tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN September 22, 2015 10:00pm-12:01am EDT
was something in which i will always remember with great admiration. you called for in your statement what some of us have been asking for four years and that's they'll bonds have to end -- barrel bombs have to end. isis are not the ones that have ,000 of their countrymen, that's assad and we should own up to that. calling for a your assad to that we tell stop the barrel bombs and establish an enclave where people could take refuge and could have protection from the .nsane cruelties
there will be blowback on that. doesn't that mean we will have to have american boots on the ground, back in the quagmire -- i can see the reaction now from some of my friends, the same ones. what is your response to that that this would then cause us to be involved with boots on the ground and back into the quagmire that characterized our involvement prior to the search. gen. petraeus: i think very important to underscore the fact that he cannot be a part of the long-run solution in syria. the individual held responsible for well over and he isrians a dead the magnetic attraction that is bringing jihadi's to syria to fight him. if we are to support a force, it
won't work for us. it won't be supportable if we ssad'ssupport it against a actions, the most horrific of which are the dropping of their old bonds and that can be stopped. we can doel bonds and that. don't have to put any boots on the ground to do that although i think at some point, we should not be closed to the possibility of some advisors or support elements they can something like that in the same way we have them in iraq. entering a this as quagmire. i see this as taking out the most horrific casualty producing items. general allen has said well over 50% of the casualties have been caused by an indiscriminate barrell bombsc --they are
bombs. chairman mccain: i noticed the russians have aircraft's primarily as intercept or's -- intercepters. isis doesn't have an air force. it's very interesting. your take on what vladimir putin is trying to accomplish with this buildup in syria and what should the u.s. do in response? i think what: vladimir putin look like to do is resurrect the russian empire lost on we see this in a variety of different activities or at least the soviet union. he has a number of different activities in a variety of countries around russia and now he is in syria as well and trying to revive russian relationships with countries in
the middle east. i think the immediate objective he has in syria is to solidify the quarter on the mediterranean coast where he has his airbase and the only naval base left in the mediterranean. he would like to shore up his allies. at the very least, he wants to make sure they are not thrown under the bus by other regime until he has some better sense of the way forward. his objective is to keep the naval and air base. beyond that, you once to solidify his grip, which has increasingly.d
keep a syrianeast state. cannot be part of the long-run solution and we should not be quick to oust him. chairman mccain: so the u.s. should do what the response to this significant military buildup? gen. petraeus: we should not go in league with this. should not think we can partner with russia and iran against isis. isis,sia wanted to fight they could've have joined the 60 plus member coalition that general allen has together and help drop bombs on isis. they have some capabilities that will be useful to that fight.
certainly anything we were doing in that region. that can show that we will not accept that. i was in thehat ukraine a week or so ago. the violence is down somewhat in the east. i think vladimir putin is not playing the strongest hand in the world, although he's playing his hand tactically quite effectively. at the end of the day, he has come out of for reserves. those ofurn through the course of the next two years and if the sanctions are still
imposed, he and the company's that have debt will not be able to go to the world markets and get money to finance their government operations. i think he has a limited window of a couple years to continue and we haveactions to be very careful during this time when he could actually flash out and be more dangerous than he has been. reid: thank you very much. i just want to go back to the point you made. long-term, assad cannot be the
future of syria that short-term, you acknowledge there has to be -- gen. petraeus: syria could get worse. it's hard to believe but it could. implyr reid: does that for the temporary expedient measure, we would have to work russians towith the create a transition? you seem to pose this dilemma of he cannot stay forever but we don't know where to move. gen. petraeus: i think the -- i think being seen to work with him would unravel our relationships with the sunni partners in the region.
what we can do is ensure we don't launch an offensive or support an offensive by opposition forces that could precipitate his departure before there's some sense of what will follow. this sunni arab force we need to support is essential not just to fight isis, it's essential to create the context within which he might get a political /greement . forcer reid: it could them to leave, is that the solution? gen. petraeus: it could force a negotiated settlement out of which i would think there would come something that would not include assad.
i don't see how he's possibly part of the long run. you have continually reviewed the complexity of this issue. who is going to do the negotiations if we're looking for a negotiation agreement? the petraeus: secretary-general happens to be the same as sergey in iraq during the search. -- surge. in afghanistan, he was also highly capable. there is an extent process. york him on sunday in new coincidentally. senator reid: we should begin to energize this human process as an effective means to create a forum for negotiation?
gen. petraeus: correct. this does exist. it's been halting to put a happy face on it but it does exist and it's something on which we could build as there is a sense of t he context developing. in those who are supporting tehr a and moscow. senator reid: you were for isil forces on the ground -- what can we do through that allies that effort? is it possible to rebut allies? -- to revitalize? gen. petraeus: if we cannot do this, we will not defeat the islamic state. kurds there are
iraq all the way to take out the capital of the islamic state and expected them to hold that. it's not their traditional territory and the same is true in iraq. the merger shouldn't go further. there is recognition that shouldn't go. there also has to be the development of this force and that's moving along. placek the pieces are in if we will resource them and actually make a critical policy decision. that's the critical element for a sunni force in syria. they are not going to be willing to be supported by us if we are
not going to support them when they are under attack as well as when they are under attack on isis. senator reid: do you think it's been a long and winding road but it can be done putting in the field indigenous forces and the key policy decision is they will be protected against any foe. gen. petraeus: and take down the barrel bombs. that, we are to have to support some forces that will not have run all the way through our training program. pushing everybody through that is not necessarily the solution for wrapping up -- ramping up. senator reid: one of the approaches to taking down the barrel bomb is illuminating the -- allth -- the other is
to destroy the aircraft. of somes the risk response if not by the syrians, some response by russians at least protesting. gen. petraeus: it was publicly reported that had we taken out the chemical systems in the redline issue that a lot of that sea andve been done by air launch missiles. we are already in syria and errors race -- airspace. we have already put lids on the ground. ground.ots on the we have the capability to do a great deal and i think we know how to do it and without undue risk. senator reid: thank you.
>> thank you. i agree with the senator. yes certainly done that and we appreciate it very much. talkedng we haven't about much is the refugee situation and it's been my that we develop a strategy in the middle east that will be difficult to address. it's also become more severe if we don't. in january, the general testified and said we have many potential allies around the world who will rally to us but we have not been clear about where we stand in growing the violent jihadist terror threat. he said we don't have a specific strategy there.
the role ofr stated the u.s. is indispensable and it's time for a global upheaval in the consequences of american disagreement magnifies and requires larger intervention later. i would ask if you agree with these assessments. gen. petraeus: i do. sen. inhofe: if we have a strategy in the middle east and dealing with these countries, i don't know what it is because we've been waiting for these and it seems to me you will not resolve the refugee problem. it's a very real one. here we are expanding the numbers we would be willing to accept and it's just a drop in the bucket. thinkthat time, i don't
it's going to resolve the problem. specific have a explanation of the strategy of the administration in the middle syria, iraq, and iran? gen. petraeus: i will to defer to the administration for that. sen. inhofe: i have been deferring to the administration and we still don't have it. i happened to be there right after the ukrainian elections. how proud they were and how committed they were to us that they for the first time in 96 years don't have one communist in their parliament and immediately, vladimir putin started sending troops and equipment in, similar to what's happening in syria.
you did respond to what they are trying to do with their military buildup in syria. is there anything you would like to add in terms of what their end game and what they're trying to accomplish? back toraeus: let me go the ukraine. i think what vladimir putin wants us to ensure that ukraine does not succeed. his nightmare would be thriving, vibrant democracy with a free market economy on his western border. he can look at poland and see what happened in the 20 years since poland and ukraine had roughly the same per capita gdp. can to do whatever he keep the conflict bubbling but what he really wants to do is to ensure that there is failure and
ukraine and in that regard, the future of the ukraine will be determined in kiev. there are concerns about political inviting and so forth. ukrainian leaders have to pull together and get the politics right. way iraqi leaders have to pull together because the center of gravity of the fight in a rock actually not on the front lines. the future of iraq is determined by politics in baghdad and we have a unique opportunity right now to support the prime minister, who is a year into the job, pursuing aggressive reform. he's done away with the vice presidencies, eight ministries, and is now asking for examination of the activity of
the chief justice, someone who was a chief justice during the surge but increasingly became used by the prime minister to go after the senior sunni arab politicians and support other activities that ultimately alienated the sunni population and undid what we achieved urge.g the s sen. inhofe: i go back to oklahoma and talk to people and they contend we are over complicating this deal we have proposed with iran and that you don't really need to go beyond their location is important. i don't think the verification is there. i would like you to analyze that part of this deal.
if we have something that can go as long as 54 days before we find out whether iran is developing some of the things we think they are, i would like to know how that verification plays into this. gen. petraeus: sure. sen. inhofe: thank you. general, thank you for your service. characterized, if you would come on the solution that follows assad. in order to get there, how could in theract with russia u.n. context in order to bring about a political solution? gen. petraeus: i think it's important to him knowledge that there are various -- to acknowledge there are various potential options for syria. one could be you could put the entire country back together again and have a multiethnic
democracy. i find that probably remote in terms of possibilities. although later love knowledge and we cannot put humpty dumpty back together again and there will be a number of states .arved out of the old syria perhaps more than one. is going tothis happen. --will not have negotiations you will not have negotiations unless the individual most responsible for the civil war feel they are threatened and their survival is in question. if you can get a that point, you might have the leverage to conduct negotiations in which case we would expect russia would be on the side of keeping a favorable regime to them.
overriding national interest in the world case. beyond the vladimir putin straddling the role stage is to -- world stage is to maintain the seaport he has and the airbase in that court or that connects them on the mediterranean coast. sen. nelson: are we not getting sadse to that point where as feels completely threatened? gen. petraeus: i think the russian intervention gives him a degree of new hope. i think he has been losing recently, gradually, steadily over recent years and there's a sense he might not be able to continue the fight. progressively, what has happened over the years has been that first, advisers entered to help. russia provided some equipment
lebanese entered on the side of syria as well. there are reports of various shia militias from neighboring countries of fighting on his behalf and certainly the support --m russia, if it concludes includes a considerable amount of military hardware, will bolster him. sen. nelson: turning to around -- iran and the agreement, i read your op-ed and i find it very compelling. there are a lot of conclusions the two of you group that i had run as well -- the two of you had as well. , it was in the short term certainly is in my judgment in the interest of the u.s. with
the agreement but in the long-term, and he speak in terms of 10, 15 years down the road, do you want to expand them on idea and i will quote -- that thereing confronted from -- gen. petraeus: and persuading countries in the region that they don't need to go to the iran will bet that at the 15 year mark because then we will have a real threat to the proliferation regime and place. is any element here ironclad u.s. position, ideally
from both congress and the white house, that states unequivocally towardsiran ever moves weapon grade, we will stop that militarily. sen. nelson: your other sentence that leapt at me -- verification means only that we catch them if they cheat. what matters more is that the iranians recognize that they will pay a meaningful price when we catch them. gen. petraeus: correct. absolutely. advance and know in there are provisions in this. i think the snapback provision is fairly artful. there are many positive features in this. the elimination of the entire 20% stockpile, the elimination percentage,hed
intrusive inspections. of positive but some problematic ones because along with that will come the release of at least $50 billion according to the undersecretary of th. and while most of that undoubtedly will go to worthy programs for iranian citizens, they will be a portion that ends up in the pockets of the force and enables them to further enable lebanese, hezbollah, and yemen who got their way with force of arms and shia militia. sen. nelson: thank you, mr. chairman. >> general, thank you for your service to your country. it's been so valuable to us.
those who've watched your career, who have seen you serve the country, i'm not aware of anywhere whose done a better job then you and my respect for you and your integrity is unmatched and senator mccain, i believe his opening statement is very important for all of us. to question senator reid has asked raise the kind of practical questions we have to deal with and i believe at this congresstime, we as a needed to assert itself. the first thing congress should say to this administration is show as a strategy that will lead us out of this grass we are in and we don't have that today. youlieve -- and i will ask -- you've seen the political world and disagreements. study think it's possible for
republicans and democrats on this panel in this congress to agree on a long-term, overall strategy for the middle east that could guide us for decades to come and isn't that important? gen. petraeus: it's interesting is this is one of those moments where there seems to be bipartisan sense of a need to do more and that includes to define all the elements of the strategy. some of those elements are there. some are under resourced and some are missing. sessions: if we had an overall goal, it would be important to have our allies join and not. do you think that's -- join in that. do you think that's possible? our european allies to join with us on the plan. it has to extend the on the next presidential election.
it so is good to recall winston church oh on allies. the only thing worse than having allies is not having any. bit of my time in afghanistan in particular, but also in iraq, doing what might be turned coalition maintenance. i firmly believe that we should never go it alone if we can avoid doing that. although we should also recognize that there will be different contributions from different countries. and at the end of the day, there were virtually no countries in it gena stan that did not have -- inaveat of some type afghanistan that did not have some caveat of some type. and finding what each country can do well and which country needs to be augmented by u.s. assets to enable her contribute the most it can given the limitations that it has. sessions: i think this is a
historic hearing. you -- and you have already answered it about the middle east, i think today -- -- and we worry, could we be successful? if you go to iraq with a sirs, can we achieve a successful result? you said yes. i asked you if you got to the point where that was impossible, would you tell us so? and you said yes. and you succeeded as you suggested that we could succeed. i cannot say how much i value your opening statements. i think we should all appreciate the efforts of senator mccain at , in thee in 2007 when presidential election, he placed everything he believed about the forces and our men and women in mbat above any political
goals. gen. petraeus: i recall him saying i would rather lose an election that was both. mccain: i did both. [laughter] it is really: important to remember that the surge that mattered most was not the surge of forces, but the surgeon ideas. it was a change in strategy. big ideas are everything. and shifting from consolidating on big aces and getting out of the neighborhoods to recognizing that the only way -- mega bases and getting out of the neighborhoods to recognizing that the only way is number way. it was costly but necessary and it actually did bring security and broth violence down by some 90%, coupled with the other big idea that you can't kill or capture your way out of an industrial-strength insurgency.
you have to promote reconciliation. thank you for your service and your wise words. i think it is a challenge for us to see if we can't at this point in history develop an overall view of the middle east. i think we need to see the whole region. and within it, we will have allies. we will have our problems. we will have things that we will have to accept, even if we don't like, and some things we will have to accept and provide leadership on and a long-term agreement of that kind among both parties and all of our
people, including our allies around the world. i believe it would be a positive development. my hand is open to try to reach the kind of agreement. chin: we try to find something that will resonate over in that part of the world, especially with syria being in trouble right now. you can look back at past performance and find out and learn from that. when qaddafi was taken at a libyan we had nothing to replace him with, we see what happened in libya. is it impossible to find a
moderate with based -- with the different sectors involved? gen. petraeus: there has been a lot of discussion of this. besser jeffrey has written about this. sen. manchin: that is the caution that we have with assad right now. we'll -- who do we replace them with? you playaeus: again, the car that you're dealt. you can influence that sometimes. there may have been a moment to do that. i ended up being in afghanistan in months of that. i was there for the initial piece. we should remember -- i have been prior -- i have been tough on crime mr. maliki here. but during the surge in the years after the surge, he is the one who went after the shia militia in foster. very frankly impulsively come as you recall, in the charge of .ights
we called it march madness in march of 2008. it was a very close-run affair until we could get all the forces marshaled to support his elements that were on the ground. was a resounding victory there and sadr city and a number of other places in baghdad and set the conditions for a period of relative stability and reasonable harmony that lasted for several years after that. tragically, he undid much of what was done during the surge, no longer honored agreements that were made with the sunni population, with the so-called sons of iraq, and so forth. again, there has been a lot of academic and pundit discussion, think tank discussion on why we hung with them, especially because former premise or allow in parliament but could not form a government and
there was a lot of wrangling back and worth. this is something that is in everyone's mind and everyone's memory. and again, surly the experience with qadhafi. although i think the point at which we committed to support the up spring, the wellspring of citizens going after qadhafi, that arguably was the right move. what needed to happen after that, of course, was to immediately, as quickly as possible, try to carry out a ddr program, a disarmament, demobilization and reintegration program for all the different militias, try to help form security forces as quickly as possible. i think we have learned some lessons in that regard. so that when you got an inclusive government, it is supported wholeheartedly and you move forward. the iran nuclear decision was perhaps the most
difficult for all of us. not just in this committee, but in the whole senate membership. with that being said, i lean strongly toward supporting because i want to work with our allies. if i could not go home and explain it, i could not supported. i could not explain to us virginians what happens after eight to 10 years or 15 because we put them in a position to be stronger if they have not changed. it since we hold them accountable for their actions as terrorists, then how do expect them to change their ways later on? so that was the one thing that stopped me from supporting it. what i would ask you is how damaging to our allies would we have been, with the u.s. have been if it had been defeated, if we had not -- those who voted for it had not voted for it? would it have damaged our relationships with our allies who are saying we are going to go without you? gen. petraeus: absolutely. i think there are big questions
about the sanctions regime, could you get it back together. we kept china and russia on board through this process. does it all become unraveled and so forth? i think the real question -- this is a reality, focusing forward, taking the rearview mirrors off the bus. the biggest question is what happens after 15 years. all the restrictions in the agreement end and iran can move out quite smartly in a variety of different areas and building its enrichment capacity and other elements of the program. and that is why it is so vitally important that the u.s. be very, very clear, still clear, ironclad, why the white house and congress together should be very clear about what would happen if iran ever made a move towards weapons grade enrichment. that will also not only hopefully deter iran, but also
reassure our gulf allies. that is another very important consideration. sen. wicker: i think we could have gotten the forces if we had really tried. gen. petraeus: they probably wasn't going to be approved by the parliament. 3500ieve we now have troops on the ground without a forces agreement. we feel comfortable doing this now that we really have to. candidly, that was something we might have considered trying given that the trimester was going to give his personal assurance and test it out. there is no guarantee that having 10,000 troops on the ground would have given us the influence or prevented by mr.
maliki from taking the highly sectarian actions that he did. but i would have liked to test it -- to have tested the proposition. wicker: i am encouraged that you are so positive of his reforms and the fact that he has the backing of iraqi citizens in the streets. i assume by that you mean kurdish iraqi citizens in the streets. gen. petraeus: i mean shia iraqi. the sunnis desperately needed without this, they have no source of revenue so those same breakup by the way, it is one thing for curtis, which is largely autonomous and now oilally pretty good revenues come in and although
not enough. they are running a deficit and they still need what they can get a mother 17% at of the oil revenues from iraq proper, which means really need to southern provinces that produce the most. but there is no oil or gas revenue going to be provided for the sunni areas. there is no production in those areas. so one of the really serious problems is how would they survive. the second is who draws the boundaries, where the borders? the state of politics is so fractious that you have a population that is alienated. how in the world are you going to have an amicable divorce? this will be a very fractious divorce and it will be another civil war perhaps along the lines of syria. concern about that. anybody wants to pursue inclusive politics but i don't think people have picked up that there are huge to mistress and going on in the cities of iraq in the southern part of the country because of citizens who are outraged by insufficient
services, particularly electricity, during extraordinarily hot weather. and then corruption. they are flat out outraged. the ayatollah seeing this, through his clerics, issued statements that really encouraged the kinds of reforms that premise or a body has pursued. and now they are moving each week. he knows that the only way to get -- to combat isil sustainably is to get to the people in the area where isis is located in the same way that we did with did with the andy barr awakening and the sons of iraq program. turn against a barbaric force unless they have a sense that is going to be secured.
to do that, you have to have sunni arab iraqis who will not only clear but then be able to hold his forces with considerable assistance from us. me make sure it understand. this sort of divorce you talk about is something to be avoided in iraq. and you have a different view about syria where you seem to suggest it would not be the end of the world if syria as we have known it does split up into three or 4 -- gen. petraeus: because they have had this perfect situation. syria has gone through considerable sectarian cleansing. you have horrific sectarian displacement. we are where we are with syria and you see enormous displacement of different sects. sen. wicker: but we can avoid
that in iraq and we should make every effort. gen. petraeus: no guarantee we can at all. this is going to be a very close-run affair. but we should try to avoid it, i think. there will be greater devolution of power. there's going to have to be a different political bargain, if you will, between baghdad and the sunni arab provinces during and by the way, one of the challenges on the sunni arab side is that the muslim ways do not agree with the quarries who do not vote -- who do not agree with the others. among the various sunni leaders who come through here or see you somewhere out on the region. that is going to be difficult as well. there nothing easy about the situation right now you're in but i don't think we should just say, ok, let it go further here because there are still mixed areas in baghdad. there are still mixed areas in the baghdad belts.
efforts tobeen reduce that amount of mixing. there have been sectarian displacement. in some cases perhaps worse than that. prevent thatway to kind of her thick civil war breaking out, which is what the result will be if there is a determination to break it into sunni, shia and kurdish stan, you have to have inclusive politics. you have to give the sunnis a sense of the have a stake in the success in the future of iraq rather than a stake in its failure. and that is what they came to feel back in 2006 before the surge, and it is what they have come to feel in the last couple of years as well. sen. wicker: your answers are very thorough and we are way out of time. let me ask you something on the record. i would hope that, on the record, you can give us your insight as to what lessons we might apply in afghanistan that
we have learned from our experience in iraq. can i make two quick points on afghanistan possibly? there have been reports recently there is a policy or an acceptance of what clearly is absolutely reprehensible, unacceptable behavior by certain using essentially male sex slaves. i was pleased to see general campbell issue a statement today, the current commander in afghanistan, who was a two-star in afghanistan with the 108 air force division when i was the commander of the international community assistance force. he stated very clearly that has never been a policy. it is not a policy now. it's really wasn't something that was acceptable or even discussed when i was a commander
of the international security assistance force. very first line of counterinsurgency guidance that i put out is that we have to be seen to be helping secure and serve the people and we have to help the afghan forces do the same. there is no way that that kind of behavior would be seen as helping to serve the afghan people here and it is absolutely unacceptable. second, look, i do think we have to take a very hard look at our future plans for the footprint that we have in afghanistan, recognizing that now there is an islamic state presence being established there, recognizing there is still work to be done to continue the disruption, the further disruption of al qaeda senior leadership in the federally administered tribal areas of pakistan. that campaign has had considerable progress, success indeed. not only osama bin laden, but
three number twos in about an 18-month period. diminishedry much capabilities in central had orders. but it has to continue to be disrupted because we don't on the ground and nor does pakistan fully. beyond that, we are in a situation where, with a of u.s.ly modest number forces providing assistance to our afghan partners, we are able to continue to accomplish the mission that we went to afghanistan to achieve. and we cannot forget why we went there and why we stayed. it was because afghanistan is where al qaeda planned the 9/11 attacks and conducted the initial training for those attacks. and our mission was to ensure that never again would afghanistan be a sanctuary for all cater or other transnational extremists to do that again. that mission has been accomplished so far.
it is noww, senator, being done with a relatively modest number of u.s. forces. there are still casualties but way less for us. in the meantime, afghan forces are very much fighting and dying for their country to help achieve the mission that is so important to us and to them, to not allow the force retake their country, the tele-band, that did allow al qaeda to camp out on its soil and plan those attacks. thank you very much. : we have had the
authority to cut off these shipments tiered where the challenges and what are your recommendations to help finish job on this area gen. petraeus: the challenges have been that there have been very devious and security operational carried out by iran when it has provided weapons to different forces, whether it is hamas, hezbollah, who tease, whatever. unique situation with hamas now that is quite extremely. egypt for the first time is cutting the tunnels and absolutely obliterating the tunnels that used to enable the basic free movement of goods, including weapons and ammunitions from the sinai into gaza during that -- gaza. that is no longer a reality. that is a major development in that regard and a big help to us. the on that come i do think we made gains in a variety of different technologies and forms
of intelligence, whether it is so-called maritime big data or a variety of other advances that ,an help us interdict that flow maritime flow first, as it has to some degree limited the flow to the who sees -- to the houthis. they are engaged in rolling back the iranians of hoarded houthis who are tried to get at the -- of a gun that they could not get at the negotiation table. sen. hirono: you are talking about the promise and the guarantee that would push back from corner to corner. one of the areas is lebanon as well and hezbollah.
how do you feel we can be most effective in interdicting material and missiles going to hezbollah? gen. petraeus: i think what we can most effectively do is assist our israeli allies with the provision of intelligence from a variety of different sources. and they have certainly not shrunk from taking action when there have been meaningful of military keep abilities going from syria to lebanon, for example. concerns that president netanyahu discussed with president putin yesterday was undoubtedly included in a discussion, israel saying that we will continue to take action if hardware that matters moves from, say, damascus into the becca valley and into lebanese hezbollah. sen. hirono: i wanted to follow-up with a question of has below where you say so much as to be determined.
when we were in iraq not too long ago, it was pretty clear that the shia leadership in baghdad was not creating any confidence with the sunni .eaders in the travel back had we change that makes? isnow supporting abadi critical. but how do we change the mix of so many of the seal leaders who are tied to iran so closely and getting some understanding in them that it's not going to work against isis unless we have our sunni tribal leaders with us. and they are not going to be with us on this they start to feel that the shia leaders in baghdad understand that, give them a piece -- give them, in effect, a piece of ownership in the country? gen. petraeus: the elected prime minister of the country recognizes the criticality of inclusive politics.
that is hugely important. it's also important to recognize that the people right now are quite supportive of the actions of the prime -- actions the prime minister has taken because people are outraged at the lack of basic services. sen. donnelly: he has a real window now. gen. petraeus: he has a window. this is a very tenuous situation. opposing hammer the very forces that arguably saved baghdad when the islamic state was threatening it on the belts. these are the forces that some people are allied with. at least a couple of these forces are led by individuals who were in detention during my time as a commander of the multinational force because of their involvement in the killing of our soldiers. they are now leading not only militias, but parties in the parliament, to give you some sense of how challenging this is area so we will have to
patiently, painstakingly, day a gauge, using are convening authority, our support for the establishment of iraqi security forces, not beholden to a particular part -- to a particular lyrical party with iranian support and so forth. this is going to be a close-run affair. make no mistake about it. abadi --nister iese are considerable figures think it was the right move, a strong move third but i think he is going to have to be shored up in every way that is possible, not just by the united states, the by the coalition and more importantly by forces in iraq that want to see their country move forward again as an inclusive country rather than
one that practices exclusive objects that are carried out in many cases at the force of a gun. keep in mind the outrageous activities that are taking place in baghdad, were one of these militias recently basically kidnapped -- i think it was 18 or so turkish workers. move them from baghdad to boss or without being stopped and was holding them ran some. clear objective other than turkey stopping the flow of isis into iraq. there have been very public threats by some of the militias against serving leaders, including the prime minister. so this is a moment of real consequence, a moment of considerable drama in baghdad. i think we have missed how significant it is to see this number of iraqi citizens in the streets expressing their outrage at what is going on in baghdad.
a prime minister who is moving to take action in response to that. but very powerful elements that are going to oppose him. thank you again for your service to the country. sen. mccain: visited sure that the major influential force in baghdad is iranian? gen. petraeus: it is possible. iraq has never wanted to be the 51st state of iran. support like a crutch when it is required. the problem is, when that support its tentacles into parties and so forth, it is very hard to get it back out. you general thank for your service to this country but also for being here today so that you can provide us with some very important insights. iraqpproach in syria and
seems to be that we are going to be relying on local partners to be the boots on the ground. just how far do you think these local partners are going to be able to take us? gen. petraeus: again, they will go as far as is in their interest to do so. we just have to be realistic about that. that is reality. this is why mentioned earlier we should not think that the kurdish peshmerga for example can be pushed much further below where is it they are in iraq right now or frankly the syrian peshmerga. you might get them a bit farther. you might employ them for some specific operations. they will play a role including parts of moses, one would think you but they cannot ultimately hold those areas if they are predominantly sunni arab. so in that case, we have to be realistic. they have a stake, however, in that generally what it is
we want done, which is to defeat the most extreme of extremists, the islamic state. and then also, of course, ultimately to create a context within bashar al-assad will be ushered from the scene in syria. although it is difficult to tell what ultimate shape syria will have at that point. sen. fischer: >> general dempsey speaks about risks and weighing the patience needed against how much risk we're looking at. how much patience should we be exhibiting towards our local partners in iraq and syria. how long should we stick with them before we reach a point where we've assumed too much risk and there may be no options left that the united states can look at.
when do we reach that point and as a tactical stalemate where we want to be? general petraeus: we are not where we should be. and it's a fairly dynamic stalemate. this is not a stalemate that has world war trenches and so forth. there's a lot of movement. we are rolling back isis in certain places inflicting very heavily casualties on them. i would not want to be a leader in the islamic state in iraq or syria because i think it would be very hard to get a life insurance policy if you were in those shoes. having said that, there's a lot of reinforcements flowing in and yes, we have pushed them out of this area and that area. and then hay go into ramadi. in syria they sustained di -- defeats in sulmani and this is
still a lot of movement. and isis is on the defensive in certain areas without question. and many areas still have the freedom of action to exercise initiatives certainly in some places. the key with our partners is, of course, we should be impatient. we should push it as hard as we can. this is one of those where you can't rush to failure. and that's unfortunately what can happen if we push it just too hard. senator fischer: i believe in your opening you said in the future what will be our the iranian to power and that the united states used to be a counter to looking ow we may be at accommodating them. can you tell me what you feel would be the challenges and if
there are any opportunities to both of those positions if we being -- ves as being there just to accommodate a run? general petraeus: what i said is that there are concerns in the region that we might accommodate iran, that we might work with them and now russia and bashar. senator fischer: they challenged our credibility with our secretary of state in syria for example as well. so it goes into the credibility of the area. general petraeus: and credibility matters. i was in asia and australia. it's all about u.s. credibility and what does that mean for the south china sea. does what happen in syria a few years ago have implications for that? the answer is yes, it does.
at the end of the day if iran's foreign policy is continued to be dictated by the revolutionary guards cuts force nd enables approximatelies like hezbollah, hamas another one, hoothies with what they're doing and murdering shiah militia and iraq then obviously we have to counter that malign activity. if on the other hand iran changes spots -- whatever changes its approach and so forth, by all means if the conditions change then we should be always alert for opportunities to work with what used to be a former enemy. we've done this throughout our history. i think the chances of that are not particularly high but it's not something one can rule out if something happens as a
result of perhaps iran being reintegrated into the global economy in deciding that it wants to be a responsible world citizen instead of trying to decide regional hegemony. >> thank you. >> general pe tremendouses you, thank you for your many decades of distinguished service. general petraeus: thanks for your own service. the u've broken down section on iran where you emphasize the nuclear deal whatever its short term implications cannot be seen as ushering in a new age of accommodation or conciliation of iran's interest in the region. given what's happened in syria over the last month with russia entering the picture, how do you think that our arab and israeli partners view our
current posture towards iran's influence in syria? >> well, i think they're waiting to see frankly. that's why i inserted the point and i talked to a number of those individuals on a quite regular basis and they've expressed concerns on a regular basis. and they want to see us continue to counter malign activity by iran, if that cons. and we have to be very, very clear about that. beyond that, i think the very clear, ironclad statement about what would happen if iran moves towards weapons grain uranium enrismment after the 15-year mark has to be clear. that has to speak volumes. >> you recommend a few concrete suggestions for policy direction for each. there's one related to iran that says additional actions to
demonstrate that the theater remain set with respect to our own capabilities to carry out military operations against iran's nuclear program if necessary." would you elaborate what you mean by that? general petraeus: back when i was with central command we developed a plan that would attack iran's nuclear program. it was quite -- quite thoroughly developed, rehearsed . and the theater was set. logistician s as a as senator erns would appreciate. we had munitions, positions, the fuel, everything is there so that if you need to conduct an attack like that on relatively short notice, you can do it. the theater has remained set by and large ever since. i think there's the possibility of adjustments now because some of the countries in the region would be more accommodating to
basing than they were at that time in saudi arabia foremost among them. so again, i think it's time to very publicly lay out how we have posture our forces, again, not giving away major secrets here or something like that, but insuring that the region knows and iran knows that if need be, we can do what is necessary with our military forces. >> what message does the absence of a united states navy carrier send to iran, syria and russia on one hand and the sunni gulf states on the other hand? >> it says that there are limbs to u.s. military power. what i don't know is whether that means that there's none in ot only the arabian gulf but nals the arabian sea. in the past we've actually had two out there or at least a
minimum of one although that one might sit off the coast sort of south of pakistan flying the aircraft into afghanistan every day. that's a statement that there are distinct limits to what it is we're capable of doing and therefore there are limits to what we can do to help the forces in the region. >> moving north war you write" we could for example tell assad that the use of barrel bombs must end and if they continue we will stop the syrian air force from flying. i suspect that he will not listen to us if we tell him that that we must stop them if we want them to stop." did you propose this policy to president obama while you were in government? >> when syria started i was the director of the c.i.a. not in uniform and didn't have any responsibility with military acts with respect to syria. >> did you support that policy that others recommended? >> i don't remember a recommendation of that.
i don't remember barrel bombs frankly. this was the early stage where here was no isis, hezbollah, warason group and maybe limited fighters on the ground. >> and now russia with their fighter aircraft, could you explain what exactly it would look like if we would stop assad to top using these barrel bombs giving the number of russia? >> i think russia would get an advanced warning once certain assets are in the air. does doesn't mean that you have to penetrate in the integrated air defense of what might be left in the integrated air defense in syria. you can do that with cruise missiles coming off of ships, subs and planes. >> thank you. my time has expired. >> thank you, senator, cotton. i want to recognize senator cain. senator cain: this testimony
has been quite helpful. so i'm going to go into areas where i'm confused and i'm interested in your opinion. we've had a lot of testimony before this committee really over the last year and a half most recently general austin's postured hearing in march of this year that talks about the instability we're seing in the region as kind of a speaking of a long standing sunni-shiah divide which is relatively calm and at other points it's pretty significant. and yet i've heard others say that that might be overstated. it could be the persian or the revolutionary guard monarchy or all of them together. but i would like to ask your opinion on this. do you think the sunni-shiah divide kind of a sectarian divide is widening? and is that a contributing factor to the challenges that we're seeing?
>> i think there has been a widening of the sectarian divide. i think what you see in syria is very much a secretary yarne yain ar -- second tar civil war. ou have a syrian kurdish rolvement that achieved a greater autonomy. and you have the same thing in iraq. and in some other countries you have something more of a tribal war, islamist versus nonislamist. largely between sunni arabs and tunisia which has been a political contest where thankfully the two leaders of the major parties actually agree with each other or at least not to be opposed to the bitter end but actually reached some compromise. >> to the extend that some multiple factors and that's my
sense too from my limited experience but to the extent that some of the divide -- some of the instability is caused by a widening secretary divide, would you agree that it is pretty important that the united states not unwittingly sort of plant our feet on one side or the other of a sectarian divide. sunni vs. shiah is not the u.s.'s issue. we need to be careful and mindful ott november giving an impression that we're taking a side in the sectarian divide. >> i think that is accurate. if people say you're on the side of the country or sunni-arab we would merely point out that we of course have supported the shiah in iraq. if it were in the for our would still rabs be running the country. >> indeed. another specific challenge, it seems like the area where is
we've done best in the battle against aisle are the areas where we work -- isil are the areas where we work closely with the kurds. and then some of the activities of the u.s. and northern syria have been working together. northern syria have had some success. it doesn't create some of its own challenges. on the syrian side it struck me as odd trying to get turkey more engaged in the battle against isil. it was when we started to do work with the kurds and achieve some success. turkey then decide, ok. now it's time we want to really participate in this. and obviously there's been tension between turkey and some of the very elements that the kurdish elements an northern syria are having some success against isil. i would be interested in your thoughts on the turkish role and how we maintain that nato
alliance and get them involved with isil without cutting the legs off from under the curtains to be effective partners. >> turkey has been a very, very important country in the dedefense first against the warsaw pact and the soviet union. i think it's very significant that general allen and others did great work to get pledges by turkey to certainly to make the movement of isil through their country into syria. much more difficult. but clearly there are historic tensions between turkey and their kurdish population, very sadly, very tragically there is now much greater violence as the cease fire and there are various explanations as to why this has happened and whether the blame lies in the capital of turkey or out with the kurds themselves. but this is another
complicating factor without question. nd i think we saw that the kurdish regional government of iraq was starting to think that turkey would be very, very supportive as they were exporting oil through turkey and so forth when they tried to inforce cobainy pesh merga from iraq found it very difficult to do that until the u.s. offered its convenient authority and brought people together and helped push that through. so again, i mean, the bottom line is you're very, very brightly identified. there are sectarian divides that are very, very important, arguably the most important unless you're caught in the middle of an ethnic divide between say kurd arab or persian. that's the most important. there's a tribal overlay and islamist vs. nonislamist in
countries like libya, tunisia and frankly in egypt for that matter. >> general, thank you. on behalf of the chairman let me recognize senator brown. senator brown: thank you, sir. general petraeus thank you very much for your service to our country. over the last year or so, the prime minister of israel has come before us and explained and expressed his concern with regard to the -- what i would call a nuclear concession agreement which our administration has proposed. king abdullah of jordan has been before us and has requested as he said first of all on the day that it was announced that one of his pilots had been incinerated he said thank you for the f-16's but it would be very appropriate if we could receive system of armments which we had been waiting for literally 24 months. and then in the spring of this
year, in saudi arabia along ith the coalition of harang, e -- sudan, egypt and u.a.e. when they began their attempt to make headway, we found out about it as a nation after it occurred. seems to me that that does not suggest in any one of those occasions a deep degree of cooperation an trust with those traditional partners that we have. you mentioned the need for coalition maintenance. could you give us your assessment on what needs to be done right now to perhaps begin the process of building and maintaining that coalition that we've been relying on in the middle east for years? >> sure. and some of the elements, of course, were in my opening statement where i talked about again, first and foremost reassuring them that ron will never been allowed to switch to
weapon's grade. an approving request for various weapon systems that have taken a long time to be approved and wouldn't seem to threaten any of the balances about which we are concerned. that's particularly interesting now that there is a convergence of interest between israel and the golf states as an example. the integration of sircht military capables of the countries themselves take plistic missile defense, early warning systems and so forts. again, this is something we have been pushing. secretary carter has encouraged this. central command there's more we can do in those areas as well. again, this is really -- it really comes down to a question of whether we'll be there when they need us most. there's no question there had been strains. there's no question that some of the episodes in recent years have generated some concern.
we have to be careful not to there's an ause insatiable desire to do that. we do have to lay out some ways of how we should go about that. >> i'd like to go back to one of those thoughts. you indicated we should make it crystal clear that we would not allow uranium enrichment to occur. two weapons grade. do you think that's missing -- one of the items that was missing in the arrangement or the proposal that the administration has brought forward? >> i think we can make it more clear and frankly if congress and the white house were to do it together. if this was, you know, seen as iron glad. 's not members of this
congress. it will be their successor's successor. but establishing a u.s. policy that becomes very, very foundational i think would be a very important move. he did in a letter to one of your house of representatives laid this out. the again, this is the time just to be absolutely clear straightforward. and i think that that opportunity is there. >> i agree with you. i wish i would have been included in the proposal that we saw. finally with regard to reconciliation, i talked about trying to find those coalitions an so forth. i wanted a clarification and that is with regard to isis. do you see any reconciliation ever available who we now term isis? >> certainly not with they're leaders and probably the bulk of the rank-and-file.
this is an extreme organization that it is probably beyond redemption. i wouldn't rule out the possibilities of a few misguided souls that wanted to come back to the pole. a fair amount was made saying that we should deal with that, i really didn't say anything because what i did say is we should try to strip away from within -- jumping on nas ra has had a number of groups that probably would have been classified. because it had resources and they did not -- and because probably more importantly is ctually fighting against lawson. and i do think that there's a ability that there might be some sub elements and certainly some fighters that could be whoaed back.
we did this. >> you know, it was not popular throughout the ranks in iraq in february 27 when i said that we're going to have sit with people who are their blood in our hands. that does not mean that we would sit down with the leaders of iraq. we try to kill or capture them. it did mean that there are a number of individuals though below that. with whom we did deal. and did bring them in and ultimately you know, there were so were 0 those or arab. they were cheetah arabs. once that wanted to shed their ties with the militia particularly after the militia were defeated. >> thank you, sir. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, plch, thank you general for being here today. the middle east is an area that is very complicated and there's
a lot of instability there to say the least. so how would you rank the most destabilizing forces in the middle east if i were to look maligned activity alaska. >> reely again, problems that extend beyond the region. >> to be able to rank -- i don't think i can. on a given day we might be more oncerned with the plot by this islamic state which might actually do enormous damage in europe to one of our allies or provides something in the united states. providing legal munitions from hamas. in the 10 years that you were -- that you served in the ease it has all been the
entities who created a tremendous instability in that area. has it always been that way in the middle east? >> i think the instability was much greater when i was the commander for central command 2008 through 2010. for one thing we've had the arab spring. so it's not just a result of extremist elements. he said that it is the throwing over of long time dictators who did achieve a degree of stability in their countries but obviously at such great expense that i any the people rejected them. that's probably the single biggest cause of the instability. and what you see then are groups like the islamic state and to some degree iran and
others are taking advantage of ungoverned or inadequately govern spaces. i think one of the lessons of the post arab spring is that if area is ungoverned or inl adequately governed extremists might seem opportunity in those locations. >> hence your question about hassan. if you were able to topple him, who would come in and take his play. there are some who support the par in additionening so the kurds, the shiah, the sunnis would have their area. i believe you said today that that would be a bad idea. did you say that? >> i did. do you see any kind of scenario where partitioning and that would lead to some level of instinct and allowing that done there to go forward.
never had anyone explain adequately to me those how you get to particularly the sunni stand and the shiah stand. who is it that draws the boundaries. what happens in terms of oil revenue for sunni stand which has no oil production in the food print. so again, this is -- there's very serious practs cal issue here which did not resolve and you'll have syria par 2. except in iraq. so intellectually, academicically. tell me how you're going to get there. in a country where the politics e so fractious that the they alien nated from mag dad. this is no going to be an amicable divorce.
will be a civil war. there has been displacement. in the 2005, 20080 of time frame. but there's certainly by no means divided and the con cement for -- concept with how they survive. all all of this would work i think are quite problematic. >> i said any kind of movement towards that kind of auditioning should come within tchen. >> very, very good point. they have not had much luck doing things that way. >> the boundries were draw by outsiders and you see them obliterated. you have no -- i think you've railed a very, very important point and that is that whatever the future is, it's going to have to be agreed upon or it's going to be fought over.
>> thank you. mr. chairman, i did have one more question. i'm running out of time. but would you mind? you ran out of completely. >> over the weekend the u.s. began military to military talks including tanks and fighters already in aircraft. and syria. i just wondered what would it be if you were holding these talks with russia. make sure that there's nothing that goes bump in the night. that there's not an operation that is miscon sbrued by the other and ends up shooting where there doesn't need to be shooting. >> thank you. thank you mr. chairman. >> we actually have ship to ship conversation with iranians. we had
with iranian some help in the counter piracy mission. us, ieral betray apologize are having to step out. i didn't want to go back, and i apologize them will go back to the record, when you were talking about proposing enclaves and safe havens within syria, could you give me an idea of what that would look like? what a reasonable timeframe could we do it, to what extent could that have a positive impact on the refugee situation in the region? can you give me a better idea how that would play out? gen. petraeus: i don't think i can give you timeline, that will
start with us making a declaration and we will defend -- >> what positions are we taking? what precisely with the u.s. military and coalition partners be doing to make sure that ceases? gen. petraeus: you have a policy decision and a policy statement and if not,y stop our air force starts flying. they can figure out how to stop them from flying. enclave, it is hugely important when it comes to refugees. the refugees are just giving up, so they are very much -- they want to go back still now if there was any hope. without that, you will just see a continued exodus and it is already overwhelming. enclave, iteate an
can be a safe haven and a huge target. then, how do we -- we attempted army -- the free syrian the original thought was not for an offensive posture but some sort of defensive posture so they can create enclaves across the area. they would be perceived as a safe haven in the region versus the mass exhibits we are seeing right now. there is a policy decision that says we will protect you from all enemies, not just the islamic state. if they understand that, you can do a reasonably good job and equip them with some radios and other communication devices so
that we can be alerted if they are experiencing pressure. again, i don't want to make light of this. this is very complicated military activities. it is doable. at a certain point, i am not at all against having our forces in an enclave. shifting to a different thection, the last week -- on edition not to allow petroleum experts into the united states. some estimates after the sanctions were lifted as many of a million barrels a day. they need a price point of about $130 to start balancing their books. gen. petraeus: i don't think so at all, senator. >> you think it is lower? gen. petraeus: a good deal lower
than that. they would not sell the extra barrels -- >> let me finish. gen. petraeus: i think that ok. their thoughtsh process. based on military and intelligence experience, do you believe the united states, being able to participate in the global market, and being able to export oil to other nations -- at the same time iran is benefiting from that. should we be looking at that? gen. petraeus: this is not just my military intelligence. i am a partner in one of the global investment firms in our country. all, the analysis on crude oil exports would not only the price of wti go up
slightly, it would impact brent crude prices. the price at the pump would go down. i think it is the cbo that did the analysis. one of our organizations here on capitol hill has looked at this. it is a very interesting dynamic. i don't think we should get into those markets unless you want to use sanctions. otherwise, you have to be careful about intervention on a global market. >> it was the kind of profit to fix fiscal problems -- gen. petraeus: or may be investment in the field in the future. >> i guess finally, i want to ma
ou sure i understand -- do y beinge the united states, able to extract more energy from the regions under our jurisdiction, and provide that energy, is part of a strategic iran's hedge against ability to fund more maligned activity. gen. petraeus: we ought to produce all the oil and gas we can if we are making a profit. their --iraq, it funds by the way, they are running a fiscal deficit now. this is about market forces, the fact is the energy markets right now because of the u.s. -- shell
gale, the next big disruption will be in the liquefied natural gas markets. they will be -- that will be a huge challenge for president putin. his hand is getting weaker, he is carrying out costly adventures, and has a limited amount of foreign reserves left to fund this and doesn't have access to the global markets because of the sanctions on him and his many major banks. you our lng hits europe, will see a compression of natural gas prices even though he is selling it off the
pipeline. >> thank you for being here today, and your insight. i know last week general austin was here and was questioned by a number of members of this committee about the training mission. unfortunately, what he had to say suggests to me and others that it has not accomplished what it was supposed to. my recollection is that you advocated for a similar kind of mission early, before it started. i wonder if you have thoughts about what can be done at this point. as it has been operating, it has not been successful. is there any way to right it?
gen. petraeus: you cannot abandon it, because anything you want to accomplish in syria has the air forceby on the ground. whether the defeat of the islamic state, or creating a the regimewhich might be able to go to the negotiating table. or for stemming the flow and exit is a refugees from syria that is overflowing european countries. the central issue is that we have to pledge and then take action to support these fighters against anyone who comes at them. whether it is isis, which we want them to fight, or other elements. we have to support them against
all of these. we have to enable them to fight them in a local way without creating the conditions where bashar goes before we have a sense of what will follow him. establishing about enclaves in syria that would be protected. as what ised that normally described as safe zones , with that what you are suggesting? gen. petraeus: safe havens, i think. by the way, they can be the south as well as the north. there is a reasonable one in the south, continuous to jordan. >> last week, we heard from michael powers from mercy corps which is done a lot of humanitarian work in syria. he expressed grave concern about
establishing safe zones. he suggested that it would be difficult to keep them actually ofe without a lot investment and additional airpower. he thought they could become a target for extremists, and they can be used by some countries as an excuse to reject refugees. how does your proposal suggest we address those issues? gen. petraeus: we will defend it. you can't just declare something a safe zone. we would have to -- this is the key. are notes we support going to stay supportable. they won't even stay alive, as takeve seen, if we don't very active measures. we need a credible campaign for them to pursue.
part of that campaign should be establishing enclaves. i don't like the word save zones, there is nothing safe about them unless you will defend it. people on the ground will judge whether or not you are doing that, and they will vote with their feet. they will stay, or come back, or depart with others. we would have to invest in supporting that zone. thinkoesn't mean i don't we have to have our boots on the ground, but at some point if security is adequate, i would be comfortable doing that. one of thelly, things that i think we have not done as sucessfully is to counter the isil propaganda. these have thoughts about how we could be better responding? gen. petraeus: this is a really, difficult problem because of the
magnitude of it. to way machines are used amplify and magnify, we have to get smarter about that. i've talked to people with google at ideas that can be used on our side iin the same way they are used on their side. we had a program during part of the time i was the commander where we had credible voices -- these were native speakers with academic training in various religious disciplines. they were quite effective, the problem is -- it is very costly. i think we do have to partner more effectively with those that really understand the technology, then we activate
those willing to engage in this. i don't know it can buy -- be by any means all government. i don't think can generate the critical mass necessary for this task. >> who should it be spearheaded by? the problem with state department can be best explained by an episode when i was the commander and the under secretary of state came to twocom and asked for one or million dollars to help them with the program. the state department has never been adequately funded, i don't know if senator graham is here, here is the subcommittee chair of the key committee. statee always called for and aid to do more, yet we hvave not given them the
authorization to do that. >> thank you. >> thank you, admiral mccain. --eral petronius you conceivably attendance at this committee today, your opinions and your thoughts are very highly valued. thank you for sharing your thoughts. i would like to go back to the k urds a little bit. questions,s asked but maybe not in all manners. they have been a great ally to us. i heard that for many of the men and women who have served in that region. they have been a great partner for 25 years or so, and a healthy respect for the rule of law. they have been very helpful with
a number of minorities, and religious minorities, and what can we do to better provide support for the kurdish regional government? i believe we need to double down in this effort, regardless of whether they may push beyond the regional boundaries. they do provide an area where we can engage them in shaping operations -- whether it is to provide an area for us to -- can you give us some thoughts? gen. petraeus: we are based in there, if headquarters and operations and very close we are verys closely linked. i think the single biggest issues are the provision of weapons and other supplies to streamline that -- i have said
we have to support prime --abaddi.body we need to figure out how to get ideally it does not have a touchdown in baghdad. some coalition members are doing that, with our tacit approval if not applause. le biggeste sing step to take. in then to be there earlier part of this year and had a lot of people come and plead that case. theother is to determine if kurdish regional government -- it is in difficult financial times because of the price of oil going down by 55%. it has reduced the amount with which the 17% they get from the .entral government
they are having a difficult time, they are supporting hundreds of thousands of refugees. anyone who flies over this will see a camp every few kilometers. and they are fighting a war. if we can provide additional assistance to them, that would be very valuable. we have very much enabled them, we helped them -- had it not been for decisive action at a critical moment last year, it is very possible the islamic state might've gotten closer to the capital. that held that off, and has retaken most of the area around the kurdish regional government. there are no more internally disputed governments within iraq. appreciate those thoughts
very much. i would tend to agree and would love to see more assistance going to the krg in consultation with the iraqi government. if we could turn to turkey briefly, we talked about the fact that they have mobilized. through their mobilization of resources, whether political, military, instead of really pushing back against isis we see that has been a turn to mobilize against pkk. what do you see the impact is to those coalition forces? what are the greater implications of that? gen. petraeus: i don't know this has a huge effect on u.s. or coalition forces. they are not being diverted to
assist. we have provided intelligence assistance that i don't imagine has changed a great deal. what is very significant is what is happening inside turkey. the sheer escalation of the violence, the situation is relatively calm and seems to be heading towards one where there was greater reconciliation between the government and the sizable part of the population kurdish. that is certaine meeting desires of that kurdish population, then all of a sudden the wheels have come off of the bus. it is very distressing to see, because the violence on both sides has escalated very rapidly. >> thank you, my time has expired.
>> general, first, courage is an element of character. courage to admit mistakes, in an open forum such as you did during the beginning of her testimony, is a huge indicator of character. i want to copyright and acknowledge that you did something that was not easy this morning. it is very meaningful. about russia, and syria, the recent buildup of russian troops is very worrisome. on the other hand, russia was an ally when it came to getting rid of chemical weapons. is there a geopolitical opportunity where russia may recognize the danger of isis to them? could ther ebe c -- there be common cause with them?
itad would be moved aside, is isis's evil twin. it is a magnetic attraction. talk to me about talks with the russians -- i believe countries act in their interest. in this case, they have an interest in not seeing isis turned into terrorism in their country. is there an opportunity for working in concert with the russians to move aside aside -- assad aside? this is nots: something i would rule out at all, there is no question they have an interest. they are worried about the effect of the caucuses. there are chechnya and's down there fighting, without question. it will go back and be more
effective. the problem is, if they wanted to do this, and that was their goal, they could have contacted the coalition entered how can you integrate us into the air tasking order. it would like to drop bombs on isis just like you guys. >> it appears these recent moves will -- israeli, this it is about national interests. their national interest is to preserve the naval base that they have in tartu's down on the coast. perhaps there is a way to ensure that without guaranteeing the presence of assad. be, petraeus: there could at some point, if there are serious negotiations. it is not the kind of thing you would just rule out unequivocally. this is a real complication
right now. if they enter the fight on the side of assad rather than just protecting this coastal enclave, realwe will see complication. you don't want to be in direct conflict. power, itan important has carried out very provocative actions. that doesn't mean we need to be provocative in return. we do need to be firm in return, and establish what is acceptable. ukraine, that is one example. we have to see this develop a bit further, recognizing that that is a very clear way for them to attack isis, and that would be to join the coalition. you talk about barrel bombs, is there an alternative? the problems,e of but an alternative of providing
closely vetted syrian opposition with man pans, or similar weapons that could neutralize the air force without mobilizing a major air war and coordinated essentially escalating the conflict. this has been an issue in any of these kinds of endeavors. >> since afghanistan. gen. petraeus: exactly. the concern is that one gets out of hand interests somewhere else and takes down a civil airliner -- the risk in this has to be very carefully measured. and mitigated, there are some techniques and technologies that can be employed. i am not sure that we have not done that, or that other countries have not done that. it is a very risky proposition, in we have to do exercise
norma's caution to do that. >> final question, do people wake up in iraq and think of themselves as iraqis? gen. petraeus: sadly, in recent sectarian, orore ethnic identity rather than iraqi. said that, i remember when the soccer team won the asia cup, that night there where cheers all over. so there can be unifying features, and let's never forget the most important centrifugal force is the distribution of the oil revenues by the central government to the provinces, ministries, and so forth. >> thank you, general. > thank you, mr. chairman.
general, good to see you again. agree with what senator king said a budget comments earlier. i wanted to talk a little bit -- there is been a lot written on the surge and what you did and what the chairman and others did with regard to that important strategy. to me, it is an example of when you know a strategy and rhetoric. by that, i mean that it was announced and then they took action. one of the broad strategic failures right now that certainly we are seeing with all the chaos in the world is that we in many ways as a country -- whether the president, the secretary of defense, were talking about things rather -- redlines, syria, even secretary carter gave what i thought was a
very powerful speech. none of these statements have been followed up by action, unlike what you did with the surge. what happens when as a country we talk a lot but don't act? think weaeus: well, i have taken action. >> where? gen. petraeus: we killed osama bin laden. >> i gave three examples. was merelyus: i going to say, this is not a record of unmitigated lack of action. in my statement, i said that in action in some cases has consequences. that is the case with what we are dealing with in syria, without question. >> so what do you think happens?
gen. petraeus: if you do not act others may. question, the art of this is to figure out when to take action, and what action to take. you should not take action all the time. , whatuld you take action i'm talking that is not random, but action to implement stated policies you already announced as a country. are you hearing that the united states is losing credibility in securityour national and foreign policy? gen. petraeus: there are some questions out there, what i was going to do was point out where there have been actions. this is not a record of no action, there have been very courageous actions.
i took very tough issues to this president, and he took action. there have been some way there was not action. if those in which there is not action taken really matter, then there are consequences that accumulate. i do think that the syrian redline that was not a redline that had a decent outcome in the end, 90% of the chemical weapons were gone. the way we got to that was quite a circuitous path unveiled by a verynt putin and was interesting outcome. that is not the kind of case, i instills a, that great sense of confidence in the united states. >> let me ask another in terms of action. we are seeing a lot of strategic interests from the russians and other nations for