tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN February 9, 2015 10:00am-12:01pm EST
roads in the school. then he wants $.54 on a user tax on the --. he wants $.24 for the gas tax. $.24 on the gas tax. will the government on top of that raise more taxes? guest: michigan is a state where the population is not growing very much. i understand why fast-growing southern states want to raise my money. it is surprising in a state that has a fairly stagnant population would want to raise so much money for infrastructure. under last caller's point, his theme is that the federal government and jack's and a lot of inefficiency into state highway spending. with the big dig two thirds federally funding, the federal money was one of the reasons it ended up costing far more than it was originally estimated to
cost. when federal money is involved state governments do not spend their money as efficiently. host: we are out of time. chris edwards with the cato institute. robert with the brookings institute. thank you. that does it for today's "washington journal." we will be that you tomorrow morning. enjoy the rest of your day. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] ♪ >> president gets briefed by german chancellor angela merkel
about a scheduled summit wednesday to try to revive a peace plan for easter ukraine. germany, france, russia and ukraine will take part. they will talk with reporters. among the issues, army fighters opposing russian backed separatists. live coverage starts at 11:40. should the u.s. arm ukraine? we are taking your comments. here are a couple of the more than 300 comments. sue says "putin is taking advantage of a weak administration." rabid enemies of the west commit atrocities. "let europe deal with it." coming up at 2:00 eastern the
discussion on the prospects for a nuclear deal with iran. hear from jim slattery of kansas. he met with senior officials in the country. it is hosted by the atlantic council. live coverage for 2:00 eastern on c-span. the u.s. house is back tomorrow at noon for morning hours speeches. at 2:00 for a legislative work. later, members debate the measure approving the keystone xl pipeline. the senate is back today at 3:00 p.m.. at :00 p.m. they will debate the nomination of the director of the national drug control policy. the house is live on c-span and the senate on c-span2. the political landscape has changed with the 114th congress. not only are there 43 new republicans and 15 new democrats in the house.
12 new republicans and one new democrat in the senate. 108 women, including the first african-american republican in the house and the first woman veteran in the senate. keep track using congressional chronicle on c-span.org. lots of useful information including voting results and statistics about each session of congress. new congress best access on c-span c-span2, c-span radio and c-span.org. >> regional experts and a former u.s. army colonel who served in iraq will take part in a discussion on the fight against isis and the role of iran and syria. this took place friday at the washington institute for near east policy.
>> good afternoon and welcome. my name is david schenker. it's nice to see such a large crowd. we are highhere to talk about the release of two new studies. if anyone had any doubts, the video released -- kobane and syria. today, the group controls more territory in syria and iraq than when the war started.
air power will be insufficient. to roll back isil, the organization will have to be counted on the ground. we are witnessing the initial stages in the new phase of the campaign. in syria comedy strategy of training moderate opposition remains a distant if realistic option. meanwhile in syria iran and the assad regime are deploying militias. in iraq, baghdad is working to reconstitute an integrated security force. to discuss these differing approaches to isil, we have a great panel featuring michael knights, philip smith and p.j. dermer. michael knights is a feller at the washington institute and an author of the just-released
study. philip smyth is a researcher and the author of the blog hizballah cavalcade which focuses on shiite islamic militarism in the region. the institute released his study today. commenting on their presentations, we are lucky to have p.j. dermer, the retired army colonel. he participated in standing up civil and defense institutions in iraq and served as a military advisor in 2008. just a quick reminder, please put your mobile phones on vibrate. we are live on cspan today apparently. we'll start with mic nights.
>> thank you very much for coming today. it is great to see such a full room. my colleagues on the panel with me, it is a real honor to be alongside them. i'm going to talk today about some of the things coming out about a new study about the long haul, rebooting the u.s. cooperation with iraq and i want to go through the study in detail. i'm going to do is maybe try to pick out some of the key issues and quandaries that come out of the security cooperation with the iraqi state and the kurdish peshmerga and our coexistence of government alongside the popular mobilization units played a significant role in the war so far in iraq.
just to run through a couple graphics which are in the study that is available in pdf form online to download. we include is a brigade battle for the iraqi army and the minister of interior and popular mobilization forces. graphically represented. and it demonstrates for one thing how much of the combat power is pooled around baghdad and how few of the iraqi military units are able to deploy over long distances to commence the operation in the mosul in the second quarter of this year, it's good to be very difficult to do that. and also the lack of combat effective in the army brigades with the strength required to undertake a very complex costly operation in mosul.
the nine-brigade u.s.-led train and equip program to build oversized combat capable deployable units that can continue to operate after taking the casualties required in the urban combat. that nine brigade train and equip program is vital and to me it indicates we are not looking at a battle for mosul commencing until q3 or q4 2015 and some people are even more grumpy about it then that. again on this slide we will see the graphic in the study the iraqi army in yellow the , minister of interior in black and popular mobilization units in red. if you're interested in looking at the details, look at the study. likewise the have done the same for the peshmerga. a slightly rougher but probably the most detailed order of battle on what the peshmerga
looks like and how it is structured. on the slide, even from the back it should be fairly visible. the blue is the kurdish is the security forces and green is the area where the federal government is contesting. one of the interesting factors is that you can see a thin green line running from the iranian border up to kirkuk that is the iranian line of supply that supports the popular mobilization units gathering and building for a major operations just south of kirkuk. iwon't talk about the progress of the war against iso. we will do that on other days. the war against isil in iraq, initially, is highly winnable and slowly we are on that trajectory now. for many people, the philosophy
-- the velocity will not be fast enough but the vector, the direction, is in that direction towards cutting them down to the stages that they are a serious intelligent -- insurgent terrorist movement. unfortunately, today's best case scenario is 2013's worst-case scenario. the goalposts have shifted over the last few years. so what we are hoping is that in the next year or so we can cut isis down until it is our worst nightmare from 2013. and then start again and start working our way to cut them down to where they were in 2009 when the security operations were the most effective probably and then finally to get them down below that to the hopes that we had in 2009. what i'm going to talk about today more is what if we defeat isis but lose iraq in the process? what if there is another threat out there that is
the threat posed by the allies that we are working alongside? i'm thinking about some of the popular mobilization units iranian linked and all the movements philip is going to talk about. what if we defeat isis but in the process we lose iraq to hezbollah-ization of the iraqi security center. it might sound dramatic but there is a lot going on in iraq that points in that direction. is this america's yalta moment in iraq. people look at the delta conference -- at the yalta conference in 1945 and they say the u.s. government was being realistic. the soviets were going to dominate eastern europe. nothing could stop that. others would have any emotional reaction and this is when we were confined to 50 years of communism left behind the iron curtain.
even though i do not think it is a perfect analogy, where i think this is a yalta moment, we're in the midst of a war. the war is not over yet but it is time to start asking tough churchillian questions about how the war ends. why we are fighting this war to the end to our allies are and how they will act after, say mosul is liberated. how they will act towards us and other elements in iraq. in the old days afghanistan was the good war and iraq was the bad war. since 2014, iraq seems to be the good work and syria is the bad war. in reality, iraq is going to be more complex. i believe it is a war worth fighting involving the u.s., but it's not a complex or simple or. -- war.
in any sense as being allied with iran against isis in irawq is fraught with danger and more complex than many would believe. one thing i have noticed since i started this study and researching and talking to a lot of people, just to complete the data collection, serving ideas out there about this phyrric victory we could win defeating isis but handing iraq over to a hezbollah-ized iraqi security structure. there's been a lot. i don't think that i've ever heard kurds and shia arabs vent so much hatred toward each other. our allies in iraq at the moment, isis's enemies, are
remarkably divided and resentful towards each other. it's sad to see because it the fighting has not even vaguely stopped yet against isis. a lot of young shia guys will say to me what you have against the popular mobilization units are they really so that? if the peshmerga did the same thing, wouldn't you criticize them? you want to pull build up the sunni awakening movement, didn't they do these things in the past? didn't they kill americans? we need to think hard. we have an emotional reaction against some of the popular mobilization units going for. let's look into that for a second. are they baptize? i don't think so. they are brave fighters going to
the front line. many of them are not psychos trying to undertake sectarian massacres. they are just normal people. i had a similar feeling when meeting a hezbollah infantrymen in southern lebanon in 1999. sitting with them and their families in their houses. but behind them, often far behind them, there was the islamic revolutionary guard force that i never did me. they had very different attitude. i certainly became personally aware of the difference between being in their midst and not a target, as i was in southern lebanon. later, when i was operating in iraq and being actively targeted. there is something under the surface of the predominately shia popular mobilization units that we need to look at closely. again, just to underline the point on the left-hand side we have the guys, they look pretty scary. they're supposed to be our allies.
on the left, we have the crisply pressed shia popular mobilization units backed by the iranians. who looks scarier? i would argue for a number of reasons i will come to in a second that those on the left, we need to treat both with care. the guys on the right are not as cuddly and trustworthy as they look. and the guys on the left, in some ways because they are cut off from the major state support because they are not intricately networked into the islamic revolutionary guard force because they pull in smaller increments because they are divided rather than having the potential to form into one large hezbollah like shadow defense institution that could threaten and overwhelmed things like the iraqi defense ministry or ministry of the interior. i believe the guys on the right are a bigger threat. likewise look at the bottom. you have a western private
security detail taken up by extraordinarily accurate and effective explosive projectile fired by the shia groups. they have a marine corps lvtp ripped to pieces by a sunni ied . both have killed us. both would care less if they feel like they wanted to. i am afraid of the capabilities of the quds force. in 2011 they killed 16 americans because it seemed like they were -- we were going to read think our departure from iraq. they are much more dangerous than the sunni groups. i will talk about why. and increased involvement of the iranian backed popular
mobilization units, particularly in areas to the north like mosul, tikrit, places in the western anbar. they're at the moment being welcomed but they will wear out their welcome pretty soon. the overinvolvement of these forces will link in the war against isis. i have blanked out gruesome images of dead bodies suspended from a lamppost in baquba left there by the pmu's, likewise a mosque massacre on the bottom left. this is not even the most recent massacre of 1972. top right, heavy artillery bombardment of sunni villages. they might be mostly depopulated. these guys come heavy when they come. the bottom right-hand image, you
might say there is a bunch of young fighters holding up an iraqi flag, what could be wrong? in and of itself, nothing. they are holding it up on the main road south of kirkuk and taunting kurdish drivers. this is not smart and it is not helpful. it is an indicator that even when these guys are not out abusing civilians and undertaking counterproductive military operations, or at least military operations with counterproductive elements, they are also a source of constant friction when they are operating alongside the krg. these iranian-backed militia if not put under some form of control, will ultimately undermined the strategic independence of iraq. and potentially state stability. we see some of the images here.
behind the eagle and the top left-hand side sits a deliberately concealed abu mahdi al mohandes, a u.s. designated terrorist since i think 2009 who has been pursued for the various offenses back to 1983 involving kuwait. at the front lines taking the iraqi senior leadership on the tour of pmu successes. carefully hidden in the picture because it was recognized that it might cause offense. likewise, current vice president maliki meeting with leadership in hezbollah. in the bottom side, a u.s. mrap and m-1 abrams with flags
attached to it. i wish our information operations were as good as these guys. when we achieve something what do we do, we'd like to fall into the background and it is better that the iraqis can take credit for the things that they have achieved. you know what, 100% wrong. when the quds force have any involvement, even when they have no involvement, they get their senior leadership and last interfaces across every media outlet and social media outlet that they can find. i think we need to be doing more to demonstrate what the u.s. and the international coalition is doing to stabilize iraq because we are really on a back foot when it comes to the operations. these guys are ambitious. they are not some kind of a minor small group of concerned local citizens, etc.
in 2009, when the group was being set up, they never disbanded. most of the sahwa groups came in they did biometrics and most of the movements came in and signed a little piece of paper and it biometrics which the government now holds on them. they never did that stuff. they just said we might stop fighting you and when they will fight again. but for now we are willing to take the paycheck. for being "a son of iraq." these guys are not from the minority like the sunni sahwa are. they have a serious state sponsor in charge of mechanized unit capabilities. it's a regular resupply of ammunition coming from iran. these guys have quds force intelligence within their headquarters that are linking them to drone operations,
iranian air force. they are a powerful entity. they are well armed and network into the ministry of the interior. they are linked to other aspects of the resistance, lebanese hezbollah, irgc quds force. these are people who will undermine iraq's strategic independence going forward. luckily, a solution at the end. i think a lot of the leadership in iraq are recognized whether they are in the political sphere, military men or in the religious. iraqi military does not like militia. they never have. they do not like have to operate alongside groups even though
they don't recognize that they have contributed blood, sweat and tears to stopping isil's advance. they have to give them that. they deserve the respect and many of them deserve the full respect as fighting men because they've given everything including their lives to bring to a halt that the institution that they are part of into the forces that sit behind these often times we need to look extremely closely. that they are part of into the luckily we have seen in many cases in the past, the iraqi-shia vote for iraq rather than vote for sectarianism and iran. the iran-iraq war, not really a shimmer of an uprising against the iraqi state. hundreds of thousands of shia serving in the front lines. likewise basra separatism. basrawis believe in the iraqi
state even though they have had a shocking deal. malaki recognize that he needed to cut the legs out from underneath before they took the crown jewel. basra. the national guard largest being pushed through now senior iraqi leaders understand they need to do something about the pmyus and the sahwa. they need to confine them to can find into barracks, demobilize them. they need governors to say we do not need a national guard brigade for this province. we are secure. a way of reducing the threat of militia takeover in key provinces like basra. it's under ministry of defense control, it is under operational control. these things are built into the national guard law. they need to be. the struggle will be implementation.
the iranian militias will try as hard as they can to take all the bits they like. we want to get paid, have pensions, light arms provided by the government. but actually we think that we will keep the rocket launchers and our ties to the irgc quds force. either way, some of these individuals, the dawa party are trying to keep a hand. they had these guys in senior deputy positions. likewise, the bottom left-hand side running the national security portfolio. some conservative elements of the dawa party, they do not want a radical change in power in iraq.
they do not want to be jettisoned as those are the politicians that we, iraqi hezbollah, keep in the cupboard and bring out whenever we want to look acceptable. we have allies in iraq. the only way we are going to get those allies is if we outperform iran as a security partner. we cannot ask for everything we went from the iraqis unless we demonstrate that we are seriously committed about going forward. not just until isis is gone or mosul is liberated. but finally, until -- with no endpoint. what we need is a visionary, decades spanning re-engagement with the iraqi government for a deep, lasting security cooperation relationship. why wouldn't we? this is not lebanon. no disrespect to lebanon. if we lose iraq to hezbollah-ization of the security structure. this is a country with the same oil as saudi arabia.
35 or 40 million and going up. connected to every key regional state. this is like losing china in the 1950's. this is not some small country. even though some people in the administration have put it in a small box in their mind. that's not what it is. we need to do more than the minimum and then leave. we need to demonstrate we are therefore the long run and we need to say that openly. the iranians are seriously playing they are doing what we used to do. they are there with the joint terminal attack controllers on the ground. and rainy revolutionary guard air force air controllers, pilots who know they go back to iraq and work and they are doing this really well. we need to do it really well. one of the things we need to start doing is put more of our special forces close to the front line. if we do not demonstrate commitment to the iraqi army they will continue to rely on pmus from iran as their primary
offensive weapon system. they cannot retake mosul that way. it will cause more problems. even the pmus do not have the force to take back mosul. if we want to finish off isil in iraq, we need an army build up, we need to demonstrate u.s. commitment and we need ultimately to outperform the iranians as a security partner. il'll leave something up. we have got a 5k run-walk going on. cameron run regional lock -- walk. alexandria, virginia. may 9, 2015. if you are interested it is www.sicfiraq.org. it is a good cause so support it if you can. [applause]
phillip smyth: guess my slides are not going up. okay. sans slides, i'm going to have to try to work with this. what is going on in syria right now? it seemed that we had a jihad in millbury noticed what was going on. everybody picked up on isis, al qaeda as a section of al qaeda fighting. this was described as the jihad going on inside of syria but people neglected the fact -- sorry about that.
back to the main story. people were neglecting this. this is another major jihad that seems to float under everybody's nose. maybe it looked more organized or it was organic or they were shia coming to defend this shrine in the back south of damascus. that's all that it was too many people. ok, a few shia fighters went to syria and they just wanted to defend the shrine, but it's not. it hides something that is much, much larger and we are seeing it in iraq and an ideological spread that iran is trying to push to the absolute ideology. among iraqis, among other moderate shiite -- i do not like to use the term moderate shia. but shia who do not believe in the radical khomeinist concepts. now we are seeing it on this
regional plane and it's shocking not as many people were noticing it. there are a few myths and facts about the shia jihad. in the press, it is difficult to cover the issue and a few things have popped up. i collected quotes from people that i know were asking about it . one said don't all foreign fighters come in sunni? a chart from "the washington post" not just lists of them as foreign fighters. one of the largest if not the largest foreign fighter contingent inside of syria has nothing to do with al qaeda. it has everything to do with the iranians iraq, lebanon afghan , refugees living in iran sometimes from afghanistan and they even route in african fighters. they claim to route in somalis. one man who was killed from ivory coast. this is a really large scale operation. we are talking about tens of thousands of people. another prime narrative in the media. it says you know isis uses
, facebook and twitter. that must mean they are more advanced. a hint for you, the shia militia groups that are run by the iranians have a far more advanced recruitment structure online. nobody has done anything to take it off or even investigate it. i can go here if we had facebook, i could find you one in five seconds. they are doing this quite openly and not hiding it. they are putting up graphic images, the ones many of us have written hashtag about on twitter. much the same kind of material. there is another issue here. i talked about iran's control of these organizations and the routing of fighters. one of the lines given to me by a friend, she probably won't be my friend anymore. all the groups look pretty independent. the devil is in the details. and it is about a granular look, do not miss the forest for its
trees but focus on the important stuff. a lot of the groups we are fighting in syria openly believe in the ideology that they are fighting alongside lebanese hezbollah. a devoted proxy to the iranians. there is a lot of interconnection. they were training in iran and being shipped back three ron not directly through iraq. they are not that independent they are directly controlled. another line has been they are not as brutal and we are fighting the same enemy. this makes sense unless you are getting past the narrative structure. these groups have a narrative structure that says all syrian rebels were muslims who wanted to accuse other muslims of apostasy and thus they could be killed. this is how they cast the u.s.'s so-called moderate allies. this is a larger process they
underwent peer it is coming to full force in iraq. they have tasked the sunni enemy of bears -- enemy of bears. the other thing is that they are reactionary. these groups were around for some time, decades even. i will give you an example of the badr organization in iraq. the iranians created these. they went over in the 1980's to fight saddam hussein. they were in iranq's government. so they've been around for quite a while. it doesn't mean they are growing at rates that we've never seen before. there is a new crisis and we have more organizations. iran's reach is totally overstated. i cannot say how much annoyance
that actually causes me. they are so open about how they control the organizations. all you need to do is follow iranian media. dr. knights brought this up even if they are not controlling a group they will claim to do that and then try to influence them with cash and weapons. guess what happens? they become a little micro hezbollah. i would say in this you can never ignore the top-down strategy. just because these people are recruiting from a wide stream of shia. i'm not saying everybody is a khomeinist. there is a trickle-down structure. how many of use what i've said lebanon is going to be a great place for the philosophy. we know how radicalized the shia population is there.
i am pretty sure not many but now look at it. we now have the narrative of jihad, why were people going to fight in syria. how did this lead to iraq and shia militias fighting against isis. a religious crisis needed to be manufactured. there is the suppose it threat against the major mosque and shrine in southern damascus. a lot of granular connections to iran with this shrine. they rebuilt it and that is why it has a nice golden dome. they cast this to get fighters to go into syria, they needed people who would go for a religious reason. the justified reason was that they were doing the shrine defense. just saying shrine defense does
not fit in with the narrative. they are defending it against the people we mentioned earlier who pushed them to this? and america, israel and the west. there was a conspiracy. if you are looking at a long-term problems with this kind of outlook, it now casts a vision that maybe the u.s. really didn't want to push for the shrine to be destroyed. maybe the u.s. was pushing moderate rebel groups because they wanted them to be al qaeda. qasem soleimani said this himself, trying to push america into syria. they are actually executing a grand regional strategy that does not just target shia. it actually targets a lot of
minorities. we saw a lot of this -- sorry, do you mind if i grab a soda? i am running dry. i get excited. in addition to this, we have to deal with the minority issue. if you remember when hezbollah first had to deal with syria pulling out of lebanon, they had outreach to the maronite catholic ally. the khomeneist stuff is on the side but we are for this lebanon thing. when they are trying to push the philosophy in iran, christians are not treating that well.
they've been doing this a lot with christians, drowning in the sea. if you do not align with us, the shia the sunnis are going to calm in and brutalize you. there has been that other move pushing them in that direction. pushing a minority alliance. they also push the good sunnis versus bad sunnis line. hassan this relic said this. we are not against sunnis. he would make a sectarian message and say we are not against sunnis. actually, they are not even muslims, he was declaring his enemies as apostates. that was the categorization going on simultaneously. the biggest thing going on are the pan shia themes. they are trying to cast this narrative that iran is the protector for the share in the region.
they are still casting the khomeneist message that we are pan islamic. the ayatollah is the wilayat al-faqih for all muslims, not just the shia but we are starting with the shia first. in a geostrategic sense, if you are trying to form clamps around enemies, the saudi's and the israelis, it makes sense when you have forces in those areas. then there is this. they have tried to minimize their link to this. while also trying to say that we have maintained this jihad. they did not want to show that there are geopolitical interests at stake. if they lost syria, they would potentially lose there must valuable ally, lebanese hezbollah. you have to have syria and you have to have that bridge. if they lost it that would be no good. it would be a great idea to drive up asia hot. if -- drive up a jihad.
if they said we are driving this as persian iranians, not many people would buy into it. it traces back to the shrine. i attached a photo, this is from one of my favorite, it is a song that has been played by a direct iranian proxy. it actually says, a rough translation, we are not fighting for bashar, we are fighting for the shia. that is how they had tried to cast int. if we are looking at iraq, a lot of fighters have been sent back there. we are protecting islam, to them, islam is she is in -- is shiasm. we have to focus on the actual militias. which melissa's -- which militias are sending people to syria?
there is a lot of confusion about what the group is doing. there is kind of a gray area. a lot of things going online to say that muqtada al-sadr is donating people to fight in syria. there are sadrist splinters. in the iraq war a problem with the sadrists, he was trying to maintain an army. he pushed against the iranians and they encouraged these splits. they tried to build a separate organizations. as i was doing research i tried to look up people who helped form this group.
the network, the initial core of commanders, almost all of them were sadrist splinter people. one of them who was killed december 2012, this is a person who served with the sunni, he was in the provincial headquarters for the american forces, killing 5 of our guys. he was related to that. the expression to say that they are sadrists, they might have been promoting sadrist imagery but they had clear direct links to the iranians. going down more the old standard bearers, the good old
iranian proxies. meaning lebanese hezbollah, some of the initial forces sent to syria. they were serving as direct combat advisers but also helping form local militias. the barddr organization is another one. it is a little bit more complex. what did badr do? while building their own process and putting their own fighters into syria, they were building special groups inside iraq. taking some members and saying ok now that the new group is formed we are going to send these people to syria. one of the newer groups, one of their first martyrs was the son of a badr corps commander who
was killed many years ago. celebrated by the badr organization. his son was killed fighting for the group that believes in the same ideological concepts that came out of nowhere. this is kind of the connection that they have. just going past that, we have these groups. a lot of people remember these groups. they killed a lot of coalition forces. some of these guys were the first into iraq. they would go to iraq and take a syrian air flight into damascus. they would get off the plane and everything was fine. they would pick up a rifle and fight. they were not even hiding this when they were coming into that country. they were actually openly advertising it on very easily accessible facebook pages, which is kind of shocking.
was that an operations fail or were they trying to promote that we can go into syria whenever we want it was going to stop us? the biggest issue has been the syrian-based groups. these are local actors, they cast themselves as local actors. initially, the syrian intelligence tried to help form and a lot of localized shia militias. the main one that came out of this was liwa, from there it expanded out. think of it like an octopus. could we write some of these groups off as subdivisions of the larger network? they are just a battalion under a larger army group? i would say yes. they're all networked together but they have taken on their own identities. they have taken on their own recruitment activity, any rock and syria. they do not really hide this. they have their own commanders. a lot of them come out of the
initial network. this is the nexus that has formed. iran's proxy web, i put them holding hands. this is a guy who helped found another group. one of the first special groups in iraq. what is he doing now? he's leading a group, another group like this. through these trails, it looks crazy. a million different links everywhere. why would they do this? a lot of people have asked me, how does this make any sense for a grand regional strategy? i will get to this. now, check this out. wait, there is more. when we are looking -- i have tried to track down all of the
different connections. i put up a radical cleric, some of his fighters and people they have claimed they are with him have gone. i am sorry if i am making the c-span guys angry. i keep leaning back. i put in black and white over here, that simple -- that symbol of a group formed by the iranians to route afghan hazara fighters. the minute they got to syria they were not fighting under that banner, they were fighting under another. the minutethey put the patch is on, they had their own sub regiments. this confusing jumble, i had to put a line through sadr. sadrist splinters. when you get to another odd thing, after they had already splintered 4000 different ways
what did we end up having? they did it again. so liwa abu al-fadhal al abbas formed a group. it's the force of the hawks the iraq-based contingent. a lot of other groups have taken on the liwa abu al-fadhal al abbas name. is this a deliberate move? if not, they need to get their stuff together. a bunch of groups have done this. even a group formed in december 2013, i think a little earlier they even started their own iraqi contingent. all of this is going on. the spread and the movement
networking continues. if we are getting down to brass tacks on this one i think a lot of this is a little game a lot of people in irgcqf like to play. they will share members, fight in the same fronts. it is a game so i can sit here and just slam my head against the table as i am looking for another militia group. now, in addition to this, i wanted to focus on my favorite my white wail of militia commanders. i followed this guy since he had his first facebook page. alaa hilayl. everything about him, his and personality. when you are looking at it, what does his presence represent? i mentioned him in my report. initially he came out and it was announced via this new group,
their organization that he was a commander in aleppo. nowhere near sayyidah zaynab that they are supposed to be defending. then they pictured him as a sadrist with al sadr in the front. he came back to iraq in spring 2014, did not hide. and he was named as a commander. he had two music videos dedicated to him. i am not making this one up. afterwards, and other shift. no one mentioned him. did it vanish into thin air? i did not see any mentions in the iraqi press or their tv media. then they show him with two
other groups. by showing this, a new organization that was formed in iraq -- he's the secretary-general. al mohandas is the push behind that. this would necessitate that he had deeper connections to irgc quds force then we realize. interestingly enough cap -- he was never named as one of their guys, when he was killed he had a moderate on poster and a funeral. all of the sudden his name and face spread over the shia militia web. he was marketed as a big-time martyr. a huge thing i realized is the recruitment factor online. something i truly believe nobody's paying that much attention to. they've been posting phone numbers and all sorts of things. this is one of the initial ones posted. this is taken in najaf.
they would put a popular committee, they would hide it in the industry. i've called in there is somebody who has called in with me to these numbers and we've had conversations with these guys. it is really not that hard. what did they accomplish? i love this picture it fits in with the narrative that we are pushing isis. what have they done, they have secured damascus, they have secured rule for bashar al assad. this is not the republican guard or some syrian militia, this is hezbollah and the other allied organizations. i would not even describe these as links they are part of a unified network and that is how they are developing this. they are taking a kind of geography in syria. they've been able to construct a new front.
they're assisting in doing that. the infiltration in the iraqi government and now within syria, in syria it is almost complete. it is not like assad can push back against them. on top of that for the iranians, building the narrative of strength projection and protection for shia groups in the middle east, this is huge. when you feel you're under an existential threat any syria and an iranian irgc quds force guy came and said i will give you money and guns, the americans are not doing enough, they are the great satan. i would take it if i thought isis was going to destroy me. they are playing off that so effectively. bigger thing, the biggest thing. there are other regional consequences to the growth of the group from the shia jihad in
syria. this question, will they magically moderate after isis is defeated. i don't believe so. did lebanese hezbollah moderate? after the lebanese pulled out in 200, they did not. the same thing happened in 2011. hey, we are to drop our arms they never did. here's the biggest thing. my buddy al hilayl. does anybody know what group this belongs to? a new, smaller young guys out of the february 14 youth movement in thebahrain put this up for him. there's a poster that has phone numbers on it. the red blotch behind the
fist, a map of bahrain. why would you show that if you are pushing syria? a poster of the man jailed by the saudis. this is a new cause they cannot and said this, if they execute him, we will retaliate against the saudis. they have a new cause to fight. this is a regional struggle. when i talk about shia jihad in syria, it is going to encompass a lot more. ignoring it will not make it go away. allying with it will not make it go away. they have manipulated this process to a t. i do not really see a gondola anytime soon, which is sad. [applause]
>> can you hear me ok? >> my last years were but with multiple tours in the middle east. i will take a little bit of a slower approach and bring it higher. hopefully i will get through this without a lot of tears because these movements out there are big to myself and a lot of us that served -- are emotional to a lot of us that served on the ground. will give it a couple of
possible policy recommendations. i will give a small synopsis on the papers. i'm in pretty good concurrence with mike. how complicated even more so the reader -- how complicated things are now. we tend to work within fundamentals of the theory of rational act or theory, meaning i punch you in you punch me back. or you punch me i punch you in we storm out. we get lost in our own thesis. what phil has pointed out and his driving down the block charts is quite complicated in
how do you maneuver in that thing? i will point out to the crowd that it is not new. what phil has pointed out is not new. we have seen these linear nations in the lebanese civil war and in syria before. i was in syria in 1982. syrians asked me what i was doing there. i said i was backpacking through and they never believe me. [laughter] there is a lot of personality involved in a lot of personal quest for power. as in-depth as his breathing was -- as this briefing was, who knows. there was an article saying how iranians were the best thing isis could have. the human analysts and guys with
the same intellectual brilliance as phil here would command and layout these charts and lines that this guy talks with this guy and they call each other three times and sneak away on the weekends. the prisoners want over going face-to-face with the folks were trying to get to had a lot of people in prison and a lot of people not. we would look at the chart and say wow that is a lot of names and numbers. we would ask who can we talk to and when i am with them, what do i say? in my meeting for the heck of it? nice to see you for lunch. flu and a long way for nothing. glad to see when bahrain today what would you like to do? the point that was raised today is how much more complicated the ground is than i think were
fundamentally understanded. or if we understand it, our actions are not belying the fact we do. we are impact embarked on an isis campaign. that is the focus of where washington is in the americans that have been redeployed to iraq. i think what the officers appointed out and i would agree is that first off, how did it get this bad? when i saw isis took over mosuil other than throwing my phone out the window and throwing my computer across the room, i saw the newscasts of the shia marching and forming all the way
down to basra. they are all in uniforms. they have modern weapons. all of them, not a couple of them like it used to be. they all had weapons. to include some of the more sophisticated stuff like the explosives for projectiles -- they are very heavy and would kill most of our mates in the fighting. they will penetrate anything. they are information and marching. even the clerics are dressed up. that did not happen between the time of isis took mosil and the news got there. it had gone on for a very long time. not just as we were deployed -- not just since we were deployed. it has gone from an isis take over to a religious conundrum
throughout the middle east. unfortunately not new in history. how do you act? that is the tough question. it is nice to get the briefings. it is nice to get the charts. somewhere in this issue, where do you plug into the first possible thing to do? right now we are going to get isis in certain cities. ok, but the rest of the general crowd out there have a tactical issue. we need to look at the strategical movements out there. i'm a believer in approaching it from faultlines and fundamentals. there are certain fundamental issues in any sphere that exist. one of them is still true. how do we play it? another one is the arab-iranian divide the sunni and shia
divide. that is not a small fundamental. when we got to iraq, my first trip was building the city council. i went all over iraq for 10 months building the new army. i was the main recruiter. all these that characters and all the ones left alive, we don't know where they are. tpoo a t, the common thread was no iranian influence. no maligned party influence. no party hacks. we want technical and scientific guys. it is military, but same thing. we did not find a lot of skinny's here.
the ones i give us a hard time with the clerics but they were not on top of the world like they are now. across boundaries -- it crossed boundaries. in 2008, i was a senior military advisor in back to baghdad. maliki took the gloves off with us. we did a lot of fighting. special groups as philip pointed out the not play in that fight. special groups were being guided and strategize from a different place. what he said in his speech was ladies and gentlemen, today is the first great day in the
battle against iran. this division commander was shia. this commander is now in the state seeking asylum, by the way. he was in the south a few months ago. one evening he got a call from maliki, and maliki said i have visitors coming to you for work. i want you to embed them in your staff and they will help you achieve stardom. he was above division. he asked who was being sent? they knocked on his door and the commander said you work from mr. alec he and have orders from the prime minister. they said yes where would you like us to go? the shia said not here. he said i don't have a place
where you. they said you don't get to decide. this commander got on the phone with maliki. this is a story relayed by him and i have had it corroborated once. i put him in power in 2003. i got on the phone with maliki and he said they can be on food duty or individual but they cannot be in the general staff headquarters or on the streets with my soldiers. maliki says thanks for your opinion. two days later i got a call and he was and is stumble -- he was in hisistanbul. he left his family and everything. that is how intensely he took it. the rest he is working out right now. the cr did not think that was the way to go -- the she did not
ia did not think that was the way to go. how do we operate in that environment? operating in the religious environment which is this fight in iraq and syria and gulf in yemen are all happening under the guise of a religious breakup. it is bigger than what we started with. we will have a tough time because we work with fundamental ways on earth. in negotiating with bad guys, we never had problem getting a dialogue on with a killer. orange jump or not, you could sooner find a common ground where you could work out something. the minute we were approached with the opening line bismillah -- they included the word saying
they are prepared to die for the got today. god today. we could say we are prepared to help you. [laughter] or i can't go there. i am not at that level. with all due respect, we will have to bow out from this negotiation. i don't speak from i got it and the guy next to me has a different god, so this could get ugly. if you are willing to come down a level or come up a level, let us begin. at the point of dealing at that level, i don't know where you go. we had a chaplain in one of the units in baghdad who was really into the reconciliation councils. he had the whiteboard during the meetings. i offered he should take lead of this.
number three is to get in the big game. the game of isis is bad news. they are really projecting themselves in a way we all agree is bad. again, not fortunately -- not new unfortunately. it is not just a formation of guys in black with weapons. isis is not a very structured thing that if we push it out of a certain spot, it will go there and be there for our beckoning with air power. nioo.
philip has done a good job helping explain that. pushing isis out of mosul is not a bumper sticker. the greater game is outlined by dave and mike as the iranian influence. some ask what does that mean. it means they get the first cut. they are the first ones in the morning and the last ones out at night. we will take the six hours. we are not and i game. -- we are not in that game. other places in the middle east we would show up and ask what would you want to do? it was really when will you play? the brits are here. the french are here.
the qataris are here. they would say will hold that thought and we will be back in a few months. you have to really be in the game. i would argue that this is not a conflict to be far away from. if you really want to play in this game, we have to adjust the balance between the forced protection concepts and the ability to meet face-to-face. the better question is where to the shia militia get all of this ammunition and armament from? the guys were living out their day in and day out, where was that influence? and can we get it back? if salai many good six hours a
day -- if suleimani get six hours a day, where do we go? what they will tell you is to be the power. you are the power. be the power. stop playing around. if you are not the power evidently you don't have a big problem with what is going on out here. we don't understand, but it is your business. whenever you are ready to quit playing possum, come on out. in the meantime, i have to talk to these groups because they are here. understand the fundamentals. be in the game. understand the complexities. lastly, i would add that i agree with mike and phil that
concentrating on the fringes is not where it lies. this struggle lies in the capitals of power. our pressure and priority as much as enjoying the freedom of the skies in iraq right now, it lies in baghdad and damascus. i have never been out in a place at a level that never always wanted to go higher. for squish it is who are you and who do you represent -- the first question is who are you and who do you represent? that is the first thing we had to establish. are you speaking for yourself or
have you been formally sent here ? that is where it lies. the playing ground that philip has outlined -- these guys are being manipulated from a to b. one day they are this group and the next day they are that group. up top, where the real game is, that is where we need to be. the one ro twoor two two people that were doing the thinking the whisperers in the ear of the leaders or the good-looking guys i had the nicest clothing and were very intellectually astute. they could spin you if you were
not careful. i would want to join by the time i left the room if i was not careful. wasn't going to happen but who knows. it is that intellect that is out there. you have to be able to deal. first of all you have to take an hour of a lecture against satan. i know. we are the worst. but i know one worse than us. at least we leave with good intentions and a school or hospital or whatever. at least we intend to. what they leave with, i don't know. this is not easy. three steps have to be joined in. to sum up, i would argue that mike has done a great job and phil has done something very few can pull together. all of this is with open sourced
information, which is important to understand. i would be in baghdad inside the command center watching or advising the seniors. one of the villains of most of mosul was a great guy. he was a nice and decent man. he just wasn't your classic wartime commander. he hated the fact he had to fight iraqis, which is another thing throughout the forces. no one in uniform want to fight anyone in the population of iraq. this is what happened at the turnaround in falluja in 2003. they only went -- the forces only moved forward when we came on the battlefield and would first -- and went first first.
once, if isis is defeated, we are back for another kind of fight. if they are nationalist in theme , they will not want to do it again. thank you. [applause] >> thank you very much. by the way, the studies can be found and downloaded on washingtoninstitute.org. we will take 10 minutes of questions but first i will ask mike how many soldiers isf is being trained up?
will it be a degraded force? for philip, hezbollah probably has the largest shiite militias. hud is a coordinate with the other militias -- how do they coordinate with the other militias? >> i think the numbers of the iraqi security force are in the report. the snapshot view was around 48,000 for the iraqi army. a significantly higher number for moi. nowhere near what they were
speaking of the isf capability in 2009 or before isis in 2014. the main thing is how many active forces do they have that are capable of moving and undertaking offense of operations? it is a remarkably small number. it is probably one armored division and special forces. well under 10,000 guys. mpu's are probably able to throw -- pmu's are probably able to throw more forces than the iraq he army can. they have more mobile capability than the entire iraqi army the ministry of the interior and another group put together in terms of people who can actually move to a battlefield. >> in terms of hezbollah serving
as advisors and working with the syrian army, they came in in the advisory role. now it has taken on more of a command-style role. if you juxtapose it to iraq they are taking leadership roles and this didn't please a lot of guys in the iraqi army just as it didn't please people in the syrian army. there were a few firefights that occurred between some of these iraqi shia militiamen with hezbollah and some of the local militias. they are essentially running the show now. they are running the show in terms of command structure and everything else. i am not saying there is no syrian army left, but these guys now have the strategic know-how in terms of numbers lost.
it probably goes more than the thousand range because they have had in a number of their casualties or they have hidden them as casualties from syria. it is hard to get a true gauge of that. >> thank you. i will call on folks in the crowd. identify yourself and wait for a microphone to come. up front. barbara. >> thanks. barbara from the atlantic council. when the u.s. overthrew saddam something like 50,000 members of the brigade came in and benefited as the u.s. advanced. in baghdad, they came in right behind. iran is next door. they had gone to war with iraq and groomed all these people. now it is reaping the benefits of the u.s. decision to get rid of saddam hussein. we will leave that aside for
now. the question is this. i am hearing from iranians that a rocky syria do not really want to fight to take back the city areas. what they want to do is control baghdad south. similarly in syria, we have a partition in the country in effect. how would you react to the notion that what we are watching is simple the partition of these two countries? the u.s. would like to keep them unified, but the people who live there do not actually care. i run doesn't care if it has its core door to lebanon. thanksiran doesn't care if it has its core idoor to lebanon. >> it isn't that easy in iraq.
if you look at where the iraqi security forces have punched back to, you can see them spreading out these seams of shia communities. no partition of the country and there is no limit to the pm u's. i don't think it is neat and tidy for sure. the supplied a syria is running right through alien areas. >> i will pick up on that point. there is no reason to -- if you have basra would like to say
that basra doesn't need baghdad but baghdad does need basra. why get into food fights up there? i do believe that once victory has happened, there is a good scheme of evidence that fights within themselves will occur. philip's presentation supported that. we have to challenge the assumption that if the she are win or get to a certain point in their program with a bump into the kurds the smartest thing they can do is just sit. the dynamics of the history of that region shows that they will turn on themselves sooner or later. all the lines that philip showed have to go somewhere.
>> thank you very much. i have an observation and question. if you look at it from a strategic point of view, i think we need to look at isis's role and that its viciousness is creating on its own a situation that may mushroom. in relation to all the shia entities, there could be similar entities mushrooming as well. i think the key question is in the midst of that, who are your partners and who can you work with? that is with the government of iraq has declared it as democratic. others as well.
the safer option to work with his them. that has to be a clear commitment from the united states. one clear issue is to not repeat the same mistake of the last 10 years. that is what any engagement has to take into account. have cultural awareness. that is on the micro level. at the more holistic point of view, you are absolutely right when you say the capitals have to have a dialogue. that dialogue cannot just be a shiite and sunni problem. it is much more than that. it cannot be about dividing iraq or not because that will create its own mushroom scenarios. it has to be a serious dialogue. the nuclear issue is one element of that dialogue.
the united states can significantly influence that dialogue and create some environment for a serious chat to take place. otherwise, i think we are doomed. >> i will take one part of this. i agree. i agree on a number of things you said. with all due respect, in terms of the growth devices, this is a two-way street. would they do? go out and kill leaders, but also who is killing leaders? a lot of militia are going out there putting power drills to people's heads and dumping their bodies places. on a personal level, i focused on the shia entities and i don't think it has gotten all that much attention. there are a few new york times articles on it, but that is about it. this is far more secular than the brutality that is isis.
it is a far larger picture. >> you want to say something about the u.s. commitment? >> i thought he said it well enough. he said don't repeat the same mistakes of 10 years ago. hopefully. i agree because i was part of some of those mistakes. i second-guessed some of the decisions we made. some people say we could have done more, and i would like to say i am glad we did. it is the u.s. leadership. either we are leading this thing or not. you cannot have it both ways. that is what we hear every time we travel. there is an equitable photo meant -- there is an incredible befuddlement.
we tell someone to do something and then when they do that week say we don't want you to do -- and when they do that, we call them and say what are you doing we don't want you to do that. >> we have a number of additional questions, but i don't want to go over today. if you have those, please come up. until then, thank you very much for coming. this was a great panel. everyone will benefit from looking at these publications. thank you for coming. [applause] >> the german chancellor angela merkel is at the white house right now speaking with president obama regarding talks
wednesday in europe for a peace plan between ukraine and russian backed rebels. after today's meeting, president obama and chancellor merkel will talk with reporters and we plan let coverage of that set the start at about five minutes from now. should the west arm ukraine against russian-backed rebels? you can go to facebook and twitter. here are some of the comments so far today. this one from donald. and your reaction on facebook -- add your reaction on facebook and twitter.
a discussion of the issues ahead for the president and congress. >> we want to welcome back jonathan allen, the washington bureau chief with bloomberg news here to talk about the week ahead in washington. begin with what will happen at the white house this morning. angela merkel will be meeting with the president behind closed doors. they will hold a joint news conference on what to do with ukraine. do you expect that debate comes to capitol hill as well? i know there are lawmakers that believe ukraine should be armed as well. >> we will wait to see what the president says here. this is a tricky issue. there is a desire not to hand the ukrainians arms that could be used long into the future. we have seen the danger of that and other places where the united states and europe have armed nations.
many years later they found them cells fighting those arms. there is reasonable hesitation. one of the leading ukrainian diplomatis was in our office begging for aid to fight back. some are more strickland offensive and some are more strictly offense of. -- strictly offenseive. i am curious to see what the president and chancellor merkel have to say when they come out from this meeting. there might be a couple other topics addressed as well. host: and the differences between the two of them. joe biden said we should arm these rebels. john kerry over the weekend sounded resistant to that idea. guest: this is really divisive
among the democratic party and among former foreign relations members. there is a lot going on right now in the world. there is always a lot going on but particularly a lot of hostility. we are still talking about possible authorization for use of military force against isil. there are those in congress that are very gung ho about that. some in congress will be the same way about the situation in ukraine. sanctions seemed to be the watchword and now arms are the watchword. host: does the president send over language for a new aumf this week? when does arrive to the doorsteps of capitol hill? guest: there is some discussion with congress about the parameters of that. they do want to send something up that will be rejected on its face.
the president wanted to go and hit syria a couple of years ago. he sent word up the hill that he wanted to do that. capitol hill broke into 535 separate voices, one for each member of congress. they are trying to be careful about how they do this. i would not be surprised if we saw something this week. i also wouldn't be surprised if it waited a little longer. host: what will democrats do? how will they respond to this new authorization and how does that play out politically for 2016? >> it splits both parties. there are a good number of democrats that don't want to be seen as soft on isis. many are also very weary of giving the president authority to go to war. you also have republicans that say let's get in. there is this isolationist
banner less willing to go in with arms as well. it crosses party lines. there is no clear consensus on the hill. they want the president to stick his neck out on this. in terms of 2016, rand paul has had interesting places on this particular issue. you have to stop isis but don't start new wars. there has to be a way to go after isis that is restricted in a way that it doesn't raise the concern that the president ought to be able to go to war. john boehner has been deferential to every president who has wanted to engage
militarily. we are still a far way away from seeing this happen. host: tied to this is funding for homeland security to protect this country against any sort of attack from terrorist groups. wall street journal editorial board weighing in on this issue asking can the gop change when it comes to funding homeland security? they said the agency will be pushed into a partial set shutdown. imagine if the trust rotation security administration fails to intercept an islamic state agent en route to detroit. guest: republicans have an advantage on national security and they are in danger of seceding some of the ground to the democrats.
the homeland security funding will run out early this year but he also have a situation with defense spending where the president is asking to increase spending for the pentagon. republicans on capitol hill are saying we don't want to do that because we don't want to see a domestic spending increase. it is an interesting moment politically where you see republicans who had been so unified as strong on defense and in support of anything that can be termed that, but they have splintered. the right a lot of republicans who stuck with the president a long time after the 2006 midterms. they are really wary of sending americans into battle. they are more concerned on the homeland security front now than they are with keeping the department funded. that was the issue at the end of last year.
we will see how it plays out. it will come to a head. speaker boehner is trying to kick the can down the road and so is mcconnell. they will now have to deal with this. host: last week in the senate -- what will happen this week? guest: i should just say i wasn't watching that as closely in the senate. eventually, you will see legislation moving forward to fund this. how it gets done is still a question. host: does this wall street journal editorial put any pressure on a republican leaders? to conclude this by saying the gop majority is on the line. precious weeks are wasting. there is no way -- this is no way to run a congressional majority.
guest: that is what the editorial is designed to do, put pressure on the republicans to wake up. you can be against a conference of immigration reform plan. you can be against the president's executive order on immigration. if you start cutting off your nose to despite your face, he will be doing exactly that and handy president and democratic leaders of congress a victory. he can see from the last midterm elections that it did not hurt republicans as much as it could have, that short-term shutdown. anyone who wanted to campaign, i don't think they want to say they shut down the homeland security. host: on this legislation that
the house passed to stop the president's executive action on the immigration -- on immigration. jeh johnson talked about this funding and the deadline of very 27 and what could happen -- of february 27 and what could happen. >> i am talking everyday to democrats and republicans about the importance of a fully funded department of homeland security in these times in particular. we are on a continuing resolution right now which expires on february 27. as long as we are on a continuing resolution, that creates uncertainty about how we go about our homeland security missions. if we go into government shutdown, that means furloughing
employees, homeland security officials. as the administered or a fema said he would have to furlough something like 80% of his fema workforce. i am on the hill every day stressing the importance of a fully funded department of homeland security separate and apart from riders to try to defund our efforts to reform the immigration system. host: jeh johnson yesterday on the cnn state of the union. this debate will be continuing this week in washington. what position does this but the house anin? guest: it puts the house and a position of throwing rocks on the white house. it is a long enough reach down pennsylvania avenue.
they will have a crisis point here in a few weeks. i don't think they have a way out of it yet. host: they are supposed to be in washington this week and then out the next week. guest: i don't think time is their problem. i think coming up with a problem that republicans in the house and senate can pass that will get democratic support is the problem. the democratic position is reminiscent of what nancy pelosi decided to do wind when democrats were divided. it puts speaker boehner and leader mcconnell and a bad position because they will have to fracture. politics is something that usually combines your side and devise the other. republicans felt good about this plan to go after the president's
executive order but they cannot get the senate to go along. host: let us get to calls and the viewers involved. gwen in birmingham, alabama. you are up first. caller: good morning. it is a sheer hypocrisy. you wouldn't oppose george w. bush's authority to go to iraq. you see isis torturing and beheading people and you don't want to give the president any type of authority to go after isis. come on. host: when talking about republicans not giving the president authority to go after isis the giving president george w. bush the authority to go into iraq.
guest: when a donation is they learned a lesson from iraq. there are plenty of republicans that want the president to have power. whether it is this president or the next president. i don't perceive a situation where isil or isis or the islamic state is defeated in such short order that this will not be a problem later on. host: cornelia, a republican caller. go-ahead. -- go ahead. caller: aren't you guys presenting the wrong argument here? are the republicans saying we should have never pulled out of iraq hastily in the first place unless the people -- and left the people vulnerable to attacks from isis? as far as funding homeland security, they have said we will fully fund homeland security.
we just out want to fund the president's executive order on immigration. i think it has nothing to do with the republicans not wanting to be strong on defense and so on. i think you guys are presenting it as republicans are not willing to fund what the president wants to do. that is just not true. host: she says what they are trying to do is stop the president on this executive action on immigration because they don't believe he had the authority to do that. guest: my kids sometimes want me to stop them from putting them to putbed at night but the point is they have gone this route and not finding success with it. there is a lot of outrage on the republican side about what the president has done with the
executive orders or presidential memos are whatever they are called. there is not a path forward. it is not my frame or your frame. it is the frame that exist which is if the home and security department partially shuts down what you have is a situation where it is over the executive orders. right now, that is the frame. host: will republicans agree to strip out the immigration bits from the dhs funding bill and tackle it another day? guest: essentially yes. that is the only solution here. if i was the president, i would find some leave to give republicans on immigration, but i am not sure what that is.
when republicans they demand something in exchange for funding the government for raising the debt ceiling. each time that has happened, they have not gotten what they wanted from this president. i don't expect that to change. we keep repeating the same behavior and expecting a different result, but usually you do not get it. caller: i was going to bring this up -- my great uncle died on the last day of the finish-russian war in the 1940's. russia came into finland and bond the heck out of them with no warning. they ended up taking half of finland in aggression. they took all the mines away
from half of the country. they made finland told thew the mark with russia. russians are known to be aggressors and they will not stop at anything unless someone else has an equal or opposing force. that i have to use it but if the ukrainians had some of that weaponry, i think russians would start pulling the line a little. host: mark in seattle. go ahead. caller: i don't know if that young man before me remembers correctly, but we should stay out of russia's business and ukraine's business. senator corker is off his rocker. they need to respect the
president, whoever the president is. joe biden has a little cold war left in him as do most of the senior republicans. jonathan, i like your sense of humor. you have to give a sense of humor because half the senate and congress are off their rockers. we need the humor. what should we do? guest: it's a tough question. host: this is obviously not just ringing out in washington. outside of washington, people are paying attention to this. there are a group of lawmakers pushing to arm the ukrainian forces. will they be successful? guest: i think they will be successful in limited fashion. ultimately, you will see the pressure on the government and the administration from congress and ukrainian leaders. the pressure is strong.
the question is which arms? are giving them arms that can be used against their own people or other countries around them or perhaps someday short-term solutions? the last caller was just saying to stay out. we don't usually get to see repeat of history so quickly or what feels like a repeat of history so quickly. in the case of arming the ja mujahedin, some of them ended up turning against us. the idea of arming people around the world, we keep hearing whether it is our arms or the russian arms or the chinese arms the armaments have come from the major players around the world. there is a reasonable reluctance to do that.
host: another issue on the table this week is the health care law. on friday on the washington journal, john fleming was here. he talked about the difference between democrats and republicans and the gop alternative on health care. i want to show our viewers and then get your reaction. >> for democrats under obamacare, the approach has been we take a very unworkable health care system that is very expensive and layer on top of a huge government bureaucracy which only makes it more expensive. what we would much rather do is begin to reform the insurance system to make it a competitive system. tearing down those walls from state to state. reform medical malpractice.
get the costs down and make their premiums less extensive. we can then help those who need help financially through tax credits or providing cash into their health savings account. let them minister their own lives and organizer on health care. our idea is to lower the cost of health care so it becomes more attractive and accessible. it is patient-centered health care and not a government run system. host: when does this fight take place? what will we see this week? guest: we will see it for the next couple of years. the core of this is that republicans are trying to come up with their own plans to truly replace what obamacare does. it is the first time. congressman fleming is working on some of those ideas.
this is a battle that is an unending fundraising source. i do think anyone wants to give up the fight in washington. must of the things we fight about here is what can raise money for the two sides. i don't see any end to this insig sight. it is a preparation for 2016 so the candidates can have something they can point to. it is inconceivable to me that a candidate running for president will say obamacare is the law of the land and let us leave it be. we are starting to see some of the first ideas come forward that republicans see as a more reasonable adjustment. there were some early adjustments that were made but they were very narrow.
i don't think you will see the president give on that. hillary clinton who is the democratic nomination will not yield. i think we are heading into this campaign issue again in 2016. host: good morning to eric, an independent color. aller. caller: i called to have an expedition on your side -- an explanation on your side. will would be the opposite of an isolationist? so far, you mentioned to her three instances where our intervention and who knows what kind of shadowy deals are going on behind the scenes -- the
consistent discussion of where we have gone into stuff like the cia training in modern, no one knew what he was -- cia training bin laden, no one knew what he was going to do. i don't beat someone on the street because of what i think he might do later. we can't throw our men and women into the meat grinder. a lot of my family is in the military, and i don't want their wasting their lives. don't send the troops into wars where there is obviously not a desire to win. who knows what the goals are? what is the opposite of isolationists? guest: i think he may have misread me. i was using it as a
characterization and easy catch all. i hope the rest of what i said has been reflective of a view as he blog concerned about the ways the united states is affecting other countries and its national security by being invested in conflicts around the globe. i don't mean isolationists in a negative sense. there is a hawkish wing of the republican party. i think the difference is republicans, there are fewer antiwar. when we talk about isolation is him in the