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tv   Highlights from...  CSPAN  April 15, 2012 3:25am-6:00am EDT

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and labor, the productivity goes down whereas the technological improvements in agriculture got on this war against tmo's and other things. the american labor, you go back to the 37 decisions. national cartels are very efficient and harmonization becomes a cynicism for cartelization. >> on the internet in particular, it does not obey national boundaries. general harmonization on good ideas is usually a good thing. harmonization of bad things is usually a bad thing. work on the't internet because a big part is
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of being those boundaries. my worry is that the alternative to some level of or less regional marginalization is the koblenz of would use -- is the equivalents of what he is talking about. >> i agree to some sense. i don't like international governments, international bodies on the other hand -- if you're a new net business, you are presented with a nightmarish set of rules, state- by-state rules in some areas. when we ran paypal, we had to find ways to comply with money regulator rules in all 50 states. that was probably harder than if you have a single one. it is a complicated question about which is better.
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>> another report by the ftc announced market failure and they want more government included in setting this. i will mention to you one fact. all of these different standard setting organizations, the one good set of antitrust rules is that -- it is a classical station -- it is a classic illustration where they did it they in the 1990's where are about to do it wrong with
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the new legislation. >> the danger of harmonization, technology cannot help push back. we have users in some many different countries. they do not embrace the american version of free speech. they do not have the first amendment. we're not worry about pakistan. but countries like france and germany, on not see content, for example, rules were established that, even though you -- on not content, for example, whorl's were established. the content that is posted in
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sweden that is blocked in pakistan. >> there are many versions of harmonization. the conflict of laws is that governments require substantive harmonization. it is different than the national government. at the international level, it is a highly different issue. >> with technology being the last area without significantly broad regulation, in light of the failure and the controversy surrounding sopa and pipa regulating the technology area,
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have you think the technology sector will ultimately be regulated? through government or market forces or a combination of the two? >> cred question. >> i have an answer. [laughter] >> this may be our last chance to disagree. >> i will try to disagree with you. the pace of innovation, the more that you constantly change the product, the more difficult it is for people on the outside have to take it over. with television and -- with telephones and electricity, then you can have regulations systems, such as those that develops between 1880 and 1940. so long as you enervate, your relatively safe. if you slow down and you start to regulate, you will never be able to speed up.
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>> the future is very sensitive to initial conditions. you get the positive feedback that goes quickly enough and the technology outpaces the political system and continue to see acceleration and that is what has happened thus far in the computer area. are you can imagine the case with the political system dampening down things and you end up with monopoly-like industries and you have arguments like utilities that should be regulated more heavily. because you have a positive feedback between technology and politics, which ever one goes faster will dominate. you can imagine radically different equilibrium in the future. we can have a world that is completely static or you can
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have one where progress starts to reaccelerate. >> it comes back to what i referred to as the mother-me-i regime. in the regulatory world where i have to seek permission, if i cannot build until the government says yes, i cannot do x or y, you will not help run it. technology will not outrun politics in that world. in a world in which i can build it and we can do a bunch of things and if i can run fast enough that the world starts to see the benefit, it turns out to be harder and harder to regulate those benefits away. we see that again and again in copyright and new media technology where, if i can get back my technology of the scale
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fast enough, the copyright owners who want to shut it down won't be able to. tivo makes it big enough and fast enough that even though the copyright owners really want it not to be able to shut down tivo, they cannot sue tivo today. it is implausible as a matter of regulation. >> what you do is you in bed a commercial in the show. >> or you major commercial better. >> in the super bowl, people prefer it. >> i am lost to and from georgetown. one of the things that my friends and i have been considering during this internet
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piracy debate is the increasing globalization of media. in particular, movies and television shows that have different distribution seeds in different countries. this question is for the panel at large. i know that i have friends who, for example, down loaded "downtown abbey" that was shown in the u.k. three months before it was here. and there are shows that will never be shown here. how can corporations work on that? how can regulations work on that? that is something -- i mean,
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personally, distribution is simplified. we would be more than willing to pay for something. >> this is critically important. if hollywood possible on the internet is make sure it does not interfere with their eight- year distribution model where it can only go to hulu between week 5 and month 3, then it has to come back off and it has to be in red box only 20 days thereafter, that is going away and it should go away. this is arbitraged via the internet and it is a good thing. there is a piracy problem out there. we need to think about how to solve that problem. but the proper way to solve that
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problem is not a bunch of new laws. we have a bunch of copyright laws already. adding sopa and pipa is not a good thing. with hollywood needs is a new business model that takes an advantage of the whole world. the music industry's dirty to get there. a dozen years ago, -- the music industry is getting there. a dozen years ago, it was stopping it. the ideas to find ways to make money in this digital world because we have lots of people who have access to lots more things that they would never have seen because it is only allowed in the u.k. and that sort of thing. >> i have a slight disagreement. i do not think that we need to tell firms that they have an
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inefficient business model. there is a deep problem in the law that carries over to this. the private right of action against the admitted wrongdoers is very difficult to enforce. so you want another action against somebody that is always overbroad. if you're in a department house and some mullis you -- if you're in an apartment house and somebody molests you and you cannot find the suspect, you sue the apartment house. that is a very hard problem to solve. >> if hollywood were satisfied with private enforcement, that would be one thing. yes, government onc-- firms are
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not responding to demand by giving users what they want at a fair price. then piracy will only get worse. >> the competition with all of this stuff is that, what they're saying is that private enforcement is broken down and we need public enforcement. this is what people are used for consumer protection laws. it is not enough to say that these characters are completely wrong. yet to be much more specific in trying to understand the over breadth and the under breath. it seems to me that the industry is not aware of the fact that there are the things on the other side of this and they always over nasby's claim and they get themselves wilde lake discredited. >> -- always overclaim and they get themselves wildly
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discredited. >> they know that now. [laughter] >> you spend the next 15 minutes arguing on the other side. >> i have done that on multiple occasions. thank you very much been thinking to the panelists for a great panel. [applause]
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it only means a supportive role. of course, the minister of defence touched upon what falls under the jurisdiction under the umbrella of a mod. within the ministry of interior, we have had many of our personnel come to the united states and receive training for counter-narcotics efforts. we have also had some intelligence training exchanges. as far as budgeting, the age that will be brought to bear after 2014, that will be part of the afghan budget. i do wish to reiterate my gratitude and appreciation for all the help of the international community. >> thank you for your question, a master. -- ambassador. this gentleman here. >> my question has to do with a news item that came out of kabul today where president karzai indicated that he is
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thinking about probably holding elections prior to 2014. from a security point of view, can both of you tell us whether the army and the police will be ready to handle the elections ahead of scheduled time on the one hand? secondly, what is your overall view of what you consider as being a peaceful and successful political transition in afghanistan in the couple of years ahead? >> we heard the news also as you heard it today in the morning. [laughter] and then we made some telephone calls. [laughter] the result was, even before the news came, in the past, i think
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we did discuss that there was so much to be done in a 2014 and then there's the political transition, which is the election. it was just an opinion and something called discussion. will it be more feasible to bring it forward? from the security point of view, since the transition will not be completed if it comes a year ahead, we will have some support from the isa countries. so it will be much more easier as far as security is concerned, as far as the security of the elections is concerned. but as far as the army and the police will secure the elections, it will depend on the level of violence and threat in that span of time.
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we do hope that we will be able to do that this year and part of next year, to be able to further degrade the capabilities of our opponent. then it will make it much more easier to secure the elections. we do hope that, based on our constitution and based on the principle of democracy, which has been wholeheartedly accepted by the afghan nation, that there will be a very peaceful transition of political power when the time comes for the elections. but the whole thing will be dependent on the level of violence. if it is degraded and is less
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and is manageable, then everything will go positively. >> is the elections are held in 2013 incentive 2014, will the police here? -- police be ready? >> i think you, sir, for your question. his excellency, the minister of defense, touched upon that we heard about this when you did. we inquired with our ambassador. he clarified that it was not an end all and be all statement that the president issued from kabul. it was only a point of
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discussion to gather feedback. in any way, it is irresponsibility, the responsibility of the afghan national police, to provide security at all times, not just during elections, whether they take place in 2013 or in 2014. we're proud that, during the past, a great events in afghanistan, whether they were parliamentary elections, presidential elections, we contributed a great deal to the security of those elections and to the successful voting process in afghanistan. up to today, thank god, all of these historic occasions have taken place very successfully. even though in the past, let's keep in mind, we were much
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weaker from a security standpoint. but we have gained much more experience in the meantime. we have become much better equipped. but to the point that i can say, based on what i know, what i have come to understand and know how distinguished are secure forces, i am optimistic that our security -- we will provide proper security for any election. during the previous elections, you don't see as having gone to the nato forces for back up because there was lack of self sufficiency in providing security. we are in the process, as you know, of going to the third phase of the transition process. we will take the place of the nato forces, the isa forces, but we must move on the path
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quite carefully. again, it must be an irreversible process. we plan very carefully so that, with the gradual withdrawal, we will not take too long to fill in those vacuum's professionally. altogether, we seek to avoid the creation of any security vacuum's. >> i would like also to add that the actual fielding of the 360 two thousand army and police forces will be completed sometime in the middle of 2013. that is according to the plan. >> a question in the front. >> hi, i am with the embassy of poland. thank you for being here with us thank you for being here with us. you stated that it is very
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possible that the strategy partnership with the u.s. will be signed before the nato summit. are there any other things that you have to carefully worked on? and if you are forcing a similar relationship with nato in afghanistan. >> what are the final hurdles, when you said nato conference -- >> i meant nato. yes. i had in mind the need to a summit in may.
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the partnership will be signed by that time. >> actually, the two main issues concerning the strategic partnership, which was the detention and also the special operations, those have been solved. so we cannot foresee some major impediment to conclude signing it. and the second thing is, yes, there is talk and negotiations that we will have as a strategic partnership with nato. we have already made arrangements with nato, which we have signed several years ago. but at the moment, i think we are negotiating and they're going through the details of that nato partnership with afghanistan, which i think part of it will be discussed in this coming week.
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i think it has been the intention of the afghans and nato to have an enduring relationship for the future. >> these are the points that you touched upon in your question, specifically the two mou's. those issues are no longer issues. are're not as it -- they nonexistent. from now on, until chicago, if we do reach a point where there is some finalization and a signature on these documents, you will certainly be amongst the first to know.
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>> we have time for two more questions. right here in the front. >> you spoke a little bit in your remarks about the conceptual planning model. the recently announced that the afghan securities number would be reduced from the peak size of to a 50,000 to about two hundred thousand some. you will be laying off about 80,000 soldiers. that is a big number. can you talk a little bit about what will happen to them and what will they do?
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>> actually, i think the downsizing will take place gradually. it will not be very immediate. and then i think we will also take into consideration those people be taken care. some of them will get reduced to the normal process of -- and the contracts will be over. so the majority of the numbers you are talking about, all of them will not be a burden on us to take care. but still, you're thinking that we will come up with ways and means to transfer them and give
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a lot of them vocational training so they can have a job to make a living. >> final question right in the back. >> a question for the minister of interior. about two months ago, two u.s. officers were shot in the back of the head, murdered, inside the ministry building in afghanistan. i was wondering if you could update us on the search for the person responsible and if you believe anyone will ever be brought to justice for these crimes. >> the incident, the bitter incident that led up to the brutal murder of two u.s. officers inside the ministry of interior is building was the
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source of great sadness and i did give my condolences and sentiments to the government of the united states and the family members of those martyrs, those who had come here with a great deal of sacrifice for the development of the afghan police force did not deserve this at all. again, i would like to reiterate my condolences and prayers to the families of those who were martyred. that is something that should not have taken place. you have to understand that it was an accident. you do recall the incident prior to that of the koran burning inside bagram air base. let's not forget that, as a result of the koran burning,
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during the demonstrations that ensued, 250 people were injured. again, the afghan national security forces were able to gain control and the afghan national army and the afghan national police were shoulder to shoulder. this incident was related to those brutal murders inside the ministry of the interior. there were a direct result of the koran burning. we started a serious investigation and inquiry into these murders. three to four people who were shown to be accomplices into these brutal murders were
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apprehended. but the main culprit is still being ensued. we have not arrested him yet. this event preoccupies all of us. we spoke to nato and it was important that we learn lessons from every single one of these events and with the supreme commander we agreed we must draw lessons for future use. i am certain that these incidents or any other types of
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events or misunderstandings will not succeed in driving a wedge between the friendship and partnership afghanistan has with the international community and the united states. rest assured the investigation into those murders as well as the pursuit of the culprit continues until he is brought to justice. >> any final thoughts? >> i would like to give a final message to the government and the people that after years of struggle, tomorrow's goal is in sight. and the cost has been high, the
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stakes even higher. but the good news is that " has been replaced by progress and though it has been -- they're with us so that we can go through that latter part of our final quest to bring stability and prosperity to afghanistan and to the region and also the security for the entire world. >> please remain seated as the minister's exit the states. thank you. [applause]
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on behalf of our ceo and the center for strategic studies, i would like to thank both of you for coming today. >> it was a pleasure to be here. we have met a lot of friends in these last years several times. >> please remain seated. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012]
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>> masks, and discussion of these future of the u.s. relations with iraq. then your calls and questions on "washington journal." >> our mission is to see that human rights remain an essential component of a foreign-policy. and then when we are a
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evaluating our move globally, human rights can never be the only consideration but it has to be part of the dialogue. >> katrina swett is the ceo of human rights and justice. >> when we abandon our values and we're talking about torture or the policy with russia and the upcoming issue of whether or night congress should pass the accountability act. we do not need to go into the details but whether or not we will say human rights matter. the matter in russia, china. >> moret tonight at 8:00 on c- span's q&a. >> it has been nearly 10 years since the release of the third volume of the years of lyndon
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johnson. in a few weeks the fourth volume will be published. here he is on q&a in 2008 with an update on how volume for was taking shape. >> this is not just about lyndon johnson but about the kennedys and their personalities, particularly robert. it is a very complicated story. i do not think people know. and robert kennedy, i had to go into that and explain it. it is part of the story all the way through the end of johnson's presidency. chronologically, at the moment johnson is passing the 1965 voting rights act, that is where
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we are from now. >> watch this and other appearances on nine of the c- span video library and watch for our upcoming interview on sunday, may 6. now discussion on the state of u.s.-iraq relations. an assistant secretary of state and an ambassador to the un offers their perspectives on the role the u.s. may play in the future and the influence of syria and iran and the dynamics of iraq, including relations among the sumy's and shi'ites. >> we are going to be looking at
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this relationship between iraq and the u.s. and examining the role of iraq in the region, its relationship with its neighbors and the evolving political and economic developments there. this series was prompted by the realization that iraq has fallen off the front pages over the course of the last year as its neighbors have upstaged iraq with demands for democracy and reform. while that may have been a relief given the amount of media saturation, a key development unfolding might not get to the attention in washington that they merit. we hope to present the latest analysis into the way -- insight into iraq and china spotlight on the country.
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keep an eye on your in box. we will be rolling out these panels every six-eight weeks. now want to recognize our panelists. jeffrey feltman, feisal istrabadi, who has come in from indiana, daniel serwer. thank you for taking your time out of your schedules to join us and to share your insights on iraq with us. we're fortunate to have them with us today. these are three individuals who are foot time, thought, an energy into the topic of iraq and whose own achievements and understanding of what it takes to build alliances and relationships make them qualified to discuss this topic. i am not alone and i'm looking forward in the presentations. are also want to thank others
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for their support of this program. we could not do it without their encouragement. thank you very much. now i would like to handed over to our moderator who is the program director for the middle east and north africa. he is also a scholar and is an iraq expert having been the director from 2005 to 2007. i'm sure he will also weigh in on this topic today. i handed over to charles. hand it over to charles. >> thank you for your marks and thank you to the institute for launching this series on iraq. iraq is largely vanished from the front pages but it still is an important country.
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many force the overthrow of saddam hussein' as an inspiratin for the air of spring. whether they are right or not, iraq continues to undergo political changes that will have a facts for the rest of the region. what role the united states will play going forward is a matter for debate. the u.s. withdrawal from iraq last year without an agreement for a substantial all follow on u.s. troop presence has led many in washington to question the commitment at a time of political ferment and the prospects of a possible military confrontation with iran. funding and other concerns have forced the u.s. to downsize its presence. the u.s. embassy remains the largest in the world. the administration has engaged with leaders at senior levels of
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it -- as it seeks to help the rockies were feared their differences and put flesh on the bones of the agreement. if implemented, this would constitute the foundation of the most ambition -- ambitious relationship. where fortunate to have three leading experts with long experience on the politics of iraq here today to help us understand these and other issues. first this jeffrey feltman. yes served as assistant secretary of state since 2009. he served as a deputy assistant secretary as u.s. ambassador to lebanon and in iraq as the head of the coalition provisional 40's office -- authority's office. feisal istrabadi worked at united nations from 2004 to
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2007. he works at indiana university. prior to his diplomatic appointment he served as legal advisor to the iraqi foreign affairs and was the drafter of the interim constitution. daniel serwer is a scholar at institute and ast senior fellow at the johns hopkins school of international studies. he was vice president for peace and stability operations at the u.s. institute of peace from 1998 to 2009. in 2004, he established an office in baghdad. he has made more than a dozen trips to iraq in the last eight years to work on mitigating ethnic and sectarian conflict. please join me in welcoming our speakers. i will be happy to turn it over to ambassador feltman.
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[applause] >> thank you for this opportunity to see many old friends and colleagues and a whole room of iraq experts. we can argue about whether it has disappeared or not but with in the hallways of the u.s. government, iraq has not disappeared. is is still very important. for lack of a better term, it is an exciting time. it is an asperse the exciting time for those of us focused on iraq. in recent years, where the past year, we have seen a tremendous change in the region and in terms of our relationship with iraq. amid that change, i have heard
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many questions about iraq and about our engagement there. i would like to use my time to review three questions that i hear most frequently. the first question, not only in washington but as i travel, haven't you abandon iraq to iran? make no mistake. the withdrawal of u.s. troops marked a significant milestone in our relationship. there was much debate in washington as well as the reason about what the presence after september 11 should look like. in the end, we mutually agreed we should implement the terms of our security agreement and that remaining troops should depart.
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for close to a decade the relationship between iraq and the united states was defined in security terms. during this time, the state department like the department of justice, commerce, security, agriculture, and others were laying the groundwork for the next phase of this relationship, one that encompasses mutual interests. ultimately a relationship that is more complex. guided byng forward that agreement, the framework agreement. it was signed in november 2008 that codifies corp. over a broad range of areas. the security agreement that was signed the same time has now expired. it is a mistake to assume that united states can only have
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influence if the united states has 100,000 troops on the grant. i think that the president said the same thing in washington last three. united states remains the critical interlocutor in iraq. they play an integral role as an honest broker. i can tell you from my own experience, the words honest broker are not used by iraq used to describe iran. - iraqis to describe iran. iraq has purchased billions of dollars of u.s. equipment and training that goes with it. this will lead to long-term defense ties.
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our engagement today is based on a sense of partnership, shared interests and objectives and their respect for each other. iraq in the united states share an elemental goal, a united, self-reliant, democratic, and prosperous iraq that is integrated into the region with a government that is accountable to and serves the needs of the iraqi people. iraq and united states continue to work together on a wide range of issues from governments and the rule of law to economics and education. moreover, the ambassador, at the prime minister, and political leaders, the kurdish presence, a host of others, they see these people routinely.
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this pace and level of access is greater than our embassies typically enjoy. some also fear there are plans to reduce the size of our diplomatic platform. the opposite is the case. several years ago, we planned in preparing for what was the biggest military to civilian transition since the marshall plan. planning was done in a context of the uncertainties, security uncertainties. planning was under way, our troops and our diplomatic staff were subjected to rocket fire and the like. this required planning for a large, complex, and self sufficient platform to manage any and all security scenarios.
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it also meant in gauging in contract staff to support our missions. but we planned all along to normalize that platform as conditions permitted, reducing contractors, consolidating operations. this is the second phase of transition to a is now beginning. we will retain one of the most robust and large diplomatic presences in the world. we have heard many times how iraq is being driven to iran but there is evidence to suggest otherwise. iridium makes this clear. before the elections, iran tried to push all of the iraq's political groups into a single block. that failed. after the elections, it tried to push iraq only with the kurds,
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excluding the sunni parties. that failed. they opposed the partnership with companies and the development of the hydrocarbon resources. i iraqis understood that this partnership was of vital to the element of the oil sector. as a result, the oil production is increasing steadily compared to 2009, iraq puts more than 300,000 barrels of the new oil on the market every day. iraq is one of the few countries that has the potential and the plans to increase production. this is one of the most important factors bolstering iraq's sovereignty.
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ultimately, while iran and iraq may appear to be closer than we and many of iraq's neighbors would like, one thing we have learned over eight years of the engagement is that the majority of iraqi leaders are first and foremost iraqi nationalists who resist external pressure from any corner, including iran. even a cursory examination between the countries would remind this they have a long history of rivalry and competition. the leaders have made it clear that today they desire peaceful, normal relations with iran just as they do with your other neighbors. iran is actively working to forge stronger relations with its neighbors, in particular, as well as the broader community. in trying to help iraq forge deeper relations, the united
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states has a far more to offer iraq and iran does. we have provided tremendous support for iraq to improve in the region. baghdad posted the arab league summit, something iraq had not done in 20 years. the iranian regime was not invited nor was i ran's best friend invited. we have seen several important steps toward reconciliation in recent months. more needs to be done. there have been diplomatic exchanges. the naming of a saudi ambassador to baghdad, the first since 1991. iraq has also made progress with kuwait, resolving longstanding issues regarding the border and airways. iraq also enjoys a deep relationship with turkey and
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ties with jordan and beyond. the prime minister travel to japan and korea to develop trade ties. i do not want to gloss over the tensions iraq house with its neighbors. but we are pressing those concerns directly as happened with kuwait and the general trend is positive. of the how to do is look next door at iran and its relations -- all you have to do is to look next door at iran and its relations to see the contrast. the second question, is iraq moving toward dictatorship? i hear this a lot. there is a discussion in the region and within circles in washington about whether iraq is on the track to return to the
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days of dictatorship and authoritarianism. many of you are familiar with the tensions between iraq, shia, sunni, and kurdish leaders. these boyle to the surface as u.s. troops departed in september. we are concerned with this as well. we support efforts to bring the political leaders together in a national dialogue to discuss outstanding issues and their resolutions. this kind of dialogue is critical to moving the country forward. we are also troubled when institutions that are central to independent operations such as banks, under judicial pressure. it bears mentioning how political parties are addressing
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their disagreements. the political system has not broken down. politicians continue to look to debate and discussion and private negotiations to find solutions. the government is still functioning. the current tensions in iraq are being withdrawn -- resolved by politics instead of violence. iraqis planned to return to polls in 2013. it is vital to have the opportunity to participate in elections. the democracy is the strength and every time the iraqis vote. is iraq going to unravel? no one west indian -- administration underestimates the challenge iraq faces in the years ahead.
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as was said a month ago, iraq today is less violent, more democratic, and more prosperous. in 2009, u.s. troops withdrew from iraq. many predicted chaos. violence declined. when we came down to 50,000, there were many other productions. the iraqi security forces assumed the lead. from august 2010 to december, denied the states continued advising iraqi security forces as we decrease our presence down to 0, all the while the forces continued their mission to protect the iraqi population. march 2012, it was the least violent month since 2003.
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as forces continued to build capacity, violence can decline even further. in 2007, politicians withdrew from the political process for a boycott lasted 15 months. leaders have committed to a political process to address difficult issues rather than violence. we see this at the seven national level. the kurdish parties ended their to arrive in your boycott, showing a commitment to resolve this disputed area through politics. i do not cite to these gains to gloss over the herculean tasks the iraqis have ahead of them. there has been progress. if you closing comments.
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when i think back to the progress iraq has made, i am struck by how far they have come. the stagnated after some wars, suffered under leadership of a dictatorship whose policies left international sanctions. iraq had a bloody civil war, sunni against a portia. in 2012, baghdad has been able to hold an arab summit and parties remain engaged despite the problems. iraq is on the path to out -- resolving outstanding disputes with kuwait. oil production has risen to 2.8 million barrels a day and is rising. there remains challenges.
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these must be addressed. iraq will have to create more wisely shared economic opportunities to battle corruption. we are in an excellent place to work with our partners to help them accomplish these goals and build on the progress we have seen for the first time in its history. one final note, many of us in this room have focused on internal politics, security, economics. my current position reminds me of how important it is to see iraq as an integral part of the region in which the country is located. politics tends to transcend boundaries. what happens in one arab country has echoes in another. this means that many of the decisions leaders make are
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calculated by the understanding not only of the internal dynamics of the neighborhood. add to this unique moment in the history of the middle east, as we seek to preserve and advance u.s. interests in a world undergoing transitions, it is worth remembering the unique nature of how we got to where we got today but also that iraq is not the only country where the government are developing a different relationship with the governors that has existed for decades. there are risks in these transitions but there are also opportunities to build a more sustainable relationships based on respect and shared interests.
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[applause] >> thank you commack ambassador feltman. ambassador istrabadi? >> good afternoon. it is a pleasure to be with you. i want to thank the middle east institute and ms. seelye for the opportunity to be here with you today. i am honored to be on the same panel as ambassador feltman and mr. serwer. each of them has served their
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country and has experience in iraq. i should point out that the remarks i am making today, the views i expressed are my own. they do not represent those of any institution with which i have been affiliated. my central thesis, which will get a debate going, will be that the u.s., while the u.s.-iraq relationship is governed by an agreement about which the ambassador alluded, current u.s. policy is not consistent with that agreement. first, rhetoric aside, the obama administration continuing the policy of the bush administration. i want to emphasize that, has
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abandoned the promotion of democracy in iraq as a strategic objective. second, rather than promoting the development of institutions of government in a democratic framework, the current policy -- let me start that again. rather than promoting the development of institutions of government in a democratic framework, the current policy is that of supporting the current incumbent prime minister of iraq personally thereby isolating itself, the united states isolates itself, from the balance of the iraqi political class and from virtually all the
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regional powers at least on the issue of iraq with the exception of iran where, in my view, the u.s. apollo -- u.s. policy appears to be insuring no confrontation. i would also argued that u.s. policy of continuing to back the incumbent prime minister, even as his rule has become increasingly authoritarian threatens to undermine iraq's unity, a prospect that should focus the minds of u.s. policy makers wonderfully. let me turn to these points.
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but we begin by addressing the framework and why it is relevant to my comments. section 2-1 commits the united states to ensuring its maximum efforts to support and strengthen democracy and its democratic institutions as defined and established in the constitution. and in so doing, enhance iraq's capabilities to protect these institutions against all internal and external threats. note that it is the protection of the institutions of the democratic governance that the united states is committed to. i believe for fulfilling that
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general approach, the u.s. administration brokered the agreement between all the political parties. they set up a council which was to have actual oversight over the government. it was to have real authority and it was to be presided over by the individual, the forum -- former prime minister who won a plurality of seats in parliament. as i have said, all parties agreed to this and signed the agreement, including the incumbent prime minister, the agreement was he would continue to be prime minister as he has. the government was formed in
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december on the basis of the agreement. none of the significant terms of the agreement have been put into effect. there is no council, etc. more to the point, there is still, as i speak a year and a half after the government was formed, more than two years after the march 2010 elections, there are no permanent appointments 20 of the national security portfolios. no defense minister, and no minister of national security. rather the prime minister held each of those positions and then
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later appointed cronies from his own list. six candidates have been put forward and rejected by the prime minister. the prime minister controls the entire security infrastructure of the state. those who know something about iraq before 2003 remember that this house to down hussein came to power. i am not suggesting that he occupies the same position. but can i make, i think it convincing and persuasive argument that he is where saddam
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hussein was in 1970. that should focus our minds wonderfully. all independent agencies in iraq, thanks to a ruling of the constitutional court, are now under the supervision of the prime minister. notwithstanding what the constitution said is that parliament has oversight over them. they found there was an ambiguity in what it meant. therefore, they should report directly to the executive. that is what the court said. there is no justification, even if there were an ambiguity for saying it is the executive session have oversight over these institutions. this includes the anti-
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corruption to munich, the elections commission, and the central bank of iraq. i would say that all of the reforms, i cannot think of a significant one, all of them for transparency and governments put into place by the cpa that have been judicially overturned in iraq. it is significant that within 24 hours after returning from an official visit with the president of united states, maliki returned to proffer charges against a sitting vice president iraq. the sitting vice president faces charges of which, if convicted, he faces death by hanging.
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he is also the prime minister attempting to have parliament withdraw confidence. the current prime minister is also currently attempting to have parliament restore confidence in the deputy prime minister. he is now barred from entering the council of ministers building and cabinet meetings. if he tries to get in, police will bar him from entering the building. that does not sound like a function of political system. it sounds rather dysfunctional to me. what do i now? what is striking has been the silence of the u.s.
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administration on these issues. certainly public silence. there is more are would say about that. i will stay within the time limit. let me talk about the isolation of the u.s. internally and in the region. i want to refer to the comment that iraq is more democratic and prosperous than at any time in history. i have to say that strikes me as rooms felt -- rumsfeldian in its audacity. the president of the kurdistan regional government gave an interview to the london-based paper. it was reported in english. he said iraq is moving toward a
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catastrophe, a return

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