tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN December 19, 2013 1:30pm-3:31pm EST
effort to fix everything at once is going to be extremely difficult. representative can't, i'm not convinced they're ready to go. they need to start legislating. it is already 2014. i'm not saying they have not done great work. they have. getting the rates way down, i don't see any evidence that they are there. any evidence of preferences that would be closed in order to get there. it is not mean they cannot do some useful things. they have some -- there are some interesting ideas on corporate taxation, a bunch of things they could do with separate bills. but they are planning something much more ambitious.
if they are putting something comprehensive, what do you think the must do's art deco -- are? we want to broaden the base, get rid of as many deductions as we can and get the rates as low as we can. the tricky part is corporate tax reform and individual tax reform. the ambitious list that chairman baucus and chairman camp set out is to do both simultaneously. that is difficult, even in the house where they have the votes and the political support. in the senate it was an uphill battle. with chairman baucus leading the charge. now that we are shifting to a new chairman, the of the climb got a lot steeper. host: if you want to talk to brandon arnold and eric toder about tax reform efforts, our phone lines are open.
while folks are dialing in, it eric toder of the urban- brookings tax policy center. talk about when the last time such a big list was taken by congress. in the corporate and the individual efforts of taxing? guest: 1986 with the tax reform bill. we had a very different circumstance. we had a president very engaged in tax reform, ronald reagan put forward a proposal and dan rostenkowski decided to cooperate. he agreed on the concept of lowering the tax rate and broadening the tax base. that got things going. both sides were working in fixed
parameters. they had agreed on revenue neutral. they agreed to keep the distribution of tax burdens among income groups relatively fixed. it was still a very hard problem because they had many lobbyists upset about what they were doing. they were at least an agreement -- in agreement on broad parameters. no such agreement today, that is what makes it a much different game. host: brandon arnold, same reading on the situation? guest: i was not in town for the last go around. there is agreement on the very broad parameters. it is tricky when you start naming actual deductions and naming actual tax provisions. your coalition of folks willing to push for reforms slowly starts to unravel. it is tricky.
they have not put together a chairman's mark, they have not set to the public -- host: explain a chairman's mark. guest: a draft piece of legislation that provides more detail than what we have seen. a draft that would be picked apart by lobbyists. there is a lot of expectations that even though there has been unity from the business community and grassroots americans for tax reform, once the rubber meets the road, things get tricky. host: 45 minutes to talk tax reform. brandon arnold of the national taxpayers union and eric toder of the urban-brookings are here to answer questions. jim from michigan on our line for republicans. caller: good morning. i have heard so much lately
about flat tax. it seems to me that that would be simplified, more revenue coming in. what are the pros and cons? host: eric toder? guest: ok, so. when people say flat tax, they had different things in mind. there is a plan called flat tax which is not an income tax. it is a form of a value added tax. i can explain that, but just to summarize. what would happen under that proposal, given today that we have a progressive tax system. that is people with a higher , incomes pay a higher share of their income in tax. it is progressive when you take into account tax breaks and preferences. if you moved to a flat rate to raise the same amount of revenue, you would have a
substantial tax increase on the lower and middle income groups. and a cut on the top income groups. that is one of the major issues with that. the other thing is, you get into the question of not just a flat rate, a question of what the base is and what you include. the proposal that was out there in the academic west to get rid -- in the academic was to get rid of all charitable deductions, mortgage interest. the rate would have to be higher. host: brandon arnold, a question from twitter. gop has talked about tax reform for decades. where will the resistance come from? guest: there is a lot of people that have gotten very rich off of various provisions in the tax code. there are targeted provisions that benefit certain industries.
even more broad-based provisions like business expenses that have a positive effect on the economy. any time you tweak a code or in this case, overhaul, extracting $2 trillion out of the economy, there will be winners and losers. the lobbyists are paid a lot of money to try to preserve or expand these provisions. they will push back very aggressively against comprehensive tax reform if it disadvantages their constituency. guest: in 1986, a number of business tax preferences were eliminated. there are not that many preferences left. the scope does not amount to a lot of money. the real money is in individual preferences, not addressed in 1986. the exclusion for health care,
mortgage interest, charitable, state and local deduction. that is where the real money is. those provisions are not used by a few special interests and lobbyists, they are used by millions of people. guest: they are used by upper middle income people. they are in many cases things we should pare back on. the politics of that is different. it's not just a few lobbyists. guest: there are lobbyists who make a lot of money off of those particular deductions. guest: absolutely. guest: the mortgage interest deduction, the realtors, home builders association. lobbyists will spend a lot of time, effort and money to defend. -- to defend those provisions. guest: it is not just lobbyists. host: let's go to our line for democrats. ruben from philadelphia, pennsylvania. you are on with brandon arnold and eric toder.
caller: did i miss the senator from oklahoma? i was calling about i don't think people understand unemployment benefits and how they work. host: on tax reform? that is what we are talking about. caller: i was trying to get in touch with the senator. host: we will go to new jersey on our line for independents. good morning. caller: good morning. i am going to make a comment. >> good afternoon. first, let me wish all of you and your families a happy holiday. know you probably won't be sorry to escape for a while, those of you who are. made all the time
everywhere, so you never get too far from anything. but have a wonderful holiday with your families. you all know, this year in 2013, it has been a challenging year for the department of defense. all the people who represent this institution all over the world, civilians and , and their families. but as we head into 2014, i think we are beginning to turn the page on prolonged fiscal uncertainty. the budget deal that passed congress yesterday provides some relief from the devastating cuts for sequestration in fiscal year 2014 and 2015 for the dod. forives a predict ability those two years. the senate is scheduled to vote, as you all know, tonight on the defense authorization act, which provisions to
assault issues. it is a step in the right irection for us, and expressed my support last week for that resolution. i had the opportunity to talk with a number of members of on the resolution and why was important for us. even with this agreement, this budget agreement, dod still faces very to gold budget decisions. the budget agreement reduces the $52 billion sequestration fiscal cut in fiscal year 2014 by roughly $20 billion, and provides about $10 billion in fiscal relief in 2015.
we will use those funds to restore spending on readiness. we will also work to rope -- to minimize disruption to our most critical modernization efforts. the budget agreement passed yesterday caps on defense spending over two years at about $70 billion less than the president's budget request. this year, strategic choices in management review, which i directed in april and may, that review has given us a baseline to work from as we set defense spending priorities for the years ahead. we will continue to press ahead with our efforts to cut dod's overhead and infrastructure costs, improving our acquisitions enterprise, and continue to make the tough choices on the force structure. we also recognize we can no longer put off military compensation reform. leadership, chairman dempsey, the service chiefs, the
service secretaries, and myself, we all know that we need to slow cost growth in military compensation. otherwise, we will have to make disproportionate cuts to military readiness and modernization. dod cannot sustain these current programs as they are structured. we will work with congress to bring the rate of growth in our compensation and benefits programs in line with budget limitations in fiscal reality -- and fiscal realities. we know that many proposals can military compensation and will be unpopular. one example is the budget agreement that slows the rate of growth and cost-of-living adjustments for working age military retirees. forward, i strongly support senator levin's efforts to root review the -- to review the senateons in armed services committee, and to
take a comprehensive view over all of compensation programs, a at militarye look compensation reform. we need to review all options for achieving necessary savings and we will work closely with congress on this issue. begh decisions will have to made on compensation. the leadership that dod is prepared to engage the congress in achieving compensation reform. but any changes to cost-of- living adjustments should not apply to medically disabled retirees. these retirees need to be exempted from the changes in the byget agreement just passed congress. , anddition to the budget dod's future structure, dod's leaders and i will continue to focus on afghanistan as we complete our combat role there and bring this war to an end. general dempsey have -- and i have just returned from visiting the troops in afghanistan.
some of you know, because you are with us. these troops, the men and women who serve this country and afghanistan, continue to perform magnificently under very challenging conditions. troops in ax u.s. helicopter crash on tuesday is a heartbreaking reminder of the sacrifices they continue to make . our thoughts and prayers go out to their families. responsibility to all those who serve in afghanistan today, and all who have sacrificed their for more than 12 years. especially those who gave their lives and limbs, and to their families. alliesle america and its will continue to play in afghanistan after 2014 must be clearly defined, and clearly defined very soon. a ladder -- a bilateral agreement between afghanistan and the united states must be signed promptly. it must be signed probably in
order for the u.s. and its allies to plan and preserve options for the post-2014 presence. the retrograde of personnel and equipment from afghanistan is a complex undertaking. is beingrtaking executed carefully and responsibly. and it will continue to be a top priority. continuing challenges within our ground lines of communication in pakistan is just one example of the need to gain certainty now regarding our post-2014 presence. you all know we live in a complicated and uncertain world. however we do know there will be difficult challenges ahead, and that our men and women in uniform will need to be prepared , prepared to successfully engage these new challenges. preparing our men and women who serve this -- this country and in this institution is one of the highest response abilities of dod leadership.
chairman dempsey and i and all of our leaders take that commitment very seriously. we will continue to be focused on the preparedness of these men and women. thank you. again, happy holidays. i know chairman dempsey has some thoughts, and then we will be glad to take your questions. >> thank you, mr. secretary. i would like to add my wishes to all of you for a happy holiday for you and your family. on the budget, many of you have heard me say for some time that there are three things we really need in order to manage the financial affairs of the department and the military. they are, certainty, time, and flex ability. the bipartisan budget agreement gives us a little bit of each of those. it is a welcome event here at the end of 2013. and in so doing, it will allow us to address most of our near- term readiness challenges and restore some readiness that we had lost over the past year and
a half or so. the secretary as mentioned, to strap on the challenges of institutional reform, paid compensation, and health care changes, and acquisition reform. and we will do so. first, the remaining sequestration still lurks on the horizon beyond these two years. some of the four structure changes, for structure reduction -- force structure changes, will structure reductions be based on that time. i hope the time we have bought for ourselves will encourage the continued discussion, a debate and understanding about what full sequestration would do to the military forces of the united states. that is where we are on the budget. i just spent eight days on visitingth the uso nine locations throughout afghanistan and europe. i would like to take this
opportunity to remind us collectively that when we talk about soldiers, sailors ash sailors, airmen, marines, coast guardsmen, it is not just those serving in afghanistan. we have about 250,000 or so men and women in uniform deployed at any given holiday timeframe. i want to make sure that i wish andr families a peaceful holiday season as their loved ones are forward deployed all over the world, doing what the nation asks them to do. complement the seven remarkable and unselfish performers and athletes who joined me on the tour, as they do every year, by the way, in order to say thank you and to learn more about what those young men and women do. are better for the experience, and i want to complement the uso for assisting
and arranging that. this trip reinforced my pride and confidence in how we continue to perform in his 12th year of conflict in afghanistan. ando ask much of our men women in uniform and we will continue to do that. theas the secretary noted, loss of those six soldiers in helicopter crash in afghanistan theld remind us of dangerous nature of our work, and how important it is that we remember and continue to care for them and their families. another reminder on the trip occurred when i was able to pin two purple hearts onto special operating forces, who had been andtion while advising assisting their afghan partners on a patrol in afghanistan. it is also worth noting that those soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and coast guardsmen are not alone in their deployment. we shoulder the burden with -- withith partners
allies, with partners, and with civilians. theinal reminder here at end of 2013 is that we remain a nation at war and we owe it to those who are committed to those conflicts to continue to provide them with not only the resources they need, but the support they need. and during this holiday season we want to assure them and their rememberthat we will we've got young men and women doing what the country asks all over the globe. i thank you for your support, interest, and enthusiasm throughout the year. we look forward to 2014. and i wish all of you a happy holidays. >> you mention both pakistan and afghanistan in your opening comments. i have a short question for you on both of those things. on pakistan, you mentioned the suspension of movement through the overland supply routes. is this reaching a point where
you will now have to assume a much greater expense to get the material out on time? and my second question about afghanistan is, periodically over this year, there have been reports of afghan security forces cutting cease-fire deals locally with the taliban here and there. in fact, this week there is a report about this happening in helmand province, where it had gotten to the point it seems that they had turned over a checkpoint to the taliban. i wonder if you see these developments as accelerating in the coming year as the further -- as the u.s. further withdraws . do you see it as a benign development, or possibly a development that will cause problems in the future and give the taliban more influence? well, i will begin, and i know chairman deb -- chairman dempsey has taught. on pakistan, as you well know,
general dunford was just there this week. he met with senior leaders, including the new chief among why net with when i was there, the chief of the pakistani army. you know, because you are with become i also brought this issue up with the prime minister of pakistan. when general dunford was there, he brought it up again with the pakistan forces to assure we get that date back open. but the bigger issue, will he to general dunford this morning, we had a long closed circuit video conference with him yesterday, which we do once a week. i asked him on every one of these occasions when we talk where we are on the retrograde. you're actually ahead of schedule on the retrograde. we have a long way to go. outt of equipment to move yet, but this is an issue that
is high on the priority list, as high as any we all have, to make sure we stay on track. i think it was admiral kirby or someone who once told me that logistics is about options. and it always is. we have options to the north. we have another route to the south. we do use air now, but as we more expensive. we are still moving on a couple of other ground lines. torque him has been closed, as was noted in your reporting. we are continuing to focus on this and get it back open. we have other options and will will continue -- we will continue to keep those options in play. on afghanistan, i am aware of relationshipnt that may be you alluded to.
i do not have the specifics on it. i was general dempsey. maybe he knows more of those areas, not just the specific wetjen you asked, but the more general question -- specific question you asked, but the more general question about the future and whether this is what they will have to continue to do. first of all, these are not new. these issues have come up and there have been cooperative efforts over the years in these different areas with different groups. that is not new. but i think, and i will ask general dempsey to see if he has more specifics on it -- and general dunford and i talked about this when i was in afghanistan. i went out to some of the bases, and some of you were with me on that occasion. and marty did was just there. marty was just there. the afghan national army is doing a tremendous job to assure the security and do the things that they needed for their
country, as well as our partnership with the isaf partners there. some of these get down into the tactical elements of command and how they deal with these things at the local level. let me ask marty if he's got anything. >> inc. you, mr. secretary. i think you have explain the issue -- thank you, mr. secretary. i think you have explain the issue with the lines of indication with pakistan very well. we do have a lot of options. it is the finest logistics architecture in the world, that is to say, the department of defense and united states military. we will get it done. we will arrange with our pakistani partners, but it won't affect the way we operate, nor the way we retrograde. afghanistan, you ask whether this is a malign or a benign trend. if it spread, if it affected the upcoming elections
in any way, it could become a line. ridiculed, by the way, as the secretary said. -- predictable, by the way, as the secretary said. what hangs in the balance, the --ger the bsa is under unresolved, is the confidence of the people is sagging. they are questioning whether we are actually going to be there for them and continue to loud bnsf to do so -- develop so it nsfcounter -- to allow the to develop so i can counter the taliban's efforts. reasons for it to be signed soon, there is one. >> [indiscernible] >> are you asking me for a redline? i'm not going to give you that. [laughter] >> nato said yesterday or the day before that it had to be done by spring. with logistics,
we will get it done. why can't it wait? i just described why he cannot wait. the afghan security forces are of overcoming, and in most cases, overwhelming their taliban competitors for control of afghanistan. they have some systemic problem, -- logistics, intelligence, signals, transportation -- that we are working with them to knit together into something that you would recognize as an institution, not just a bunch of individual units. but they are not confident yet. they have only been at this by themselves for about a year. think of what they have facing them in the first half of 2014. a political transition. then it will take some time for them to seek their government and having -- have a functioning. if there is a single shortcoming right now, it is confidence.
and bsa will give them confidence. i can say that with great certainty. important a very point. it should not go undervalued here. everything works off of confidence. markets work off confidence. we all work off confidence. but in in addition to that, for us -- i spent a lot of time, as marty did, as well as general dunford when we were there. every day that goes by that we do not have that certainty of what the role is and what the defined mission and defined resources required are, you are taking options away from the planning. it is months and months to close down a base. just look at the physics of this, in an and septic -- in an antiseptic world, and afghanistan is not antiseptic,
it takes months to get all this done, just to get out. and to get to the end place of our combatding mission there. then we are asking our commanders and budget her's and andallies -- our budgeters our allies to start with commitments for the coming year when they have no idea what that means. no leader can commit their resources without certainty of what that is. that is the reality we are dealing with. every day that goes by, we cannot get that they back. >> psychological factors inconvenience -- are there flat out article reasons why an agreement has to be signed by such and such a date? is physics involved,
but we continue to insist that based on how the lines of communication are available to us. --h, there are fix it looks there are physics. reality.ere's the budget, as it takes as many months to continue to and for what we have to do, all those commanders, and we have isaf partners and nato partners, and let's take that piece from moment. nato him it was announced, that they would begin a staff of forces cover station, but they have also said they can not finalize to commitment commitment until the is a bilateral security agreement between the united states and afghanistan. there can situate sees in each of their countries, parliaments, leaders. what are you doing, why, how long are you going to be there, how much is it going to cost us,
what are the risks we're putting our men and women into? that is reality, that there is 6,magical date of november or january, but you cannot take an immense amount of planning and time as you think through what are you committing to. those are the realities of what we're up against here. it takes options away the longer this goes. statement about your .,nversation with egypt's c.c could you go into details about those concerns, what are your specifically? general dempsey, on sera, and positionabout syria's is right now. -- how do you see the future of the modern mission? >> on my conversation with the
general this morning, as you know, i spoke to him about 30 times since july. developments, the charges against morsi, which we discussed. i am not going to get down into -- their judiciary and analysis of the charges, but what i said was, it is what i have been consistently saying, is that every time one of the developments occurs, the world sees that. we see it. we in the united states, most of the world wants a stable, secure, free, the credit egypt. most countries want to help them get there. when these kinds of development occur, that sets back the effort.
fact they are going to continue to make progress on their democratic road map, as they have who forward on a restitution will reform texts, that they are putting that where referendum to the people revote ash by the way, he said a will welcome international observers into the country to observe the elections, observe the polling places, observe everything -- then that effort gets sent back. it is a dangerous effort because it does not bring people together. everyone even further. so those were some of the elements of a conversation that we had, but other than the specific issue, they haven't been new to the conversations i have had with them over the last two months. trajectory of the opposition in syria, i understand it is a competition among groups on the opposition side, a composition -- competent fission that is characterized --
competition that is characterized by changing alliances for convenience, in some cases, those are based in ideology and some times aced on pragmatic items a control. one ofoved to geneva ii the goals is to determine how that dynamic is changing from what it was maybe a year ago to what it is today. generaltary hagel and dempsey, i would like to get your assessment of the chinese navy, especially in wake of this near-miss collision with the cowpens? deliberate incident? >> i will let the chairman talk about the chinese aircraft
they had richer fruited from ukraine. on the bigger russian about that cowpens, motives, intentions, it goes back to something that chairman dempsey and i talked about and others that what we want to avoid in the south china sea, the east china sea, all the conflict surrounding these islands is restraint, responsibility -- responsible actions, and that action by the chinese, cutting in front of of thehip, 100 yards out helpful, it was irresponsible. we need to work toward putting in place some kind of a --hanism -- we need to put to work toward putting in place and that of a mix of them --
that kind of mechanism to have a mechanism to be able to defuse some of these issues from occurring, because as i have said and i know marty and others, what we do not want is some miscalculation here to occur. when you have a cowpens issue, that is the kind of thing that is very incendiary that could be a trigger or spark that could set off some eventual this calculation. and so this has been a very unhelpful event. we're working on it, and we will continue to work on it. >> when i visited china in may last year and met my chinese counterpart, we took on board three initiatives. one of them was to come to common agreement about rules of behavior when we encounter each other in three particular domains -- air, sea, and ciber, and those working groups have
been meeting and mating some progress. in my mind and entrusting his that we need to ongoing. that work all because as the secretary said, we certainly do not want miscalculation or action. as far as the chinese aircraft are as, carrier ops about as consultative and operation as any we conduct. shortis actually a great story by tom wolfe you ought to read about about carrier up shirt -- operations. it captures it in layman's terms. they are a long way from being a threat to us with their aircraft carrier. >> a budget question, but maybe a follow-up on china, two. as part of the deal, you got another $32 billion that will have to be cut from the appropriators. what areas will you recommend to
the appropriators that they cut in the $32 billion remaining marked money? >> as you all know, that happy time of year -- i am not talking about christmas necessarily -- but budgets is coming. budget time of year is coming. happybehind that time of time of year, holiday season, and we will be present again budget and we will be spending a .ot of time on capitol hill our chiefs will be, our senior leaders will be mr. hale, the comptroller, will be especially be spending a lot of time going to specifics. i will not preview what we will be presenting and what we will not and what we will be cutting. as i said, tony, that buy- back will be used -- and marty and i spent yesterday afternoon on this issue with the chiefs --
how are we going to use that money and then where are we going to have to deal -- where we continue to have to plan to cut and where we are going to take it out of the $32 billion that we do not have. >> have the appropriators -- you're talking about that 2015 budget? >> but we are still talking about 2014, too, because the budget is 2015, right, but we are living in that right now and we did not have any certainty at all. we do not have a budget until the president signs this. we are still dealing with 2014. we have to with the congress, with the white house, and so that is not going away. we have to continue to figure out as we work through this -- that was the whole point as much as any of the skimmer, that to get some bass lines on the lowest total sequestration up to the president's budget and everything in between, then each of the chiefs had to play out take they were going to
those cuts. we're doing that now. >> to complement the secretary let's ago, he said the plan that we're going to we living with sequestration. the services -- and the skimmer was the first step -- the plan was the second step. we know what the bottom looks like. the money that is coming back we are buying it back, and we will buy it up to the level we can buy it. the work is done. >> what areas -- the appropriators are going to cut if all goes well. cut.llion will have to be what area are you going to say m? not take it out of ol go after modernization? are there areas you would prefer that money to come out from? usyes, but you do not expect to expose this you today i hope.
tony, are you finished? >> thank you. no --ort from one how from guantanamo this week, the biggs number in a long time. what you expect in the coming logjam mighthis be eased and there is a significant reduction in the population in the coming months? >> we transferred last week two udis, this week, two sudanese. you read the highlights that the senate will vote on tonight but at least a scheduled vote. that gives more flexibility to the president to all of us on this issue. we would anticipate to continue this effort of transferring thinkdetainees, and i we're making good progress toward that for that objective. i meant to ask you about the
situation in the south sudan. if you could give us your assessment, and are you concerned about the ethnic tensions? what is being done to secure the embassy to secure it from an incident such as what we saw in benghazi two years ago? >> i am sure most of you if not all of you know that we were involved working with the state department to get a number of our state department officials out of the embassy in the last 24 hours. and we were able to do that successfully with no incidents. we have military -- an additional military keep ability on the ground that we have put that we haveth 45 located there. we will keep there for a while to help as this thing evolves.
we hope it ratchets down. we are working very closely with the embassy security, state department security, and doing everything we can to facilitate their request. marty? >> and that is the answer, joe. we are responsive to the state department request. the investor on the ground believes the evacuation has achieved a level of stability for the americans in south sudan. we are very worried about the ethnic conflict and are watching in some cases the moving in of units. since therger point, benghazi incident we have put response forces at various levels of readiness that we dow up and i'll back as a storage requires. the nearest one to south sudan has do you happens to be the
east africa response force, and it will be prepared if asked to do something. >> thank you very much. if i could address secretary hagel. you are aware of the panel,ndations of the one, that the nsa recommends that the director be civilian and that you split off the military cyber command from the nsa. these are recommendations that the white house has pushed back on. do you see any fundamental reason why having a civilian at the head of the nsa would cause damage to its mission war in the separating the military cyber , putting up the nsa under a separate command? with that in any way tamper its functioning? general dempsey, i would appreciate your thoughts. another question on china. as you have so many assets floating in the air around china and on the seas and in blue of
setting out these rules of engagement with the chinese, are you telling your pilots and commanders and captains any new rules of engagement or any your new rules for them to follow forth them to avoid getting into a dustup? issue and the nsa recommendation, we are reviewing those now. i am generally aware of not all of them. i have not read all of them. i'm just starting to review and, and the inter-agency is reviewing them as well. i will not speak for anyone else. but we are, and we take this very seriously, and we will review all of them. to your question about two specific recommendations on separating, i mean, i think the president, as you noted, has made a decision on a couple of these things. i said as some of you may remember i think tom quoted me whenis a couple of others,
i expressed my thoughts on this early on in the president wanted everyone's fox, general dempsey, everybody else, one of the things i focused on as a very critical opponent of what our decision is going to be made is that our combatant commanders, our military, our individuals, men and women, who are charged with the security of this userry, they are as big a and customers of the in dash and ofduct of -- and a product what an essay does than anyone. i emphasize that because i would not want to see happen is for a cap to occur here in some way. ways.n do it in different i am not saying there's only one way to do it. but my point was we need to look at that very carefully, because
if that would create a gap here, we we change some of the structure at the top, or if this would jeopardize what our combatant commanders and our areanders on the ground getting, but more to the point, really require, then we better think again about this. i think we have had a lot of meetings on this. the president has played a lot of attention to this, i know. he has spent time with general dempsey and me and many others on it. until we have a full understanding of how it all fits, although recommendations, i guess i would not say anything beyond that. >> the only thing i would say on the nsa site, to reinforce, my responsibility is to ensure that the war fighters have the support they need, and that will always be the point on which i establish myself great secondly, more generally, that we do not
increase our vulnerability, which is fairly significant right now. they're working our way through these 46 recommendations. on the issue of whether we have published new rules of engagement, no, we have not. the standing rules of engagement are adequate to the task. what we do constantly is we remain alert for changes in the environment. there are times when they are more sensitive than others, and we are in a heightened period of sensitivity, and you can count on our mariners and airmen to be aware of that. north korea activities -- [indiscernible] what is your level of concern about what is happening in north korea? unpredictability of the actions that we see coming out of north korea and the
latest being the example you used is very concerning to everyone. and the reality of that uncertainty heightens the tensions. it, as you know, further deepens the suspicions of motives. that nation is as close as any nation in the world -- is as closed as any nation in the world. there's no transparency. there is no connection to the outside world in any way. when you see things like this the reactionhtens of what people think and what with that kind of unpredictability. event at a welcomed
all. you want to add anything? >> these kinds of internal actions by dictators are often a precursor to provocation to distract attention from what they are doing inside of that country. yeah, if you're asking me am i concerned, certainly. >> happy holidays. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] here on c-span we will stay live and take it over to the institution in washington, looking at the civil war in syria, how groups are helping finance syrian rebel forces. >> how is the money moved into
syria? i get the sense it is not quite or often not quite as simple as making a wire transfer? >> this part is harder to pin down. we have some clues about how it is probably happening. it is probably -- some of it is moving through exchange houses. the place where you would go to change or dollars into other currencies, you can actually make a deposit there and then clear that deposit in syria, so this is one way to do it. is fair, it will be partitioned into a lot of accounts on the syrian accounts, so you would have 100 recipients. there is an increasing amount of cash moving, particularly to turkey, so sometime in her late adding, turkey was additional steps so the money could not go from kuwait to syria. it had to stop in turkey where
it could go over the border. a final way that we think it is moving is through traditional money lenders that are very area. across the i'm hoping my colleague could give you a more coherent explanation. these agents are in western union where no cash actually changes -- crosses the border physically, so basically i would of how much i, said to zero, and another agent will run up a tab of how much they receive from this agent, and based on transfers back and forth they will be quite out. if there is ever a lack of funds on one side, that a briefcase of cast moves across -- of cash moves across the border. those are the basics. >> i want to talk about the effect this has had on the insurgency in syria. it seems to me having watched the conflict begin in a much
had a much more pluralistic tone in the beginning, it has become much more sectarian now. my sense -- one of the things that seems to have been driving that was the perception that the world had abandoned the sunni muslim community to the whims of the assad regime and this fueled a lot of sunni activism in the gulf to raise this money. would you agree with that? what effect has it had on the insurgency? >> i agree with that completely. motivating cries ceric,u hear is, everyone else has abandoned you, but to wait has not. these sorts of appeal to the forgotten this of the conflict. the kuwaiti governors have also
exacerbated supplying the rebels in other ways. i will view one specific example where feuding between two donors actually grew too rigid to the fracturing of the rebels on the ground. it is street between two outside donor-- one was a kuwaiti , and the other one was a donor in syria. two clerics. they had an argument on twitter on whether rebels should join the military council? these are the western-backed -- thathat were being the official opposition was trying to create in 2012. the kuwaiti cleric said no way, no way are we working with wes. this is not something we believed in. the saudi cleric said yes, they should do this. unity is a good thing. they had this very high-profile clash. the effect that had was that the two men could work
together because their donors basically said no, not working with that guy. this was a huge split between -- and they were major rebel brigades. them,ad a dispute between and it was largely in part because of this feud that the donors themselves had. there has also been a large degree of ideological adaptations by the syrian brigades receiving the funds, and that has become a self- fulfilling prophecy. at the beginning it was like if this guy in kuwait wants me to act a certain way to get money, i mean, fine, i will do it. make the video, fine. but i think as you mentioned, as this conflict has gotten so much more difficult, that the humanitarian tool has gotten so much worse, some of these ideologies have begun to take
hold and really stick in the sense that it is so hard to grapple with what is happening to my community. if i can reach out -- if i have this isolation that it it is defined like that i am fighting, it makes it a little bit easier to settle. hat going along with t there has been very little ideological propagation into serum and within sera, within each brigade, a lot of the -- within ceric, i lot of the brigades have groups to codify their particular beliefs. that theo the case money can be quite attractive, because there's not a lot of strings attached to this money. there is a congress that is breathing down the next of these private donors. the minor is being delivered ensued leases or in garbage bags. it very attractive, particularly
when the same kind of money is not coming from other allies of the syrian opposition. >> it is the only game in town. for a long time, it was the only way to get funding. there are lots of rumors about are backingstates which gold militaries, and we know this is happening with the private donors. from everything that i know about that gold state and cells, it has been very much and on- off, that cap is on, the caps off. the private donors have not stopped, and when you are building a military board you need consistency. wroteyour paper that you is very much about the sunni fundraisers in kuwait in sending money. primarily because they are the most public about its. but the shia private citizens in
the gulf are also raising money, too, and i know it was not the subject of your paper, but i wonder if you caught a glance of any of it and what your thoughts are about it. >> this is something that really needs to be further investigated, and i would like to in the future is -- i kept hearing when i went to kuwait, it is not just the sunnis, it is also the she is that are raising money, and i could not find any evidence of it. on the last trip i found evidence, a number of videos that i do believe it is going on, and i believe it could be a significant amount of money. basically, the shia community in and i do very small not want to say it is isticularly insular, but it a in extremely strong community. i believe the way the fundraising is happening is much more private, gatherings in homes, personal connections, one businessman will call his friend
and say, we need to do this to support our brothers in syria. much more quieter. it is notable that a number of the most prominent businessman in kuwait who are shia also have very significant foreign investment in syria. they have both a personal stake and a business date and the maintenance of the status quo. goes a long way to explaining at least some of the cash flows that i believe are moving. funding, at least what i have so far sort of tapped into, like the sunni side, and i want to stress this, is equally sectarian in nature in its recurrent -- in its rhetoric. i do not see an angel here. both sides are employing x that is -- are employing rhetoric that is truly despicable and it
is demeaning to other people who live in their own countries. >> writes, and that is the final question i want as before i turn to kristin. what risk is there to gulf societies and particularly to kuwait of allowing this kind of sectarian activism -- even though it is being aimed abroad -- that risk is there? >> i think it is a great risk. it would be naïve to think that people are so actively involved in can really be kept out of kuwait's borders. and i do not think it will come in ways that we would recognize as armed conflicts, but i think there is a growing tension between the communities in and people i speak from the shia community say they are scared what is going to happen to us, we are scared from retribution. april on the sunni side was a the shia ares, going to attack us, and this
kind of reverend is very strange to hear -- rhetoric is very strange to hear in kuwait and it is extremely diverse. it is a messy society, as every society is, but you did not hear these direct topics in the past, and they have been exacerbated 's involvement. >> kristin, can you give us a sense of the political and the social context for this kind of fund raising? why is it happening now? the kind ofent than sectarian activism you might ore seen in the 1990's 2000's? >> i enjoy reading all of her work. it was exceptional, and i love at -- and a lot of things i will be getting is covering ground in her report. one thing i think is worth
amplifying is that tweet is historically served -- is that .uwait is his certainly served that has been there for a long time. the reason is kuwait is pretty rich. not only that it is rich, but it has been rich for a long time. have a lotkuwaitis of wealth, and the personal fundraising, you go where the money is. in addition to being wealthy, kuwait has a long history of civic activism. the political space to do that goes way back to the 1930's when kuwait was the first government in the gulf to have an elected parliament. nader they were able to work with creating a constitution that allowed a strong parliament. a parliament that i think has an impact.
it is not a fake parliament. all that means is there is a lot intake -- of stake innovation. you have had people organizing in kuwait a long time. you had people in the 1950's creating social reform societies. some people went to equate very early. they started this very early. networks of charities. i was impressed when i was in just ain the late 1990's prosaic -- pervasiveness of collecting money at that time. any store youou went into would be collecting money. i will never forget this one society having this huge sign written in blood across the top of it saying "chechnya or coral not only have
"chechnya t." they have been electing money andcharitable purposes, experience both in afghanistan, chechnya, and in bosnia in collecting money as well for more militant causes. i think what struck me when i read over this report is that when you look at who is giving money, and the ones that are funding the jihadist interior, it is not so much the main presence, the one you would think of initially. i know the names of all the muslim motherhood charities in weight. they are giving humanitarian aid. even some of the main selafi ones are not showing up, lay.
one of the changes we are seeing reasonchanges across the that comes from the media and the empowerment that individuals get from things like twitter so you have individuals that are eiks am a well respected sh that have been talking about international causes. aq asgoes back to ir well. and a lot of that came in with what was happening in the iraq in the security amenity. to reach out and collect money their way. that is really different. it is not coming from the date institutions so much, but from individuals that have an able to find support through these mechanisms. elizabeth mentioned in her report that a law of the fundraising right now is taking place among the seller fee -- se
lafi community. lafid you talk about the se community in kuwait, and a number of its members are in parliament and have a strong voice in opposition to the royal family and how that might complicate the government efforts to rein in the sort of fundraising. elafi movement is very strong, deep, and internationally connected. there's always been a connection between that in kuwait and in saudi arabia, so that you had at certain times very influential shakes that were in saudi arabia that had trouble with the saudi arabian government, you had this ofg flow of both people and ideas floating across the globe, particularly kuwait being strong as a center for that. because it was open and provided a place of refuge who are having trouble elsewhere.
has this means is kuwait all the different versions of selafism you would find anywhere. movements that would be pro-monarchy, pro-saudi monarchy, and related to movements like that. you have oppositional movements. you have new movements that are mrying to infuse selafis with ideas of democracy. all these elements are present. at the same time, because of the presence of the parliament, you have selafi people who have been able to get into parliament. iou have sympathy for selaf movements for the tribal areas of kuwait who have been growing in influence. they are able to use their presence in the parliament for putting pressure on the ruling family. what i thought was interesting is if you look at the names of the people that have been most
significant in the fundraising for syria, these are not people that have run across and create -- in kuwait, in the kuwaiti parliament and are even speaking about domestic kuwaiti politics. i have been watching the oppositional politics, and this is not come up. there is a difference between selafi movements that are engaged in international issues, independent sheiks, and those that are working on the sectarian issues and looking at iran and these kinds of things among those sorts of issues, rather than playing the domestic kuwaiti politics. >> can you talk about about beth's point, the reason she fire,"it "playing with
that this risks stirring up sectarian tension at home? do you think that is true, and du think it is happening, or will happen soon as a result of it? >> is certainly happening, and i think it started before it started happening. a lot of that language coming after the iraq war. you had a lot of sunnis they came to qatar and kuwait at the time that were displaced in the sectarian conflicts have happened in iraq, and i think they had a lot of influence in importing this more sectarian view. kuwait has open politics. there is a little competition among the communities. at the same time you had political blocs in the parliament that were made of shiny and shia and one example, down in theoke
middle of this issue over the rules of the escalation of what was happening in iraq and hezbollah when some of them parliamentarians showed their blocrt for them, and the could not hold together anymore, which tells you how the sectarian politics of the region are becoming much more prominent in kuwait. syria takes that to a much higher level because now you , with has bullet entering into the conflict, where everyone has their players views that of the were built up from the iraq war about shia looking at the rise selafi rhetoric, and from the sunni side, looking at iran, the power, the goals, they have their own actors.
look at hezbollah. it is just as these peers on both sides are coming together. i think the problem in kuwait is it is one thing that i love people like about kuwait is the politics are much more open, but it also allows the space for that much more sectarian rhetoric and competitive politics to come out in the open. >> thank you. i want to turn to you now and talk about kuwait's counter threat financing laws. one of the points that it makes up and points out in her paper is that kuwait became attractive as a hub for this kind of private fundraising because its laws are particularly lax. can you talk about that? can you put weight's -- can you s into context?w >> i think to answer that
question you need to go back to 1989. in 1989, the financial action it wasrce was set up and set up to counter money --ndering as a function of from latin america. fast-forward to 9/11, and one of the things that is often overlooked is the first shot in the global war on terror was the administration was i financial shot, an executive place 13224, which put in the option for the u.s. to sanction organizations that were deemed to be financing terrorist organizations. tf was told time, a they need to come up with an addition to your money laundering regulations and guidelines that addresses terror financing. from that moment on, the
countries around the world were atf and imf to determine the extent of their implementation of these recommendations where appropriate, and they were doing their utmost to counterterrorist financing. and these mutual evaluations are conducted on a regular basis. the most recent jewel of valuation of kuwait was done in funny 10. in 2010. it is sad to say kuwait was not doing a good job, and if you look at the wikileaks cables from around that time, you can see the u.s. administration was -- was frustrated by the lack of progress kuwait was making. the report at that time highlighted many shortcomings with the legal and the law enforcement framework for capturing terrorist finance, poor level of preventative measures, etc., etc., etc., and from a court perspective, there
were at that time 49 different elements that the atf review country song, and they fall into four categories. 37 of the 49 categories were rated noncompliant or only partially applied by atf. that is a 75% failure rate. >> how does at compare with other gulf countries? >> during the time between 9/11 and 2010, other countries make terrific efforts on the ground to be made up, and if you look at the noncompliance and high-risk prescription -- jurisdiction risk, kuwait is notable for still being on the list and is in the company of countries it would not like to be with. made a concerted effort to try to make up for these deficiencies, and there is
now the law that beth referred to, setting up a financial intelligence unit, but this is stuff other countries did many years ago, and i think there is still some frustration that these issues have not yet been addressed. even if laws are put in place and it is announced that things will happen, whether the there is enforcement on whether the rules oare used dealing with illicit finance, and whether you can even use them -- useder those are actually or not is an entirely different matter, and we have also talked about the way in which politics works in kuwait, which may not favor implementing and enforcing those relations. >> that was my question, is that it seems to me a lot of the fundraising that beth talks yout in her paper --
cannot properly construe it as financing for terrorist organizations, because a lot of the groups in syria have not been designated. most of this money is not going to save a front, for example. what tools then does the international community and kuwait have for curbing some of this funding if they feel that it needs to be curbed for one reason or another? is it possible to curb it under the rubric of countering threat financing, and that is so focused on terrorist organizations? >> i think it is difficult. there is a hard way and then a soft way. the hard way clearly, if one can prove that money is going to organizations that are designated, then the steps can as most recently yesterday, suffer taken by the treasury by designating individuals not from kuwait, but
who were providing financing to for organizations. there is an alternative way, and that is that financial institutions are very concerned about their reputation and about being tainted by anything which would damage their reputation. so whilst you may not be able to directly target individuals transferring money and you would rather they did not, you can let it be know that these individuals are perhaps not doing what you would like to be done, and you will very quickly find the services they receive tom banks, etc., will start be withdrawn. that will cut the funds per se, but will potentially inject a fear factor which might make them think twice before continuing to do what they are doing. >> has that ever worked anywhere? >> it has. if you look in the time after effectivelyarabia curtail the donations that were going on, combined with the fact
that a lot of those kinds of donors felt that the course -- the cause in which they were donating money was not going so well in afghanistan. but then something might happen sympathyns the tide of celeb toorward a cause donate money to, so you saw a situation in iraq where the documents were found where core al qaeda writing to a colleague, we're having trouble with money, would you mind sending us a hundred grand? he was effectively raising cause for his -- raising money for his cause in iraq at that time. it is possible to use soft pressure, but it will require the kuwaitis to perhaps be more aggressive than they might want to be with these individuals. >> thank you very much. we will open it up for questions that. mikese mike's correct --
around the room. if you would just wait for the microphone to come to you. over there. >> thank you. good afternoon. council one european foreign relations. thank you very much for the paper. it is very interesting, and i'm curious as to whether you or any of the panelists have looked at how the creation of the islamic fronts and the attempt to kind of ring these groups under one operating banner, even that the military councils have -- they basically do not work anymore -- but do you think this is going to in some way extent this competing competition from donors?g there is an open question of people in the gulf about the behavior of their citizens. i am wondering what your thoughts are on that. i know it is not at the top of your core focus of research, but
is there any refection on how this kind of proliferation of arms and militias in a country like syria ultimately affects what happens there in the long term? we have seen the world has seen what kind of an impact it has had all caps were, but there is -- but is there consideration that this might come to more harm than good? there's no clear way of understanding where the money flow is going. the most destructive groups certainly are not getting tons of gulf money. they can still do a lot of damage. if you could reflect on some of those points. >> on the islamic front, i was the last fewis days. a lot of kuwaiti backers have come out in support of the islamic front, but i suspect what we will see is everyone is equal, but some rebel grades are more equal than others situations. for example, i think all they
are under the same umbrella, but some groups will receive better funding, particularly, for some of these individuals in other brigades. i would not expect -- i do not know, i cannot predict the future -- i would expect these donors to change their financing in any way. i expect them to continue to continue in the networks they have established and work, and those groups will it didn't work together. >> have they reacted to the formation of the -- >> yes, they have. one of the most prominent donors has come out in support publicly of the islamic front. we have seen these alliances in the past. this seems to be different because it is weaker and it seems has a bit more coherence. there is no evidence a person is involved in betweeng arrangements
individual robert groups at different points in time. is whether this alliance is different from other alliances and has any holding pattern. yeah, i would not expect the funding pattern to change. in terms of your credit about what this candidates are in the future, this is one of the main regions of the broadscale funding inchoate has dropped off -- in kuwait has dropped off. , those of you who have the report, there is a quotation on the first page from someone who raised money for the modern brigade, and he was lamenting the fact that basically his another support has gone in so many different directions that it is -- has destroyed the opposition by making them totally incoherent and unable to work together. >> a question in the back?
>> i am a syrian journalist. i just recently came back from the hana area. most of this funding is not for weapons, because i see the things arriveudi in ceric him mostly -- arrived in syria, mostly close, not weapons. at least my experience, between hama province, most of these are from the syrian army. really, you cannot talk about favoring this group or that, because one example that, when the headquarter, we need weapons, they refuse to give them. then suddenly they overtook
their headquarters. what i am saying is that they refuse to give them, even if they wanted weapons, mostly from qatar, but not saudi arabia publicly and not kuwait. we have so much propaganda from the other side saying the elf the head are giving, of intelligence is giving, and stories -- all lies. of the weapons is from the syrian army. i appreciate you making this point, and i would emphasize again just how much you military and aid the kuwaitis are doing, how much work they are doing, and these charities are doing for -- they are the unsung hero of the humanitarian crisis in syria. over and over again, the kuwaitis are the ones that are the first donor in every case or
humanitarian work. i think there is an aspect -- i mentioned one example -- where do you draw the line on this? if you are supporting a hospital that is run by particular per brigade, is it humanitarian aid him doesn't have a legal component? , -- it is astrom spectrum, not black-and-white. you raised a question that makes this so complicated, and love this money does go to things that are very much needed on the ground. these rebel dates, they understand if they are controlling an area, that is openly the bakery, the hospital, for.ts needs providing these cribs are the only people that have -- these groups are the only people that have access to that area. >> i would also add the paper was not about states and the assistance, but private individuals, and a lot of the
assistance for weapons comes in the form of money. so the groups on the ground can then buy the weapons they need, whether they do deals with some low level guy in the syrian army or whether they go across the border to buy the weapons, crates full of weapons are not showing up, the money is. tom? >> i am in touch with a guy who does this kind of fundraising, clearly people give money for specific kinds of weapons. wherecase in kuwait, the aim was to raise money for possible,s much as 75,000 dollars, they raised enough money for 11, and there was a certain amount of bidding amonga months -- going the high-profile individuals. that kind of attitude. i think money is given specifically for purchasing
weapons and trade where does weapons come from, i do not know. >> ma'am, you have a question here? i am with the wilson center. there was a report this week shias killed in syria. i was wondering if you can elaborate about that help that the shia community into weight is doing for hezbollah and in syria, and look underfunding, fighting with the syrian regime and that? to comment on what the man just said, and i agree with him, there is a fear now when you concentrate on the issue like this, without making a distinction, and i thank you for making the station between the organizations that are helping and the ones who are buying
weapons and raising money for weapons, you will eventually have a fear that the government will crack down on these people and then the syrian people on the ground are going to suffer. thank you. so, on the shiite angle, i do not know much more than i have already said. this is something that i would like to look into further. it is clear fundraising is happening. the extent, but it is comparable on what is happening on the sunni side in amounts of money. kristen, maybe you can help, but i believe there is long-standing historical ties between and support for hezbollah in the shiite community that could be tapped into in those networks. i have seen lots of reports of both sunni and shiite kuwaitis doing that, but i do not have
anything confirmed. >> i do not have any specifics on what is happening now, but this situation in the shia community paralyzed that -- parallels that in the sunni community. prominentme very activists based there and networks throughout the entire gulf, some of them linking it to syria. those were parlayed into business contracts on another side. there are activist communities, and that the higher-level you have businessman working for the shia government and across the gulf and for the syrian government as well when the gulf had a lot of money and were looking to invest abroad. those relationships were established and can be instrumentalist now. the second question
about good funding versus bad funding -- can you talk to me about what saudia arabia has attempted to do -- there has been a lot of fundraising for humanitarian relief for syria in saudi arabia. but they have also attended to crack down on this other kind. can you talk about that? >> this is a great example, because -- i mean, across the gulf, the syrian crisis has really struck a chord with people. that is because it is such a terrible conflict humanitarian- wise, and people feel very close to it because of images on youtube and twitter. ties are a lot of familial so it is a personal conflict for people in the gulf. every gulf country government has realized that their population is deeply motivated to help the syrian people. saudi arabia has taken a very
interesting strategy to channel all of that relief into one public campaign. this gigantic telethon. they got religious establishments involved and the charities involved. they got the tv networks. everybody was giving to this one pot. i think this is their way of sort of channeling those emotional responses and a very sincere desire to help. one way they could use for humanitarian purposes that was a bit more controlled. so anyone who was trying to do fundraising outside of that umbrella was asked to join that umbrella in sort of an inclusive way. in the saudi government through the saudi red cross would move that -- use that for humanitarian work. the uae has done something red cross.h the uae gulf countries understand that
their citizens want to help, so i think they have taken these strategies as sort of a way to turn that into really active philanthropy. sort of bigger picture issue here as well. from theations financial actions task force. one of those is a specific recommendation that indicates are charities, ngo's, deemed to be a vulnerability. things like the proceeds you are talking about may be driven by the fact that actually controlling where moneys are going -- not just where they are going but where they are being received from, it is something that the global finance community looks at very closely. there are unintended consequences of that. actually monitoring where charitable donations are going, where they are being transferred to, is viewed by many people as a vulnerability.
so trying to control that or corral that to make that go through safe core doors -- c is something countries are heavily incentivized to do if they want a clean bill of health from the fatf. >> another question. >> thank you. i'm with the iraqi embassy. thanks for such a very informative panel. they really are very informative. before the question, maybe a little bit of personal experience on what an insurgency is pure it when i was young and crazy, i was part of the 1990 one uprising in iraq. we did control 14 out of 18 provinces in iraq. involved more support. so there is more to supporting an insurgency than just buying them weapons.
there is much more. so the gentleman does have a point, yes mckay a lot of the weapons are captured. that we did in 1991. an we were supporting insurgency then. this money can go to a lot of nonlethal, non-weapon to combat it is certainly in support of the insurgency. my question -- it is very her to draw the line in countries like the gulf states between what is private and what is public in what state involvement is. you already eluded to the fact that some parliamentarians were and there are people who either went to syria -- my question to the panel is about the attitude of the kuwaiti government. government is less sanguine when talking about the saudi's or the qataris, but what is appening in kuwait
natural structural problem, the people who are fundraising using the system against the government and using the marginal freedom that is relatively larger than others. no structure put in place to comply. is it that there is some complicity at this level by looking the other way? i would be interested to hear the panel's view. thank you very much again. >> i do think that the kuwaiti isernment is aware that this going on. they may not know the extent of it. i do not know how deeply -- it may be a case of not wanting to look at it, but they certainly know that it is going on. i can say that with near certainty. i will give you an example of one of the ways it has been difficult for kuwait to do anything about it. one of the complications is that
a lot of people involved are politically important at the moment. one particular individual that you mentioned is the former twitterntarian, and on he said let's get people to the streets. there would be 10,000 people in kuwait city tomorrow. that sort of person for the kuwaiti government is particularly difficult. there is one example i thought was very telling. there was a great story about two different fundraising events that were held. the -- held at one of with the presence of one of these mp's that was part of the syrian opposition, and there was another one without the mp. they were both in public. the one without the mp was broken up by police easily. the one with the mp was not touched or police came but it
was too complicated and they do not break it appeared the way they look at the mp's a sort of as a political cover, a way for them to have more space to operate. themselves ares not raising a lot of money, they are providing space for other people to raise money and creating a huge headache for the kuwaiti government. >> particularly in that time of 2012, this was a time of really eco-ht opposition activity kuwait. you had the opposition at the time taking a majority of the in one election and threatening to be able to constrain the ruling family in new ways. some people were calling for a particular parliamentary monarchy and having the parliament be able to choose the prime minister. a completely empty threat at the time. of course mckay a lot of these are limitary and are now former are limitary is because those
mp's are out of politics because they lost the game against the government. 2012, there was a vulnerability for the government and pushing against the opposition that was very insurgent at the time. and they particular vulnerability is because you had a lot of youth-let politics coming from the streets. they cannot even negotiate with the mp's because the mp's themselves were not controlling everything. there was new tribal politics of the government was not controlling well at the time either. and because a lot of these tribal areas that had been very loyal to the government before returning oppositional, the politics of it met the government was reliant on the shia political blocs to keep their political position. and everybody knew this. it led for sort of a natural
inclination for conspiracy thisy, something that government is too close to the shia. the former prime minister was unpopular and had been ambassador to iran. so there was a perception that they were close to the shia. where you seeven the president of the united states have vulnerabilities. dissenting in kuwait, they did not want to take on some of these groups on what was a popular issue at the time of cosi area giving support to serious -- syria giving support to syrians. i do not know anything about this, but there has been a lot of ruling family factionalism in kuwait and competition within the ruling family. at least there is the potential what has been a popular issue in the past coming out in a position that is unpopular may be plagued against
you within the ruling family. one thing that is interesting to heightbout though is the of this is sort of passed now and the ruling family has a lot more influence right now and seems to be able to kind of control this. a lot of the ways they actually got more of the public coming back in sympathy to their position is because how bad things were going in syria and because of the fears that kuwaitis had that this was going to be imported into kuwait. they started to think that the sectarian rhetoric was getting too hot. so the message became very resonant for a lot of the public. that might give a little bit more space for the kuwaiti government to do a little bit more on these issues now. >> tom? just thesly, it is not donors raising the money, but within the establishment, with etc. the mosques,
i would imagine going against the organizations is extremely difficult for the authorities. that is one of the questions that comes up regularly -- how should these pots of money be controlled, distributed, and in different countries? >> thank you. question? >> thanks very much. i write to the mitchell report. i want to take it back to your was not ach i assume casual decision. playing with fire with financing, risks igniting sectarian conflict at home. it is sort of a two-part question. where is home? danger that you see here? mean to and i do not
underplay this, is it simply about syria and what is going on in kuwait or is it something larger about a trend that perhaps this identifies about in bige of big money conflicts? as i have listened to the conversation today, have gone back and forth between sort of this is the way it should be but it does not sound like the world, and then i come back to the title of playing with fire and igniting sectarian conflict at home. and i say, maybe i am not hearing something i should. i would love to get some clarification there. listening to his sort of reminds me of the angst that we express here at home about the role of outside money and big money in our electoral politics.
if you could expand on that, that would be helpful. >> yeah, the thing that scares me most thinking about this and the impact that it will have -- by home, i guess i meant kuwait . that was a geographical reference. the thing that scares me the most is i fear that what is happening with the donor community now is just the of a new of the birth network of extremist funders that will not disappear easily or willingly. probably existed in the past. i know that they have expanded during the syrian conflict because there are new act there's that are known to be new in the donor community and that have established new networks. these networks extend far into bahrain.bia, qatar, these are groups in the have access to one another eco-an
instantaneous and easy to access weight -- in and instantaneous and easy to access way. they can talk to each other online. these are not networks that are going to be quashed easily. the longer the syrian conflict goes on, the more entrenched those networks get, the bigger they get medical and the more extreme they get. because watching the conflict in syria does not privilege moderate ideologies. it privileges ideologies that take an extreme interpretation of the events that are happening because they are just so graphic. that is my biggest fear. when i am mapping the social networks of these donors, which thanks to social media we can now sort of instantaneously do, i can map this to bahrain. i can show you how the salafi communities in bahrain are connected to the salafi communities in kuwait.
i can show your picture of a qatari and kuwaiti donor that are in syria together having raised money through kuwait. these are networks that are not going to disappear. ok, thank you. a question in the back. the syrian support group. elizabeth, thank you. my question is about the story during your section. you said there was a public fight on twitter between two donors. --er islamic front of coke under islamic front, they started dating -- startek consolidating. militaryry top, the had one of them. and then there is the political wing. i wonder if there is an end to that story and eventually they worked it out, and now the two
leaders are working closely together -- i just wonder what happened there. >> yeah, i do not know if it was like a meeting in asia can's and had tea -- and they shook tea andd had everything was better. they sort of backed off from their positions. at the evening of the day, this is an opportunity to take alliance. hopefully it has more staying power in the sense that it would give a lot more coherence to the very important question -- who is the syrian opposition? because up until now we have not been able to answer that question in a coherent way. this allows us to do that. maybe it is a positive thing. but i hesitate to think that that alliance is, in its current form, anything more than an opportunistic group of brigades that have decided to work together and pool their efforts.
>> more questions? hi, sally. i have a hypothetical question. a lot of people have become more pessimistic about the possibility for successful convention and seem more likely scenario being a fractured syria . i was wondering what you thought this impact would have on the donors in the gulf, whether they fundsstop sending as much or whether it would increase the divisions among different donors? i do not honestly have a lot i can add except to say that all the donors that i am aware of the stressed the need for structural integrity of syria. that is something the gulf countries have also emphasized. i do not imagine they would take timely to the fracturing syria.
i do not imagine they would stop fighting if that took place. >> a question over here. >> hello, thank you for this. i have a quick question. you touch based on the role of turkey with the money transfers, donors transferring money to syria through turkey. i know about legal money going to help the syrian refugees and the other ones took money for weapons. do we know that these groups are providing some of the shotguns, for example, from turkey and funneling these shotguns to any role ofthere this money in this trade? ,hat kind of transactions are
in terms of the money transfers to turkey? of any role ofw turkey in terms of the money transfers. they are talking about exchange houses. the role in turkey and the financial movement that i am aware of is in terms of cash. the easiest ways to go in and out of syria is the turkish border with syria, northern syria. it is the cash money that would be moved to turkey and then literally sort of walked over the border by one of these guys. that is the involvement that i am aware of from turkey. i personally to not report on turkey, so i do not know the specifics. from my reporter colleagues, i know that the border has become sort of a wild wild west. there are shops set up with military fatigues, and i think
you have a good story. >> yes. two comments on turkey. first, an anecdote. this chap i know works for an ngo and he was telling me how he goes to instanbul to buy suitcases to carry cash down to the border. coming back to turkey, it is in an interesting position because turkey was another country that to under treasure from fatf upgrade its compliance with that regime. i think turkey demonstrates to some extent how much power these recommendations have. because if you read some of the reports from the credit rating agencies, fitch referred to the fact had turkey not cleared its name, then they may have downgraded its credit rating
because being blacklisted or gray listed from the fatf would make it difficult to borrow from foreign markets. this is quite closely linked together. i think what happens in turkey will be interesting to watch, and the authorities there should wherere of the extent to they are facilitating that money moving. fatv refused -- [indiscernible] part of the decision? >> i have no idea how they make their it decisions. -- there are 11 countries including yemen, kuwait, etc.
administration objected and the other 36 members rejected the request. >> i do not know. end. are getting near the i would like to ask you last question, mainly to beth and tom. kristin, if you have an opinion, feel free to jump in. i am sure those on the panel now and many in the room know that thateneral mood in d.c. is this is not a conflict that we should be involved in. there is nothing we can do to really affect the course of it. i want to talk about that move specifically with reference to this foreign funding issue. i think a number of people will read your report, beth, and say,
well, the look book of the united states could have done everything to fill this vacuum and provide assistance and syria and these folks and kuwait would have still raised the same amount of money and would still be sending it there. and even if we wanted to do something about it, there not really anything you can do. if you talk to u.s. officials, and i have in the past, although i understand there has been a change of attitude, but in the past officials would say -- what can you do? it is just such a messy problem. we do not really have the leverage to do anything. i wonder if you can address that? ]> [laughs >> let me give you the european perspective. there is a very significant concern in europe about the blowback effect of the conflict in syria. as people do more and more research, it is becoming clear
that a number of people choosing to travel from european countries to syria is quite considerable. .oney is clearly involved and who is paying them to travel to syria and who is financing once they get there -- i money,lly think that like many things, is at the center of this. i think trying to address the financing, and this is not all through kuwait, but trying to deal with the finance issue is important. the numbers are increasing dramatically. if you look at a small country like belgium, the number of people from belgium going to syria, there is a big problem brewing. . think it is important it is difficult to get your arms around it. but without money, i think the general view is perhaps there ford be less willingness
that travel. from the european perspective, that is probably the most interesting thing. >> i guess i would go back to a conversation i had at the evening of 2012 during a conference in doha meant to try to unify the fractioned syrian opposition. i remember specifically talking to one of the local military guys that had been brought into the conference. i remora talking to him and he was basically sort of making his , the pleading -- please fighters on the ground are living such a hand to mouth existence at this point that any funding will sway them this way or that way. i do think that there was something to that. that we aref money estimating being talked about, hundreds of millions of dollars, that would be very easily outweighed by any sort of one
be at thetion from west or if the gulf decided to actually get their act together a clearly sort of, in way, help the opposition rather than just individual parts of it. i think there was a moment perhaps when unified support could have brought the opposition together, but i now think that moment has passed. i am not convinced anymore that western support would be able to unify the opposition given how fractious it has become. it basically leaves us in a position where i do not know what can undo the damage that has been done up to this point in terms of creating a coherent syrian opposition. i do think that getting the gulf the project board of unifying some sort of syrian opposition would be a positive thing.
i think the gulf countries are extremely important in getting any successful geneva discussion moving forward. we talk a lot -- is the regime going to attend geneva? how about saudi arabia? is saudi arabia going to attend geneva? to me, that seems like an equally important question and maybe one where we can have a little bit more influence. yeah, i think the u.s. missed its moment. >> tom? >> one follow-on. you have to ask yourself the question -- where would the money come from if it did not come from where it is coming from? if you look at north africa, the answer is probably kidnapped for ransom your it even if we address the flows of money that are traveling at the moment, maybe we open a separate can of worms. thinks somebody who
there has been too much involvement in the region. i can understand the desire to pull back. there's not much appetite in the american public to enter into another war. at the same time, it is easy to read elizabeth's report and see that as an indictment of u.s. policy. i think if the u.s. were up laying a much stronger leadership role -- the result we get is what you get from the u.s. not being a strong presence in organizing and taking a leadership role in syria. not whether we should take that leadership role in syria or not. i am not completely sure yet. but i hope policymakers are reading this and thinking about it. there is a broader issue. if the u.s. is going to be less forward, the gulf states have shown -- the message from saudi arabia is that they will be more proactive in the region. we saw it in bahrain and syria. ish kuwait, this report
talking about private actors who could have a really big effect. regardless of what our policy on syria is going to be, i think this is a case study for thinking about how the u.s. is -- what role could we play between not doing much of anything and and all in role? how could we manage some of the outcomes that come when we are not playing this strong role? we have that going on with iran. i hope that we don't sort of leave everything to chance. you all very much for an excellent panel. i hope you will join me in thanking them. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] [captioning performed by national captioning institute]