one producer of radicalism and radical ideology. i think it's been eclipsed. and as they're trying, looks as though right now they're looking to get better at this. and they still have problems with teaching, radicalism and spreading radicalism. as they improve we're seeing some of these other countries double down and qatar i think has been the most prominent among them. >> i think and got about a minute and a half. if others want to comment. the issue with saudi arabia, we've heard that yes they're making progress and yes there's change occurring. but i and others have asked this administration for very specific examples, data, benchmarks, changes, and to date we have not gotten any kind of specifics, either in writing or in person and frankly what we've gotten is a lot of lip service. so you know the question of how
long this has been going on with saudi arabia, casts a huge amount of doubt on saying, okay, well we think they're improving in this. >> i'll add that qatar in the here and now, right now, is doing things that have to stop. there's no question -- >> very long time. you know a whole lot of things. that not only cause problems then, but are still causing problems now. i'm not going to make excuses for them. have turned corners. i can't explain why the administration wouldn't provide some information about that which is not to say that there's not a lot more that they could do. but as several members of the committee have said, several of you have been approached by different members of gcc states recently. so have those of us in think tanks. i've mentioned to some of my saudi emirati colleagues, in particular, beware pushing too hard on general ideas of extremism. it's not like you haven't had problems of your own. beware of pushing too hard on the issue of kwator in the uae,
taliban officials were strolling into dubai with suitcases in cash. as long as it was invested in real estate. no one cared. the uae and saudis despite what they've done in the past, have turned corners. we shouldn't expect qatar should be perfect in the same way its neighbors are not perfect but we can't tolerate their most egregious behaviors. even some of the charges that have been arrayed against them are simply untrue. but some of them are very true. >> thank you. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from florida, mr. mast, for five minutes. >> i want to thank you for taking the time to come sit with us today. i want to get to something very quickly. we've been discussing the support of terror from different actors. terrorism i've heard it said before, terrorism isn't an
enemy. terrorism is a tactic used by an enemy. to that end i would like to hear from each one of you. what is it that you think is trying to be achieved by the tactic of supporting, by supporting that tactic. by supporting terror? what is the end that each one of you sees being played out? >> answer to another question. i think qatar is trying to make itself a bigger player on the world stage than it otherwise would be. by being a small peninsula, almost an island. a very small population, the vast majority of people on the island are foreign workers. it happens to be very, very wealthy. the wealthiest nation on planet earth per capita and it's also about another way to kind of punch beyond its weight. and that is through making relationships with other islamist groups, that it's been able to use to its own benefit
and sometimes reaching out to others and saying hey i can be a middleman for you, too, that has proved to be very, very dangerous. so qatar has never had a situation where there was a cost. to having the kind of relationship it wants and needs with us. which we'd like to have with them, too. at the same time they are having very close relationships with some of the worst of the worst. >> mr. shanzer? mr. goldenberg? >> i agree with matt. i think that overall qatar realizes that it's extremely vulnerable. that it's tiny and that it doesn't have the means to push back on some of its very tough neighbors. it shares, it shares natural gas wealth with the iranians. and they have to figure out how to get along. and so having some of these proxies available to them is useful thing. by the way, so is having an american air base. where they can sort of bare their teeth at the iranians.
but at the end of the day. what they're trying to do, what's happened over time. is they've become very wealthy. >> and they have tried to use whatever means they have to purchase power. and so you see them buying up large chunks of london. large chunks of washington. you see them paying for proxies across the middle east. trying to push the muslim brotherhood into positions of power. so that they, too, would be able to ride the waves of power. this is a lot of what drives them now. i think they've taken the spark way too far. >> i agree with what jonathan and matt have said. qatar is also just traditionally pursued sort of a third wave foreign policy in the gulf. a lot of the smaller gulf states choose to align themselves with saudi arabia. qatar since 1995, when there was a turnover and amir took over from the father of the current amir.
chose a different approach which involved not just going along with the saudis if you're a very small country with a much bigger one, sitting right next to you, running a lot of the region if you're going to go with that policy. try to find every division you can, and every opportunity can you to find influence, so it builds relationships off of other actors, i think this is a part of the reason they have a slightly different approach to iran which is a little more accommodationist and i think it has a lot more to do with sharing the gas field as jonathan said. so i think this is, it's about increasing their influence. increasing their influence and being independent for saudi arabia within the context of the gcc. >> you've each mentioned what you thought what the end was. we're talking about terrorism, support of terror and a very kinetic action. we're not talking about something cyber, we're not talking about something economic. we're talking about a very kinetic action. so in that, being in a qatar has
been purchasing foreign military or military equipment to the tune of $10 billion in '14, $17 billion in '15. what is the jump you make to connect the dots to that end? do you make a jump there? do you fear moving from the tactic of terror to a conventional tactic? is that the assessment that you make? >> no. they're still a small country. don't want to get into a fight with anybody. this is not kinetic. they're just supporting groups and they make a distinction in their own mind. this cognitive dissonance, they're supporting the political office of hamas in their mind. effective in fighting assad and nothing else. it's not quite so simple. i don't think this is at all a threat of regular military, military conflict. >> when you look at qatar, we've been having this conversation,
we've been having the conversation for the last hour-plus, i think it's important to note. qatar is a country of roughly 300,000 people. it's tiny. it has more foreign workers in country than actual nationals. they're not picking a fight directly with anyone this is why they've chosen that soft power approach. they bring the conflict away interest them. they cause problems for people that only they can solve this is the qatari way. >> my time has expired. >> thank you so much. mr. matt. god has grantsed me another opportunity to make good on the pronunciation of mr. zwazi's name. so i'm pleased to yield time to mr. swayze of new york. >> i'm going to pick up on something you just said about 300,000 people that live in qatar. change my line of questioning based upon that there are 1.5
billion muslims in the world. the challenge we face in today's world is, most muslims don't participate in this awful, horrific activity of terrorism and trying to promote terrorism and extremism and violence. and the challenge is, who is winning in this battle to try to promote extremism and violence? there are 750,000 muslims live in indonesia, pakistan, india and bangladesh. the other 750 million. did i say that? another 750 million who live outside of those countries. so the question is, things are dynamic. congresswoman gabbert was talking about saudi arabia's activities over decades and promoting wahabiism and building madrassas and promoting extremism all over the world. but things are dynamic and things are changing, some people are moving closer to our way of thinkinging, not to promote
violence and extremism. and some people are moving further away. continuing to promote violence and extremism. where would you place qatar or where they are right now? >> it's a great question i would say they've got one foot in one camp and one foot in the other. on the one hand they are hosting our forward air base and are a vital partner in the war on terrorism and they are investing through their sovereign wealth. invest hearing in the u.s. and across the west. they're investing in legitimate investments in terms of providing hard capital. especially when things got rough about a decade ago. the problem is they've used that as leverage. so that when we come to them, we talk to them about their support about the various groups that we've mentioned. the jihadist and taliban and hams. we talk to them about this.
they just don't listen. >> what are, if the people from qatar wanted to clearly demonstrate to us that they're moving away from promoting any kind of extremism and moving closer to our way of thinking. what would be the two or three things that they would have to do to demonstrate that in a clear way? >> for my money, expel people who are part of the taliban, part of hamas, part of the syrian jihadi groups. i heard from diplomats in doha. while the qataris can't do that because it would really upset the qatari population. we're talking about 300,000 people who live in an absolute monarchy. if the amir wants them gone, they will be gone. it is that simple. and we can ask. >> i'm only got a minute 55 seconds left so dr. leavitt.
>> qatar. we're talking about much, much smaller number. when it comes to the al qaeda financiers we're talking about probably two to three dozen people, max that were truly concerned about. we're talking about a small number of people in government who need to act. so this is actually one of the reasons that's so frustrating, it's so doable. this is an absolute monarchy. they have a respectable security service, they have no tolerance for this type of activity targeting them within the kingdom. but so long as the activity happening within the kingdom is targeting others it's okay if it gives them some type of leverage. we need to make it clear that there's more leverage to be had in having a wholesome relationship with us in the west and there are consequences in terms of that relationship if they don't. this is fixable. >> i think this crisis actually gives us an opportunity to build some leverage. and go to all countries. to go to the qataris and say
okay, here's our list. we need to see your action on this. i think there's an opportunity now, silver lining of having this crisis of having our partn partners, i would rather see them focused on iran and the counterisis fight. not spending their time in washington i trying to get all of us. here's an opportunity let's turn it on them. let's all of you live, here's a standard. we want all the countries of the golf to go by the standard. here's what we expect from you. >> along these lines. at the riyadh summit. we have created something called the terror finance tracking center. there's no meat on those bones yet. no one knows including the secretary or the treasury, no one knows what that's going to be yet. it's a potential structure. we could put some meat on those bones, that's a gcc-wide effort. we should be acting and
demanding participation from all the gcc countries. these are problems happening within all of them. even if qatar and kuwait are the biggest problems right now. >> thank you, madam chair. there's a real battle in the world going on stability and instability. criminals participating in murder and extortion and kidnapping and trying to promote extremism and ideology. it's individuals as you're pointing out that we need to target. thank you. >> thank you, sir. >> now we turn to mr. issa of california. >> thank you, madam chair. >> just for the record briefly, mr. shanzleer, last time were you in the administration? >> ten years ago. bush, right? >> leavitt, last time? >> bush. >> mr. goldenberg? state department, when? >> 2014. >> okay so very recently, all facts considered. so all of you have been in a position that this committee oversees, we actually don't
oversee qatar, we don't oversee kuwait, we oversee the places you were. so i'm going to tell awe story, it's a bush-era story. 16 years ago there was a hearing in this room. and we were evaluating the incredibly unreasonable activities of kazakhstan. they had the audacity to try to sell their big 21's to a hostile nation. the other side of the story was -- they had come to the state department, they had come to our government in the bush administration, they said look, we're a poor conduct, trying to become a rich country. we've got oil. we want to turn these weapons into plowshares, we want to actually sell them off. we simply want to raise some cash. they said who can we sell them to? >> mr. goldberg oddly enough states we can't give you a list. clearly lockheed wasn't interested in buying unless they
were trade-ins or others. neither was boeing. i've been through these hearings on country after country and we're going to see whether it's the palestinian authority, and including hamas. whether it's kwaet. we're going to keep having these hearings and always going to find one thing. money is leaking to bad people from within these countries, either by individuals or in fact there may be a nexus to the government in some way. what should this administration do under our auspices, i think mr. shandleer, you alluded to this. to make lists of who you can give to. to make lists of who you want out. how do we set, how do we get the administration to set solid predictable standards so we know it's not a mixed message?
please. >> what i would saycy think we can say these people shouldn't be here or they should be in jail and you need to take action. there are other things that i mentioned -- >> i will commit that if you provide that list, i will forward and i hope my chairperson will do it on my behalf. i will commit to forward that to the administration, asking them have they and will they make that request. >> we'll take you up on that. what i would add is there are other ways of putting pressure on countries like qatar that don't involve individuals themselves, but make it more painful. i mentioned the storm act, which is introduced in the senate, and yet to be introduced in the house. this would potentially label qatar and any other country a jurisdiction of terrorism, which would have a chilling effect on those interested in doing commerce. >> but my question was more narrow. is how do we get like those
lists, specifics to the administration, one of the challenges we have, we pass these various acts. there gets to be all kinds of debate about it, what i think i've heard throughout the day here and when i was in the back, is there are specific asks we should be asking countries to do in this case, qatar. there are things we can't undo, the amir visiting hamas and giving money for a hospital. we can't unring that, only say that we feel it was unhelpful to say the least. one of my questions to each of you, can you briefly tell us additional acts? and agree to give us lists of things, you believe we should work with the administration to get done? my hope will be it not be pass a law that ties this administration's hands, but rather things you know that should be done that we need to ask them, why aren't they doing it. >> to be perfectly blunt, sir.
>> i love blunt. >> i know you do. they know because we've told them. we're happy to provide information, we have a treasury attache in doha. he works real hard all the time. this new mou is going to send a department of justice opt-out official prosecutor, to help them with the prosecutions, there's no question about the names. because we have this very open conversation with them many times. one of my recent conversations with a senior qatari official. said look, matt, you're former fbi, we need the fbi to tell us, i said no sir. you have a really good security service, i know because i've worked with you in the past. i know that our people work with you, you know that i know that you know exactly -- it's frustrating. as a senior qatari official said just yesterday. all of the subject to the prosecution, nor is prosecution the only tool in the tool chest.
i would argue that the problem here is not the list. 9 problem here is that they refuse to do it and we haven't had a separate consequence for that. we need them for other things, we have to be able to balance that. >> that's why i believe our list forwarded will have more of a why not. and i want you to answer. my question was broader, it wasn't just qatar. it's clear we have similar requests from other requests from allies or semi allies throughout the gulf. >> know we're over time. but i think one thing the committee to do is for example, ask for a report on what it would mean to actually diversify away from the qatari air base. not because i necessarily recommend doing that. it would be very expensive. but i don't think it's a point of leverage that we just mindlessly say we're going to keep doing this because we're doing it right now. and it keeps a gun to our head.
we could push the pentagon and the state department to start thinking about alternatives. the answer you always get is we have zero leverage here, we need this space, which isn't actually the case. that would be another area which i think would also be interesting. >> thank you, mr. issa. now we turn to mr. siccilini of rhode island. >> thank you to our witnesses for your testimony. dr. leavitt. i want to start with you, you served as deputy assistant secretary to the treasury. you understand the critical role that our agencies play in advancing and implementing u.s. foreign policy. as i'm hearing your testimony, it just reminds me how disturbing it is and how much more complicated it is that this administration is not only called for a 30% cut in funding to the state department, but has left really important positions vacant and without nominees. at a moment that we're trying to manage this crisis and this very serious conflict in the middle east. we're still waiting on the
assistant secretary for near east affairs and usaid assistant administrator for the middle east at a time when terror groups continue to talk about efforts to pursue weapons of mass destruction it's baffling to me that we would leave vacant a position of undersecretary for arms control in the national security. i take it you all are equally mystified by that. >> it would be much bet fer we had that position filled. >> thank you. >> turkey. one of the demands on qatar has been to close the turkish military base located in qatar. turkey has responded by bolstering its military presence by a strong show of support. my question is this a real demand, what's the purpose? what would be the implications if this base closed?
>> what i would just say is -- you have to understand we talk about the politics of this region. and overall, the countries are upset with qatar for its financing of muslim brotherhood groups across the arab world. and they see it as a challenge to their view of the region, which they would like to maintain something of the status quo. the turks have been strategic partners, with the qataris. there's no question about it. so they see this as a doubling down on that sort of muslim brotherhood axis, so they see it as a threat. i think that i don't think they want to open up another front on this. i think they're focusing on qatar for a reason. but when you speak to these representatives, of these countries they tell you they see the, the turks as perhaps second in line in terms of the challenge to the regional order that they seek. >> and is it your decision this
has pushed turkey close to this blockade? >> they didn't need to be any closer, they were already strategic partners. now i think i mean as i see it now qatar has very few friends, they've reached out to the turks and they've drawn close torte turks. and alarmingly, they also appear to have drawn closer to the iranians, which is one of the things that, that qatar's adversaries were warning about in the first place. >> one point on turkey. there was an initial list of 13 demands by the countries that implemented the blockade. the list has been narrowed down to six. in a statement they put out and the turkish base is no longer on that list of demands. so i think that the turkey issue is an issue for them precisely for the reasons that jonathan talked about. but it's a lesser priority for them in some of the issues on counterterrorism, financing, their concerns about qatar's is meddling in their own internal
affairs, which they consistently talk about, al jazeera, things they a care a lot more about than the turkey issue. on iran, i would only add i think it's true that yeah, qatar has a more accommodationist approach than some of the other gulf states, but i think there's a real mix across the gulf in on iran to recognize the gcc if anything we've learned that gcv is not homogenous. dubai takes a less hard line. i do think there's a diverse of use. oman played a different role in iran, more as a mediator, especially during the nuclear talks. >> the qataris have obviously been trying to counter iran strategically. the at the same time kind of continues to maintain a dialogue with their iranian counterparts. what do you think is the rationale for that decision? and the kind of long-term implications? >> i think they're a country of 300,000 people. we've talked about and all of
their wealth, the majority of their wealth comes with a huge gas field that they share with the iranians. she own half and the iranians own the other half. this is the geopolitics reality. you'll never get them to -- qatari government officials, you don't hear a lot of love for the iranians, you hear some angst, but they're not going to take a hard-line approach like the saudis. i don't think they can afford to given like the position that they're in. >> i would agree with that. i think a lot of this is driven by the qatari need for survival. i heard from some of our friends in the region, in recent months, a concern that the muslim brotherhood in iran are not exactly at odds with one another. think we have this sort of preconceived notion that because the muslim brotherhood is sunni, organization, sunni network. it is fundamentally at odds with iran. that has not been the case historically. looking just at hamas for
example. you have this confluence of both qatari support and iranian support. there may be more than meets the eye. and thiscy think something that is worthy of perhaps additional research. >> thank you so much. i yield this is, i think, something that's worthy of perhaps additional research. >> thank you so much. i kwleeld bayield back. >> thank you so much. mr. rohrabacher of california. >> thank you very much, and i appreciate your insights that you have provided us today. i have a long history of dealing with qatar and those other countries. i've been here 30 years now, and i worked with the white house before i got here, and i can't help, but lament that things are going in the opposite direction than the opposite potential 20 or 30 years ago, and it looked like qatar and some of the other
countries in that region, we're going to go in a more positive direction. now what we see is basically, schizophrenia on their part trying to play both sides against all sides and these people think they can juggle and they think they're the world's greatest jugglers in that they can handle both groups of enemies and friends. so let me ask this, when you talk to people from qatar, and i have, they will tell you every time that there was one question earlier on this, that they were asked to bring in the taliban, that they were asked to bring al qaeda and hezbollah and these various groups by the united states government. even during the last administration did we, indeed,
ask them to bring in the taliban and have a greater opportunity for the taliban to use their area in qatar as a base of dealing with the world? >> i was in the last administration, and -- can anyone answer that question? they're telling us we asked them to do it. did we is ask them to do it? >> i do think we asked them to do it, but i do think it also goes back to the point that part of the reason we asked them to do it is because the taliban were already operating there in some form or capacity already. >> so there's some verification that perhaps the united states government did ask them to get involved with what we consider to be terrorist elements. we know that the deal for the taliban five, leaders, terrorist leaders were traded for one
traitor through our government which i thought was the worst raw deal that we could have possibly gotten and that was something our administration did and it happened via qatar. now let me just ask this, and i'm going to be very pointed here. the clinton foundation has received millions of dollars of contributions we know from russian oligarchs. is there any -- how much has the clinton foundation rz seeceivedm qatar? do we know -- or maybe qatar has not given any money to the foundation, is that right? >> none of us have those figures, but i just want to correct one thing. there's some debate as to what the united states might have asked qatar to do or not regarding the taliban, and i think it's now clear. they asked qatar to allow this
office to be open since the taliban was already there. >> all right -- >> this is not hamas and this is not hezbollah and al qaeda. >> i'm sorry. i have one minute left on this and let me just note. madam chairman -- >> you have more time. don't worry about it. >> i think it would be fit, madam chairman, that we make a request to find out if qatar has been the source of major donations to the clinton foundation, and if indeed our government during the time when hillary clinton was our secretary of state did indeed ask qatar to permit some of these that we consider terrorist organizations into their country. this needs to be looked at very closely because we know that the clinton foundation was certainly in russia receiving tens of millions of dollars from russian oligarchs.
let's just note that whether it's al qaeda or the muslim brotherhood, the jihadist and hezbollah, qatar has to make its choice. by the way, just one point that was made here earlier. i do not consider the rebuilding of gaza to be a positive act if indeed the palestinians are shooting rockets into israel and israel retaliates for qatar to step forward and be destroyed by israeli retaliation, what we are doing is encouraging the people in gaza to permit the shooting of rockets into israel. if indeed israel is retaliating against an attack. we should not be cleaning up the
mess. those people who permitted the attacks in the first place should be paying a price for it because we don't want attacks. we want there to be peace. this is the two-state solution that was supposed to come out of this and instead the palestinians have just been shooting rockets and creating terrorist attacks against israel. let's discourage that by not rebuilding their buildings if they have been destroyed as a retaliation against this type of terrorist attack on israel. let me just say again, and i agree with this that this has not been a hearing about all of the rest of the states. frankly, i don't find qatar any worse than our saudi friends, and there is schizophrenia going on there, but we look at the muslim brotherhood and the impact that it is having throughout that region and we
realize that in qatar and saudi arabia they embrace the muslim brotherhood philosophy which has served as the intellectual foundation for these terrorists and whether you want to call them al qaeda or hezbollah or jihadist or taliban or whatever you want to call them. isil. we need to make sure it's a time of choosing right now. the juggling has got to stop, and i would hope that the royal family in qatar and the people of qatar decide to be our friends because they have that choice, but if they continue down this path they will be deciding not to be our friends and decide instead with the muslim brotherhood and the terrorists. so i hope this hearing today sends that message. >> thank you. thank you mr. rohrbacher and mr. schneider is recognized for the same amount of time. >> i apologize in advance. i have a concurrent mark-up in
judiciary. if i jump up and leave it's because i have to vote. please don't take it personally, thank you for your time here and for your perspectives and the work you do on these and other important issues. there's so much here and so much to understand i think my colleagues have touched on some of the intuitive and counter intuitive aspects with our relationship with qatar and the difficulties in fully defining the parameters. i'll ask a leading question. would it be better for us and the region if hamas, the taliban and al qaeda weren't raising finances in doha? >> yes. it would be better. >> dr. shantzer? >> yes, it would, and it would also be better if they didn't have a presence there that was legitimized. the reason i ask the question is you can make lemonade out of
lemons and you can find a difficult or bad situation something to pull out of it, but what i'm hearing is it's a broad consensus that we're looking for the qataris to end the financing of terror in the country and to be a full partner in fighting terrorism in the region, is that a fair summary? >> it is, but i think it's just as important that we finish off today by noting that we need the other gcc countries this kind of coalition before in particular to be flexible and allow qatar some face-saving ways to do this. so far, they seem to be pretty hard lined and nothing is good enough, but we absolutely must demand that we make substantive and verifiable change, and we'll have to have honest conversations with the allies in the region and be flexible snuff to find a way that doha can do
this and that will have to involve some face-saving gestures and that's okay so long as the changes are substantive and verifiable. >> thank you. and that's where i was trying to get to, and i appreciate that sentiment because it is a matter of we have a base and it's an important base to the work we're trying to do in the region. the work we're doing is longitudinal and it's not going to be solved overnight and we need to have a long-term strategy. mr. goldenberg, you referenced and others did, as well, the issue that we have options to look at other places to place the assets and to the whole panel. as you look at the region, what would be the benefits to us to have a more diversified platform than just the base in qatar? >> i think there is definitely, congressman, a benefit to having more diverse options.
we have more diverse options in the region and we have the options in central asia. we have a base in the uae and a base in bahrain. so the more options you have the less leverage any one of these actors has over us. at the same time we have an evaluation and they've invested a million in that base and that's a ton of money. they do have technology there and runways and space and things that we don't necessarily have elsewhere, and so i think it would be -- and on top of that, if you end up in a situation where you lose access to the base and you start running into questions that you can conduct operations in syria and iraq and a problem where we can bring in a carrier to offset some of those with the ability to do things and the asia pacific or in europe and so it's a very complicated question, but it's worth -- it's certainly worth exploring instead of making it a sacred cow because whenever you make anything a sacred cow and
it makes it invaluable to you. one other point if i can just add on to that matt is saying and it's important to toss away, and i do think it's important we need to focus getting all of our friends in the region to de-escalate this crisis. the president went in may and the whole conference in riyadh was about isis, extremists and iran. what is secretary tillerson doing in the gcc? what are we talking about today? we're talking about the fight they have amongst each other and they're spending 90% of my time on this issue, you know, they're not spending time thinking on the things we want them to think about so that's a very important piece of trying to de-escalate this and finding a solution even as we push them on the terrorism. >> thank you. that's an important point. my last line is as we're balancing all these different issues and the consistency of
message and transparence oat part of the qataris, what is the impact of the divergent message or inconsistent message having on our ability to move forward in this region? dr. shantzer? >> i think it's clear that we have a couple of different messages that are coming out. we are hearing, on the one hand, that this crisis is not an urgent issue on the administration and at the same time it's smk that i do want to have handled. there are perhaps some of the actors in the region believe they have a freehand to act when they hear parts of the administration speak and perhaps a few more constrained. i think consistency is going to be important here. i personally believe that we should be sending a message that to the qataris that we demand change and that ought to be the first thing that we say and then to follow up with that by saying and as we demand this change, you, the other four actors involved in this crisis can
stand down while we take over, and that, i think, would be the way to get this to a soft landing and perhaps would be one of the face saving sort of mechanisms that matt discussed here today, but i would like to see more american leadership on this, if possible. >> the ferraris and the other cars are also speeding and is it fair to say that we need to have expectations of those in the region? >> dr. levity, to you. my conversations to you, it is zero clear that the conflicting message coming out of the administration are affecting them. i've spoken to people on both sides of this gcc conflict and each clearly feel that they can listen to the part that is saying what they want to hear. i've also been in europe recently and in conversations with the counter terrorism officials there, they've been asking me, and i am no longer a government official, what does washington really think? and so our allies are confused
as to what the position is. there are other ways we can do face-saving gestures and jonathan is absolutely right. if we play more of a role, we just agreed on a memorandum of understanding on qatar and there's not a lot of meat on the bones. let this be a mechanism through guarantees to us and let's bring others in. qatar will make the following changes and qatar will have to be willing to agree to make those changes and to do it in verifiable ways and then we can go to the emiraties and the saudis in talk and say this is what it will look like and they have to be willing to make those changes and to do it in a way that is verifiable. >> i appreciate the extended time and we have to be clear on our expectations and clear in the strategy and working with the allies in the region. thank you very much. i yield back. >> thank you, mr. schfire, mr. dos santos of florida. >> how would you describe qatar's relationship with iran?
>> uneasy. although, also a bit more ambiguous than perhaps what has been previously described uneasy in the sense that they're a small country and a weak country and they're looking across the persian gulf in a powerful country that's on the precipice of a nuclear country and they need to figure out how to get along with the neighbor and that explains in natural the dynamic, but we have been hearinging that there could be more cooperation than was previously seen. i mean, this is essentially what the gulf quartet has been alleging against qatar that it has been working with the iranians or perhaps with its proxies. i've heard allegations not just of hamas where we know that there has been sort of a cooperation on all fronts and
also potentially hezbollah. potentially the houthis in yemen. we've heard these things and there's not a lot of evidence yet to prove these things and it is something worth watching. >> there is a report that qatari money has ended up with iraq and some of the iranian-backed militia groups there. >> correct. >> what about the muslim brotherhood and the relationship that qatar has with the brotherhood. i read your testimony and you had spoke about or wrote about some of the people that qatar was supportive of the morsi government after he was pushed out and qatar was a haven for some of these people and i've heard reports that some of these really radical clerics like the chic who is one of the biggest muslim clerics is in qatar. is that true?
a lot of those folks who were involved with the brotherhood government now have refuge in qatar? >> 100%, and in the previous gulf crisis, was there one three years ago. one of the demands of qatar was that they expelled them from the country, but when you look at what the qataris invested in egypt during that one-year plus of morsi rule, it was reportedly $18 billion. it was a real significant investment. you look at your support for various actors in syria. they were definitely throwing their weight behind the brotherhood there in the early years of the uprising and the party in tunisia. the qataris are big supporters there and the muslim brotherhood in libya. it is -- i think at this point undeniable that the qataris are the number one supporters politically of the muslim brotherhood in the muslim worth.
perhaps a bit of both, but this is really the cornerstone of the debate as i see it between qatar and its neighbors that the neighbors are furious because they do want want to see the muslim brotherhood come to power and they believe that the qataris continue to finance and support the brotherhood in many theaters.they believe that the continue to finance and support the brotherhood in many theaters.and they believe that qataris continue to finance and support the brotherhood in many theaters. >> what's their reason for doing that? it's a very wealthy country, the regime, a huge wealth. is it ideologically? because it seems it's caused them a lot of problems in the region. >> i agree it's caused them problems and as you look at what happened throughout the crisis, it looks like a gamble that's not paid off and many of the gambles throughout the arab spring, a lot of money has effectively gone to waste. they see this as this leverage, a counter leverage with their
gulf neighbors to whom they have a pretty significant rivalry and it's their way of, i think, punching above their weight as matt mentioned and so they continue to pursue this. i think there is certainly an ideological approach here, as well. >> do you guys -- sorry. i've run out of time, but do you have insights into the brotherhood relationship or did he cover everything? >> there is this historical relationship, and i'm more skeptical about how much of it is ideological and how much of it is just geopolitical playing. the qatari, overall third way, if it was deeply ideological why would they build a strong relationship with us at the same time? to me, they don't want to play the same role. they don't want to just follow the saudis and they want to be an independent actor in the gulf and they'll pursue the open-door policy that welcomes all kinds
of different players some of which we can work with including ourselves and some of which are a huge problem and that's the motivation. it doesn't necessarily explain the behavior or excuse the behavior in which, i think, again, sometimes they can be useful to us on a lot of things, but we need to press them harder to stop. >> right. i'm out of time and i'll yield back. >> thank you so much, mr. desantos. sheila, and now we are so pleased that two members who are not on our subcommittee, but i know they're very interested in this issue, and i am very pleased to yield to them and we will start with ms. jackson-lee of tecxas. >> let me thank the chairwoman and the ranking member for their leadership in this committee and the testimony given by the witnesses. i'm in the same predicament and i've been able to listen to the testimony for a while and i'm in a mark-up and may be called for
a vote as we speak, so i will rush very quickly to thank the witnesses and i might speak to mr. goldenberg, if i might. i notice the title of the hearing is assessing the u.s.-qatar relationship which i think is extremely important. so if you might bear with me, i'm going to ask questions on more or less in a laurely factor. would you indicate or confirm and i'm just going to go back as far as the clinton administration, the bush administration and obama. in those administrations would you venture to say that qatar engaged positively with the united states? bill clinton -- yes or no? >> yes. >> mr. george w. bush? >> yes. >> and president obama? so if you just wanted a blanket assessment that was a positive relationship between the united states and qatar on some of the issues that they were addressing? >> i would say yeah. i would say -- look,
congresswoman, i think that we have a good relationship with them on a number of issues and the most important being the arab base. when we ask them to do things they often do that. >> forgive me, i've been called to a vote. during the bush administration, do you have a recollection or by news or your research that then secretary of state ask the them to engage with hamas? >> i don't know, but one of my colleagues might know better than me. >> okay. >> so you mentioned and in the discussion we mentioned that the region is an important region. i, from the lawyer's perspective, say that none of them in the court of equity are there with totally clean hands, and i would offer to say that stability is important, security is important and in your testimony, i'd like you to repeat what you said about engaging so that we can
encourage the stability. i understand the list has now been, in essence, pared down to six of the demand, but how would it be best to effectuate that engagement where all of the parties recognize that there are elements of their policy dealing with terrorists that should be eliminated. >> sure. i think the most important thing and matt's brought this up a couple of times during the hearing and the message being a good starting point and setting one bar for everyone to meet on the question of terror financing would be, i think, very valuable. the kuwaitis are a problem and the qataris are a problem and there is a long history there and a long way to go and the uae has had its issues and holding them off and saying the united states will hold them all to one standard and applying that standard across all of them, i think becomes beneficiary to us in terms of dealing with the
overall challenge, and also helps to alleviate this crisis amongst them. and then i think also just in terms of dealing with stability and dealing with the region is hammering home the point that we're not going to spend all of our time dealing with the conflict that they have amongst themselves and it's back to get to the bigger issues that threaten their stability and threaten our stability and the bigger things whether it's isis, extremism and some of the things iran does in the region that are problem attic and that's where i would like to see the relationship -- >> so any interjection by congress for placing punitive measures and one or the other, would you view that as a positive act? >> i would recommend doing that. i would recommend having a standard that congress applies to everyone across the board, and qatar might, and qatar might be the 90-mile an hour ferrari and so they'll have longer to go. >> let me follow up with my
almost concluding question, i don't mean boldening one over the other. i happen to be in the region with the administration and the meeting at that time the president of egypt and discussing these issues. i have a very strong commitment to the region for its security relationship to israel which we want to ensure their safety and would you make the argument that as you just said, focusing our attention on the larger picture and trying to focus the stability of the region by setting a certain standard. would that be helpful in making sure the region remains stable for another big fight and the security of israel? >> i think it would. we made a mistake by essentially signals a green light and a blank check for the president's visit to the region and basically led them to believe that there was nothing that they could do wrong and so they did this where the stronger message
would have been, we'll take a tougher stand on the issues you care about, whether it's iran or -- i would not advocate for walking away from the nuclear deal, but you want to take a harder stance toward iran's behavior in the region and you want us to do more? we'll do that, but we expect you to clean up some of your act and we have expectations of you. this isn't a blank check. this is a quid pro quo or an agreement between the relationship between two partners and i think that was part of the problem out of that trip. >> let me thank the chair lady and thank you all for your testimony and forgive me for my questioning and let me thank the chairlady for her kindness, and i like the blank check analysis that we should not give and work together for harmony, and i like that word in the region. i thank you very much. >> if you could hold your fire for just a few minutes because mr. conley who is on our
subcommittee, we will yield back to him now. >> i thank the chair. >> mr. -- dr. shantzer, you made some reference to maybe paid lobbyists for governments in the region had descended on our offices or been to the region. i want to give you the opportunity to explain. there are lots of lobbyists including israel that descend on our offices and we don't necessarily import to that anything negative by way of inference. were you suggesting in this particular case? >> there's nothing illegal or unseemly about it and the point that i'm trying to make is that there's a lot of it right now. >> there is a lot of it right now. there is a lot of noise and we're seeing a lot rf different
actors. >> did you mean about oman? this qatar conflict and in general, when we look at the permissive nature of what we've allowed to take place across this region. in my view, it has been the direct result of yielding to these which means over time this has become the boiling frog which is actually not scientific that frogs can be boiled and they won't jump out, but regardless, what i would say is that over time we have come to just accept the fact that there is, you know, there are terror financiers running around in qatar and that there are terror financiers running around kuwait and we're being asked to go the other way. over time we've grown used to this because they have engaged with us on deals to buy weapons and investments here in the united states and because they
have a face in washington and what i would like to do is look beyond the messaging and get back to the facts here that we have problematic relations. >> could it not also be because we also have bases, we have troops stationed there. we have the largest base in the region in qatar. >> we do. >> maybe we have conflicting interest here. we do. >> i'm not justifying anyone's behavior and it's not a matter of paid lobbyists because a lot of money is flowing around because we're looking at u.s. interest in the region and we're seeing a conflict. >> i would argue in response to that, and one of the reasons that we have been able to keep that base is that we continue to hear that, well, gosh, they're doing all of these other wonderful things and they're helping us out so you know, we'll deal with this terror finance problem quietly over here and let's not deal with it. look ten years later and we still have this problem. we now have a full-blown crisis. my argument is that we have not dealt honestly with the problem
of terrorism finance in qatar for a long time and i would argue that we haven't dealt honestly with the terror finance problems with some of those other countries, as well. >> if we're going go that route, i would add to the list and i would add the saudis. financing wahabbism and madr madrassas all over the world with extremism, one could argue. >> mr. goldenberg, you talked about the conflicting messages from the president and secretary of state with respect to this conflict, and i are i have to agree with you. i'm just wondering, added to that, what is the policy and should we be doing it by tweet different? only two of 22 assistant secretaries only nominate it and the ambassador in doha resigning
and arguing that because increasingly it's difficult to wake up overseas and try to explain what the hell is going on in washington, d.c. and what it means as an ambassador and a proposed 32% cut to state and aid, just spitballing here, could that have something to do with our inability to effect some kind of understanding and agreement and reconciliation among the gcc? >> yeah. i think it's a huge problem that you have the vacancies and it's a good example of the fact that secretary tillerson had to go on his own for a few day. i don't think this issue necessarily merits that unless you think you will have an agreement and it was very obvious that those of us watching it that you aren't going to have an agreement. so i do think in a situation like that, who else do you send? you pretty much have nobody especially the assistant secretaries and someone who worked at the state department for a number of years. in every department there is
that key level in the middle and the individual who is senior enough to be able to reach up to the secretary of state and get in front of them immediately and inform them and still close enough to the worker bees and the people working and the experts that they can reach out and pull in. those are the assistant secretaries and they are the key in my view that know, means there's no connectivity between the department and the expertise and the secretary. so, yeah. it harms us on this issue and pretty much all issues. >> madam chairman, lois frankel had a question, if i could ask on your behalf. >> we save five minutes, you know? >> please go ahead and ask. so lois' question, would the removal of the military base give license to warrant the question? >> i hadn't thought of it precisely that way.
it may, i think the bigger challenge logistically would be that if we were to remove the military base it would be incredibly costly and you have to look at what the alternatives are. it would strain our ability to conduct operations in the same tempo in iraq and afghanistan. >> i don't think that's the question. i think the question is implied here by having the military base in qatar, does it moderate behavior and would it be worse without it assuming there was any bad behavior at all? >> maybe. so yes, but it sort of works both ways. i agree with the notion that if we had no relationship, this would shrink our relationship with qatar and reduce our leverage over them and it would reduce our leverage over us. it's a hypothetical to make.
not walk away from it from all those reasons and to clarify that they have other options that this isn't just a gun that we can hold to their head. >> my time is up. thank you, madam chairman. >> right now we often look at the base as too big to fail and we don't use it as much leverage and we need to begin to use it as some leverage. if we suddenly woke up tomorrow and there was no base and we would lose a lot of leverage, yes, but we would have plenty of other areas where we would have the relationship with qatar. in the best of circumstances, i certainly hope that we don't move the base and it's right that we should look at what options might be and not because we want to, but just to signal that it's not us who are over a barrel by virtue of having a base there and they're not over a barrel either and it's a relationship and i don't think we use it for very much leverage right now. >> i would agree that we need to leverage and what i recommend in my written testimony is we need
to do an assessment and i do think the arrangement is not sustainable and it's not the right message we'll be sending to the rest of the region, but this does not have to be binary. we can move some assets out of that base because we decide that we need to redistribute and we can't ever lie too much on the qataris or we can't move anything, but at the very least and by the way, this hearing is doing a lot of good. the qataris know that we're talking about whether or not we should assess moving the base and this is very important and it takes leverage away from them and puts it back in our court. >> madam chairman, on behalf of myself and congresswoman frankel. >> thank you very much. we love to hear lois' voice even in absentia. we are so pleased to turn to miss maloney, thank you for your patience in sitting through the sub come they to be able to ask your question. thank you, carolyn.
you are always welcome. >> thank you, madam chair and thank you for allowing me privileges to attend your committee meeting and giving me the opportunity to ask a question. and thank you for having a hearing on a very important issue which is a top concern to secretary tillerson and that is why he personally went to the region and he has expressed his deep concern about peace and security in the region and want only for americans and our base, but also for all of our allies and he's publicly expressed his concern that our allies -- these are all allies of america, and he's concerned if it continues it will break up the gulf cooperation council that has been an important area of cooperation with the united states and our ability to collectively combat isis. he also has called for the
embargo or the easing of the embargo as it's harmful to the stability of the region, the stability of the gulf cooperation council and it's difficult for our base. the embargo affects also the american base. so his vision, i believe, is a good one, would you say? we are all allies and the enemy is not each other, but isis and other terrorist activities in the region. would you agree with secretary tillerson, mr. goldberg? >> yeah, i would. i think that this whole crisis has been a distraction with other things we should be dealing with. >> you know, i'm not sure i would have put as much into it as he has necessarily because i think part of this is these parties to also solve it themselves, and be responsible about that, that we can play a
very positive role in trying to get them to de-escalate and getting any agreement and trying to push them on financing questions. so i agree. for our interests and for the u.s. interests, the fact that the last two months in the gulf have been spent on this instead of the things that we prefer to be spending their time on is not good, that's the bottom line and it would be better if we can find a way to get over this. sadly, right now there are no indicators in the near-term that that's going to happen so we need to start managing the situation and also getting all of these different actors to tone down their public rhetoric so that a few months from now, maybe privately they can start with some deals. >> he's begun focusing on terror financing which i believe is a way forward, and i understand that he has created certain criteria already for the gulf nations to cooperate with them and i hope that they all will.
that would be a huge step forward on allowing access to their financial tracking where money is going. if you krascrack down on terror financing, are you aware of agreements that the state department has made with these countries to combat terrorism financing? i was told that qatar has entered into an agreement to share their database, to share their information, to combat terrorism financing. are you aware of that? >> i am, but matt is the real expert on this question. >> first of all, thank you for your questions. i want to start by pointing out that there's complete consensus across this table and the need to de-escalate this crisis and we need to be focusing on the other, more important issues. several of us have also said that some of the charges against qatar are baseless, but some of
them are very much grounded in truth and they affect all of those other issues. >> my question is are you aware of agreements, concrete agreements between qatar and the united states or saudi arabia and the united states or bahrain or the aeu or any of the other countries specifically to work together to combat terror financing? >> that's what i was getting at. there are many agreements and several that have been going on for years, bilateral and otherwise. there are two new ones. one came out of the riyadh summit which was the agreement to set up a terror finance tracking center, the tftc. there's no meat on those bones yet. they have lots of great ideas and i have spoken to people who wrote those staples and they're aspirational and they great foundation upon which i could build and in my previous
statements that i've used to move out of this crisis. >> i think that's a great idea. we should appeal to all of these countries to join us to combat specifics on how they would fight terrorism financing, and i personally want to thank secretary tillerson for entering in with his entire effort to personally try to solve this. we're talking about allies. we need to get together and i'm not aware of any other country that wants to host the u.s. military. i just recall being invited to leave one country very quickly. we were told to leave saudi arabia, and i'm not aware that any other country in the region wants to host a u.s. military. are you aware of any other country that wants us to come in and be there, dr. levitt? >> bee we do have bases in the and bahrain.
so it isn't like this is the only base that we have. if i can add, there is one other agreement and as you noted, secretary tillerson signed a memorandum of understanding in qatar, and they're very good boneses and there's more that can be built on them. i don't want people to think now there is an mou and thou we can cooperate. >> that is a very important issue and what you can do to help us is give us exactly what kind of meat should be today todayed on that bone and then we should present a detailed agreement on combatting terrorism financing to all of the countries in the region, and see who will cooperate with us in a specific way. i must tell you, it is deeply important to me. i represent the great city of new york and have lost 500 friends. we lost 3,000 on that day, but literally thousands and thousands more that were exposed
to the deadly fumes from the terrorist attack. so we know there are efforts to attack new york and other cities including this city. we have intelligence on that and other cities and anything we can do with our allies to combat terrorism can save future lives in america and other places, and i for one, support secretary tillerson's effort to end the crisis. let's join hands and let's combat terrorism and terrorism financing because if they can't finance their activities they can't attack us. i represent a district that just six months ago two bombs went off. you ask, where did they get the money for the bombs? how did they learn how to put them together? who helped them? terror financing is very important to the world and especially to the united states and especially to new york city which remains the number one
terrorist target in our country. i want to thank all of you for your work in combatting terrorism financing and i would welcome any ideas of how we could put more strength behind efforts to combat it, and i think that if we combat it, we would also strike against the financing of terrorism activities and other countries which allegedly, i was listening to my colleagues and their questioning were very concerned about whether they're teaching terrorism and we need to stop that, but my time is way, way over. i want to thank you for being here and thank you for your work and thank you for everything you've done to make the world safer, and thank you -- madam chair. i don't know if i've had a chance to publicly say in your committee meeting how very, very sad i am that you have decided to retire and leave us. you have been an incredible leader. >> i'm going to miss all of our
colleagues. >> it has been wonderful your leadership on this committee. >> greatest honor of my life. >> first woman to head this as the chair. we're very proud of you, ileana. >> thank you, miss maloney. thank you so much and feel free to come back to our subcommittee. you're a valuable member and we'll make you an exoficio member. i know you gentlemen have been testifying for hours now, but dr. shantzer, this tension has been going on for such a long time, why do you think that its neighbors decided to take action only now? is there something else that you believe precipitated this? . madam chair, thank you for the question. >> it's really one of the questions that i think we all should have been asking all along. i think when you talk to most analysts in this town they'll tell you they hate each other and it was the brotherhood and it was the arab spring. what made this thing erupt in
the spring? there were some reports that were perhaps because the qataris had paid ransom and the money went to shiite militias and bad actors in syria, but there have been recent reports that have surfaced recently and there's confusion over this, but i think it's worth unpacking and there is a report from the uae ambassador to russia that went on bbc and claimed that the qataris provided intelligence about emiraty and saudi troop move ams in yemen and that this led directly to the death of dozens of soldiers in the yemeni operation. i've also heard from three different sources since then that it may not have been al qaeda that they shared this information with, but rather the houthis and the forces in yemen. this would be devastating for qatar if this were to be true because of course, it would mean that they were sharing information with iranian proxies which is an absolute red line for the gulf states. so this allegedly happened in
the spring. i've not been able to confirm t it. all i can tell you is this is what i've been hearing from people who generally know in this town. >> thank you very much. and i think the audience and the witnesses for their patience, and excellent testimony. you will forgive me that i was gone a little bit from the podium. we had our bill up on the floor calling upon iran to release the hostages, the american hostages who are citizens and residents and we were overwhelmingly approved. that's why i was absent. with that, our subcommittee is adjourned. thank you to all.