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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  June 13, 2014 12:00pm-2:01pm EDT

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been steadily ramping up our security assistance to the iraqi government with increased training, equipping, and intelligence. needs additional intelligence to break momentum of the extremist groups and bolster the capability of iraqi extremist forces. security forces. we will not be sending combat troops into iraq. i have asked my national security team to prepare a range of other options i and i will be reviewing those options in the days ahead. i do want to be clear. or primarilyolely a military challenge. over the past decade, american troops have made extraordinary anrifices to give iraqis opportunity to claim their own future. unfortunately, iraq's leaders have been able to -- unable to overcome the mistrust and sectarian differences that have
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long been simmering there. that has created folder abilities within the iraqi government and in the security forces. any action that we may take to iraqie assistance to security forces has to be joined by a serious and secure effort asideqi leaders to set sectarian differences, promote stability, and account for the legitimate interests of all iraq's communities and to build an effective security force. we cannot do it for them. in the absence of this type of lyrical effort, short-term military action, including any assistance we might provide, won't succeed. this should be a wake up call. iraq's leaders have to demonstrate a willingness to make our decisions and compromises. -- hard decisions and compromises. in that effort, they will have the support of the united states and our friends and our allies.
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have someghbors responsibility to support this process. nobody has an interest in seeing terrorists gain a foothold inside of iraq and no one has any benefit from seeing iraq to send into chaos. united states will do our part. understand that ultimately it is up to the iraq use to solve the to solve-- the iraqis their problems are written we have redoubled efforts to build more capable dr. terrorism efforts. efforts.terterrorism we are also going to pursue intensive diplomacy throughout this period, inside of iraq and across the region, because there is never going to be stability for the region unless there were political outcomes that allow people to resolve outcomes
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peacefully without resorting to war or relying on the united states military. monitoring the situation in iraq very carefully over the next several days. -- top priority will remain will to be remain vigilant. we will consult closely with congress as we make determinations about appropriate action and we will continue to keep the american people fully informed as we continue to make decisions about the way forward. i will take a question. >> are you reluctant to get involved in iraq with the recent u.s. history? >> i think that we should look at the situation carefully. we have an interest in making , ae that a group like isil vicious organization that has been able to take advantage of the chaos in syria, that they do not get a broader foothold. i think there are dangers of if shiatarian fighting
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sites are overrun. we have enormous interest there. obviously, our troops in the american people and the american taxpayers made huge investments and sacrifices in order to give iraqis the opportunity to chart a better course, a better destiny. ultimately, they are going to have to seize it. we are not going to be able to do it for them. given the very difficult history we have seen in iraq, i think any objective observer would recognize that, in the absence of accommodation among the various factions inside of iraq, various military actions by the united states, by any outside going to solve those problems over the long
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term and not going to deliver the stability we need. anybody else? civil warsyrian spilling over the iraq border? >> i think it has been for some time. isil has gained a foothold in syria. that is one of the reasons we have been concerned about it and supporting syrian opposition. government, which was initially resistant to some of our offers of help, has come around to recognize that cooperation with us on some of the issues can be useful. obviously, that is not the case in syria, were president assad has no interest in seeing us involved there and were some of the governments that are supporting assad have been able to block u.n. efforts and humanitarian aid. this is a regional problem and
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it is going to be a long-term problem. what we're going to have to do is combine selective actions by our military to make sure we're going after terrorists who could harm our personnel overseas were eventually hit the homeland, we will have to combine that with what is a very challenging international effort to try to countries and communities that have been shattered by the sectarian war. that is not an easy task. do?hat are they willing to >> we are in contact with them now. we will have a better sense by the end of the weekend after those consultations. we will be getting a better sense from them of how they might support an effort to bring about the kind of political unity instead of iraq that
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bolsters security forces. the united states has poured a into these iraqi security forces and we devoted a lot of training to iraqi security forces. are not that they willing to stand and fight and defend their posts against ,dmittedly hardened terrorists but not terrorists who are overwhelming in numbers, indicates that there is a problem with morale, a problem in terms of commitment, and ultimately that is rooted in the political problems that have plagued the country for a very long time. last question. last one. >> can you talk a little bit about u.s. concern of the disruption, potential disruption, oil supplies? far, we have not seen major disruptions in oil supplies. lviously, if in fact, i s i
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was able to get control over major output, significant refineries, that could be a source of concern. as you might expect, world markets react to any kind of instability in the middle east. one of our goal should be to make sure that in cooperation with other countries and regions, some only are we creating some kind of backstop in terms of what is happening inside iraq, but if there do end being disruptions inside iraq that the gulf producers are able to pick up the slack. that is part of the consultations that will take place during the course of this week. just to give people a sense of the timing. although events on the ground have been happening very quickly , our ability to plan military action or work with the iraqi government is going to take several days.
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apple should not anticipate that this is going to happen overnight. -- people should not anticipate that this is going to happen overnight. we want to have good eyes on the situation. we want to gather all of the intelligence necessary so that if i do direct in order actions target,hat their precise, and will have an effect. i want to make sure that everybody understands this message. the united states is not simply going to involve itself in a military action in the absence of a political plan by the iraqis that gives us some assurance that they are prepared to work together. we are not going to allow ourselves to be dragged back , whilesituation in which we're there, we are keeping a lid on things and then after enormous sacrifices by us, as soon as we are not there, suddenly people in the past thing -- acting in ways that are
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not conducive to long-term prosperity and stability of the country. right? thank you very much, everybody. >> the president greeting well-wishers and wishing happy
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father's day after making this statement on the situation in iraq. our moment, we will open phone lines and get your reaction. again, the president making a statement on iraq as violence continues to escalate in that country. reporting that iran has deployed three revolutionaries argument to iraq -- revolutionary guard units to iraq. the president saying here that no u.s. troops will be sent, but other options for a response are being considered, as the pressure mounts for u.s. response. to get to your calls. robert is on the democrats line. go ahead.
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caller: hi, i try to get through earlier, but the lines were busy. anyway. i just heard president's little speech. all i have to say is if the republicans want to change anything, they need to win elections. democrats come you don't have to worry. the president is only going to do lipservice, like he has done with the irs, the veterans administration. it is always the same thing. is going to go off in his there -- helicopter. he is not serious, he doesn't care. he doesn't care. anybody who thinks he does is crazy. thank you very much. tim, you are next in st. louis, on the independent line. go ahead. caller: hi.
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thanks for taking the time to run the speech. i'm an independent. ,fter what the president said this serves to be a good actual test for him and could break the mold in washington if he does work with senator mccain's earlier remarks and talks about the actual strategists in iraq about the options. my personal belief is that we -- do we have a moral becauseon to intervene of our role and potentially destabilizing the region? >> brenda is in new jersey. caller: good morning. thank you for covering the speech. i agree with his course of action. i do not believe we should have more military involvement in
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iraq. it was a mistake to go there in the beginning. hopefully we will not get re-involved. that would be my hope and desire. >> the president getting on marine one there. he ascended to north dakota. they are traveling to canada and ball, north dakota to an event on an indian reservation. then he will head to palm springs. back to your phone calls. in pembroke,rt kentucky. republican line. caller: i'm not really republican. i'm a democrat from pembroke, kentucky. that is neither here nor there. i don't know what all this is about. these arms,d of they produce all these weapons,
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they sell them to all of these people, if you just get rid of the bullets, those countries have no capability of producing these arms, producing fees things, it is the germans, it is the united states, it is france, china. they produce these arms to sell them. get rid of the arms and then the -- would get along. let them stone themselves to death. >> patrick is in woodbury, new jersey. independent line. caller: i'm actually a democrat. right now, we have serious problems in our own country. i don't really feel that we have to get back into iraq and do everything for them. we were over there for how many years and so many of our soldiers have died -- for what?
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for oil? like thises not seem should be an issue for us. we have rapid unemployment. we have a terrible situation in our own country from the bush years. we need to focus on our own country. >> should the be no response? caller: i think that what we do there now to protect our little oil interests over there. i know it is not little. it is just ridiculous. they don't want to die. they want us to die over there. we have enough men and women who have died over there. we need to take care of our country. our country is better at now. the senate and congress is a joke. >> charles is in miami, florida.
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go ahead. can you hear me? caller: yes, can you hear me now? i think also that we should not go in and that we should only send minimal support help and so forth and so on and no boots on the ground. i'm in next vietnam veteran .yself they should have been more capable of defending for themselves. the troops that drop their weapons and so forth another want to send our young men back over there to fight a war they are not capable of fighting. the president is not right. if they cannot get it right through the politics. no boots on the ground. they need to straighten it out for themselves. >> along with no boots on the ground, the president also saying that u.s. military aid
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depends on the baghdad government setting aside sectarianism. also saying the chaos in iraq could endanger u.s. interests. he is weighing options for helping. our next caller is rebecca. rebecca is in south bend. indiana. on the democrat line. go ahead, rebecca. we will take ray. line inn the republican wisconsin. is that correct? caller: west virginia. is this going to be another vietnam war? because i was there. that's all of got to tell you. >> what do you want to tell us? it looks like that is all from ray. we do appreciate your remarks, your comments come your thoughts, your ideas. and has weighed in on facebook -- asndy has weighed in on
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facebook. leaving before the job is done because it is politically expedient, hopefully never again. we have had over a thousand responses so far, including this from john brown. opinion, yes, drones, missiles, limited airstrikes. no american ground troops. they would be outsiders and targets. mark writes, no. i am ashamed that those iraqis cannot follow protocol after being instructed by us for 9.5 years. we would like to hear what you have to say. you can weigh in with your thoughts at facebook.com/c-span. we are going to go back and replay what the president had to say and the u.s. response in iraq.
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>> good morning, everybody. myterday i convened with national security council and the received an update from my daysover the last several we have seen significant gains made by i s i l that operates in both iraq and syria. iraqi security forces have proven unable to defend a number of cities which have allowed terrorists to overrun a part of a rock's territory. it poses a danger to iraq and its people and given the nature of these terrorists, it could pose a threat to american interests as well this threat is not brand-new. we have been steadily ramping up to theurity assistance
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iraqi security forces. now they need support to break momentum of the extremist groups and bolster the capability of iraqi security forces. we will not be sending combat troops into iraq. i have asked my national security team to prepare a range of other options i and i will be reviewing those options in the days ahead. i do want to be clear. this is not solely or primarily a military challenge. over the past decade, american troops have made extraordinary sacrifices to give iraqis an opportunity to claim their own future. unfortunately, iraq's leaders have been able to -- unable to overcome the mistrust and sectarian differences that have long been simmering there. that has created folder abilities --homer
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--er abilities vulnerabilities within the iraqi government and in the security forces. any action that we may take to provide assistance to iraqi security forces has to be joined by a serious and secure effort by iraqi leaders to set aside sectarian differences, promote stability, and account for the legitimate interests of all iraq's communities and to build an effective security force. we cannot do it for them. in the absence of this type of lyrical effort, short-term military action, including any assistance we might provide, won't succeed. this should be a wake up call. iraq's leaders have to demonstrate a willingness to make our decisions and compromises. -- hard decisions and compromises. in that effort, they will have the support of the united states and our friends and our allies. iraq's neighbors have some responsibility to support this process.
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nobody has an interest in seeing terrorists gain a foothold inside of iraq and no one has any benefit from seeing iraq to send into chaos. united states will do our part. understand that ultimately it is up to the iraq use to solve the problems -- the iraqis to solve their problems are written we have redoubled efforts to build more capable counterterrorism forces. we will continue the effort through the support of the moderate opposition in syria and our partnership with other countries across the region. we are also going to pursue intensive diplomacy throughout this period, inside of iraq and across the region, because there is never going to be stability for the region unless there were political outcomes that allow people to resolve outcomes peacefully without resorting to war or relying on the united states military. we will be monitoring the situation in iraq very carefully over the next several days.
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our top priority will remain -- will to be remain vigilant. -- to our personnel serving overseas. we will consult closely with congress as we make determinations about appropriate action and we will continue to keep the american people fully informed as we continue to make decisions about the way forward. i will take a question. >> are you reluctant to get involved in iraq with the recent u.s. history? >> i think that we should look at the situation carefully. we have an interest in making sure that a group like isil, a vicious organization that has been able to take advantage of the chaos in syria, that they do not get a broader foothold. i think there are dangers of fear sectarian fighting if shia sites are overrun.
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we have enormous interest there. obviously, our troops in the american people and the american taxpayers made huge investments and sacrifices in order to give iraqis the opportunity to chart a better course, a better destiny. ultimately, they are going to have to seize it. we are not going to be able to do it for them. given the very difficult history we have seen in iraq, i think any objective observer would recognize that, in the absence of accommodation among the various factions inside of iraq, various military actions by the united states, by any outside nation are not going to solve those problems over the long term and not going to deliver the stability we need. anybody else? >> is the syrian civil war spilling over the iraq border?
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>> i think it has been for some time. isil has gained a foothold in syria. that is one of the reasons we have been concerned about it and supporting syrian opposition. the iraqi government, which was initially resistant to some of our offers of help, has come around to recognize that cooperation with us on some of the issues can be useful. obviously, that is not the case in syria, were president assad has no interest in seeing us involved there and were some of the governments that are supporting assad have been able to block u.n. efforts and humanitarian aid. this is a regional problem and it is going to be a long-term problem. what we're going to have to do is combine selective actions by
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our military to make sure we're going after terrorists who could harm our personnel overseas were eventually hit the homeland, we will have to combine that with what is a very challenging international effort to try to rebuild countries and communities that have been shattered by the sectarian war. that is not an easy task. >> what are they willing to do? >> we are in contact with them now. we will have a better sense by the end of the weekend after those consultations. we will be getting a better sense from them of how they might support an effort to bring about the kind of political unity instead of iraq that -- inside of iraq that bolsters security forces. the united states has poured a lot of money into these iraqi security forces and we devoted a
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lot of training to iraqi security forces. the fact that they are not willing to stand and fight and defend their posts against admittedly hardened terrorists, but not terrorists who are overwhelming in numbers, indicates that there is a problem with morale, a problem in terms of commitment, and ultimately that is rooted in the political problems that have plagued the country for a very long time. last question. last one. >> can you talk a little bit about u.s. concern of the disruption, potential disruption, oil supplies? >> so far, we have not seen major disruptions in oil supplies. obviously, if in fact, i s i l was able to get control over major output, significant refineries, that could be a source of concern.
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as you might expect, world markets react to any kind of -- world oil markets react to any kind of instability in the middle east. one of our goal should be to make sure that in cooperation with other countries and regions, some only are we creating some kind of backstop in terms of what is happening inside iraq, but if there do end being disruptions inside iraq that the gulf producers are able to pick up the slack. that is part of the consultations that will take place during the course of this week. just to give people a sense of the timing. although events on the ground have been happening very quickly, our ability to plan military action or work with the iraqi government is going to take several days. people should not anticipate that this is going to happen overnight. we want to have good eyes on the situation.
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we want to gather all of the intelligence necessary so that if i do direct in order actions -- and order actions there, that their target, precise, and will have an effect. i want to make sure that everybody understands this message. the united states is not simply going to involve itself in a military action in the absence of a political plan by the iraqis that gives us some assurance that they are prepared to work together. we are not going to allow ourselves to be dragged back into a situation in which, while we're there, we are keeping a lid on things and then after enormous sacrifices by us, as soon as we are not there, suddenly people in the past thing -- acting in ways that are not conducive to long-term prosperity and stability of the
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country. right? thank you very much, everybody. for awill transition live panel discussion on the escalation of hostilities in iraq. .ames jeffrey is a speaker this event is just getting underway. churchill might've said that this is a debacle wrapped in a tragedy inside of a catastrophe. only a bitight be approaching the reality of the situation. i'm very pleased that we at the washington institute have a deep bench of expertise to bring to the on understanding moretion in iraq and
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broadly today offering suggestions to address the situation between the government of iraq and the united states. the united states and its allies around the region. and the messaging from washington throughout the middle i'm very pleased to recognize the ambassador from iraq here today. i know you have a lot on your plate and i'm delighted you are with us today. i am pleased to introduce jim jeffrey. jim served the united states with distinction as ambassador in baghdad. he was ambassador in albania he
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was the deputy national security advisor. experiencefetime of in american foreign policy and diplomacy. foundatione original of military experience that hearkened all the way back to vietnam. perhaps not a metaphor for today's events, but perhaps they are. jim will offer insight into that. program ister in our aaron selling. elling. i think it is fair to say that there are exceedingly few people governmentutside of who have followed the developments of what president obama now calls isil and what , the experts call isis
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same radical extremist group that we are talking about. aaron, through his minute, detailed exploration of these groups brings extraordinary value added to these groups and what is going on in iraq and syria. joining us from orly airport in knights.michael he is, as this audience knows, one of the finest observers of political-military issues in voice of been a incisive and insightful analysis on this situation going back many, many years. i am delighted that he can join us. i think because he is under some , that we constraints
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are going to begin our program ,ith mike, then turned to jim and then to aaron. so, mike. if we could just address that noise. mike, the floor is yours. >> thanks very much. i have certainly transmitted from worse place than this. i think you have a graphic that you're going to put up. thanks very much. background noise gone. -- ou look at this graphic
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>> one second. one second. >> just tell me when. >> can you hear me ok now? i need you to speak. the map that you see in front of you gives some basic areas of control. the green area you can see is unocc occupy a bowl -- upiable kurdish areas.
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grey is thegion in area that has collapsed. in control, it may be local militants, it may be government forces. the lines on this map show a red line or an orange line, which was the forward edge of control just before the june crisis. now you see a light blue line, which is the current forward position. it demonstrates how they have moved forward along the hired this -- entire disputed line. where you see the loss of control area and, you see a thin , whereor from samarra
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hopefully the tide will be , in the bottom of the map, the major logistical base for the destroyed units. as can be seen from this -- i will point out two things about the way the battlefield is evolving. first looking at strategic geometry. mosuu look at it, isis and l have great strategic depth in terms of the federal forces , tremendouso travel strategic depth, 350 kilometers of contested terrain. 'strategic death to the is narrow. the east
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the key things they want to hold onto is within very close striking distance of kurdish forces. tos is how important it is get the kurdish forces involved in the fight. they have to come to the kurds with solutions on oil authority issues. baghdad has to make some compromises. we can all argue about the fine points later. for now, there is a bigger issue to deal with. the kurds are already fighting at a number of points on the map. where the kurds of moved forward to take control of these disputed areas, the iraqi army buffer between them and isis is
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now gone. they're taking casualties. martyrdom statements coming up on social media sites. the kurds are in the fight. hate radical islamists. they suffered extensively from degradations in the past. they're not willing to have a major isis control center within an hours drive from the economic capital of kurdistan. no successful emerging economy in the world has been able to have a huge al qaeda presence in a city at one point -- one point million people -- 1.8 million people and hours drive a way. observation off want to make is we need to pay a lot of attention to the moral dimension of this crisis. estimation, a full 60 of
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the iraqi army combat battalions cannot be accounted for. 60 out of the 243 cannot be accounted for, with all equipment lost. this is a mammoth refitting job to put these units back together and arm them properly for combat. an area where the u.s. will become the arsenal of democracy. no one likes the idea of having againit the iraqi army after the u.s. taxpayer did it the first time. this time iraq will be paying. one aspect of this is the refitting role. as important as that, turning around a defeated army and , veryng it to fight again military with a long tradition, a proud tradition. among arab countries, they're one of the best militaries. proudave many
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achievements to .2, including the feet of the militia in 2008 and their part in the surge the defeated al qaeda in the first place. these points are laid out in great detail. difficultof the most tasks you can imagine. it would not take them in the u.s. partners at the divisional level and above to insert some theom in to their ways iraqi security can pick themselves up and dust themselves off and get back into the fight to rid taking baby steps. feeding these units so that they can win small successes, wind small, easy battles.
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the final thing i will say as provision ofthe u.s. military assistance on the ground is something that we need to think very seriously about, as i'm sure the president is. listening to his remarks, i'm hope what i'm detecting their is that we play hardball with the iraqi government about coming out with a political deal, about ending all of this sectarian nonsense, ethnic bullying of the kurds. some of the very disruptive policies of the government can end, i hope we are willing to help out this long-standing ally. power into.s. air iraq right now, it is not the bullet that will solve everything, but it will have tremendous moral effect. boost to them.
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you don't need to use a lot of it for have -- for to have a tremendous amount of moral impact. and the people who say, how could we be sure the strikes are getting targeted? we do know. task forcea special operation on the ground. we do need eyes on the ground. when we turned around the libyan regimes near destruction of benghazi and the french airstrikes and other airstrikes turn that around, that had enormous effect and there are many instances in iraq where i can imagine a little bit of air power going at very long way. we have already got boots on the ground in iraq. ie people on the embassy -- wish this boots on the ground phrase would leave our lexicon
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because it just doesn't mean anything. it is an excuse not to do something. we already have boots on the ground. use whatever legal conceit is required to get some u.s. advisers up to the forward headquarters and to get them on the from line. i will say this with a caveat. they could already be there right now. case, it is the something we should very seriously consider. space for one final comment. it is not hard at this stage tomb -- to imagine iraq becoming syria. like falluja, just 35 miles from baghdad international airport. tois hard -- not hard imagine the iraqi government turning to somebody who has a proven track record of protecting their allies and that is the iranians.
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stabilized the regime's defense. it is unfortunate, but when i was in baghdad, in march, what i heard is that the iraqi government feels it needs to use some of the same formula that assad did and maybe some of the same help. so really, this is the time for a desperate lead to the u.s. government on behalf of the iraqis out there who are willing to fight. make a. needs to credible jester at this time. a credible gesture of military support right now. are using the withholding of military support to lean on the iraqi government to come up with a political deal, good. i hope there is the baseline determination underneath that to eventually do something to stabilize the situation.
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it cannot be a cosmetic half measure. there have been too many of them in recent years. we have to commit to the defense of iraq. isis ort leave iraq to the iranians. those are my comments. >> jim do want to speak from the podium? >> i will speak from here. >> i put the map backed up. >> the map is great. thanks for coming here today. but two months ago, it seems like two years ago, when i was diverted from my main job looking at the middle east into ukraine, i wrote something that the crimean
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situation was the biggest challenge to the united states since 9/11, if not since the and of the cold war. i have changed my opinion. what is happening right now in challengee biggest since 9/11, at least. here is why. in september, president obama addressed the un's general assembly. he said, there are four critical issues that would require all , thents of american power euphemism for military force. securing the oil lines, combating international terror, standing by our allies and partners, and weapons of mass destruction. other than the last, at least for the moment, they all three of the others are very much in play right now.
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the largest concentration of al qaeda we have ever seen anywhere is in this combined area of western iraq and on into syria. they're the nastiest of all of them. , we have already seen oil prices spike. iraq is the second-largest exporter of oil in opec. the iea estimates it could go up to 6 million barrels of production per day, two thirds of what saudi arabia on sundays produces. this is not a recipe for stability. in all kinds of ways i will not get into, if there is instability in iraq, particularly if we have no government worthy of the name in baghdad, you will month have a whole lot of development in the oil sector anywhere, except perhaps in kurdistan.
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our interests are at stake. the president realizes that. let's try to take a look at the fact that he is being briefed on. i will keep it short and i will keep it to what general casey easter call the major muscle movements. speed is of the essence. a lot of the things that i and everybody in this audience could say about iraq are not important at this point. things thatly a few are really crucially important by the major actors in the next few days. .ost importantly, this isil we will hear more about what makes them a. they are facing a decision. ofy have ceased almost all the sunni arab areas of iraq. the question is, do they carry out their threat and go after baghdad?
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they certainly can. i know the area to the north and south of baghdad. it still is an area where al qaeda has always had a presence. it is a mixed sunni-shiite area. they have already seized two towns this morning in the province to the north and the northeast of baghdad. they could pretty much cut it the problem is -- cut off. the problem is even if they cannot take the city, known think they can come of the question is, how do you get electricity,ater, and all the other things a country, a capital, five or 6 million people needs if they are surrounding you? i'm not speaking theoretically. with 130,000 american troops in country, that was the situation we faced some days in
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baghdad in june, july, august. it was very tough, even though we had overwhelming air power. a decision. make we will have to see what they're going to do. importante most thing. if they do decide to stay in the sunni areas, we will have a classic counterinsurgency. the needght play out to be done for reconciliation, all true. american troops are not going to liberate the sunni areas of iraq. that will be kurds, sunnis, shia or nobody. justll provide listings logistics, training, and firepower in the months ahead. i certainly would not recommend it. if they are not going to fight their own country and we shouldn't on the ground. because it would be bloody.
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long-term question, as history goes. isil is pushing toward baghdad, the president is faced with a very different situation. we have americans right in the middle of this thing. the government, the iraqi army, and some of the shia militias are in this mix, if they can cohesion, use the their vastly superior firepower and extraordinarily large number to hold thetroops territory where the families lived, then we won't have to worry about the siege, they will be able to push these people back and keep the roads open. it will be messy, but they can do it. that is a big if folks.
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from what we have seen in mosul and elsewhere. decidescannot, if isis to surround baghdad and if the authorities are not able to break that siege, i'm sure they are strong enough to avoid being overrun. a city of 6 million people is not going to be overrun by 5000 people, i'm almost sure of that. they may not be able to maneuver, use firepower effectively against people who are very good at this at this time in the may find themselves essentially besieged. if you get through those two decision points, you get to the .ther four act there's -- actors. the kurds are sitting on the green lines, the mixed areas.
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if there is danger anywhere a curtis living, that is essentially what we have right they have two other choices. they are on either side of mosul. there on either side of the fault line where isil is. you can exert tremendous isil ify pressure on they want to. if they see a total mess, controlration, iranian to the south, they are out. they have talked about this for years, they have opened certain options. that is something to watch. they have decisions based upon
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these other decisions. the next actor is the iranians. someghdad is besieged, if of the cities that are so important to shia islam in the it isare under threat, very hard to imagine the iranians not act inc. somebody else does not act. if somebody else does not act. the second to the last actor is the turk. they're in an awkward position because they have 80 people in m osul seized by the isil people. that puts limits on what they can do. they are still in major actor with a major military capability. they have close ties to the kurds. watch them. the final actor is the united states. the most important.
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you just should the president. he said he would consult with go over options. he ruled out ground forces. it that means major ground forces. there'll already military advisers on the ground. he did not rule out airstrikes, but he did not rule it in what he said is, i cannot do anything militarily without a political process. going back to the first of the il stays in theisd sunni areas, that is an intelligent way to move forward. all they can do is provide aerial firepower for some of these ground forces. upess the ground forces show for the fight, there is no since dropping bombs on these people. if we are facing either a siege of baghdad and almost certainly the iranians coming in in a big
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way, we have to act quick late just quickly. he is saying he is going to leverage his decision to use force to get the best possible political deal, that is not politics some of that is not diplomacy, and more power to him. having spent years and set a rack to get this kind of deal of failed miserably -- inside iraq and get this deal and failed miserably, what he is telling us is that until that happens, the isnes will stand and iaia moving forward, then other actors are going to shape iraq and the middle east. that is the question that he is facing today. know, will say well, you what are we going to hit with
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targets? the north vietnamese invaded on the easter offensive. exec like 1975 when they overran the country. then the planes came. is, the b-52s come you could feel the ground rumble and every fiona me soldier -- vietnamese soldier could feel it. but by bit they held the ground. by the paris pizza courts -- peace accords, all but one small town had been taken back in the country. we have forward observers. ofetheless, it was the use military power, it was the use of real power, sometimes not knowing exactly where the enemy as that turned the tide. in libya, many times we did not have ground reserves. was we were dealing with
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cars of mobile army troops. what we are dealing with our isisp trucks o f personnel rolling around at 30 miles per hour. there are vulnerable to airstrikes. i will stop there. thank you very much. >> thank you. thanks for coming out and for everybody watching online. i am going to be talking about and, islamic state of iraq, get into who they are. this did not necessarily come out of nowhere, even though it is sort of being portrayed as if it has. there has been a reemergence of isis, which originally is the -- was in alec always
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control of. they have changed their name recently. they started reemerging in april 2013. this is one isis decided to extend its control beyond iraq and into syria. this is also the time when they officially broke away from al qaeda itself. 2014eda in early february confirmed isis was no longer part of the organization. while the movement and surge did push them back, they were not completely defeated. there was still at least 300 people that were killed per month in iraq from around 2008 until april 2013. what was important about syria was they were able to get resources and money and fighters back into iraq when operating inside of syria appeared one of the things we have seen in the past six months or so is that there had been a return of foreign fighters into the iraqi
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arena. many of these originally designed to syria to fight against the assad regime. isis unplugged them and brought them into the iraq so divide as well. since april 2013, we have seen violence rise three and a half times more than what we saw on average in the previous cointreau and a half years. in addition, one of the things that helped them out is they had a prison break last july at abu ghraib were at least 500 individuals were released from prison. some of these guys were arrested surge.ained during the many of these had experiences which further provided more levels of competency to isis' operation. of course, we saw earlier this year that they were able to take ramadilluja and parts of . another aspect of what isis has been doing that we did not say last decade and is one of the reasons why people -- the backlash against them originally was they had a hearts and minds strategy, whether it is
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providing food, medication, religious classes, outreach to tribal figures, as well as allowing people in the safaa movement to repent and join their cause about getting killed. therefore, more and more victories have raised the level of prestige for this organization. isis operatives now operate in both syria and iraq and view the border as nothing more than going from one province in their islamic state to another, not going from one nation say to the other. lfter most sold -- after mosu was liberated, and there are other islamist factions involved in the takeover, when isis takes over an area, they view it as now under their sovereign control. therefore, every individual within the territory must allege ge allegiance to the leader of the group. if you do not go along with the program, it is essentially a death wish. this is the backdrop of how they
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rule. yesterday morning, they released a charter of the city to residents which highlights more andibitions on actions things people can potentially do. if you steal, you will get your hand chopped off. you have to perform all five daily prayers on time. drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes are forbidden. carrying non-isis flags and/or weapons is illegal. all shrines and graves will be destroyed since isis views them as polytheist. wear the full body clothing. sunnis within the town, if they anded within the government institutions, if they repented, they would be fine and would not be executed. we also already have a case study of how isis does rule in syria. i am going to highlight some of the ways they have been in charge, in addition to the criminal aspects. it is not just all terror.
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a city intook over syria, they started setting up by putting up a lot of billboards in the city that had themes related to jihad and sure. other themes related to buy a p or diocese tried to reach out to local notables and tribal figures because they wanted to stay off any potential backlash that could happen in the future, and the same way we saw last decade in iraq when there was an uprising against isis in the mid-2000's and what most people do not realize is that isis' operations are highly sophisticated and they do have a bureaucracy themselves, too. i will go through how they have been governing these areas and syria appeared in terms of the law and order side, they have sharia courts. this is where they can throw down their rulings related to somebody getting their hand chopped off for thievery are people getting executions for a process the.
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we have seen a number of individuals getting crucified, which i'm pretty sure not many people have seen in the modern era. service thatolice goes around. they have a consumer protection theority which looks at different markets and places where you can get food in local places in syria and decides whether a food product is edible or not, essentially, in the same way that the fda would do something. a vigilante aspect of their law and order side where they have burned cigarettes and destroyed tombs. we saw one of the more larger in iraq beinges destroyed earlier this year. in terms of public works, they helped build a new market. they have an electrical office which helps train and repair electrical services throughout the town. they have had a lot of road were done in some areas where they have rehabilitated roads, whether it is in terms of putting up plants in the
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medians, and they have also been able to continue operating the dam. an office to up provide money for the needy. they claim that this helps also with farmers and their harvests. they are now conducting a post office. on the more ideological side of outlet they have a media where they pass out dvd's of video releases they put out online. they have a truck which roves around with a lot of different things related to islam and their ideology. they stop in some areas to talk to children and adults to try to teach them at their interpretations of islam. they set up a number of religious schools for boys and girls. if you memorize the koran, you can get a certificate. they have also provided kid fun days where kids can play around
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on these inflatable slides and moonwalk type of devices, as well as have food and eating contests. in addition, for older members of society, they have created sessions for imams and teachers to be trained. they have helped run bread factories and provided fruits and vegetables for many people. they have even set up a food kitchen for the needy. they also set up an office for orphans to help register them and then hopefully placed them with a family. while the taliban has been very paranoid about vaccinations after the cia operation against osama bin laden, there have been vaccination programs put out by isis. they even have a cub scouts program which is far more worrying because you have children from the ages of around six to 14 that are now in these housing places in iraqa and that that ended training camps. they are essentially halving child soldiers being set up. so what is next for isis?
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this is sort of what the potential could be. this is what we're seeing in syria, but this is what the potential could be in iraq now that they have taken over some areas. it is likely they will try to consolidate their strength with the new money from the mosul central bank, and that far exceeds any money that osama bin laden had. there are rumors that they have been eyeing off people inside of mosul. this will be used to reinforce the front in syria. as many people know, earlier this year, a bunch of rebel groups started an uprising with ices and push them out of idli b. it is likely they will use this to try and push it back into aleppo and idlib. my question is -- are they stretched thin? they have 7000 to 2000 people, but they span from a letter -- aleppo all the way to mosul. many people do not like their
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ideology and do not want to live through this. obviously, the type of penalties that they pursue has created a backlash. we have already seen statements by some tribal members in ramadi and mosul about how they will stand up to the milwaukee government and also -- to the malaki government and isis itself. difficult and provide more ability to consolidate the state. for jihadist worldwide, victories registered by isis in the perception that the so-called will of god is on its side against enemies will only enhance the prestige of joining the group and furthering its goals. state of isis right now. it is a lot different than what al qaeda was up to last decade, but it is a very sophisticated and organized organization. this will be more difficult to
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dislodge than anything we have seen before. thank you. >> thank you for those sobering remarks. e, are you with us? >> yes, i am. >> very good. let me open up a discussion session by asking you if you can bring us up to date on the report concerning iranian military involvement to read it is, where they are, what they seem to be doing. very difficult to come up with categorical information on this without being in country and seeing it with your own eyes . i have spent a lot of time studying the militias in iraq and meeting them on many occasions, quite unnervingly. but what i found was that they
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were -- let's just say, the iranians have been very nervous since 2007 about risking irgc offices directly inside iraq. now, since the u.s. left in 2011, i am sure some of that fear or trepidation is gone. we have seen senior officers killed on the other side of the order over in syria. it is very likely they have got operating insers many ways however like to see u.s. officers operating. you know, one thing is for sure, wherever you have got these u.s. officers operating, you are very unlikely to have iranian officers operating in the same places. if anything, that is a good reason for having u.s. officers on the front line or at least at the front headquarters to ensure whatthere are some eyes on
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is actually happening. but around samarra, samarra is critical to this. i would recommend to you the work from the institute on shia islamist groups in iraq and syria. samarra is a shrine city, a place where a shrine was blown up in february 2006, providing a final spot in the civil war that lasted for two plus years. isis tried to overrun it on june 5 but failed, thank god. about 800 meters short of the shrine. they tried again after the major collapse in security forces, and that is one of those nightmare innarios that everyone coalition forces and analysts have been talking about for years. what if they take out that shrine again question i just as shia islamist militias from iraq have been defending the shrines damascus, there
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have been reports of defending shrines in samarra. they will do the same in karbala.baghdad and in where there is one of these iranian-backed shia militia iraqi, essentially the version of lebanese hezbollah, gcere will often be an ir trainer or advisor not that far behind. heard mike say iranians are probably sending irgc guys doing what he would have expected americans to be doing but in a different context. you have been on both sides of this. in baghdad, trying to push the political reconciliation, and in the situation room offering advice to presidents on how to and what sort of military force to bring to bear.
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can you give us a little glimpse into what you think is happening , both angles here? what are we telling specifically to maliki? the timeframe the president announced today was a matter of .ays is it possible to see the type of political reconciliation that he spoke about and 72 hours? what sortitary side, of preparations do you expect are going on right now for the type of action that you would like to see western mark >> when and bitsthe statement and pieces and you put it all together, there is pretty good outline of what the president will be doing over the next few days. what he is saying is he's going to move assets into place. we just heard that an aircraft carrier has moved into the gulf. he talks about intelligence. that is both -- everything from
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analysts diverting their focus drones,to satellites to the entire network of u.s. intelligence systems will be turned on to this situation at every level. we worked very, very, very good at this when dealing with al qaeda from the period roughly 2011, and there is a lot of that reserve capability there. nonetheless, he will also be preparing the military for whatever contingency the president gives a green light to. it is not unwise or unexpected for the president to link the politicalwith developments and re-conciliation. what he really means is we are not going to know for a few days, but it would be on rise for him to reveal this by saying -- i can say this from the
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outside -- we want the maliki to be a new government and a different government and take a different attitude towards the kurds and sunnis. but if isis surrounds baghdad, we're going to hit them anyway. he cannot say that, even if he has decided to do that. i have no indication he has decided to do that. because you always want to leverage what you are doing foreign ally or friend with what you want that ally or friend to do for you, particularly when it is in that ally or friend's own interest. we have spent 11 years talking not just to maliki, but to every political leader come all the political leaders, that if they do not hang together, they are going to hang separately. that is what we are seeing before us today. it is good advice that he has given. in terms of the specifics, vice president biden called maliki yesterday. i am sure having been in some of these calls that the u.s.
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message was delivered with vigor and with a certain bluntness, and that is good under these conditions. included a very strong admonition that maliki as to his approach towards sectarian issues and towards his political domination of the military. it is one of the reasons the military melted away. secondly, it also would have included the specifics of what america might offer and under what conditions. we do not know that yet. as i said, it is good that the president is not signaling, both to the enemy but also before he talks to congress, what exactly he is going to do. it is also good that he ensures pressureki feels under to do things in return. ,gain, this is most important as the president said, in the days ahead if we are facing a surgeon to the baghdad area, and to karbala, and the south. that could lead to an extremely
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dramatic situation, including to our own personnel, and it could lead to a significant iranian intervention or a significant kurdish reaction. if isis is either slowed down themselves, and they are not eight-the tall as we have seen in samarra, as we have seen with the kurds, people can stand up to them. they have momentum on their site, and that is important for the military, but once they are stopped, then people can hold their ground. it is possible that the iraqis will be able to hold her ground and the non--sunni-arab areas. the white house has to be prepared for a longer struggle. remember, the president's statement yesterday was "a permanent presence of al qaeda in iraq and syria will not be tolerated." he has to think about how he is going to do this, along with his commitment to the american people not to but troops on the ground, by which he means 101st
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airborne, the first army commission. 1001 factoids and irrelevant ideas and other schemes that are instantly torment you. i cannot describe how painful this process is. >> thank you. circle, youthis followed isis for quite a long time. given the options they have in front of them, what are they most likely to do, go to baghdad? territory?on current what are the most likely to do? >> knowing isis and how they have operated in the past and the excitement i have seen from all their followers and supporters all mine in the past week is that they are likely to have a big head and potentially overplay them selves in the coming days and weeks. whether they do that or not is obviously the question, but they
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stopped of past activities, it is likely that they will try and push because that is how they view the world. in addition, i suspect that there are already signs that some of the humvees and other types of military equipment that was all them take in mosul are already back in syria now. it is likely that they will use that as a new infusion in cash and weapons on their front. potentially push back into aleppo city. it is likely that, knowing them, they will try and push on both fronts in iraq and in syria. this probably could provide a great opportunity though to the syrian rebels differ the fight against isis, because they are stretching themselves than, as well as any forces in the iraqi arena, as well. >> thank you very much. i will turn to questions, starting with andrew right in the middle. >> thank you for great
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recitations, guys. we have had a lot of prescriptions from all three of you, particularly aaron and ambassador jeffrey on what to do in iraq, but it seems to me that a lot of this is coming out of syria. i mean, isis was born in iraq but metastasized in syria, then qu├ębec for a double or nothing game of whatever we have in front of us. we have an organization that does not recognize the boundary that have divided the middle east for over a century. is, what do we do on the syria end of this equation, and how does it affect the debate we have seen recently with ambassador robert ford's calls to arm the sunni opposition in syria? thank you. >> very quickly, we had a horrible syrian situation which threatened to do exactly this kind of game changing thing for a couple of years, and we did not do very much about it.
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it metastasized, and it is the mess we have now. we're going to have that mess tomorrow, next month, at least, and into the future, regardless of what we do or do not do. what is different right now is these guys are moving on a path that could be an immediate dramatic game changer to the entire middle east. so there is a difference in perspective. it is very hard to communicate this. i have been trying to do it for three days. the president tried to do it and was not completely clear. we have a longer-term problem of arab am ath of sunni, largely desert territory in the middle of the love aunt -- le vant that has been taken over by a terrorist group in syria, iraq, and other insurgent groups that are unhappy with the government. it is not really uncovered because there are a variety of voices governing it, but many of
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them do not have our best interests at heart. it is a tremendous the complicated long-term problem that will require the president to get everybody lined up in the region, political solutions, reconsolidation, stability operations, and all of that, if we are willing to pay the price and engaged that thoroughly. i do not know. he is moving slowly in that direction. that is the longer-term problem. the immediate problem we have, and he seems to indicate this in his final remarks when answering a question -- the speech him as i said, if you mine it and sew it together, you can kind of get a sort of way forward. but in being asked a question that the very end, then you basically hear him say, look, this is going to be a few days. i have to get my ducks in order. it comes closer to he does realize that if isis moves on baghdad or some of these other areas, if the iranians threatened to move in in a big way, he may have to make some
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immediate decisions. that is how i would separate it. obviously, he knows, because he included it. he knows it is one front. he said, i cannot allow a permanent refuge, a permanent presence of isis, al qaeda tom in iraq and syria. he knows it is a common front. how this fits with the battle but he also is waging, sort of, against assad, is a whole other question. ok, thank you. yes, in front here? >> thank you very much. this is one of the very few events that i cannot find anyone -- [indiscernible] you really have nailed the issues exactly right. thank you for the presentations. let's take us back to the other side, how iraqis view this. i think that is very important, because they are mainly interested in it. the ambassador quite rightly said that this has been the
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biggest challenge since 9/11. i would say this is the biggest challenge to the shia iraqis. 65% of the population since 1991. afford united states another perception of a betrayal by the united states, which -- if iran comes to the rescue and the united states jags its feet, making conditions -- i would like to see the united states solve the situation, not the iranians or someone else, because that will bad to the iraqis into the united states. it is very important to address and for the administration to understand. >> ok, i will take the first stab at that. you hit on a very important point. for those of us -- you are a member, as a messenger, i
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apologized for 1991 publicly. here is the problem, and i am being very honest, folks -- the united states can essentially and livest any loss with it. that is what makes us such a cop located ally for everybody. we can lose vietnam, and did, and live to fight another day in kosovo and in kuwait. yeah, we can is, survive with the shia of iraq, feeling that we totally abandoned them. other people feel we totally abandoned them to let tibetans and others. some others are not feeling too good about us either. but we can move on, because that is the reality. there is another reality, you do this often enough, you develop a patent of supporting people, and then walking away from them and
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demand in that all the t's are tedssed and the i's are dot it will be ave and force more expensive than the next 10 militaries combined. then people will stop organizing themselves in our world differently, and we are not going to like that organization. so the shia have a vote, just like the tibetans and the crimean's and everybody else. in the sunni arabs have a vote. a lot of them are not happy with us either. and the kurds are not too happy. barbara? >> thanks very much. thank you so much for doing this. my question is about maliki. can he be part of the solution? he has had eight years. he has done nothing but go after sunnis, kurds, he come ,ncreasingly paranoid, corrupt
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appointing relatives. can he actually rise to the occasion? >> well, look at me -- [laughter] >> mike, what do you think? >> [inaudible] >> let's get the volume up here. will be diplomatic because i travel to iraq quite frequently. first of all, you have to respect the election result, including perhaps a personal vote which is an indication that puteast in baghdad, maliki all the votes together. but that is ducking the question, i guess. if we look back over the last four years, it has been a dismal failure. there are some bright spots to the relationship with kuwait, the oil production. but everything else has been a dismal failure. really it has been brought about
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by failures in the iraqi government, rather than how great the bad guys are. one has to wonder when we look to 2018,018, 2014 whether we see more of the same or whether we see a turnaround. 2010 saw during 2006 and -- that is the key for whoever leads iraq next. that is what they should be asking themselves. how are they going to be remembered? as the guy who lost it all or the guy who did whatever he had to do and dealt with whoever he had to deal with to keep it together? the maliki government, when i was there in march, key leadership explained exactly what they were going to do in a third term. and some of it was encouraging. increasing support for technocrats with streamlined decision-making systems. not about taking the power for
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yourself but building a real civil service. many ideas. but there is also real darkness at the heart of the vision for the next four years. if there is engagement with the sunnis, it is about creating a theclass of sunnis from tribal and political groups at low level and trying to completely reduce and eradicate the national level leadership of the sunnis. it struck me that the sunnis that wanted to support the sense of there being a sin new -- a sunni community who could work together, those people are the ones that the iraqi government were planning to continue persecuting. and if they were going to involve sunnis in future government, the plan was really to create a new class of sunnis that they could deal with and also control. that is an extraordinarily dark vision for the next four years.
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my hope is, as i recently put in a piece with the institute, that this may be a catalyst. sometimes in iraq, you have to get right to the edge of a cliff or events take -- or even take a step over the edge before people do the right thing. my feeling is if the electorate had voted heavily against maliki , this would all be clear-cut, and they did not. so let's not focus on replacing the man, let's focus on changing the policies. >> are we convinced that in he cannot have both iranian support and american support? is there any way for maliki to think that there is a choice here? do we know that? think he feels that he can have both. he knows he can have both,
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because he has had both for a long time. of course, we know the ironic fact of the rock is that often, u.s. and iranian policy is pushed towards the same choices to make even if they do so for completely different motivations. so he feels like he can have both, and i would rather see far stronger american inclusion. to be honest, i think it is a bit of a zero-sum game in terms of the more we do, the less of a vacuum they fill. you know from everything we have done at the institute that the iranians will always fill a vacuum and if we create this vacuum to an even greater extent than it exists today, we do not fill this gasping need for support right now. they can point to their track record in syria where they have been rather successful, and that will be very powerful to the maliki government.
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one final thing which was shocking to me personally when i was over there in march in some of --ese are speaking to senior sunni leaders, i started to hear things that i had not heard before, such as -- do you think we should go to iran and negotiate? do you think -- if they are going to run every thing, shouldn't we just finally make our peace with it? i heard that from some leaders i never believed i would hear that from. because they were starting to vote with their face. >> ok, thank you very much. next -- any-- can we expect support at all from any of our allies, britain and france?
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do the saudi's have any role to play here? ?> jim, what do you think allies? >> allies -- well, we saw what happened with the brits in syria. be a further competition -- the president has talked in a speech about this is a regional issue, and he is right, and he needs to coordinate with and have support from the sunni allies. that means turkey, jordan -- he did not say sunni allies, he said friends, but we know he is talking about turkey, jordan, and the gulf states. and that means saudi arabia. in the policy watch yesterday, foreign policy picked it up on the saudiof how leadership sees this. to some degree, and i have had
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experience with some of the top leadership in saudi arabia and can attest to this, they see things in a very stark sunni, , control of the middle east way. not everybody thinks that way. does notr of jordan think that way. others do not think that way. sunni arabs do not think that way in iraq. other saudi's, on the hand, are extraordinarily worried about the al qaeda threat. you see how actively they combated in the yemen, directly and indirectly, through helping us, and now they will have a major al qaeda presence on their border. terror.me to the war on >> dave pollock? >> thank you.
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i wanted to just pick up on a number issue. i think aaron said that there were 7000 to 10,000 isis fighters. is that a pretty solid estimate? is it possible that, because of of youmentum, several put it that they will pick up lots of new recruits, either by intimidation or by cash bonuses or by a deal or whatever and the next few days even? thank you. >> yeah, a number of analysts believe that it is sort of in range.0 to 10,000 the majority of those are probably actually in syria. i believe probably about 5000 of those are actually inside of syria. 3000 are in0 to iraq. in the past week, they have had
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some prison breaks again, and that has let out a couple thousand individuals. whether these individuals are just criminals or whether they were previously in the group or whether they are just in prison for political reasons, you know, there are stories that some of them have joined up with isis. it is definitely possible that more people will join up. less, people do not want to get their heads lopped off. if somebody does not necessarily agree with the ideology, it there being protected and not being killed, you could see people joining up. 2000 -- this >> so it is this 2000 to 5000 force that is marching, mothers and taking town after town after town? >> there are also baptists -- ba athists and other forces as well.
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there was a small flying andmns of people from hindu spain that were carrying the flags. >> yes, sir? right behind you. i am from the center for middle east policy at the brookings institution. i wanted to ask the panel, the force said he runs iran-iraq policy. he no doubt is obviously probably in baghdad. i wanted to ask if the pace of these developments reveal that he may be is not as strong as he is projected to be or that this is a one-time group that basically cut everybody? that question.
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h, by 2004 twoa 2005, they concluded we were not out of iran or iraq am a they of forceonomy operation because they had bigger fish to fry with the internal situation, nuclear .ccount, and with syria and spreading the revolution in various shia areas. he bears a lot of the responsibility for this. whoecause he was the guy people who he urged to play roles to reach out
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to the sunni population. i was always surprised about that because, generally, iran is careful in its policies towards iraq. it has not told iraqis to stop oil production. you're making possible the sanctions against iran, which is executive is happening. they are very careful and reasoned and prudent in what they ask of their friends, which is not always what the american government does. ofetheless, the core goal iran and iraq, as far as i understand it, apart from not having an american army poised to go across the border, is not andave iraq fall apart jihadist from one direction and a turkish-kurdish alliance in another.
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that is what that guy has delivered. somebody should be asking questions about how he has handled his account. >> i know we are going to lose him shortly, so i will ask first about the kurdish-turkish angle of this. mike, you laid out a couple of possible routes that the kurds may go. what do you think is the most likely of these alternatives you laid out? the you made reference to turkish conundrum right now because of its people being held hostage. broadly speaking, do you expect the turks to be an assertive actor in this sort of squeezing working perhaps with the united states in this effort? mike? can we get the volume? mike?
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ok, well, then, jim -- fathoms very hard to exactly how the turks view like alislamic groups qaeda, isil, essentially the salafas. we know how they view the muslim brothers, and that is as their allies. turkishthe top government officials, not necessarily others in the turkish state. but they see those as their brothers. is ank that there ambivalence, but it is not necessarily an entity. here is the question -- why did they not pull their people out of mosul?
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half a million refugees got out of there. relations between the krg and an kara cannot be better. and every embassy of any country in the world has an evacuation plan. even here in washington i bet the embassies have an evacuation plan. >> where are you going to go? [laughter] involved would have hopping in a vehicle and driving for 10 minutes into a kurdish area. take that decision. somebody needs to ask why, but turkey right now is not the kind of democracy that will lend itself to a review of that. so i think that, first of all, when you have 80 hostages, that becomes, as we learned -- that
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becomes job one. there are all kinds of options, whiching military action was not off the table with desert one. by and large, they are fixated on that problem and everything else fades. the turks have lived with only and isil fornousra some time in syria. essentially the entire turkish -- i would have to look at the map and look at what developments have been in the last few days, but the bulk of the border with turkey and iraq is in the hands of the peshmerga . the tiny bit that runs west to syria i will but is under the control of the peshmerga right now. therefore, they do not have an immediate problem beyond the hostage situation, and that is a big one for them. divert their to attention to anything of a
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strategic nature until they can fix this. >> ok, thank you. yes, stanley, on the left? >> iran, recruiting to recent ground, has boots on the in iraq now. according to a report today, it is making overtures to the united states to work together on this issue. should we respond to that? should we try to work with the attachif so, should we some conditions, and what should those conditions be? >> if we want to maintain our a unified iraq, and that is what president obama laid out, and we want to be able to deal with the kurds and the sunni arabs, we have to be very about any appearance of dealing with the iranians. we talk to them, and we did that
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in the petraeus area. we met with representatives in baghdad. it is not totally an on-off situation with the iranians, but it is pretty close to it. the other thing is you're going to have a hard time but i can see some of the looks in this audience thomas o imagine the rest of the american public -- you will have a hard time selling any kind of old military operation, which is a hard sale in this town and in this country right now anyway if it involves, you know, making an alliance with the iranians of all people. my recommendation would be they are iranian boots on the ground and always have been. grabs iranianmes boots on the ground. they are going to continue to be boots on the ground here and there. it is like scorpions all over the place, too. you just have to deal with a
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threat, something unpleasant that is out there. the idea of a u.s. condominium -- to save iraq from being overcome by sunni worriers, that would be a hard sell in riyadh and a hard sell in washington, i think. mike, are you with us? let's proceed. any further questions? i will close with this last question. i know it is not fair, but why not? do you expect the use of american military force in iraq? .> yes before i elaborate, i want to say the scorpion analogy was not to the iranian population or ethnic group, it was to the irgc guys. but in terms of that question, i think almost certainly, unless isis somehow is stopped in its
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tracks by an iraqi army that shows little ability to do that other than in samarra. i think the situation will get sufficiently desperate, that we will have military action. you very muchank for joining us here today at the washington institute. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014]
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>> if you missed any of this discussion, it is available in the c-span video library. go to c-span.org." for this event got underway, president obama gave a statement on the possible response to what is happening in iraq. he talked for 10 minutes before ordering marine one for andrews air force base. we will open up the phone lines to get reaction to what he said after this. >> good morning, everybody. i want to take some time to give you a quick update about the situation in iraq. yesterday i convened a meeting with my national security council to discuss the situation . this morning i received an update from my team. over the last several days, we have seen significant gains made by isil, a terrorist organization that operates in both iraq and in syria. in the face of a terrorist offensive, iraqi security forces have proven unable to defend a number of cities, which has
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allowed the terrorists to overrun part of iraq's territory. this poses a danger to iraq and its people, and given the nature of these terrorists, it could pose a threat eventually to american interests as well. this threat is not brand-new. , we have beenyear steadily ramping up our security assistance to the iraqi government with increased training, equipping them and intelligence. now iraq needs additional support to break the momentum of extremist groups and bolster the capabilities of iraqi security forces. we will not be sending u.s. troops back into combat in iraq, but i have asked my national rangety team to prepare a of other options that could help support iraq security forces, and i will be reviewing those options in the days ahead. i do want to be clear though, this is not solely or even primarily a military challenge. over the past decade, american troops have made extraordinary
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sacrifices to give iraqis an opportunity to claim their own future. unfortunately, iraqi leaders have been unable to overcome too often the mistrust of sectarian differences that have long been creating there, vulnerabilities within the iraqi government as well as the security forces. so any action that we may take to provide assistance to iraqi security forces have to be joined by a serious and sincere effort by iraq's leaders to set aside sectarian difference, to promote stability, and account for the legitimate interests of all of iraq's leaders. build annue to effective security force. we cannot do it for them. in the absence of this type of political ever, short-term military action, including any assistance we might provide, will not succeed.
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so this should be a wake up call. iraq's leaders have to demonstrate a willingness to make hard decisions and compromises on behalf of the iraqi people in order to bring the country together. in that effort, they will have the support of the united states and our friends and allies. neighbors also have some response abilities to support this process can nobody has an interest in seeing terrorists gain a foothold inside of iraq, and nobody is going to benefit from seeing iraq dissent into chaos. so the united states will do our part, but i understand that it is ultimately up to the iraqis as a sovereign nation to solve their problems. indeed, across the region, we have redoubled our efforts to help build more capable counterterrorism forces so that groups like isil cannot establish safe haven, and we will continue that effort through our support of the moderate opposition in syria, our support for iraq and their security forces, and our
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partnership with other countries across the region. we are also going to pursue intensive the policy throughout both inside iraq across the region. because there is never going to be stability in iraq or the broader region and less there are political outcomes that allow people to resolve their differences peacefully without resorting to war or relying on the u.s. military. we will be monitoring the situation in iraq very carefully over the next several days. our top try rudy's will remain being vigilant against a threat to our personnel serving overseas. we will consult closely with congress, as we have made determinations about appropriate action, and we will continue to give the american people fully informed as we make decisions about the way forward. all right, i will take a question. reluctant to get involved again in iraq? >> i think that we should look at the situation carefully. we have an interest in making ,ure that a group like isil
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which is a vicious organization and has been able to take advantage of the chaos in syria, that they do not get a broader foothold. i think there are dangers of fierce sectarian fighting if, for example, the terrorist organizations trying to overrun sacred shia sites which could trigger shia-sunni conflicts that could be hard to stamp out. we have enormous interests there, and obviously, our troops and the american people and hugecan taxpayers made investments in sacrifices to give iraqis an opportunity to .hart a better course we are not going to be able to do it for them. and given the very difficult history that we have seen in iraq, i think that any objective observer would recognize that in
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the absence of accommodation among the various factions inside of iraq, various military the united states or by any outside nation will not solve those problems over the long term. anybody else? >> is the syrian civil war spilling over the iraq border? >> i think that has been happening for some time. isil has been able to gain a foothold in syria. that is part of the reason we have been so concerned about it. that is part of the reason we have been supporting the syrian opposition there. problem. a challenging in iraq, the iraqi government which was initially resistant to some of our offers of help, has come around now to recognize cooperation with us on some of these issues could be useful. obviously, that is not the case in syria where president assad has no interest in seeing as
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involved there and were some of the governments that are supporting us on -- assad have been able to block you and .n. efforts.u this is original problem and will be long-term. we have to combine selective actions by our military to make sure we're going after terrorists who could harm our personnel overseas or eventually hit the homeland. we will have to combine that with what is a very challenging international effort to try to rebuild countries and communities that have been shattered by sectarian war. that is not an easy task. >> [inaudible] >> we are in contact with them now. we will have a better sense by the end of the weekend after
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those consultations. we will be getting a better sense from them of how they might support an effort to bring about the kind of political unity inside of iraq that bolsters security forces. the united states is poured a lot of money into these iraqi security forces, and we devoted a lot of training to iraqi security forces. are not that they willing to stand and fight and defend their posts against admittedly hardened terrorists but not terrorists who are overwhelming in numbers, that indicates that there is a problem with morale. there is a problem in terms of commitment. and ultimately, that is rooted in the political problems that have plagued the country for a very long time. last question. >> thank you. can you talk a little bit about
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u.s. concern of the disruption, potential disruption, of oil supplies? >> so far, at least, we have not seen major disruptions in oil supplies. obviously, if in fact isil was able to obtain control over major output, significant refineries, that could be a source of concern. oilou might expect, world markets react to any kind of instability in the middle east. one of our goals should be to make sure that in cooperation with other countries in the region, not only are we creating some sort of backstop in terms of what is happening inside iraq, but if there end up being where it -- disruptions inside iraq, some of the other producers in the gulf are able to pick up the slack. that will be part of the consultations that will be taking place during the course of this week. to give people a sense of timing here -- although it vince on the
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ground in iraq have been happening very quickly, our ability to plan, whether it is military action or work with the iraqi government on some of these political issues, is going to take several days. people should not anticipate that this is something that is going to happen overnight. we want to make sure we want to have good eyes on the situation. we want to gather all of the intelligence necessary so that if i do direct and order actions there, that their target, precise, and will have an effect. i want to make sure that everybody understands this message. the united states is not simply going to involve itself in a military action in the absence of a political plan by the iraqis that gives us some assurance that they are prepared to work together. we are not going to allow ourselves to be dragged back

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