tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN October 22, 2013 11:00pm-1:01am EDT
the nature of being a good ally. this was raised a little bit by you. the reason i find it so significant is that i think when we think of the united states it is very hard to look afghans in the eye today and say we are a people who keep our word. interest in keeping our word. just because you wear traditional robes and do not speak english does not mean you do not get it. you know when you have been betrayed or let down. that is how a large majority of which only makes them more resentful. how do we end up in this position where afghans feel betrayed and we feel we wasted our efforts ? >> a good point. the u.s. has promised much, and it has given much. it has given both treasure and
blood. we can talk about how well it was used and what the right strategies were. i will be the first one to say that big mistakes were made over that time. in the eye ins 2001 and said we will be committed to reducing, if not eliminating, terrorist groups operating from this region. we will stay until that objective is met. sure,e have now said is, that objective has not been met, but we are still leaving anyway. the blame has largely been ai government.karz i will also say very bluntly that there have been massive corruption problems within the government. as there have been in any government in south asia. there have been challenges building national security apparatus. there has been corruption problems in the u.s. dealing
with contracts in afghanistan. i would say, first and foremost not just to the afghan people, can we look the american people in the eye and say we have reached a point in afghanistan where the american homeland is safe, for now, and in the foreseeable future? , as i have evidence spoken to operators on the ground from the region last month, suggests no, not at all. there are foreign fighters continuing to come into camps in the region. there is still active plotting. the leader of this organization is still headquartered in this area. this organization is not bad by any means. >> or decimated. >> or decimated. it is not on the verge of strategic defeat, as some would argue. >> i will come back to you.
>> on the contrary, if you look at any portrayal of where all qaeda is today globally, it has a much larger footprint and a much more advanced organization than it did in 2001. also than it did in 2009. it is absolutely unjustifiable to talk about this organization as having been decimated. i want to follow-up on the issue of betraying the afghan people. it is very important. not just a question of american honor. nor is it just a question of, will other people believe in us, which is also especially after extremelydebacle important. and egypt, and many other things. and probably iran. important for practical reasons. what is al qaeda? not just a terrorist organization. it sees itself as the vanguard of insurgency in the muslim world. >> political revolutionaries. >> what is our ideal end state?
that the muslim world defeat this insurgency. not only rejected, but defeated. in order for that to happen, we need people in muslim countries to stand up and fight against al qaeda. they have done that in iraq and afghanistan. i know that seth and i have been on the ground and spoken with afghans who say, are you going to be there with us when these guys come back and try to kill her families? the fact that in iraq has been -- the answer has been "heck no," and we are having the answer in afghanistan about going to zero, that undermines the best possible outcome we could have in this struggle, muslim people rising up against this hateful ideology on their own. , you and i both know, the former spy chief of afghanistan told me years ago when i asked him about that, he
afghanistanhe said is a small, poor third world nation. , and not have any illusion we do not think for one moment we can influence the united states. but i will tell you this. i have been fighting these people long before you came to my country. these mountains were here before you. these rivers were here. and they will continue to flow after you are gone. he said the leader of the these are truly forces of darkness, and they cannot engender a vision for this world. so i will be fighting, whether or not you are. then andhat to be true true today. what i love about it is this , he put itafghan man so perfectly. fighting alwere
qaeda long before the u.s. was in battle with al qaeda. now we look at the afghans and say, you are on your own. i spoke this morning to someone on the ground in kabul, and the sense i have from the john isry-karzai negotiations neither of them are particularly committed to this agreement they have come up with. --t is not good for us afghanistan and is not good for the u.s. can you pick up on that? >> is very important to recognize one simple fact. we cannot afford to let all qaeda and jihadist islam more generally enjoy another victory. i think there are many jihadists in afghanistan and around the world who believe they successfully confronted the soviet union and defeated it. that empowered the movement. it has become extremely dangerous for us, not only in south asia, but worldwide. it cannot and of leaving the rich -- region in the situation
where they control the same conclusion that they have defeated the united states as well. --t is something we have ought to keep in mind as a strategic consequence of the way we manage the transition. make,r point i want to getting afghanistan right does not require overinvestment on the part of the united states. it is important to understand that what we need to do for success in afghanistan does not require us to bankrupt the united states. it does not require an open- ended uncontrolled commitment of resources. >> which is unpopular. >> which is unpopular, and which is unnecessary, given the gains made in the last several years. what it does require is a responsibility, a consistency of leadership, and a willingness to support until
afghanistan can make the transition to being independent. >> how long are you talking? >> it is extremely hard to make that judgment. but we have to be committed to the principle that as long as the afghans are willing to put their foot to the pedal the united states will stand with them in making this possible. this is the kind of discussion we ought to have. , discussionsct about the numbers of troops, discussions about lines of assistance, these haven't been helpful. we need to assure afghans that if they make their contribution the united states will not be found wanting. discover the numbers are actually not as overwhelming as people think. i hope in the discussion that follows we get a chance to explore this. i will say some
listening to this might think, these guys are crazy. this is a done deal. we are out of there. not even going to consider anything other than how fast they can get out. >> one, the decision has not been reached. 2014 is in theory the end of combat operations. what does that mean? has not been decided. i am a little bleak on whether this administration is committed to keeping a necessary footprint in afghanistan. wes brings up an issue that might disagree on somewhat. which is, what should we be doing? what should the footprint look like? , will briefly say -- state these situations are very difficult -- different, but when i look around the world of where the u.s. has been able to deploy forces, whether it has been in the philippines or a range of other countries. philippines after 9/11, with a
somewhat light footprint supporting local forces, i am not convinced at this point in the struggle that those numbers have to be higher. i think the u.s. could remain in afghanistan with a legal counterterrorism footprint that is joint special operations command forces. operation forces and other conventional forces to do basic training, advising, and assisting. enablers, airpower, conducting inikes in case there are, case there is pressure by the taliban or groups on a city. predator reiber capability that can collect intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance. i look at numbers between eight and 12,000 u.s. forces -- 8000 and 12,000 u.s. forces that let afghans do the bulk of the fighting.
the u.s. is largely in a supporting role, as being sufficient. >> the afghans are willing to do the bulk of the fighting. >> they have been. afghans have been taking multiples of the casualties american and international forces have been taking for quite some time. they are bleeding in this war, and they are continuing to recruit. i want to make one point about the numbers we talk about. we can come to different conclusions about feasibility. there was a question, is this something we are prepared to say that if the requirement in afghanistan to achieve american vital national security butrests is 15,000 troops, the white house only wants to put 12,000 troops in their -- there, is the president prepared to say he is going to compromise vital american national interest over 2000 troops? is that a rational tabulation? are we prepared to say we will put in 12,370 five troops, but
not one more? if we lose therefore, so be it? you ought to think that we have vital national security interest in afghanistan, in which case we would be well advised to put in the resources required to achieve that. or you do not, in which case we should not be there. >> what that reminds me of is general shin seki saying you need to hundred thousand troops to hold it before the iraq war. that was unpopular. it reminded me of general mcchrystal making a recommendation on numbers. before he made his recommendation -- political leaders seeking political advice from the military rather than pure military advice. even if you go back to afghan -- vietnam, that has always been the case, but no less troubling today. theave a question from audience that was one of my favorite questions. .t is something
i have been shot at from the pakistani side of the order. i pressed president bush are on this question. in one of -- president musharraf on this question. the cia said if you let them operate on pakistani soil they could find osama bin laden. i said, you are the president, you can say whatever you like. and where was osama bin laden found? who found him, by the way? i know this is something you spent a lot of time on. it is a question that i think is extremely important. president karzai annoyed a lot of americans saying, you're in the wrong villages, you should be across the border. what people still need to understand about what he is saying is you and i both know the problem lies in the safe havens in pakistan. you are not doing anything about it. so this question comes from peter with the american enterprise institute who says,
american enemies have complete freedom of movement in pakistan. how can we defeat al qaeda without addressing the issue of pakistan? we cannot open up another front, we can't afford another war, but that suggest nothing can be done. what we have in pakistan is a failed policy. it was a failed policy under president bush, and it is failed policy under president obama. who wants to take that one? >> i can start. with what istart consider to be the reality, ,hich is the war in afghanistan partly what we are talking about here, there are plenty of afghan taliban. 20 of individuals in afghanistan fighting. that said, it is worth noting very specifically that the command and control structures for every single insurgent group , every single major insurgent group, taliban, haqqani network,
are all on the pakistan side of the border. that is where the command and control nodes are. the taliban's leadership structure sits in southern . onetan, in baluchistan level down in the organizational structure you have three regional committees. theis in cuetta, the second, the third is an -- in waziristan. the borders are significant. the command- at and-control nodes for al qaeda's global leadership, they also sit on the pakistan side. indeed, we spent a lot of time talking about afghanistan. there is an afghan dimension to it. it is important. but the command-and-control nodes for every major insurgent
group sit on the other side. i will say that with both this administration and the last one there have been virtually no -- no major efforts, successful efforts, to target taliban leadership on the pakistan side of the border. there are no but -- drone stan,es in baluchi virtually no individuals captured. that is where the taliban senior leadership is located. if we wanted to really get serious about this, and one has to take into consideration, why has little been done, and what are the implications of continuing to do virtually nothing about this? i can leave this to others to solve, but i want to get the threat and reality on the table. there is a very serious pakistan issue. add two points to that? i think we should at least entertain the hope that pakistan
will recognize it is in its interest to do more than it has ever done before for a very simple reason. now that there is a realistic prospect the united states might leave, it could end up leaving behind and afghanistan that becomes a sanctuary for are assts groups that much anti-pakistan as they are anti-afghanistan and anti-united dates. for the first time, pakistan has to confront a reality that afghanistan could begin to feed and funnel terrorist groups that undermine its own interest. we cannot count, however, on pakistan reaching the right conclusions from this. therefore, i think we need to rethink the character of our relationship with pakistan. to my mind, there is no alternative but to make the relationship with pakistan a lot more contingent on pakistani behaviors that we have historically done. we can debate the details about
how this contingency is to be expressed. but if you have a relationship with pakistan that in a fact conveys to them that no matter what late -- they do, american flow to pakistan on interrupted, you have created a situation they have no incentives to change. at the very least, the u.s. needs to look at itself and its own policies to think about how we might re-engagement pakistan. let me end by saying a word about india. that as deeply concerned premature american exit from afghanistan would end up leaving that country in exactly the way the indians pasted in the a sanctuaryntially for terrorists groups that would move to attack indian interests.
they have said they will do anything they can to prevent the current government of pakistan from being overthrown by force. we have to recognize realities. the indians do not have the capacity to substitute for the united states. they will look, like many allies, at the united states before they begin to show their hand. the surest way to lose all the regional allies who might be supportive of kabul is for the united states to run first to the exit. it comes back at the end of the day to consistency of policy and consistency of leadership. we should not be surprised to find afghanistan loses many of its regional partners. >> i have to say that i am less optimistic about pakistan than i am about afghanistan. i think there are things we can do in afghanistan to move it in
the right direction. there are forces working in afghanistan moving in the right direction. pakistan is an enormously difficult problem. , country of 190 million people approaching 100 nuclear weapons, and the largest concentration of terrorist groups anywhere in the world. it is clearly a problem. my question to be fully say, why are we in afghanistan when pakistan is the problem? you have to explain to me why tuition is helped by taking -- the situation is helped by taking a weekend -- weakened al qaeda taliban infrastructure in pakistan and making it wrong or by trying to persuade the pakistanis to fight the ramifications of that on their side. you cannot win this fight on either side of the line. wincorollary is you cannot in afghanistan if you lose in afghanistan.
they are linked in that way. this is too often left out of our discussion entirely. one of the reasons to care about afghanistan is because of pakistan. >> and because of pakistan's nuclear weapons. >> yes. >> another question from the audience. he said, why blame our leaders when it is the media that constantly reports on corruption , failure programs, etc.? i would say we both their responsibility. without any question. the media is culpable. there is some good reporting on afghanistan. not nearly enough. there is some terrible reporting on afghanistan. what i would point out here to journaliststhe writing about this stuff are getting calls from government officials who, by the way, love to leak things when they are the ones doing the leaking. they are very active in going after leakers when they do not
like weeks because they -- leaks because they counteract the message. media does not seem to raise much of an objection about that. there is a lot lacking in the media. i take full responsibility for that. i would say to you, i did a piece about the return of al qaeda in afghanistan. the significance of what they were doing and how, for example, after bin laden was killed the announcement that came for his replacement came out of the defective headquarters of al qaeda in a -- afghanistan. the evidence is there, and not enough journalists are paying attention to it. that is definitely a factor. the people giving the message to our deliberately misleading our the leadership. that is what i hold them accountable for. when we look at the reality on the ground, it is different to the picture painted by the leadership.
we all have a responsibility to be honest. not just the media and not just the politicians. something we have not addressed well in the media. a failure of policy in afghanistan. a failure of policy in pakistan. ask us what our policy is on pakistan, we do not even have one to tell them. certainly not one that makes any sense or gives them any confidence. we are very quick to hold the military accountable, as we should be. but no one seems to be as quick to hold the politicians accountable for their failures. the next question comes from the university of wisconsin. i think this is a fair point. with all the signs of progress cited by the panel, what percent of the afghan population is now part of a functioning modern state? we know there is no percentage. but that is not necessarily the benchmark of progress. i do remember an afghanistan the
did not have one pane of glass from the length and breadth of the country. kabul today is pretty dramatically different today. >> the objective is not to establish a modern functional state in afghanistan. and that has not been the objective for quite a number of years. of servingrivilege on general mcchrystal pasha initial assessment review. we had a long conversation about what exactly the objectives should be. concluded, and this is what i believe the white house also believed and believes, that the objective is a state in afghanistan regarded as legitimately -- sufficiently legitimate by its people that the nature of the state is not fueling an active insurgency against it. the question is not whether kabul is going to look like washington or topeka. the question is whether the afghan people are going to accept the legitimacy of the government the way most people
in most countries around the world and all countries that do not have insurgencies do. that is a different standard in different parts of afghanistan, as you know. when you go into valleys, they do not want any government. when you try to bring government to them you have a big problem. in urban centers, it is a very different situation. i think we have seen some progress. the corruption is important. the corruption has been a driver of instability for a variety of reasons and will continue to be. but we are looking for something that will satisfy the afghan people. that is what we have been driving toward, and as with the progress has been moving toward even though we do not recognize it as a kind of a monomeric -- most americans would want to live in. >> several of us have spent time over the years in afghanistan. how many types of states there are within it. there is a formal state apparatus that is based out of kabul that has ministries.
the when you get in rural areas, you get an informal apparatus. this is a very different kind of structure. this is not the balkans. this is not germany after world war ii, or japan after world war ii. the state system is very different here. there is a limited central government and you get into southern afghanistan, for example, you have tribes, sub- tribes, clans, powerbrokers. the interesting thing is, over the first couple years of the struggle, how many resources the u.s. tried to push through the state system, including building a court apparatus and judges and things we think are near and dear to us. when you get into rural areas, justice is handed down through informal apparatus. leaders in a village will adjudicate disputes informally.
this is not the united states. this is not western-style state apparatus. part of the issue, i think we need to be a little careful about what we are trying to construct and what we should construct. fred's point.ond one of the things that has struck me about the media, and have been a major exception, is how little people have look at the other side of the struggle. this is not just about focusing on what is going on within the u.s. within the afghan government. there are problems, like in any war. but look at the taliban side, they have had to establish and accountability commission because there has been corruption within the taliban. they are involved in the drug trade. they are involved in trafficking , in targeted assassination. of civilianso 80%
killed are done by the insurgent side. one of the disservice is, i think, to the coverage of this war from the media perspective ,s when issues of corruption the focus is on one side. the reality is this is a struggle within and among multiple different organizations and there are as many, if not more, challenges within the insurgency as there are within the government. everything from corruption to the inability of taliban forces to read. when people show me literacy rates among afghan forces i say, well, it is interesting to compare that, they are better than they are the insurgent side. you want to talk about comparison. that has been a bit of a disservice in the media coverage of the war. -- shley >> i would make the point that afghanistan has always been a decentralized state. any mental model that things of afghanistan as a unity central
state is using the wrong benchmark. the benchmark we ought to be using is a very simple one. , isthe average afghan security increased in the everyday circumstance of their lives? has there been a mechanism for dispute resolution and the administration of justice? are ordinary afghans able to conduct their economic activities without undue interference from the state? these are the metrics by which to judge progress. i think as both fred and seth said, the picture varies considerably depending on which part of afghanistan you go to. our objective has to make certain that the portions of afghanistan that have not established progress actually and develop on the basis of the example set by their most vessel neighbors -- successful neighbors.
>> this last question, i would like everybody to answer it. i'm going to take a question from the audience and add to it myself. we have here, i'm going to mess up your last name, from the christian science monitor. the qaeda leadership is along the afghan-pack as -- afghan- pakistan border, does that mean the u.s. has lost this war? war in 12 not won the years, what more can u.s. troops the cobblers? what i would like to add to that , there is a narrative that is pushed by the pro-taliban faction and by other people in washington that says the taliban does not have any beef with america beyond the fact you are in their backyard. there is no ideology. go home and we are done, it is over.
those are the people who believe 'sat the taliban and al qaeda relationship can be questioned and pulled apart. i would put to that that of all the people from the taliban side who have been persuaded to give up arms, not a single one of them has ever publicly announce -- renounced al qaeda. not a single taliban leader, not the haqqanis, who have more than 30,000 fighters. achieve military could beyond 2013, 2014, 2015 -- why we should care, what are the consequences of coming home, why does it matter? >> you want me to take a crack at that? i think the most important thing we can do post-2014 is to help the afghan state take greater responsibility for the security of its own country. in practical terms, what that means our -- are three things.
afghanistan so it can negotiate with regional neighbors from some position of strength as opposed to simply becoming a victim to its more powerful neighbors. help theave to afghan state overcome what will be a severe contraction in national gnp after u.s. and international forces cease to engage in security operations post-2014. nothing works if you do not have an economy that is at least moderately successful. anticipating the contraction in afghan gdp and working to mitigate it, at least until afghanistan to step -- stand on its feet, is the second important objective. the third is helping the ansf, the afghan national security forces, essentially succeed in the fight which is increasingly their own. the role we can play is not for the united rates and the
international community to take the lead in funding. the afghans want to do that, are willing to do that. what we need to do is simply provide them the tools so that they can finish the job. to a couplest add of ashley's comments. i think one way to look at this is if you look at the last major ideological struggle that the u.s. was engaged in against the soviet union during the cold war , i do not want to draw too many parallels here, but it was a struggle in part against marxism and leninism. not just on the battlefield. if you were to ask yourself in 1960, we have-- been at this for 15 years after yalta. haven't we been doing this long enough, struggling in africa, in latin america, in eastern europe?
if we sold out the opposition groups in poland in the 1960's and 1970's? the struggles not ashley and until the late 1980's -- not actually and -- end into the late 1980's and early 1990's, when groups rose up against an ideology the population just could not live with. to shift gears here, afghanistan is a good example of this. we are in a struggle with an oppressive ideology. the taliban's vision of they arean, in syria, different in some ways. in afghanistan, the groups trying to win this one from the opposition side are trying to establish an extreme version of islam. an emirate where the most important ministry is virtue and vice. it is an ideological struggle. i would just say the people who
want to give up this early on, remember this one is a generational struggle. not one that is going to be measured in months or years. i would view afghanistan in a much broader sense. when you look at what is happening in north africa, look what is happening in the middle east, this is a struggle that is happening on multiple continents. the leadership, though, sits in this particular region. which is why i'm going to end my comments here by noting that this is what makes this particular theater so critically important. the leadership structure sits here. >> i second all of those comments. mullah ote true that mar never swore allegiance to osama bin laden. because it was the other way around. osama bin laden swore allegiance to mullah omar.
as we talk about disaggregating al qaeda and the taliban, it is important to understand they have been aggregated for two decades. there have been arguments about whether to break with al qaeda. it was a big argument in the 1990's. omar was on one side, guess who won? there was a fight over to hand over of some bin laden -- osama bin laden. these are groups that have been fighting together and for each other for a long time. i know there are people who think they can see into mullah omar's soul and believe if only they could talk to him we could work this puppy out. but there is no basis in reality for that view. as we talked about, i think seth's analogy is a very good one. the tide of war is receding. the tide of war is not receding.
are any measure, the amount of war in the world today is higher than it was when barack obama took this. it is higher than it was when george bush took office, also. receding.f war is not the tide of american desire to be involved in wars receding. now i have to go back to my roots as a sovietologist. we may be tired of war, but war is not tired of us. we can decide that we are going to stop fighting al qaeda, but al qaeda has not decided it is going to stop trying to attack us. every day, thousands of al qaeda fighters and leaders wake up and ask themselves what they can do that day to improve their ability to kill americans. true, we dohat is have a dog in this fight. we can argue about strategies and we can argue about whether we should do this or that or how many troops, but we do not receive my understanding that that is the world -- -- as it actually is, we are doomed from the standpoint of developing a
decent strategy. wetly, i want to say that have been talking about two different things that are treated as different but should not be. what is the humanitarian issue in afghanistan and promises to the afghan people. the question of what will happen to afghan women, and so forth. the other is our security interest. those are actually in my view .ot easily separable because the united states is not, or should not be, and a moral actor in the world. the world.l actor in we should not be a country that does not care if millions of people who we promised safety and security and a certain kind of life are suddenly victimized, killed, and treated horribly. we should care about that. the reflection of the possibility of that kind of care, i think, is in the formation of a new group that was rolled out yesterday that i had the pleasure to be a part of, the alliance in support of the afghan people. which has members from the spectrum, from me to gloria steinem.
and both sides are represented in this because it is a recognition that the united states has obligations to these people for their security, and obligations of them also for the ethical nature and morality of our international engagement. we really cannot lose sight of either of those. >> thank you. i would close by saying that what you have here before you is interestf people whose in afghanistan and the consequences of this transcend politics. it is not about who is in power at any time. born of a long- term involvement in the region and what each of us have seen and learned from the afghans, pakistanis, being on the ground. the worst part about all of this is that -- the terrible sense of déjà vu from charlie wilson's war. what i would leave you with
today is that i asked the itelists not to sugarcoat and not to give political answers. i think you have to respect their courage and integrity you have seen today. the answers you have been given to they are truly what these individuals believe. they have the experience and knowledge in the region for their voices to count. to what is left to us is hold our government to account. thank you very much. thanks for listening. thanks for coming. [no audio] [captioning performed bynational captioning institute] [captions copyright nationalcable satellite corp. 2013] >> in a few moments, secretary of state john kerry talks about syria after meeting in london with foreign ministers and representatives of the syrian opposition. in about half an hour, more on syria with house intelligence committee mike rogers and ward affairs ranking member -- or in affairs ranking member eliot angle.
after that, how the government shutdown is affecting the unemployment rate. on the next "washington journal," we will be joined by representative joe barton of texas, a member of the energy and commerce committee, to discuss the committee hearing on thursday on the affordable care act and the implication of health insurance exchanges. we also look at the intelligence gathering agencies, domestic and international surveillance, and the use of drones with representative adam schiff, a california democrat and a member of the intelligence community. "washington journal" is live on c-span everyday at 7:00 a.m. eastern. >> the house energy and commerce committee on thursday will look into the intimidation of the affordable care act and its health-care exchanges. you can see live coverage here on c-span at 9:00 a.m. eastern.
>> c-span's student can video video compass and asks, what is the most important issue congress should consider in 2014? the competition is open to all middle and high school students, with a grand prize of $5,000. this year we doubled the number of winners and total prizes. entries are due by january 20, 2014. for more information visit studentcam.org. >> secretary of state john kerry was in london tuesday, meeting with foreign ministers and representatives of the syrian opposition. after the meeting, he told reporters that these. -- the syrian civil war will end only through a negotiated settlement. he said removing chemical weapons in syria does not mean that any two the crisis. this is a half-hour.
>> good afternoon. thank you presentations. -- thank you for your patience. it is a great privilege to be back in london and to be here with all of my fellow ministers who are part of the so-called london 11, which has been the principal support group and organizing entity to assist the syrian opposition. i want to thank our terrific post, foreign secretary william hague, who ran a very effective focused meeting this morning, and who has welcomed us with a great and traditional hospitality. we are happy to be here. we also want to thank the joint special representative lakhdar
brahimi, who is out in the region now meeting with various parties in preparation for the geneva conference. we are grateful to him and his team for their efforts. say, we came here to , i think this is the fourth or fifth meeting i have taken part in as part of the london 11. in order to reaffirm the international community's strong commitment to trying to end the bloodshed in syria and trying to bring stability to that war-torn sanctuaryd to provide and ultimately an opportunity to return to their country for the millions of refugees and displaced people. spoke witht met, we
one voice about the need to move towards a transitional government with full executive authority by mutual consent. those are not my words. those are the words of the geneva communicate of june 2012 known as geneva one. , the uniteduniqué nations and other representative entities and many countries, including russia, signed onto a communiqué which called for a transition government in a syria. increaseid today was to the convening of the geneva conference for the specific purpose of implementing the geneva one communiqué.
we agreed to increase today are coordinated assistance to the opposition, including to the syrian opposition coalition, the legitimate representative of the syrian people. and we also committed to do more to assist the brave people who are on the ground in syria. we also agreed to direct military aid exclusively through the supreme military council from those countries that have chosen to do so or are able to , the supreme fight military council, fights to curtail the influence of extremists, to isolate extremists, and change the balance on the ground. occurse efforts simultaneously, we are convinced based on the meeting we had here today that those increased
efforts will create their own synergy that will help the opposition to continue to be able to grow stronger. so far, the united states has committed a significant amount of funding to both the humanitarian effort and the effort to assist the syrian opposition. total shy of $2 the largest proportion of which, i might add, humanitarian assistance. of the united states is the largest humanitarian donor in order to try to address the growing humanitarian catastrophe that exists on the ground. president obama recently statesed that the united will provide an additional $339
million in humanitarian assistance on top of the more than $1 billion we have already put in. but one thing is clear. one thing really was made even more clear in the meetings we had this morning. i do not know anybody, including the russians, and others in the region who are not part of the support group, who believe that there is a military solution to this conflict. it is clear that both sides will continue to fight and the fight and the fight. end, the greatest victims, the people who suffer the most, are the syrian people themselves who are being driven from their homes and killed in the most wanton violence and are being -- having an increasingly profound impact on surrounding seeing theirt are
lives affected as a consequence of the outflow of refugees. this war will not come to an end on the battlefield, i believe. i think most people agree it will come to an end through a negotiated settlement. joint special representative brahimi and the russians and we have come together and consulted closely in an effort to try to define a path forward for convening the geneva-2 conference as soon as it is practical to do so. special representative brahimi has made his judgments now. there will be a meeting. you will hear shortly from the syrian opposition. they will be meeting in about a little more than a week's time. in their own general assembly, to make their own decisions. subsequently, other decisions will be made within -- with respect to this.
but we believe that the london ,1 came together today europeans and arabs, turks, members of the support group, agreedgether and all that it is imperative that we try to get to the negotiating table and try to save the lives and save the existence of the state of syria itself. alternative to a negotiated settlement is continued, if not increased, killing. napalmed.en children university students bombed at their desks. we have seen hospitals which are supposed to take care of people become the targets. this is a tragedy. right now it is one of the great tragedies on the face of this planet.
it deserves the focus and attention of all of us to try to bring it to an end. we believe that the path of war will simply lead to the implosion of the state of syria. it will lead to the rise of extremist groups and extremism itself. it will lead to more refugees spilling over the borders and putting strains on its surrounding countries. it will further destabilize the toion and lead ultimately the disintegration of the syrian state. challenges makes this a global challenge. an international challenge of the greatest proportions. that is why we are here. that is why we came to london today, to demonstrate our support for the moderate opposition and to create the conditions for settlement that implements the geneva communiqée and brings the bloodshed to an end.
our job as the 11 states to form the core group of the friends of syria is to do everything in our power to help the opposition to be able to come together with a strong, unified position and a representative body at geneva so that they can negotiate effectively. the agreement that led to the strong and unprecedented un security council resolution to eliminate syria's chemical actually the concept first floated right here at this thatm in this room, initiative has become a very important step forward in this overall effort. the organization for the prohibition of chemical weapons is now making progress on the on identifying syria's chemical weapons and destroying its mixing and filling equipment.
everyone here should ask is possible for us to have an agreement which allows people to get on the ground and go into communities and get a hold of chemical really not it possible for us to have people andhe ground who can go in get food and medicine to people who are starving and dying for the lack of it? surely we have the ability to do that. that is something we will focus on increasingly in the days ahead. the united states is also -- has also provided armored vehicles to the united nations to support to u.n. and the opcw efforts verify and destroy syria's chemical weapons, and we will continue to explore ways to do more. but i just had to say to all of you, we cannot stop there. removing the chemical weapons does not remove the crisis.
it does not remove the humanitarian catastrophe that is unfolding before the world's eyes. it does not change the situation for people who are under fire 's artillery or his bombs, his airplanes, his scud's. continues to deploy ballistic missiles and other conventional weapons and is using his air force to rain down terror on the people of his country. innocent men, women, and children are starving, as i mentioned a moment ago, while the assad regime continues to block humanitarian access. so i think the stakes could not be more clear. the killing of well more than 100,000 people, innocent men, women, and children. the de-stabilization of an entire region. the displacement of millions of
people inside of syria. the creating of refugees by the millions outside of syria. and the potential for a beautiful and ancient country to be fully destroyed by sectarian and extremist violence is what is at stake here. that is why the 11 of us are committed to pursuing every avenue available to bring this tragic conflict to an end. i want to end by saying that the geneva communiqué is more than a piece of paper. it should not be a forgotten level of diplomacy. it is the roadmap that leads to a new future, and it is a future that can end the bloodshed in syria, can respond to the humanitarian catastrophe, and rid the country of violent extremist groups. that is our goal. what we seek is a unified, pluralistic syria, one that is
representative of all of its peoples aspirations. minority andects majority of like. all religions, all points of view, all politics, all sectarian affiliations. , and, christians, alawi any other minority group must be protected. that is our goal. that is what brought us here. we are in the important days of making this conference happen. i believe it can. we are going to stay at it until it does. i am happy to answer any questions. frome first question michael gordon of "the new york times." >> to bolster the moderate syrian opposition. the comedic a toxin stepping up support to that opposition -- communiqué talks of stepping up support.
can you tell us specifically what concrete support, financial, military, or material, will be given to the opposition as a direct result of today's meeting? a related question is the communiqué lists a host of confidence-building measures such as humanitarian corridors or the release of people who have been arbitrarily detained. are any of these steps to be taken prior to the holding of geneva-2, or are these long- range goals for the combination of that negotiation? -- all have all of the of them committed? the committee k makes clear there is no role for assad in a transitional body. people have asked for an upfront commitment that assad will go. have all the opposition agreed to attend? if not, what will you do to
persuade them to attend? >> let me be clear. the opposition is not saying that assad has to go before this negotiation. that is not what they are saying. that is the formula that this before ias stuck in went to russia last may and met with president putin and foreign minister lavrov. it was agreed we needed to get to the conference in order to have the discussion. and reach mutual agreement. you cannot reach mutual consent if you are not talking to anybody. there is no mutuality. there is no potential of consent. so the fact is that you have to -- engage in discussion and then see what the opposition has said is their condition. is tohe intent of this see that assad goes, which in fact is what happens if you implement geneva-1.
geneva-1 contemplates a transition government by mutual consent with full executive authority. there is not anybody in the world who believes the opposition is going to give consent to us not to be part of that. assad also can veto other people. to find the people who would be acceptable to both sides, who would have the respect of the syrian people, and be able to manage a transition government that allows the people of syria to choose their future. one thing is guaranteed. that mutualway consent includes bashar al- assad. the position the united states -- of the united states has not changed. we believe he has lost all legitimacy, all opacity to govern the country. tore -- therefore it is hard
imagine any resolution in any other way. he obviously has implants, we understand that. but the russians have said that he accepts geneva -- he obviously has other plans, we understand that. but the russians have said that he excepts geneva-1. we accept the russian statements on face value. the opposition has told us in the past that it's their intention to do it. but they have to make up their mind in their new format in about a week when they meet for their assembly and none of us are going to prejudge or precondition what they would hoose to do in that process. >> the next question will be from jonathan rugman from channel 4 news. >> mr. kerry, saudi diplomats are letting it be known that they will limit their dealings with washington in protest as
what they see the lack of action on syria. what has the saudi prime minister told you? econdly, do you think this corches in geneva will happen ext month or not or is the weather,as the english gloomy? >> i thought it was pretty nice, actually. it didn't seem all that gloomy. first of all, the prince who is he foreign minister who came from saurd -- saudi arabia told me in two meetings and again day that saudi arabia is cooperating with us and saudi arabia signed on to this
communique. o all i can tell you is that saudi arabia and the united states agree on a great deal deal going forward. range of th saud on a political issues include iran, middle east, egypt. with still working on them those. we're obviously disappointed that the strike didn't take place and have questions about some of the other things that may be happening in the region. it's our obligation to work closely with them as i am doing. the president asked me to come and have the conversations that we've had. i think they are very, very constructive. i am convinced that we are on the same page and i'm looking forward to working closely with he saudi friends and allies.
i believe the conference can happen next month. i'm hoping it will happen next month. both the foreign minister and i and the conversations with u.n. officials have expressed our hopes that it can happen next month but obviously there are other players and we're not going to sit here and we didn't have the right to make the decision for other players. they're independent and they have to exercise their own rights here. the opposition has a series of steps that it's taking. we respect those steps. we'll hear from president jarba and we respect their process by which they need to decide how to come to the table if they come to the table. but i'm confident that in the end the opposition will decide this is in their best interest. you can win at the negotiating table. what it may take a long time and a lot of loss of life, a lot of
bloodshed and potential destruction to win on the battlefield. so i think they see that. i think they see something very positive this that. and our hope is that this conference can begin. it will never be easy. i don't want to suggest to anybody here that just because everybody says yes and you have the conference and you go to the meeting that this is going to be easy. it's not but it is far better to be at that table working diplomatically laying out a groundwork and a framework and allows nations to come to the table and work to help, to work their will as to how we can resolve this crisis. on it would be irresponsible our part to simply let this mayhem and chaos grow at the expense of the syrian people and the region while we do nothing. that is obviously unacceptable. so the best thing to do is get
to the table and that's what we're trying to do. >> thanks. i'd like to go back to some of the comments about the saudi issue. how do you scare what your take-away was from the prince yesterday to what prince bandar describing this rip. it sounds like you don't think that will be a durable shift away or a durable policy issue between saudi and the u.s. how would you answer specifically some of the issues that the sauds have had with you as policy specifically that the u.s. -- they would say that the u.s. has done little to back the opposition. rian they would say that the horse did not work when the u.s. worked the muslim brotherhood. they fear that washington is cutting a deal with iran when it comes to saudi interests. >> well-well, i'm very familiar
with their concerns. i spent a very delightful and very, very constructive several hours yet with -- with his highness, and we discussed every single one of these things. and i explained exactly where the united states is coming from, what we think about each of these issues and we will continue to consult with our saudi friends as we always have in the past. and i think -- i think the prince and i left that meeting with a strong agreed upon sense of what is important to both of us and how we are going continue to work together in order to achieve our ends and our goals together. now, i saw the comments that were printed today. they were printed from several days ago before this conversation took place. i think people need to touch base and kind of get a sense of
-- from prince saud himself who is the form minister exactly how he sees this. but i will tell you that on egypt both of our countries want to see a successful return to an inclusive democratic government with progress on the interroom government's specified road map. we want to see that. and while yes, the united states engaged diplomatically with the prior government, the prior government was elected by the people of egypt and duely sworn in. and we have interest in the region that mandated government to government dealings. but we understand fully the -- the failures of that government. we understand fully some of the deep rooted feelings with respect to brotherhood in that
region. and i think the united states is perfectly capable of making distinctions between it's own philosophical groundings and values and the necessity to government to government do things with respect to security, peace process, sinai and other issues of national consequence to us. on the other hand, saudsaud has been a critical partner -- saudi abia has been a critical partner. yesterday we had a vir gnificant initiative and i praised prince saud's description of his vision and the saudi vision for the peace that waits for israel providing we can move the process which
they are committed to and very much a part of. we can move that forward. they are a partner in that effort through their role in the arab league as well as their partnership in the arab both ive in addition we share saudi arabia and the united states share with almost every other country in the region deep concerns about iran's nuclear program and its impact on the region. we had a very frank conversation about that yesterday. i think they understand commactly what the united states -- exactly ha the united states is engaged in. and i reaffirmed president obama's commitment that he will not allow iran to have a nuclear weapon. and i reiterated our position in any negotiation that our eyes are wide open.
actions are what will speak to us, not words. and no deal is better than a bad deal. so i think there is a clearer understanding in our relationship going forward. and i have great confidence that -- united states and saud saudi arabia will continue to be the close an friends we've been. >> the final question -- >> secretary kerry, i wanted to k you about the transitional power. would it be possible for president assad to remain as president hand over some powers and then run for the elections as he spoke about yesterday and he spoken about repeatedly? and this is not to be an open-ended question. since your meeting with the foreign minister have you seen the iranians being more
constructive when it comes to syria? >> with respect to syria? syria wasn't the topic of our conversation. the topic of our conversation was their nuclear program. we have not seen a significant change in that period of time with respect to syria. and needless to say it would certainly be welcome and it would be a very important sign with respect to good faith in terms of resolving the regional issues and showing a desire to have stability over business as usual. so we would certainly welcome it but it was not a topic of the conversation and i want to stress that. we were uniquely talking about how we would proceed with respect to the nuclear negotiations. and -- ect to assad sand the time frame, it means what it says.
the language is very clear. the language says that there, you know, should be no delay in this process, that this will not be open ended and that it ought to if you're acting in good faith be able to be completed in, you know, within months, within some period of months. now that gives you a time frame. and, you know, i think that it would be wrong to prejudge what that is. we will know if they're serious very quickly. it's not hard to show you're serious about setting up a transitional government. and i think very early on we'll be able to see as people are offering up real people who have real capacity to do it, who could legitimately be acceptable to both sides rather than offering up people who have
blood on their hands who are a mere continuation of the assad regime itself. this will not be hard to discern. with respect to assad and his continuance, the question you asked, that's for the parties to negotiate. that's not for us to predetermine. the key is that you have full executive authority that is transferred. that means you're not, you know, playing games and someone isn't pulling the strength from behind the scenes. and the people who are there are legitimately moving all syrians and send a fair message, accountable, accessible election for everybody to be able to choose the future of syria. that's the standard. and within that standard the parties will have to decide whether -- it's not ours, our decision to make. you have two sides to negotiating. others will be there, but this will be, you know, negotiated by
the opposition represented by one delegation, by the syrian opposition who will bring others in with them but one delegation on each side and they will make that decision. >> thank you, everyone. >> thank you all very much. good to be with you. thank you. >> more on the situation in syria from a forum hosted by the foreign policy initiative. the group heard from house intelligence committee chairman mike rogers and foreign affairs ranking member elliott angle. this is an hour. >> good morning and welcome back. my name's chris griffin, the executive director here at the foreign policy initiative. i ask that you make your way back to our seats as we get ready for our next conversation. it's an incredible honor to have our panel here to talk about the
crisis in syria. before kicking off this timely conversation, i want to welcome again everyone watching on c-span and invite you to join the conversation at fpiforum. you could see the question box in the center. we'll bring that up in the q&a portion of the conversation. david ignatius has a foreign affairs column, he's written spy novels. i greatly thank mr. ignatius to moderate this conversation and introduce our panelists who have done so much to advance the debate in syria. >> thank you so much. welcome to all of you to what i hope will be a very good and lively discussion of a difficult of the issue syria. you'll have a chance to ask your own questions, so please do be thinking and writing on the card questions that can be set up to
us so that you can play a part of this conversation. let me first introduce our panel is. starting on my far right congressman mike rogers from michigan. i often say the same thing introducing mike rogers and that is that he has taken one of the most divided and partisan committee, the house intelligence committee and they -- function as a buy bipartisan. the congressman has worked with the ranking member from maryland and that thing that you wish would happen throughout the congress in which members from both parties have each other's backs and try to do the country's work is actually happening in the house intelligence committee and it's terrific. i want to say that. >> elliott rangel, if somebody
is trying to work on bipartisan solutions, he became a ranking member after howard berman who for many years had been in that position, left the congress. he's been a member of congress since 1989. and this had a significant record of legislative achievement and commitment. so it's great do have two people who would really try to do the people's business in congress, i would like to ask each of you to begin by setting the scene for us, we've had a turbulent few weeks with the syria policy in which it appeared that the united states was going to go to war with some launched tomahawk missiles after a very fieily statement by our secretary of state john kerry. and then the president decided that it was yiesest to take this
matter to congress and get congressional support. and then low and behold russian foreign minister and then the president vat vladimir pew tin will deal with the problem of the military atact he had been intending to deal with by having a join family program. so i'd like to, congressman ronlers ask you to begin our conversation by talking about where we are. some people will look at the situation say this is so terrible. paint this in very dire colors. what do you think? >> let's talk about the security footprint and so you have an interesting trend happening now in syria. you have al-qaeda actually disagrees with itself on the slr sue of conducting external
observation. that is certainly a cause for concern. and in that some friction because they feel they're in a safe enough nogs the east, should they be contacting external operations to syria. that in and of itself is a turn of events in syria. we have -- hezbollah still actively working on behind of the regime in syria, you have some kurdish groups up along the turkish border and they're looking for some territory that they can claim their own and have -- awe on the my is too strong a word but they may be able to influence in the minority and the east of syria. the one negative thing that hooped when the ink dried if there were ink on the russian agreement. tutcht hem to use the
to restock. to dig in. to take on offensive operations mainly through our ar till area strikes. i think most people would see that conclusion. so we are seeing a hardened position today and you know, the result of the russian agreement any time that you can have an agreement to take construction off the battle felt field, that's a good day. i thought we missed an opportunity by trying to stretch that. you know, the rockets that they have, the missile systems that ey have, mainly supplied through russian means and are they stepping over conventional weapon systems. and that's something i hope that we can re-engage the russians pretty quickly.
and i reject the people who want to define this as a simple zitful war in syria. >> it is a conflict. you have regional concerns in the area trying to -- the outcome includes money and arms. d yeah, even back room diplomacy. jordan is a risk. israel is obviously very concerned for the children. they now have alaska elements on their owner element. something they hadn't had to deal with. iran is filling corner by sanctions empowered by the events in syria and hezbollah for the first time has malitiaed up. they departed to another country. engaging in command and fighting. but candid lee she's very
successful. the last piece of this that we need to worry about is the number of fosh fighters ex-sends the number of 40 fighters we saw in iraq. think about that for a minute. training. they're going to want to go home. which means we are going have a weave individuals who are committed works have training that we've not seen performance in europe and by the way the united states as well. so all of that we're trying to work through. and think we're going have a long debate about what role we should have with the russians nd the irans >> i want to come back to some of what you said. thing we say is
al-qaeda know what is to do. >> if he would take us back to the day. immediately after the day's specific. he said i feel it's important for this action to be fully legitimate. take it to congress and get congressional support. it's wildly surprises and decisive developments of that eriod was that it appeared despite ingly that fairly strong lobbying on bhand of this resolution. in favor of military action. the pro vel lobbying group is very well con nicted. some recented that he's been
push into this fight. it's an important one. >> is it true that the yao. atic caucus was 23 and second were you at all linkage. y -- >> well, i think you have to take the support or lack of support for a strike. in syria, in totality not just that for green i think the they did not favor any kind of action and syria. i was won of the few who publically said i supported a strike in syria. and i supported it not because it was ake strikes but
way of telling assad that the president said using it's not acceptable. i think that the situation in the congress is dirs first of all, i was one of the female who fell like the bith did not have to come initially. . i gave the president 60 days to come to >> i think that when he came to capitol hill he and his people found that there was a lot of resistance. i think there was frankly more resys tants on the democratic side. it seemed very strange to me that many of my republican colleagues who had supported the war in afghanistan, the war in iraq. ddenly were so opposed and
supporting president obama. it just seemed like a disconnect to me. frankly couldn't we motivate it reather than substance. but it was hard a hard cell. the i think ultimately and we'll ever know it's all conjecture. but i think it was iffy in terms of the we're overwhelmingly close to us. ve always felt the foreign policies and right in so. you have complicated before the rocks. we tried o do that with the chairman. royce and myself we've mad it a trademark to talk about bipartisan because i think wherever possible foreign policy should be bine.
it's very strects -- important that we keep it in a bipartisan passion. but i think that that was really the reality as support. i don't think it was wrong for aipac to be involved. vds a very different area and a very bad neighborhood. only what happens in syria is very important to hist. now between and as you pointed out there are lots of pitfalls for yale. so i think the community if they decided to get involved with it, i did the right thing and the reaching of apec. it's not the democratic party or it's really acrots party lines. . think they are belt of the
i know you have strong ties and influence in both feet. >> the democratic caw some and the republicans -- caw cause. and i think we will know what would happen. and the agree knows that we're the group found out. mike it's narrow. i think that it's good that it happens that asam is still in power off all these years. you you may remember the kbletbility. i got it passed and signed with the republicans congress. i think that foreign policy needs to be bipartisan and sere syria has been a bad play. the asams let me ask you just a
brief follow-up. one of the things that was wildly said at home and even more abroad, was that the president's difficult in getting the use of l to a came cal whelm told the world how great america is. and in that sense was a worrying precedent for the much larger and more cons questioning program. and the i ranians probably looking at this would say it's less likely that he would take the company at war. i. what would be your judgment of that whether there's anything to worry about here? ell, shureb that's pretty.
how the iryeah option played out in the united states. i think it was obviously and i've seen that. they watch us very, very carefully. and that was one of the reasons why i was -- i believe that assad has turned himself to iran's muchy. until hezbollah came across the boarder and thought on the side of the apsalm and one back ll those towns and it was very of course. he's a terrorist group and it's coled by him and they want asam to win. this is something that is all intertwined.
i think ve a disfaction. with what happened in syria, veryone knows that iran is watch him.e should >> all options are on the table. just what i believe that it was the credible threat of american .orce force this agreement on the sir sses do you agree with it? we have a force that will help if he is in a agreement with the iranians. make sure it will chance things out. i want a good agreement. no it's better than a bob's. you continue to say all options are on the table.
i support them but belief time is of the nessed up. the situation really doesn't play in their advantage because of the impact of sanctions. i want to ask congressman rogers about the next big day on our calendar calendar. called is the sold those eems to be and for of you who will follow this carefully. geneva ii would be a follow-up on the transitional procedures that kofi amman negotiating. it's a joint u.s. 134 project.
it's been discussioned by kerry. want to ask you cl you think it is possible to achieve anything significant as a geneva two conference now. and in that sense you support the girl going forward. perhaps you can also take this opportunity to discuss one of he shishe yous that has that strool this gee a conscious. how can a body be strong enough and do better on the battlefield. this is this is a pron. it was the prop with the first go orned at once deal was done we the russians it was done by two sbis who are playing different roles in syria.
hopefully free of more radicals. not going to be the case even the tied and how thing are turning. in syria >> they fell and probably legitimately so that they had gotten her legs cut out from under them. if somebody doesn't have the credibility. we will get no deal that will hold, period. and so when we say it's a u.s. and russian led program. now, they are the key players. they can be -- we the united states, they the russians. there are very exood player to walk in and say that's it. spare parts. no iv weapons. your days are numbered.
they're really the only understand assume from iran who would have no nolet to be that. that being said who walked them to the opposition and sizzed this the way forward. apsalm is here for 14 months. no government aw including the united states of america cannot do that. the saudis are frustrated. i think the representative mentioned and how their pulling away from terk's and so you have the all the things working against a successful yes naivea too. a bill on ponsored trying to find the way forward to arm the opposition -- preying the opposition in a way that
allow us to have friends and influence for a pieceful conclusion. i thoy some people think that's that cot me but we believe if their strong enough and have great influence in us enough and askthat's the time that you the yurebians and broke her deal hat can be a lasting keys. if asam was take out today we would have chaos and that we will finish early. so i tee believe he needs to go. we were in place, 18 months ago. 12 months ago. the situation is deteriorate sod badly that we've got to finde a way now to stun the chaos that mean follow and he will power. i don't think you're hear the.
we thought we were promised x. that meant irplanes and very it was never part of the discussion but their perception when its didn't show up for the battlefield for the opposition in syria, i think it create ted credibility prop. and that is the challenge they're going to have walking into geneva 2. let me ask you before i state in our autyens. .ddress the issues is hawaii had to make the stronger more credible. it's hard nose plams. that would work to train to some weam. it would help this
and the kind of manic control, muscle if they feed it. you are to be scareful i guess. but tell us what you can about how this is going because it's so fornt in determines of the larger story. >> i can't talk about specific details. and early on on. what can the united states bring to impact on if battlefield in syria. that ng, intelligence learned in a way that can be effective on the batsing field. nobody does that better than the united states of mark and the other piece of this got lot.
lunch ofhave a a whole missing. in it it had some seerls consequences. we know that we work well with. who don't really care where weapon systems end up. we had as i'm that's not very difficult time corralling it. part of it we've had a reluctance of showing you d from all of oured by ling vows. it's fairly public. discussion of saud yeah arabia, pulling away from the united states. nopely >> as saudi arabia decided to keep walking down that path. and so what i think the perception problem was is i said
earlier good stuff they're going to cofmentsthare going to be. . e problem is i resources is a huge gap. and i the situation on the ground has changed, i think both the grounds. and intentions should also change. so for anyone who was 24 monthing's. we should do a very robust maybe back serves. i think we need to change. we can't weep the same rhetoric when we know on the ground that the more extremists elements are winning the died of influence .mongst the and we're -- i think our intelligent services are doing a
miraculous job trying to make sure who is oh who. fall e trust that maybe apamplet but the problem is that is just isn't enough and i think that the longest it goes in our urnt public stated with what we're doing. i know na. i don't mean to be cute by half. it's a complicated sitchwigs of the ground. change our rhetoric. change our goals. whange what we hope to slunes. we ry to work with that know are cad. and in the east, you know, we're not talking about 400 or 500 people. we're talking about. this is a serious problem brewing for us. and i argue on our current
policy treand. we're going to meet that challenge the way we're doing it today. >> so what i hear you saying amid necessarily careful language is that the united states needs to have a more to deal and focus with the reality. assad re stated gold needs to go. the orges' original policy is a south next to win. i'm for it. the time hasn't changed since he got on the ground. that is your believe the we are configured to make that 457 we have ill yen nated both of
airlines and the opposition. in our stated godse goal vs. the background position. i argue let's reto us this. let's till tig out we know we .ave this glowing i and the p.p.k. and huggers. you have hezbollah mr. the west and in the south, we have got our changeway. what do we want to accomplish today. it's a change of position for ne but not, i argue if asam go ahead those we are in sers trouble because but because of the eye yot winning. o how -- we better reconfigure ourselves. covert.to believe engaged in it. that is a part of advancing u.s.
national security enter. . that could influence the outcome . re so we gate peaceful a then the path that we're on today. i want to ask you a question that's been posed by one of our fiss e members tom gold hat are tezz security entrance which is the national security interest. what we're facing in reality in syria today it seems is the break-up of the unitary state of syria. it's now effectively can't niced. does the united states have a national security interest in keeping the nation of syria
within its traditional boundaries together? >> well, you know, i've often questioned how much we should be committed to keeping these essentially colonial boundaries intact. we had that argument during the iraq war when many of us thought that the kurds in the northern part of the country should be allowed at the very at least autonomy and being allowed to run their own nation. nd i think that the same could be safe to say about syria. i think mike very correctly when he laid out what hand two years ago we had a strong feeling that general interests in the free syrian army would emerge victorious as he mentioned -- i even put in a bill that he co-sponsored to tarm rebels. thanks have changed on the
ground and there is a lot of chaos there as well. and so i think we need to reassess what we do now. i would still believe that assad needs to go because i think that he's a -- or dictator. and i think unfortunately that a lot of uprisings started with good intention. this happened because people were fed up with weight of the ssad regime and the way it was drowning, people did want to have a free syria that we in the united states would feel very compatible with. but jihadists have been pouring into the country as mike mentioned even to a larger degree than we saw in iraq. and again our allies in the region our close allies
interest, saurd others as well are right there. and we do have the state in terms of what hand. government at our is shifting. i think that the united states still needs to be engaged. and that the can'tization of syria might very well happen. you know, king -- the king of jordan came to see us a few month ago in the foreign affairs committee and took a map and started drawing and showed how you would have the division of syria. and that is essentially what assad is playing for. i think -- he doesn't care about the area. but he cares about the large clave including damascus the capital which would be a shiah
enclave. which is why many of us belief he used the gas on the suburbs area of ethnic deleens of sunnis. and so if we think that what happens in syria doesn't have a dill over effect including iran badly mistaken and so i think that we do have an interest in trying to stabilize syria and trying to transition to a post assad syria and trying to perhaps do it with a russians. i think it's a long shot. but i think that we need to keep trying. >> i wonder if either one of you heard anything from secretary kerry or the statement department. they would suggest that in recent conversations with the to and the recognition
stabilize the area. assad must leave when his term of office officially expires next year. >> have you every anything loik that? >> i haven't heard that. it's snag we would hope because i think it's true. and we're hoping that the russians will come to understand that assad has to future. i think the agreement that we did with the russians in terms of getting rid of the gas and the weapons of mass destructions. it was a good thing. something very good came out on all of that. i wanted to know elusions about her. independent didn't screw it if others d states and have done this. other jihadis don't have a stake in seeing that flourish. i think they understand that trying to put the lid on what's
happening in syria is not only in the united states' best entrance but it's russia's interest interest as well. what we knew early on that the russians are looking for an interim period of time for assad to stay in power. that's one of the main things that they wanted. i think in the beginning they ere asking for complete, staying in as long as he could get elected and trust me on that system he would have gotten elected. and then they start a wild back a number of months that she's willing to negotiate. they collided with the oppositions physician that that's nongaucheable. that was the trouble and that -- ts the friction friction efforts. this is not inincompatible. i think they're in a pretty good
place today because of the the chemical weapons agreement, the fact that assad is pretty much untouchable now. when the end o that chemicals weapons agreement would be pretty close. would they try to get them another election? i think they'll start there. i think they'll come to the position eventually that they don't have to -- that he's going to have to go at some point as welcome. just on the national security interest real quickly if i can --, i think this is a classic case of why we should re-engage or stand up as a general populist about engagement in the world. you have a place that has aided and abetted in some exponents are as high as 600 to cut them out. it was the nation
that was causing bad behavior in the region including trying to kill the saudi prime minister in the capital. we don't mean military intervention. i'm talk about using this training and the access that we could bring. very unique to this situation. because we immediately defeat ourselves and said we're tired of engagement. we waited a very long time and dron of bad a cull opposition. why is it in our national security interest today even ago? han it was two years . they are talkingability conducting ex-terrible operations which is exactly what
happened in afghanistan which led to 9/11. there are thousands who have come from some western nations. the united states other places. we're going to go back. you cannot have a safe haven or not in the world for people who are committed to commit acts of terrorism to advance their political goals. the other thing is the fact that there is this struggle between al-qaeda leadership saying hold off. don't do it yet. foreign intervention in the fight yet. they have shown that they developed a level of patience and strategy that we haven't seen before. >> try to security some area in the east and then we'll continue -- we'll start and again planning for external options and the fact says there's a group that they want to do it now. we would like to engage in
external operations now. that's what our united states national security is. we said no more safe havenses. but what we have happening in syria today is the development of maybe the largest safe haven conduct r ability to operations that we've ever seen. and that should concern all of us. when we don't make a decision thinking that we're doing some international good. and what you get now is a worse problem. i hope people study this case and study from 24 months ago until today. i think it might invick rate her so you don't get big and ugly later. and right now we're at the big and very ugly stage of the syrian conflict. let me turn to two questions from foreign guests that are both in the same direction.
and do follow on the comments hat you just made. someone from, from switzerland. involve wants to be involved in the jy nueva two. that. your think of and he asks how can you constructively bring it. what you do think about that? should iran have a seed of gee nueva too? what should be their environment. >> i think the main -- the first pressing problem with iran is getting them to get rid of their nuclear weapons. i think that trumps everything else and i think an in an larged part. they will determine whether iran will be taken for peace in the region or as someone who has a
-- hitted all kinds committed all kinds of majors. and that is a record of -- that mentioned his dollar before. iran has been a particularly bad player. they could be nd constructive in terms of syria. i think let them go first, show. that they'll be disrupted in terms of dismantle their program. that's what we have to con second trave right now. so i would be opposed to iran having kind o a poll in syria and the talks. least they show that sexy. and i think there has to be more
than just, you know, the charm -- a charm -- a charmer trying to act charming. >> the new president it's unclear to me what responsibilities you. it's unclear to me if this isn't going to work just window dressing. if it's real, i'm happy butt. have my doubts. interestingly i interviewed the president when he was here. and he said pretty much the same thing. let's do the nuclear file first. then let's deal with these regional issues. the sem is he seems to have authority. he does not have authority to deal on syria, bahrain other crises that are closely healed by the arts. do you a thought about the
wisdom of bringing iran into the process? >> i would not have them sit at the table unless they have a very long laundry list of must do. and they appreciate it in good faith. just because it's rouhani, some people shi we're back. that's just simply hasn't been the case. so in all of the other nuclear talks the most productive thing is an agreement to have more nuclear talks that's it that's what we got out of it. and i don't see any change today. remember where iran is today. -- they've conducted well over 12 political attempts including attempt here in the united states, our capital. hey attack saudi ram co that near nearly crippled their main
saudi arabia. i pro this destructive attack. proping has been ggressively in the hundreds of times i will be in the wose work. to say we're going to allow those folks the credibility -- they want this national credibility that comes with sitting a the table so they're in a position to negotiate their uclear issues and that was happening in nuclear. and really damaging to our ability to control what is the leading largest supplier of international terrorism on the face of the earth when it comes to a state government?