tv Hearing Examines State of U.S.- Qatar Relations CSPAN July 27, 2017 5:37pm-7:11pm EDT
>> several republican senators, including john mccain, lindsey graham and several others talking about the so-called skinny repeal health care law that's been talked about in the senate. the senate, by the way, continuing work today on health care, debating and continuing a series of votes, all versions of the health care law that had been voted on so far have failed in the u.s. senate, including a repeal only, a repeal in two years, a repeal and replace and just today a single payer system failed in the u.s. senate. and a vote just took place on an amendment on low income insurance premium assistance. that failed as well. about five or six hours left in debate on health care today in the u.s. senate. senators are expected to take a break here for about 20 minutes and debate a bill that passed in the house this week on iran,
russia and north korea sanctions and then vote on that before returning to work on the health care law. again, live coverage of the senate is available on our companion network c-span 2. back now to a hearing we were showing you from yesterday on relations with the country of qatar. >> military base right there, which is, as you said, insane or -- can you just comment on that possibility where this is another dimension and another threat to this because every week it seems we have to re-evaluate which is the number one enemy. dr. levitt, could you start? >> i haven't seen this report, so i don't want to comment on a report i haven't seen other than to say the north korea issue is an important and pressing issue. 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 it in a way that is flexible because we have positive relationships with qatar. i would argue the way to be flexible is to host anybody you want, certainly for example i'd make a difference between hosting certain leaders of hamass sitting in a hotel room, as opposed to people who is believed to be in lebanon where he was literally plotting attacks against israeli civil n civilia civilians. we have to figure out how you have multiple conversations with a country at the same time on some issues you have agreement. on some issues you have great disagreement. we have done that poorly across
administrations. >> any others want to comment on this? >> i'll comment for a moment, sir. i think it is important to talk about when you talk about foreign workers in qatar, the 3,000 you mentioned are actually a small number relatively speaking in relation to the 800,000 plus foreign workers that are active right now in qatar. i have seen the reports of the north korean workers there. the concern actually was not they would be potentially operational, but rather they were effectively slave labor, given to qatar and that whatever they were being paid was being remitted back to north korea and this was a back door way of financing north korea. so these are the concerns that we have. i believe that the qatar have addressed this problem last i heard. but i have not seen a lot of updates on this. >> the reason i ask that question because we're having the 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 is about a year ago, maybe a year and a half, they were arguing on behalf of qatar for the upgrades for the f-15s. they thought it would 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 qatar with all its problems and, and it kind of shocked me from a military standpoint. doctor, either one.
>> look, this is a problem we have with all the gulf states. on the one hand their arm sales are useful to our industry. >> i understand that. but i'm talking about the f-15 upgrades. i understand your expertise in the pentagon. i have spent a few years in the military myself. although, i certainly cannot fly an airplane. in regards to that particular weapon system is kind of more sophisticated than some of the others. >> sir, i was just going to say that my issue with -- i can't tell you about that specific weapon system and that specific upgrade. i can tell you we have an issue where we probably sell these countries too much weaponry because they have the money. they need lower end technology to deal with terrorism. >> thank you very much.
i yield back. >> time expired. the chair recognizes the gentleman from california for five minutes. >> thank you, madam chair. on june 9th, our secretary of state, rex tillerson, stated we call on them to ease the blockade on qatar. later that same exact day, donald trump referred to the division to initiate the blockade as hard but necessary. and then, as you know, a few days later, the united states sells $12 billion worth of fighter jets to qatar. so my question is to the panel. what is your understanding of the current u.s. position on this so-called blockade? do we support it? do we oppose it? what is the answer to that? >> i'll start, i guess. i think we have a disagreement inside the administration and for the most part have seen this
disagreement. so i'm not 100% sure. i do think that what it does do, it causes some confusion because you can't really -- secretary tillerson is trying to act as a mediator and he's going out there and trying to do that. he had a trip last week or a couple weeks back to do that and meanwhile you have some of these other comments coming. so the qatar will go to the secretary of state and the secretary of defense who seemed to have positions more in line with their own. and that's really not an effective way to sort of try to conduct and mediate this conflict that i think is causing some problems. so i would say it is ambiguous right now what the policy is. >> so let me ask you another question. there have been various media reports that the trump organization has lots of businesses in saudi arabia and these other countries, but not qatar. do you think that plays any role, or could it?
>> congressman, i don't know. i don't know their motivation behind it. >> there have been reports that jared kushner got stiffed by some folks in qatar. do you think this could play any role in that? >> certainly a possibility, but it's not something i would have any knowledge of. >> let me move on to a question i had mentioned in my opening statement. are there families being separated because of this so-called blockade based on their national origin? or any panel member? >> my understanding is at least that, yes, there are issues where qatar and you have a lot of people moving between qatar and various states. you are going to end up in various situations where all gcs or all i believe qatar nationals had two weeks to get out of certain gcc states. >> so you would be separating
husband and wives from each other if they happened to be of different national origin. >> that's what i've seen in the press. beyond that, you know, and i've heard concerns about that, but i can't really speak for their policy, obviously. >> okay. i met with various representatives from these gulf state countries. one of the things that the representatives from qatar said is with respect to taliban, they said it is true there is a tall ban office in qatar, but that the u.s. asked them to open it. is that true? any one on the panel. >> i'll maybe take a first stab at that one. as i understand it, there was a tall ban presence already there to come there before the opening of this office. then came the initiative by the obama administration to negotiate with the taliban in
attempt to find pragmatic members of the group. and so they essentially authorized the -- what became the taliban embassy. as i mentioned in my testimony, this was something frustrating to those within the afghan government who were struggling for their own recognition of legitimacy. they felt this undermined them. and i have heard this from a number of u.s. officials on both sides of the aisle. what happened after that was the trade, the american serviceman who had gone missing in afghanistan and he was traded for the taliban five. this was facilitated by qatar and the taliban five, these are high ranking taliban officials. both came to qatar as well. and so they augmented the presence that had already been there. since that time, the concern has been not just 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. so there is 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. >> gentleman yields back. the chair recognizes the gentleman from new york for five minutes. >> thank you, madam chairwoman. does qatar -- this question for anyone who is able to answer. does qatar view hamass as a terrorist organization? or maybe a multiple choice. or does qatar view hamass as a legitimate resistance? or would you give it some other characterization? how does the government of qatar view them? >> maybe i'll start. the government of qatar does not see them as a terrorist organization. it sees the violence they carry
out as being legitimate and it continues to insist that overall that the critique that has been levelled over the last several weeks as this crisis has unfolded. they continue to say they do not agree with the definition of terrorism that their critics are using. i see this as a poor defense. they 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 that the west views it and they refuse to recognize it, and that's one of the problems that we have. you know, i think that maybe just a postscript that if this is the case with hamass, who else might they view differently? how do they view the taliban where we talked about a base that's there? and, so, what we see is a growing list of actors where we would disagree on whether they with legitimate, illegitimate,
terrorists, not terrorists. >> does anyone disagree with that? what we have if at all to get qatar to change their view of hamas as a legitimate resistance? >> in the firststones there are already reports that quarter to has asked at least six hamas members to leave the country. that's good. that means some pressure works. so long as there is no consequences in a no brainer for quarter to. yrt is a small but rich country if a it boston to box out of its weight class it can spend money or do other things to make it more of a player. process it has been able to do that in part by reaching out to islamist grupts. and therefore being a key
intermediary, we community-based residential facility collectively especially coming right after the european court of justice ruling just now upholding the euization of you will all of hamas not some wings and others but all of it. we in the west need to make it clear that qatar that hosting and providing services to a group that is committed to the destruction of a u.n. member state and to civilians is unacceptable. and i put that in a different basket from qatar's support to citizens in gaza, which the israelis full support np in fact it's through israel. that's a different issue. if qatar wants to be a responsible player in that regard fine but hosting and providing save haven to the leaders of a u.s. and eu designated terrorist group 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 the air base which is where the kay okay which is the central coordinating function. basically responsible for coordinating operations in iraq abafghanistan and seer syria. especially in iraq and syria where ice sis primarily based is a central element of our strategy and i just would. >> i really should have clarified, i mean other than the obvious -- we have a base there. but the nature of the relationships with other terrorist organizations and their -- they're ver 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 pottering -- not allowing us to operate there but what else are they doing? >> i'm not entirely sure i understand the question. but qatar is a member of the katina isis coalition p i it's commitment is limited. it's flown mission but refused to drop bombs it has flown behind other airplanes inis case something happens. that's not nothing but it's not as much as others. across different politic willing persuasions we have been more interested in getting another number to add to the number of coolition members adding yous are have to meet a certain threshold it seems crazy that they shall be part of the counterisil coalition which supporting other radmann cam islamist groups like al qaeda and syria. >> i notice i am out of time so
so i have to yield back. >> the gentleman yield as the back the chair recognizes miss gentle lady from hawaii. >> thank you gentleman. i'm wondering if you can address the double standard that exists in 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 support of terrorism, yet on 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 trist and supporting the terrorist ideology around the world that recreates fertile training grounds for radical sflchlt saudi arabia and turkey's support of different terrorist groups in places like
syria, saudi support for adequate in yemen and their fight in yemen. so all of in attention is focused on qatar with -- with very little if no passing mention of saudi arabia's role in all of this. >> i want to make sure -- my colleague matt levitt gets a moment to speak but a quill quick thoughts. you mentioned turkey. i think that probably a whole other hearing should be done on turkey that the same sorts of behaviors we see exhibited by the qatarys we have seen with the turks and we have seen in similar ways. in fact i think it was jed -- i don't know if he was still there but the president of turkey mr. erdogan was in doha and they are strategic partnering. we need to address this. i mentioned this before the airborne base there we have we have similar issues with that as we do with ewe dade. i see them mirror emthe trks
host a hamas base, known to open up borders to lau for nursa fighters possibly isis fighters as well. there are problems process with the turk that is deserve om attention. >> i agree. >> both matt and i mentioned to a the problem of kuwait. et fact that kuwait has being a immediateiator in this is one ridiculous. the kuwaitis have been identified time and again by the former and current enclosings treasury department they are a current so that should be addressed. as for saudi arabia i would agree with the ais element o assessment it has turned a corner. it's not out of the woods. but it has gotten the better it's not best in breed. that distinction probably goes to the emirates in the gulf states bup they still have problems too. what i started to say at the beginning of my testimony and prepared remarks is that all of the -- the entire gulf is a problematic region. i think the saudis were seen as the number one producer of
radicalism -- radical ideology. i think it's been eclipsed. as they're trying -- it looks as they are getting better at this and at the still have problems with speechg radicalism and red spreading it. as they improve we see some other countries double down. and qatar has been the most prominent among them. >> i think -- we've got about a minute and a half if others want to comment. the issues of saudi arabia yes there is progress and yes change occurring. but i and others have asked this administration for very specific examples, data, benchmarks changes and to date we have for the gotten specifics either in ig writing or in person. flankly what we've got. is a lot of lip service. the question how long this has been going on with saudi arabia confidenting a huge amount of doubt and saying yeah okay we think they're improving in this. >> i'll just add that qatar in
the here and now, right now, is doing things that have to stop tp there is no question. >> i fwree. >> things have happened for a long time, a whole lot of things not oem causing problems then but now. i'm not making excuses for them. they have turned corners. and i can't explain why the administration wouldn't provide information about that. which does not say that there is not a lot more they could do. but as several members of the committee have said, vefrl eseveral of you have been approached by several members of gcc states recently and so have us in and i've mentioned to saudi and qatarys be ware wear ez pushing too hard on general ideas of extremism. be ware of pushing too hard on qatar ufrmt ea. . terrorists were strolling into du beau and with suit cashes of cash. the u.
aechlt and saudis dpiet in the past have turned current corners we shouldn't expect qatar will suddenly be of course if the same way its neighbors are not yet perfect. but we cannot tolerate the most ee egregious behavior they've done even as i said in written and oral testimony some of the charges that have been arrayed against them are simply untrue. but some of them are very true. >> thank you. the gentle lady's time is expired .chair recognizes the gentleman are from a florida for five minutes. i want to thank you for taking the time to come here and sit with us today. i want to get so something very quickly. you know 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 that is used by an enemy. so to that end i'd 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 what is the end that each one of you sees being played out? >> so as i answered to another question i think qatar is trying to make itself a bigger player in the world stage than it would otherwise be by being a small peninsula, almost an island of very small population, the vast majority of people there are foreign workers. but it happens to be very, very wealthy be with the wealthy nation on earth per capita and it has found another way to punch beyond its weight, through making relationships with other islamist groups at a has been able to use to its benefit and sometimes being able to reach out to others and say i can be a middle man for you too. that has proved to be very, very dangerous. and 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 that they are having very close relationships with some of the worst of the worst. >> mr. shanzer, mr. golden berg? >> i agree with matt. i think that overall qatar realizeds its extremely vulnerable, 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 iranianens and nef to figure out how to get along. so having some of the proxies available to them is useful. by the way, so is having an american air base where they can sort of bare their teeth petition iranians processes at the enend of the day what they are trying to do -- they've become very wealthy and they have tried to use whatever means
they have to purchase power and so you see them bying up larng 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 right now. i think they've taken this way too far. >> and just to add and i agree with what a lot of what jongtsen and matt have said. qatar has pursue pursued a sort of a 13 way of foreign policy in the gufrl. a lot flt smaller dwufl states choose to alain themselves with saudi arabia. qatar basically since 1995 when it was a turnover and sort of a palace kier the father of kurn ee miles an hour chose a different approach which chose not just going along with the saudys and if you are a small country with you're going with the bigger country policy you
try to find every division you can and every opportunity you can to influence. it bblds relationship was other actors. this is part of the reason they have a sliltly different approach to iran which a little more adom tagsist. that has more to do with sharing the guys field as jonathan said. it's partially carb shall did it's about increasing influence but also about increasing influence and being independent of saudi arabia within the context of the gcc. >> so you've each mentioned what you thought to the end was. and we are talking about terrorism- support of terror. we're talking about a kinetic action not talking about cyberwsh or economic, we're talking about kinetic action. so in that, being that qatar has been purchasing foreign military -- or our military to the tune of 10 billion in 14 a
17 bottom line in 17 what do you make a jump to the dts connecting that end? 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. he this don't want to get into a fight with anybody np this in 1/3 mind also this is not kinetic they're just supporting groups and they make a distinction in their own mind the cognitive disens between other things they might be doing. they're support ago politicking office of hamas. islamist who are fighting assad and nothing else pl it's not so simple but that's how they think of it. this is not at all a threat of regular military/military conflict. >> i would just add when you look at qatar we've been having this conversation for the last hour place. i think it's important to note that kwiert a country of roughly 300,000 people. it's tiny. it has more foreign workers in
the country than actual nationals. they are incredibly vulnerable. they are not picking a fight directly with anyone this is which they have chosen the soft power approach. they bring the conflict away from them causing problems for other people only they can solve. this is the qatary way. >> my time is expired. i thank you for the time. >> thank you so much mr. mast. and god has granted me another opportunity to make good on the pronounceiation of mr. zwazy's name. i am pleased to yield time of the gentleman from new york. >> thank you madam chair woman. >> i'micing up on what you said about 300,000 people in qatar i'm changing my line of questioning based upon that. there are 1.5 billion muslims in the world. today the challenge in the world. 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 you know who is winning in this battle to try to promote extremism and violence? and there are 750,000 muslims that live in indonesia, pakistan abindia and bangladesh. the other 750 -- what did i say 750 million. >> another 750 million living outside of those countries. so the question is, you know things are dynamic. congresswoman gab ard was talking about saudi arabia activities over activities over decades pap promoting extremism all over the world. but things are dynamic and changing. some people are moving closer to our way of thinking not to promote violence and extremism and some people are moving further way away and continuing to promote the violence. where would you place qatar where they are right now? >> it's a great question.
and i would say they've got one foot in one camp and one foot in the other. and this is really what's the maddening about qatar. on the one hand they hoeft our forward air base and vital partner in the war on terrorism. and they are through sovereign wealth in the u.s. and across the west. investing in legitimate investments. and they have provided a crucial service in terms of providing hard capital especially when things got rough about a decade ago. they were there and they were helping. the problem is they have used that as leverage. so when we come to them and talk to them about support for the various groups we mentioned, the jihadist in syria and libby be with the taliban and homosexual hamas and we talk to them about this, they just don't listen. >> what are the -- if the people from qatar wanted to clearly demonstrate to us that they are moving away from promoting any kind of extremism and they are
moving closer to our way of thinking, than the west way of thinking what would be the two or three things they would have to do to demonstrate that in a clear way. >> for my money expel -- we should be provided with a list of people that they should be expel and if should be people part of the taliban, hamas, the various syrian jihadi groups. let me put it this way. i've heard from diplomats in doha that while the qatarys can't do that because it would upset the qatary population. it would be unpopular. we're talking about 30 oh thousand people loo hif in a monarchy. if the emir wants them gone they will be gone. it's that simple and we can ask. >> okay i'm only i've gone a minute 55 second left. so dr. 11 zbliet we're not talking about 300,000 people when talking about a smaller number when comes to problems there in. when it cochems to qatar request
financiers probably two to three dozen people max we're talking about. a small number of people in government who need to act. this is one of the reasons it's so frustrating it's so doable. this is an absolute monarchy they have a respectable security service. and no tolerance for this type of activity targeting them within the kingdom. so rung as activity hang within the kingdom is targeting over they're okay if it gives them leverage. we need to make clear there is more leverage to be had in having a wholesome recommendation with the u.s. owe u.s., the west abthe european. and consequences in terms that have relationship if they don't. this is fixable. >> i can just add one point, congressman. this crisis gives us an opportunity to build leverage and go to all the countries, go to the qatarys and say here is hour list you want our support in this crisis we need to to see action on this and also go against the saudis a emiraties. >> i agree. >> there is this real opportunity now you know sort of
the the silver lining of this krissis having our partners at each other's throats instead of focusing on what i'd rather see enemy focused on iran, a counterisis fight not spending time in washington trying to get all of us you know on their side but here is an opportunity let's turn it on them and let's say let's see all of you -- here is the standard you want to being to by in you go timothy by this standard and here is what we expect from you. >> yes please. >> along those lines there is a mechanism to do that at the riyadh summit we created the terror finance tracking center there is no meet on the bones yet. no one knows include including the secretary of the treasury who testified about it no one knows what that's going to be to be backup it's a potential structure. that's gcc wide effort. and we should be acting and demanding participation from all the gcc countries because these are problems happening within all of them even if qatar and kuwait are the biggest problems. >> thank you madam chair. there is a real battle in the
world going on between stability and instability it's not necessarily ideologies. it's criminals and participating and triegt to promote extremism ideology. i want not a group. it's individuals as you're pointing out we need to target. thank you. >> thank you, sir. >> now we turn to mr. icea of california. >> thank you madam chair. just for the record briefly mr. chancesler last time you were in the administration. >> ten years ago. >> ten years ago bush, right, 11 it last time. >> bush. >> mr. golden berg, state department when. >> 2014. >> okay. still very recently all facts considered. so you will a of you have been in a position that this committee oversees. we actually don't oversea qatar. we don't oversea kuwait. we oversee the places you were. this is a bush era story.
16 years ago there was a hearing in the room and we were evaluating the incredibly unreasonable activities of kazakhstan because they had the you a daysty to sell mig 21s to a hostel nation. the other side of the story was they come to the state department, come to our government in the bush administration and said look we're a poor country trying to become a rich country. we have oil we want to turn these weapons into plow shares we want to actually sell them off we're not replacing them. we simply want to raise some cash and they said who can we sell them to golden berg oddly enough said we can't give you a list. clearly lockheed wasn't interesting in buying them unless they were tradens neither wagon bowing or others. so my question to you is, each frp you, because i've been through the hearings on country after country. and we are going to see whether
it's et palestinian authority and including hamas, whether it's kuwait, qatar, saudi arabia. we'll keep having thor hearings and always find one thing. money is leaking to bad people from within these countries either by individuals or in fact there may be a next us to the government in some way. what i want to know is what are each of you prepared to do and should this administration do under our aus businesses -- i think mr. chancellor you list thd. you to make list of what you you want out. in other words how do we set -- get the administration to set solid predictable standards so we know it's not a mixed message? please. >> thank you, congressman. what i would say is a i think we can provide lists and say these people shouldn't be here or should be in jail. and that then you need to take action.
that's a very straightforward approach. there are other things that you mentioned. >> and i will commit that if you provide that list i will forward and i hope my chair person will actually do it on my behalf. but i will commit to forward it to the administration asking them have they and will they make that request. >> we'll take you up on that. what i would also add though is that there are other ways of putting pressure on countries by qatar that don't involve theed individuals themselves but that make it more painful. so i mentioned the storm act which was introduced in the senate. >> right. >> and is yet to be introduced in the house. but this would be potentially lablt label qatar and/or he other country a jurisdiction of terrorism finance concerns which would have a chilling effect on those who would be interested in doing commerce. >> but my question was more narrow. is how do we get like those lists specific to the administration? you know one of the challenges we have we have the pass the various acts. and then there gets to be all kinds of debate about it.
but what i think i heard throughout the day both here and when i was in the back, is that there are specific asks that we should be asking countries to do, including in this case qatar. now there are things they can't undo. the emir visiting hamas and giving money por a hospital we can't unring any of that. we can only feel it was not helpful to say the least. one of my questions to each of you with the limited time is can you briefly tell us additional acts and can you agree to give us lists of things that you believe we should work with with the administration to get done? my hope is that it will not pass a law that ties this and future administration's hands but rather things you know should be done that we need to ask them which aren't they doing it? is so to be perfectly blunt, zblier i love blunt. >> oh you do. they know because we have told them. i'm happy tsh shall it i'll speak for all of us wray happy to provide you information. we have a treasury ateach in
doha he works real hard all the time. this mu mo ufrmt is going to send a department of justice op data official to help them with prosecutions. there is no question about the names not only because we have designated many, because this very open conversation with the them many times. one of my recent conversation was the senior qatary official the official said matt you're froshl fbi we need the fbi i said no you have a really good security service i know because you worked with you pat past oh our people are working with you you know that i he know i you know dplkt who where talking about us fritz freighting when a senior qatary official says yesterday all the terror financiers have been subject to the prosecution. that's not true. more is prosecution the only tool in the tool chest. so i'd argue that the problem here is not the lists. the problem here is that they refuse it it and we haven't had any type of consequence for that because we need them for other things we want them for other
things but we have to be able to balance that. >> race he is that's why i believe our list forwarded will have more of a why not. >> i want you to answer -- my question was broad broader it wasn't just qatar. it's very clear we have similar requests from other allies or semi allies throughout the gulf yes. >> yes thank you congressman. one quick point i know we're over time. but i think one thing the kpt could do is for example ask to a report what it would mean toule diversify away from the qatary air business not because i recommend doing that it would be expensive and difficult if we can we should keep the business. but i don't think it's a point of leverage to the point that we just mindlessly say well we're just going to keep doing this because we're doing it right now and keeps a gun to our head. and i think unless you sort of push the pentagon or the state department to at least start creativitily thinking about alternatives the always you get from any information we have zero leverage here we need the
pace which isn't actually the case. that would be another area. >> thank you madam chair. >> thank you you mr.mentisa. >> now we learn to mr. mr. sis leany. >> thank you to the witnesses for your testimony. dr. 11ist i want to start with you you served as department assistant secretary of the treasure which rewe understand the critical role our agencies play in foreign policy. as i'm hearing your testimony it reminds me how disturbing it is a how much more complicated it is that this administration not only called for a 30% cut in founding funding to the state department but left really important positions vacate and without nominees at a moment we are trying to manage this krissis and this very serious conflict in the middle east. we're still awaiting the nominees from the assist six anden dprgs assist for middle east and at a time when terror group talk about weapons of mass
druks. it's baffling to me that we would leave vacate the position of underekt for arms control and international security. i take it you all are equally mystified by that. >> it would be much better with the positions filled. >> great, thank you. >> i want to first talk about turkey. one of the demands on qatar has been to close the turkish military base located in qatar. and turkey has respond pd of course by bolsters military presence as a strong show of support. and my question really is is that -- in a real demand? what's the purpose of it and what would be the implications if the base closed? >> i'll let alone speak in a sec. we have talked about the politics of the region. and overall the countries are
upset with qatar with financing of muslim brotherhood groups across the arab world. 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 partner was the qatarys. there is no question. and they see this as doubling down on that sort of muslim brotherhood axis if you will. 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 are focusing on qatar for a reason. but when you speak to the representatives these countries. they will tell you that they see the turks as perhaps a -- it's second in line in terms of the challenge to the regional order that they seek. >> and is it your assessment that this pushed qatar closer to turkey, the blockade. >> they didn't need to be any closer. they were already strategy he can partners.
but now a as see is qatar has very few friends so they have traun closer to the turks. alarmingly they have drawn closer to the iranians which is one of the things that qatar as's adversaries were warning about the first place. >> one point on turkey, there was had initial list of 13 demands by the country's the implemented the black aid. the list that be narrowed to down to six. and the turkish base is no longer on this list of demands. and so i think the turkey had you is an issue for them precisely for the reasons that jonathan talked about. but it's i think a lesser priority for enemy than some of the yous and counterterror. financing concerns about whether qatar is meddling in their own internal fairs which they consistently talk about add aljarz ray. are things they care more about than the turkey issue opinion on
iran i would add it's true qatar has more accommodationist approach than the other gulf states but there is a mix across the gulf on iran. if anything we learned from the crisis is gc. s nom hom gene joust within the a abdullah dedication a hard line. dubai less so. oman played a different role on iran more as a mediate other. >> i'd like to follow up on iran. the qatarys have obviously been trying to counteriran strategically where at the same time kind of continuing to maintain a dialogue with iranian counterparts. what do you think is the rationale for that decision and the kind of long-term implications? >> so i think they're a cy of 300,000 people as we talked about. and all of their equality majority of the wealth comes are from the gas field shared with the iranians. process they own half with the iran has the other half. this is a reality of geopolitics
they live with thp you'll never get them to pull away completely. at the same time my engagement with qatary government officials you don't hear a lot of love for the iranians. you do hear angst. but they're not taking a hard line approach like the saudis. i don't think they can afford to given the position they're in. >> i would -- i would agree with that. i think a lot of this is driven by the qatary need for survival. but i've heard from some of the friends in the region in recent months a concern that the muslim brotherhood and iran are not exactly at odds with one another. i think we have this sort of preconceived notion that because the muslim brotherhood is a sunni network it is fundamentally add odds with iran. that ha has not been the case historically looking at homosexuals forthyou have the confluence of both qatary support and iranian support. there may be more than meets the eye. this is i think somethingworthy
of perhaps additional research. >> thank you so much i yield back. >> thank you so much. mr. reporter backer offia. >> thank you very much. and i appreciated your insights that you provided us today. i have had a long history in dealing with qatar with those other countries. i've been here 30 years and you i worked with the white house before i got here. and what i -- did i can't help but lament that things seem to be going in the opposite direction than what we had a positive potential 20 and 30 years ago. it really did look like qatar and some other countries in that region were going to go in a more positive direction. now what we see is basically either schizophrenia on their part trag to play both sides against all sides or these
people think that they can just juggle. they think they're the worlgd world's greatest jugglers in that they can handle both groups of enemies and friends. so let me ask this. when you talk to the people from qatar ---en i have -- and the they will tell you every time that they and again -- there was one question earlier on this -- that they were asked to bring in the taliban, that they were asked to bring in al qaeda and hezbollah and these various groups by the united states government. did -- even during the last administration, did we inkeyed ask them to bring in the taliban have a greater opportunity for the taliban to use their -- their area there in qatar as a base of dealing with the world?
>> i didn't work -- it wasn't the i was in the last dmgs but i did not have work on issues having to do with the taliban. >> can anyone answer that question np they're telling us we asked them to do it did we ask them to do. >> i can answer from my understanding, which is i do think we asked them to do it but i tifrpg do think it goes back to the point pennsylvania that part of the reason we asked them to is because the taliban were already operating there in some form or capacity already. >> so there is some verification that perhaps the united states government did ask them to get involved with some of these --way we consider to be terrorist elements. we know that the deal for the taliban 5 leaders, terrorist leaders were traded for one traitor through our government and which i thought was the worse raw deal we could have possibly gotten. that was something our administration did. and it happened via qatar. now, let me just ask this.
i'm going to be very pointed here. and -- oak, the clinton -- the clinton foundation has received millions of dollars of contributions -- we no from russian oligarchs. is there any -- how much has the clinton foundation received from qatar? >> do we know of any -- or maybe qatars has not given any money to the foundation? is that right? >> none of us have those figures. but i want to correct one thing. there is some debate as to what the united states might have asked qatar to do or or not regarding the taliban. it's now clear they asked the qatar to allow the this office to be open since the taliban was already there. >> all right. >> all right. >> this is not hamas you had mentioned it's not hobls. >> i'm sorry i've got one minute left on this. let me just note madam chairman, i think it will. >> you have more time don't worry about it.
>> well, injury it would be fitting, madam chairman that we make a request to find out if -- if qatar has been the source of major donations to the clinton foundation and if indeed our government during the time when -- when hillary clinton was our secretary of state did indeed ask qatar to permit some of these what we consider terrorist organizations into their country? this needs to be looked at very closely. because we know that the clinton foundation bass certainly in russia receiving tens of millions of dollars from russian oligarchs. let's just note that, whether it's al qaeda,s muslim berrihood and hezbollah, hannibalen. qatar has to make a choice. i do not consider the rebuilding
of gaza to be a positive act. that -- if indeed the palestinians are hooting rockets into israel and israel retaliates for qatar to step forward and rebuild everything that's been destroyed by israeli retaliation, what we are really doing is encouraging the people in gaza to permit the -- the shooting of rockets from their territory into israel. no. people that -- the fact is that if indeed israel is retaliating against an attack we should not be cleaning up the mess. those people who actually 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 -- this is the two-state solution was supposed to come out of this. instead of palestinians have
just been shooting rockets and creating terror attacks against israel. let's discourage that by not rebuilding buildings that they have been destroyed as a retaliation against this type of terrorist attack on israel. let me just say, again -- and he agree with in -- that this has not been a hearing about all the rest of these states. i don't find -- frontingly i don't find qatar any worse than our saudi friends. and there is again again schizophrenia going on there. but we look at the muslim brotherhood and the impact that it is having throughout that region and we realize both in qatar and saudi arabia they embraeps the muslim brotherhood philosophy which hags served as basically the intellectsle foundation for the terrorists, war ever -- whatever you want to call them al qaeda ob hezbollah or jivedist ob isil.
whatever you want to call them we need to make sure it's a time of choosing right now. the justling has got to stop. and i -- 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 any will -- they will be deciding not to be our friends and decide instead with the muslim brotherhood and terrorists. so i hope that this hearing today sends that message. >> thank you. thank you mr. reporter bacher. and mr. snyder issed recommended for the same amount of time. >> i will apologize in advance. i have a concurrent markup in judiciary. if i jump up and leave it's because i have to go vote. please don't take it personally. but thank you for your time here for sharing perspectives. but also for the work you do on this and other important issues. there is so much here and so much to understand injury my colleagues have touched on some
of the intuitive, counterintuitive aspects of our relationship with qatar and the the difficulties in fully defining the parameters. i would i'll ask a leading question. would it be better for us in the region the hamas, hannibalen, al qaeda weren't raising finances in doha? >> yes. it would be better. >> dr. shanzer. >> yes it would and it would also be presence there if they didn't have a presence there legislate myselfed. >> mr. fowleden berg. >> yes. >> the reason i ask the question is you can make lemon'd out of limbens. you can find in a difficult or bad situation something to pull out of it. but i think what i am hearing is broad consensus that we looking to the qatarys to end the financing of terror in their country and be a full partner in
fighting terrorism in the region. is that a fair summary? >> it is but i think rits just as important to -- that we finish off today by noting that we need the other gcc countries, the coalition of four in particular to be flexible. and allow qatar some face saving ways to do this. >> that was my. >> so far they seem to be pretty hard line that nothing is good enough. and so we absolutely must demand that qatar make real substantive and verifiable change. but in order for that to happen we have to have real- honest conversation was the other allies in the region and kind of insist that they be flexible enough to find a way that doha can do this and involve some face saving gestures. that's okay so long as the changes with substantive and verifiable. >> thank you. and that's where i was trying to get to. so i fresht that sentiment. because it is a matter of we
have a base in qatar. it's an important base to the work we're trying to do in the region. the work we are do something longitudinal. it's not going to be solved overnight. and we need to have a long-term strategy. mr. golden berg one recognize to do and others did as well the had you issue that we have -- options to look at other places besides qatar to place assets. and to the oel panel. as you look at the region what would be the benefits to us have having a more diversified platform than just the base in qatar? >> i mean there is definitely congressman -- there is always a benefit to having more diverse options. we are we have other options in the reenl. options in central asia. we have a base in the uaep a base in bahrain. the more ogss you have the less leverage any one of the actors has over us. at the same time, i think we'd have to do a real evaluation.
because if we lost the business in qatar -- they've invested $1.0 billion in that base during the 90s. . that's a ton of money. they do have technology there and sort of runways and space and things we don't have elsewhere. and so i think it would be -- on top that have if you end up in a situation where he lose access to the base you run into questions of not being able to conduct as many prays operations in iraq and syria and afghanistan and also a place to bring in a queerier we lose ability to do things in the asiaing pacific or 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. whenever you make something a saerkd cow and it becomes invaluable you have less leverage. one other point if i could add on what matt was saying which i think is important to also. we need to focus on getting all of the friends in the region to deescalate this cuss crisis.
because you go back and look. the president went in may and the whole confrontation in riyadh was about isis islamic extremism and iran. what have we been doing for two months? what is social security tillerson when he goes out for a we can to the gcc what are we talking about we talk about the fight they have amongst each other. if they're spending 90% of the time -- i'm spending 90% of my time on this issue from diplomats. they're not spending time thinking about the other things we want to think about and what we want to think about. that's an important piece of trying to deescalate this and find a solution even you pushing thechl on the terrorism. >> my last line is as we do that, billion balancing all the different issues consistenty of messages on our party transparency on the part of the qatarys. what is the impact of die verjtent messages having on our ability to move forward in the region.
>> it's clear we have a couple of different messages coming out. we are hearing on the one hand that this crisis is not an urgent issue for the administration to handle. at the same time that it's something that we do want to have handled. i think there is perhaps some of the actors in the region believe they have a free hand to act when they hear parts of the administration speak. and then perhaps feel more constrained. i think consistenty is important here. i personally believe we should be sending a message to the qatarys 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 one of the face-saving mechanisms that matt discussed here today. but i would like to see more american leadership on this if
possible. >> to use the and algae, the ferrari and the other cars also speeding is it fair to say we need to to have expectation of all allies in the region that they are addressing the issues. >> 100%. >> dr. levitt to you. >> my conversation with the the officials in the past clear it's he that the conflicting mentals from the administration are attacking them. i've spoken to people on both sides of this intragcc conflict and each clearly feel that they can listen to the part saying what they want to hear. i've also been in europe recently and in conversations with counterterrorism officials there. they've been asking me -- i'm no longer a government official -- what is washington really think? so our allies are confused as to our position. i think there are other ways we can do face saving gestures. jonathan is absolutely right if we play more of a relevant there is more likelihood things move forward. we just agreed upon a memorandum of ungtsds with qatar. that's fine that's not a lot of
meet on it. let's bring others in. the eu, others, qatar is going to make the following changes. qatar has to be willing to agree to make those changes and to do it if verifiable ways. we can go to the emiraties and saudis in particular and say, this is how it's going to be done and this is the what the verification loobls. . but the qatarys have to make the changes and do it in verifiable way. >> great i seize that i'm out of time. i appreciate the extended time. i do agree with you we have to be clear in the expectations clear in the strategy and working with all allies in the region. thank you very much. i yield back. >> thank you. mr. desantos of florida. >> thank you. >> dr. how would you scribe qatar's relationship with iran. >> uneasy, also a bit more ambiguous than perhaps what has been previously described. uneasy in the sense that they're a small country, a weak country
and looking across the -- the persian gulf at a powerful country that's on the precipice of a nuclear weapon and. and they need to figure out a way to get along with the neighbor especially one where they share the natural gas field. so that i think explains in general the dynamic. but we have been hearing that there could be more cooperation than was previously seen. i mean this is essentially what the -- the gulf quartest has been with the proks that it has been working with iranians or proxies. not just amgs he is of hamas where we know there has been sort of cooperation on all fronts but also potentially hezbollah, potentially the hougtis in yemen. >> there is not a lot of evidence to prove these things. but it's certainly worth watching. >> there are also reports that qatary money ended up in iraq
with some of the iranian-backed millisha groups there. >> correct. >> what about the- the muslim brotherhood and the relationship that qatar has with the brotherhood? i read your testimony. and you had spoke -- or wrote about some of the people that they were -- qatar was really supportive of the mothersy government in egypt after mu barrick was pushed out but when general al see see took over. qatar was a haven for some of these people. and i have heard reports that some of the really radical clerks one of the biggest muslim brotherhood clerks is ins qatar. is that true a lot of the folks involved with the brotherhood government have refuge in qatar. >> 100%. in the previous gulf crisis there was one three years ago -- one of the demands of qatar was that they exile some of the
muslim brotherhood figures they expel them from the country. but when you look at what the qatarys invested in egypt during that one year plus of mothersy rule. reported $18 billion. a significant investment. you look at their support for -- for various actors in syria. they were definitely throwing their weight behind the brotherhood there ins early years of the uprising. the -- the nagta party in tunisiaia. qatarys are big supporters there. the brotherhood in liebia. it is -- injury at this point it's undeniable that the qatarys the number one supporters financially and politicly of the muslim brotherhood in mufrm world. turkey is number two. not financially but politicly but perhaps a bit of both. but this is really the corner stone of the debate as i see it between qatar and neighbors, that the neighbors are furious because they do not want to see the muslim brotherhood come to
power. and they believe that -- that the qatarys continue to finance and support the brotherhood in many theaters. >> so what's their -- their doing that? it's a realtimy country. the regime -- the royal -- a huge wealth. is it just ideologically that's what they want? because it seems to cause them a lot of problems. >> i agree it's caused them problems. i would say at this point when you look at what's happened throughout the crisis it looks like a gamble that has not paid off. abi think many of the other gambles throughout the arab spring it looks like a lot of money that is effectively gone to waste. but they see this as their leverage, ar counterleverage to their gulf neighbors with whom they have a significant rivalry. and it's their way of i think punching above their weight, as matt had mentioned. and so they continue to pursue this. i think there is certainly an ideological approach here though
as well. >> do you guys -- sorry. i get guys i've run out of time. do you have any insight into the brotherhood relationship? did he cover everything? >> i'm sorry. i think that's -- i think jonathan described -- there is this relationship it's a long historical replace. i think -- i'm more skeptical about how much of is it ideological and how much more just geopolitical playing -- the qatary over all third way. if it was deeply ideological woi would they build a strong lmgs relationship with us intimidate to me it's the same they don't to want to play the same role or follow the saudis they want to be independent in the gulf they will pursue an open door policy that welcome all different players, some of which we can work with including our ourselves. some of which are a huge problem. and so that's the motivation. it doesn't necessarily explain the behavior, which -- or excuse the behavior, which i think again sometimes they can be useful to us. on some things.
but a lot of times it's -- we need to press them harder to stop. >> right. i'm -- i'm out of time and i will wield back. >> thank you soefrp. sheila, and now we are so pleased that two members who are not on our subcommittee but i know that they are very interested in this -- in this issue and i'm very pleased to yield to them and we will start with miss jackson of texas. >> let me thank the chair woman for leadership and the ranking member for their leadership of this committee and the important testimony that's been given by the witnesses. i'm in the same predicament, though i've been able to listen to the testimony for a while. i'm in a markup and may be called to vote as i speak. but i will rush quickly to thank the witnesses. but i really want to speak to mr. golden berg if i might. i noticed that the title of the hearing is the assessing the u.s./qatar relationship. which injury is extremely important. so if you might bear with me i'm
going to ask questions more or less in a lawyerly factor. would you -- would you kbat or confirm that -- i'm just going 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 in bill clinton- i'm just going at the time you yes or no. >> yes. >> mr. george w. bush? >> yes. >> and president obama? >> so if you just want add blanket ais assessment that was a positive relationship between the united states and qatar on the some of the issues they weres addressing? >> i would say yeah, i would say that they are -- loob i think on -- congresswoman i think that we have a good relationship with them on a number of issues. the most important i think being the air base. beyond that when we ask them to do things they often do them. >> let me -- forgive a and call to a vote eyeball, during the
bush dmrngs do you have a recollection or by news or research, that then secretary of state asked them to engage with hamas? >> i don't know. but one of my colleagues might know better than me. >> so you mentioned -- in the discussion we have mentioned that the region is an important region. i from the lawyer's perspective 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 to you 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 demands. but how would it be best for us
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 mean i think that what you -- the most important thing -- and matt brought this up a couple of times during the question of the mou being a starting point. setting one bar for everyone to meet on the question of terror financing would be i think very valuable. because there is the -- the kuwaitis shall the qatarys pourl there is a long history therein a. ufrmt aes also had issues holding them ---en a saying the united states will hold them all to one standard and replying 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 the crisis amongst them. and then i think also just in terms of dealing with stability and dealing with the region it's really hammering home the point we're not going to want to spend all of our time dealing with the
interseen conflict chl mojs themself. it's time to get back to the bigger issues threaten their and our stability and the things drawing us into the region, whether isis, extremism, some of the things that iran does in the region problematic. that's where i would really jugs like to see the relationship spend more time. >> so any interinjection by congress for placing punitive measures on one or thor in thisstones qatar would you view that as positive. >> i wouldn't recommend that. i would recommend a standard that congress replies to everyone across the board and qatar might -- you know as jonathan said the and algae qatar might have the fastest -- might be the 90 miles an hour ferrari. they will have longer to go. >> let me follow up with my almost concluding question. emboldening one other over the other -- i happen to have been in the reenl during the visit of the administration and meeting with -- at that time the president of the 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 on the larger picture, and trying to ensure the stability of the region by way of setting a certain standard? would that be helpful in terms of making sure the region remains stable for other big fights and also the security of israel? >> i think it would, and i think also congressman, you mention the issue of emboldening. i think we made a mistake by essentially signaling a blank check with the president's visit to the region and led them to believe there was nothing they could do wrong, so they did this. where the stronger message, i think, would have been we'll take a tougher stand on the issues you care about, whether it's iran or not advocate for walking away from the nuclear deal. i think we should stick in the nuclear deal, but a harder stance toward iran's behavior in the region. do that, but we also expect you
to lean up some of your act, and we have expectations of you. this isn't a blank check. this is a quid pro quo of an agreement between a relationship in two partners. i think that was part of the problem out of that trip. >> let me thank the chair lady. forgive me for my focussed questioning. chair lady thank you for your kindness, and i like the blank check analysis that we should not give, and that we should work together for harmony. i like that word as well in the region. i thank you so very much, and i yield back. >> we're thrilled you were able to join us. and miss maloneny, if you could hold your fire for a few minutes because mr. conley is back with us who is in our sub committee. mr. conley of virginia. >> i thank the chair. >> doctor, in your opening statement you immediate a reference to maybe paid
lobbyists for governance in the region had descended on our offices or paid a visit? i'm not sure i understood the point of that, or what you were getting at, but i want to give you the opportunity to explain. because, i mean, there are lots of lobbyists for lots of countries, including israel, that descend in our offices, and we don't necessarily import to that anything negative by way of inference. were you suggesting -- >> there's nothing illegal or unseemly about it. the point i'm trying to make is there is a lot of it right now. >> what? >> there is a lot of it right now. there's a lot of noise. we're seeing a lot of different actors. >> i'm sorry. did you mean about qatar? >> about this qatar conflict, but i think 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 actors. in other words, over time this has become the boiling frog, although i heard the other day that's not scientific. that frogs can be boiled. 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 -- there are terror finance people running around in qatar and kuwait, and we're being asked to look the other way. over time we've grown used to it because they've engaged with us on deals to buy weapons, on investments here in the united states, and because they have a face here in washington. and what i would like to do is to try to look beyond the messaging and get back to the facts here which is that we have problematic relations. >> right. but 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 interests here. i'm not justifying anyone's behavior, but it's not a simple matter of paid lobbyists or influencing us here because a lot of money is flowing around. it's because we're looking at centers and see a conflict. >> i would argue in response to that one of the reasons we've been able to keep that business or how the qataris have been able to, we continue to hear they're doing all these other wonderful things and helping us out, so we'll deal with the terror finance problem quietly over here, 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 we have not dealt honestly with the terror finance in qatar and probably not in some of the other countries as well. >> yeah. i mean, if we're going to go that rout, i'd add to your list.
i'd add the saudis. financing wahabism all over the world. okay. mr. goldenberg, you talked about the conflicting messages from the president and secretary of state with respect to this conflict, and i have to agree with you. i just am wondering added to that, like, what is the policy, and should we be doing it by tweet? how about state department? only 2 of 22 assist tant secretaries even nominated. an ambassador resigning and arguing because it's increasingly difficult to wake up overseas and explain what's going on and a proposed cut to
state and aid. could that have something to do with our inability to effect some kind of understanding and agreement and reconciliation among the gcc? >> well, i'll say this. yeah, i think it's a huge problem you have all the vacancies and a good example of the fact that rex tillerson had to to the go over on his own. i don't think this issue merits that unless you'll have an agreement or breakthrough. it was obvious those of us watching it, that you aren't going to have an agreement. i do think in a situation like that, who else do you send? you pretty much have nobody? especially the assistant secretaries. somebody who worked at the state department for a number of years, in every department and every agency, there is the key level in the middle that the individual who has seen enough to get in front of them. still close enough to the worker bees and the experts and the agency who can reach down and pull in.
at the state department, those are the assistant secretaries. if fact they don't exist means there's no connectivity between the department and the expertise and the secretaries. it harms us on this issue and all issues. >> madam chairman, miss frankel's question, would the removal of the military base give license to or make worse the behavior in question? >> it's an interesting question. i hadn't thought it precisely that way. it may. i think the -- i think the bigger challenge logistically would be that if we were to remove the military base, it would be incredibly costly. the qatari spent $1 billion on that base. it would then strain our ability
to conduct operations the same tempo in iraq, 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? would it be worse without it, assuming there's any bad behavior at all? >> maybe. i mean, so yes, but i would -- it 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. it would also reduce their leverage over us. there's a bit of two sides to it. it's a hard hypothetical to make. the better option at this point is not -- now that the military base is there, it's to not walk away for all those reasons but also to clarify we have other options so this isn't a gun they can hold to our heads. >> thank you. >> right now we often look at
the bases too big to fail. we don't use it as much leverage, and we need to begin to use it as some lerchg. if we suddenly woke up tomorrow and there was no base, we would lose a lot of leverage, but we would have plenty of areas where we have a relationship with qatar. in the best of circumstances, i certainly hope that we don't move the base. i think it's right that we should start looking at what other options might be to move some or all of it to signal that it's not us over the barrel by having the base there. they're not over a barrel either, but it's a relationship. i don't think we use it for very much leverage right now. >> i would agree that we need the leverage, and what i recommend in my run testimony is we need to do an assessment. it's not to say we need a leave, although i think the arrangement is not sustainable. it's not, i think the right message we should be sending to the rest of the region. but this does not have to be binary. we can move some asset out of that base, because we decide we need to redistribute and we
can't rely too much on the qatar ris or we can't move anything. this hearing is doing a lot of good. the qataris know right now we're talking about whether or not we should move the base or assess moving the base. this is important. it takes leverage from them and puts it in our court. >> on behalf of myself and congresswoman frankel. >> thank you very much. we love to hear her voice, even in her absence. miss maloneny, thank you for your patience in sitting through the sub committee to be able to ask your question. thank you, carolyn, you're always welcome. >> thank you, 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. that is why he personally went to the region, and he has expressed his deep concern about peace and security in the region, not 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 that he's concerned that 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, 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, that we should figure out how to work together? we are all allies, and the enemy is not each other, but the enemy is isis and other terrorist activities in the region. would you agree with secretary tillerson? >> yeah. i would. i think that this whole crisis has been a distraction from 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 that part of this is these parties have to also solve it themselves. and be responsible about that. though we can play a positive role in trying to get them to deescalate and guaranteeing an agreement and trying to push all of them on the terror financing questions. you know, i agree. for our interests, for the u.s. interests, the fact that the last two months in the gulf have
been spent on this instead of the other things we'd prefer to be spending things on, that's not good. it would be better if we can -- sadly i think right now there's no indicators in the near term that's going to happen, so we need to start managing the situation and also getting all these different actors to at least tone down their public rhetoric and maximize demand so after things cool down maybe privately they can start to come to some deals. >> he's begun focusing on terrorist financing. i believe that's a way forward, and i understand that he has created certain criteria already for the gulf nations to cooperate with them, and i hope they all will. that would be a huge step forward on allowing access to their financial tracking of where money is going, if you crack down on the terrorism financing, then you're cracking down on terrorism.
are you aware of any 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 i think -- i don't know if you want to -- matt is the real expert on this question. >> first of all, thank you for your questions. i want to start by putting out there's complete consensus across the table in the need to deescalate this crisis. and as it was said, we need to focus on the more important issues. several of us have also said some of the charges against qatar are baseless, but some of them are grounded in truth, and they effect all the 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 aeu or any of the countries specifically to work together to combat terrorism financing? >> yeah. that's what i was getting at. there are many agreements. there have been several going on for years bilateral and otherwise. there are two new ones. one came out of the riyadh summit which was agreement to set up a terror finance tracking center. there's no meat on the bones yet. if you look at the treasury statements, they have lots of great ideas. i've spoken to the people who wrote the statements. they're aspirational, but there's great foundation upon which we could build. and i've pointed to that as something as we could use as a face saving gesture to move forward out of this crisis. >> i think that's a great idea. we should appeal to all of these countries to join us in combatting specifics on how we 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, doctor lev it? >> we do have bases in the uae and bahrain. i don't think the base is the ultimate issue. there is one other agreement as you noted secretary tillerson signed an mou, memorandum of understanding with qatar. there's no meat on the bones, but they're good bones and there's more that could be built
on them. i don't want people to think there's an mou and now we can koornt. >> i think that's a very important issue. and what you could do to help us is give us exactly what kind of meat should be added to 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 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 that there are efforts to attack new york and other cities in our -- 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. let's combat terrorism. let's combat 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 tad did they get the money or the bombs? who helped them. terrorism financing is very important, i think 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. so 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 in other countries, which allegedly i was listening to my colleagues and their questioning, we're very concerned about it, and where they're teaching terrorism and we need to stop that. 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 -- >> thank you. >> i don't know if i'll have the chance to publicly say in your committee meeting how 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? >> this is a -- your wonderful leadership on this committee, and your leadership has been wonderful. first woman to head this as the chair. we're very proud of you. >> thank you. thank you so much. and feel free to come back to our sub committee. you're a valuable member.
we'll make you an ex officio member. thank you. i have one last wrap up question. i know you gentlemen have been testifying for hours now. but doctor, 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? >> 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 they'll tell you they hate each other and it was the brotherhood and the arab spring. well, what made this thing erupt in the spring? there were some reports that it was perhaps because the qataris paid ransom and money want to shiite militias, but there have been recent reports that surfaced recently, and there's a little bit of confusion over
this, but i think it's worth unpacking. there's a report from the uae ambassador to russia. he went on bbc and claimed the qataris provided intelligence about troop movements in yemen and this led directly to the death of dozens of gulf soldiers in the yemeni operation. i've also heard from three different sources since then it may not have been al question a but rather the houthis that they shared the information with. this would be devastating for qatar. it would mean they're sharing information with iranian proxies. that's a red line for the gulf states. this allegedly happened in the spring. i have not been able to con official it with a u.s. official. this is what i've been hearing from people who generally know in this town. >> thank you very much. and i thank the audience and the