tv Hearing on Islamic Extremism Threat in Russia CSPAN October 3, 2015 5:33pm-6:21pm EDT
concern -- you mentioned churchill, so let me apply churchill's definition of the underbellythe soft of russia. it consists of unstable regimes. the isis penetration and the taliban subversion of those states brings telegram to russia's borders. this is another issue that motivated putin. we have how many minutes before we vote? >> about seven minutes. >> about seven minutes. i'm going to yield several minutes to you now, and we will come back immediately after the votes. we are in recess until immediately after the second vote.
, and mr. putin's involvement with a sod is not going to direct him towards isil but direct him towards the nonaligned movements. obviously that assad, he is opposed to the jihadists, and they are opposed to him. i think the waiting which they look at the question is a highly machiavellian manner, and that is, who is threatening assad the most? it's these other opponents. who threatens isis and many respects? what is the competition between the other syrian movements? they have a common interest at present, that both would like to see the other opposition movement weekend. that does it mean they will be
friends. at the moment, it seems they are not so interested in fighting each other, that they both prefer to weaken -- those two groups aren't interested in fighting each other, and at least one of them is interested in fighting assad, will then focus on that group. isil forcessaying the are not yet attacking his military bases and things like that, and this is the group -- just to note, i voted against arming the third force, and i thought that was going to turn in iraq.ay things did it you are suggesting that that now is indeed leading the
fight against assad and isil is not. >> obviously, it's many, many groups. it is a three-corner to conflict. there are loads of actors involved, but what it does seem, at the moment, it does the opposition groups that are most threatening to assad. therefore, it's not surprising assad's concentrating his efforts on these forces. -- this seen reports was a reason we voted against doing this -- that there have been defections by that third .orce supposedly to isil in fact, one of the major leaders of that group defected, and the report i read, he commands a force that made up -- half of which is made up of people from chechnya. >> my memory of the report is who wee moderates
supported defected to the all nusra front, which is hardly better, but it's not isis. it is obviously -- we are not a major actor, i think come in terms of external actors supporting the syrian opposition. obviously, it's the saudi's, the turks, others. they have their own agenda, and so we simply haven't -- i'm not sure if it was ever possible to create this moderate third force. >> could you tell me what group it was -- was it to the third group you are thinking about, or was it isil that just capture id airbase?
it was ali huge victory -- i , but it wasasb isi isil a major defeat for assad's forces. >> i'm not positive who captured it. >> if it wasn't isil and not --s third force, the basis that would go contrary to your testimony today. -- toould like return for refer to the embassy statement in june indicating the u.s. accused the syrian government of providing air supports to in advance by islamic state militants against opposition groups north of aleppo. in other words, there seems to be not an actual alliance but an alliance of convenience in many isis.ts between assad and if he has to give anything up,
he would rather see it go to isis then his other opponents. >> that airbase, which was one -- major air bases the last six months, and this was a major part of their strategy, if indeed that was a isil attack, that does contradict your theory. >> it was in isil attack. we will look into it. al-nusra. >> what does that mean? >> al-nusra. isn't that contrary to what you are testifying? >> if the focus is on isis, one thing that we know is they are more radical than al-nusr.a
there has been competition andeen the al-nusra front isis. i'm not saying it's better, but i think what we are seeing is that as the regime weakens, eventually we are going to see a conflict between isis and al-nusra. >> i will have some of the questions later. >> thank you, mr. chairman. statements, to your i couldn't help but being a little bit confused with everything that was said here. let me make an observation. for the last few weeks, we've been hearing about how the syrian army has been weekend and how it looked like there were
going to be defections and everything else. i really think that was a set up so the russians could come in and step in and syria. today, i understand the russians bombed the free -- i wrote it down here -- the free syrian .rmy that wasn't isil. what does all of that mean? i assume they were there to fight isil. i guess i will get all three of your opinions because you were so diverse when you first gave statements. post,today's washington , and russianss have claimed they made an attack on isis, but opposition leaders
targeted other groups. this is the heart of the matter. burton claims he is there to fight isis, but why he's really there is to protect the regime. this isn't isis. he's going to hit whoever is threatening assad. he is not going to avoid those isis butat are not which are threatening a sod. he wants to get rid of all of the opposition to a sod. dr. aron: in an answer to the chairman's questions, putin is there to show that russia does not abandon its allies. >> in complete contrast to what
people are claiming about us. [laughter] dr. aron: make your own conclusion. >> i'm just saying. dr. aron: that point does not escape putin. you notice almost coincidentally iraq is now cooperating with intelligence, and what secrets are our iraqi allies going to give russia? a headline today. putin is there to show that russia does not abandon its .llies on a strategic level, it's for putin to retain a geopolitical asset. russia is back in the middle east after saddam through the soviet union out. russia is back.
it's an extremely important domestic political imperative for him to show that whatever economic difficulties they have, russia is a great power again, whether it's in ukraine, the middle east, and god knows what is going to be next. me, is how putin calculates it. so long that the regime he supports is in power, that is putin's strategic goal. who he has to bomb along the way is a secondary matter. he leaves it to the people on the ground. >> what do you think? i haven't seen reports that russian warplanes have bombed. my understanding is that russia's interests in syria require that russia has a say in the future of this country, but
the notion that russia would 's opponents isad mistaken. russia has hosted negotiations between some members of the syrian opposition. russia has discussed, according ,o those opposition members potential participation of these opponents in the future government. therefore, i think as long as russia's interests in syria are honored, which is the presence of the russian navy at the tardis facility, continuing military industrial cooperation with syria, and ensuring there is no failed state in syria, which is the larger concern of russia.
it would be open to accommodating a potential transition to a coalition government in the long run. >> a government that would be in favor of russia. mr. saradzhyan: it's not black-and-white. it would take into account russia's interests. ensuring that russia continues to trade with syria in goods that let russia diversify its economy, which is mostly about oil and gas. syria is a major buyer of russian machinery, including arms. rush --as there isn't a a russian interest, the idea
that it would bomb any of its opponents is a mistake. russia is not married to the idea of keeping assad in power. >> can somebody talk about the russian s that the military presence in syria poses to the united states in terms of this conflict? what challenges do you see for us there? dr. aron: if, in fact, the u.s. has its own campaign against if, in- prof. katz: fact, the use has its own campaign against isis, and russia has its campaign, we want to make sure the two air forces .on't run into each other
this is a serious issue, it seems to me. on the other hand, other than that, i'm not sure that the russian military presence can be seen as a threat to the united states. russia has fewer troops in syria .han we have now in iraq it strikes to me that if our presence in iraq -- we are not able to defeat isis with that -- i don't think what russian presence we've seen in syria is going to enable russia to defeat isis if, in fact, that is what it wants. at best, what they are there to do is bolster the assad regime. i have to disagree with my colleague about who russia is or is not willing to bomb. i think russia is there to help the assad regime. the assad regime has certain
urgent opponents. if that's what is necessary to attack, that is what they will attack. i don't think russia wants to get deeply involved in syria. in that case, i think putin may have bitten off a little bit -- chew. he can shoe i've heard people in the pentagon say that the u.s. can live with a russian naval presence in syria. i don't think we are necessarily russia havinging favorable relations with syria. just as moscow complains that after a sod russia wouldn't have influence in iraq because the iraqi government would be have seenan, what we is increasing cooperation between iraq and russia. with a changeed
in syria is that the new syrian government eventually, after a certain pause, would restore relations with russia, as well. this is not what has happened. >> what challenges do you think it poses? dr. aron: no comment on that. the actual topic, the threat of extremism in russia, i think syria does enter this simply because syria has become a training ground for the .ihadists from central asia my point was we may be seeing something more threatening, which is the russian muslim arerities inside russia beginning to go that route. they have a very significant
inside syria.dy frankly, if we thought the therens were a problem, are one million of them, and there are 6.5 million taught tars and bosh gears, and another 5-6,000,000 inside russia, including migrants from central asia who are constantly going back and forth. central asia is completely penetrated by isis recruiters and isis propaganda. talking of danger to the united states, those things are rarely contained within natural borders . this is one of the offshoots, regardless of what putin does and what we do.
>> do you agree or disagree? mr. saradzhyan: i agree. the primary threat that emanates assad is nota weather stays for a bit longer -- from that area is not whether assad stays for a bit longer. >> do you think he poses challenges to our efforts in syria? mr. saradzhyan: think it's in the interests of the united states, just as it's in the interests of russia. >> we are going to have another series, which gives me an excuse to be able to ask some questions . if you would like to ask some, we will get that in. i would like to place in the
record a letter from john quincy hiss to his fellows about observations about russia even as far back as john quincy adams , who i believe was our first ambassador to russia. he pointed out in his letter and lengthy analysis that the russian character had been developed in great part due to its constant fight with islam on its borders. and theirn character national spirit had been brought about by this fact that islam was in a time of expansion, and the russian people bore the .runt of that the idea something could happen
in the islamic world that would be a great threat to russians. something that is not just what putin believes but something that is ingrained in russian people who over the years have had tragic incidences with, for school. a i went to that area to see that school and talk with the local people. they ended up with hundreds of their children being murdered, basically. go through the years, and this part of fired -- russia's psyche. i don't think there's anything wrong with a country being led by a ruler who wants their country to be a great country. remarks to putin's
the united nations, and he hadtted that russia discarded the soviet union, and this was a new situation. they are back to what normal countries should be judged by, not by standards established in the cold war when russia itself by a zealous click in the communist party, the same way radical islam is having a .ajor impact on islam the radical islam assist -- toamists have power influence through their violence. i reject the idea putin is down
there and russia is down there their friend, but part of being a great country is making sure when you make a deal with somebody that you keep the tough,ven when it gets and you don't leave your friends in a lurch after they have risked everything for you. it seems in the last few years, the united states, as my colleague accidentally indicated -- we've left a lot of people also, the united states policy was, what? we had to get rid of saddam hussein? , and now we feel compelled to -- and nowhat a sod
we feel compelled to make sure that assad goes out. was a horrible mistake. saddam hussein was not our enemy. guess what? i don't think assad is our enemy. if russia is indeed there to , then what assad might happen to syria, even if assad is overthrown with non-isil forces, i don't think it was the radicals who necessarily overthrew could daffy, but when the moderates overthrew qadhafi with our help, we ended up with half of libya being controlled by radical islam. is like that. maybe no matter who overthrows him, as putin was mentioning in his remarks at the u.n., maybe
this will create an unintended consequence of total catastrophe, not just assad being overthrown by someone who is radical but the fact that you have a power vacuum and chaos that will be exploited by these radical forces that are clearly present in that region. we ought toi think start analyzing russia. that is one of the reasons for this hearing. we need to make sure we understand what motives are going on. when khrushchev put the missiles into cuba, i don't think that's the type of attitude we are facing in the world today, and that's a lot different and that the outrage at that time, but assad being helped by
russia in the face of this turmoil, i don't see why this should be on our list of things to fort -- thwart. back to the nature of russia and radical islam, it seems to me that wouldn't a government of russia be justified in being concerned to hear there are 5000 russian people who might at the end of this come back home and start committing the types of terrorism that is being experienced in different parts of the world? isn't that a justified fear? feel free to comment. the fact that the russian language is now the third most popular, and i have all kinds of stuff that you
cannot say in five minutes, but there have been reports that there was graffiti in russian in syria that read, putin, we will .uild you a palace there was the islamic movement in uzbekistan. this is a vulnerable area. >> a city was just taken over by the taliban. by the way, it's not that someone is worried that russia will fall to these radicals here the issue is that whether or not because these radicals feel they are motivated and backed and have experience, that they might go into the country and start killing people in large numbers, whether it is hurting a bunch of kids into a school and surrounding them with
explosives, or whether it is setting off the type of explosions and things we've seen in railroad cars in western europe. there are fewer muslims in western europe than what we have in russia, and they are suffering from attacks, terrorist attacks. again, i think that the threat to western civilization, to the non-muslim world from radical islam, islamic terrorists, is real, and it makes sense if someone is also a target for that, that we don't try to do everything we can to undermine their efforts but instead try to find ways to cooperate. that is what this hearing is all about. my colleague will now have his .uestions
whatm trying to associate is going on in ukraine with what is going on in syria. do you think that has anything to do with putin going into syria, the fact that there is a stalemate there? dr. aron: one of the most interesting reactions i read in the russian media -- part of the issue with rush is that putin literally is his own defense counsel, which is very difficult . it's very dangerous. crimea was a surprise to his aides,rs, his closest and so was syria. the reaction from the russian analysts -- one of the reactions -- remember, i mentioned there was a domestic political dimension to this. putin is popular not because of the russian economy. he used to be popular because
they grew 7%, 8% every year. embodieslar because he this dream of russia becoming a superpower like the soviet union used to be. >> [indiscernible] want our we all countries to be great. the question is how we achieve it. , some of thene is most respected russian analysts said one of the reasons to go to no longerhat ukraine generates this patriotic heat that makes not all russians but quite a few forget about the economic hardships, the 15%
inflation, that there is unemployment, that pensions are growing smaller and smaller due to inflation, that food products than they%, 20% more used to be because of the ban on the imports. >> the price of oil is down. dr. aron: the ruble lost twice its value. we are in syria and now. we are present. they listen to us. they are afraid of us. they respect us. this is very important. to answer your question, this could've been one of the motivations. you said, what is the connection to ukraine? i could talk to the ukraine on a long time. putwhatever reason, putin ukraine on hold. i don't think it's forever. i think he's going to return. there's something else now.
he's like that man on the bicycle. when you put all your eggs in this patriotic mobilization, you've got to give people fresh meat. you are riding the tiger, which is great, but the tiger requires fresh meat and bloody meat every now and then. ukraine is on hold, but syria is in the headlines. >> does anybody else want to take a crack at that? prof. katz: in addition to what dr. aron had to say about the domestic political aspect of this, i think there is also an important aspect in terms of relations with the west. the sanctions the west has ofosed on russia as a result russian actions in ukraine are hurting pretty badly. for putin in particular, by making this issue of, we can
work together in syria against isis, this is a way to restore relations with the west. to some extent, we've seen it start to work. president francois hollande came out and said, maybe we should reduce sanctions on russia now that we deal with syria together. obviously, that is what he wants. recently, francois hollande indicated he wanted to see russian actions against isis, not just words. of course, putin is taking advantage of the migration crisis. for the european public, when it comes down to it, which is more important to them, the migration crisis or what is happening in ukraine? it's the migration crisis. like to get to an important point that congressman rohrabacher indicated.
in addition to the geopolitical competition between the u.s. and russia, there's a philosophical difference about how to deal with syria. the russian argument is that assad, as bad as he is, is less worse than isis. therefore, we should support .ssad the obama administration's argument is that isis is so awful, he has contributed to the rise of isis. the real trouble is both might be right. both arguments have a degree of validity, and what that applies is that whether a sod goes overseas, isis is going to be a problem. dealn argue about how to with the syrian situation, but the bottom line is that neither haver the russians really
an adequate response. it's gotten out of hand. either way we go, it's going to remain a problem. >> let's give our panelists each one minute a chance to summarize what they want to summarize. one minute. the chairman will have a final statement, as well. dr. aron: one minute is enough. -- of course, i gave you the tip of the iceberg on the evidence -- if indeed we are point atg a tipping which fund the last -- fundamentalist, militant islam is migrating from the north caucasus into russia itself, i
tonk this is a huge threat russia and the world. that, these types of things are usually enhanced by two mastic political crises and pressures. russia is in a precarious state economically. strains, all kinds of and i think, while we are the failed state in syria, we should worry about how terrorism could become an issue for russia and us. mr. saradzhyan: i would like to reiterate that the u.s. and russia share common interests in countering terrorism and proliferation threats that emanate from syria and iraq, .eaning terrorists groups
regardless of disagreements on the future of assad, both countries should work together to counter that threat, which is much more threatening, much more oferior than the intricacies transitions in syria. prof. katz: the rise of jihad is an and russia is not in moscow's interests and is not in the interests of the west either, but this rise of jihad is some and russia isn't occurring in a void. the tragic situation is that russia's muslims are not treated well by the russian government, russian society. ist of the problem we face we can't either force or convince vladimir putin to treat his muslims nicely. problem, theof the
muslim issue in russia is not one america is in a position to address. only moscow can do that. at the moment, it doesn't want to do so effectively. >> thank you all for joining us today. .ust a few short thoughts let us remember when saddam hussein was eliminated, it brought chaos. when the could off the was illuminated, it brought chaos. when qaddafi was eliminated, it brought chaos. we were told this third force was our choice, and i think the russians are concerned that even is eliminated by this third force, even if that's the case, you are going to have what happened in these other which is thenos exploited by the most radical
islamic forces within those societies. impact to be on russia? concern thanater actually is in western europe. we can see the frantic way western europe is dealing with radical islam and the impact of it. several months ago, six months to a year ago now, went down and provided egypt's president $2 billion , even at a time when we've seen testimony regarding a weakness in the economy of russia. why did that happen? is that because he wants russia to dominate egypt?
england and other great countries in the world, china, japan, india -- these are great countries in the world, and their leaders calculate what is good for their country, and in the long run, i believe the reason why that $2 billion and help to general a cc was coming forward was because putin the colleges that if radical islam were to take over in egypt, these other countries would be swept away in the gulf, and you would have radical islam pouring into central asia, and that would dramatically impact the security of the country and the future of the world. i think that there is some strategic thinking going on rather than simply he's a tough guy showing his muscles to the fog,, and he's a gangster
which is usually the answers you get when you are trying to get n analysis. with that said, i think i think the united states needs to cooperate with people who are going to help us defeat radical islamic terrorism, whether it's putin or assad. those people especially have the if a nuclear bomb goes off in the united states from a terrorist group, it won't be from russia. it won't be from assad. it probably won't be from japan or any of these other countries. islamicbe from radical terrorists. if we are going to protect our
>> on this weekend's "newsmakers," the discussion on russia continues with congressman eliot engel as the top democrat on the house foreign affairs committee. he talks about russia's military presence in syria, the iran nuclear agreement, and the house investigation into benghazi. watch the interview sunday at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span.
day," supremeu.n. court correspondent and offer of the companion book to c-span's upcoming series "lindbergh tony morrow on the supreme court's new term. >> one of the judges who didn't office sued, and the supreme court dealt with it. it was marbury versus madison. marbury was one of those judges, and the court said basically that he probably deserved some remedy, but the remedy that congress provided for this goes beyond the power of congress, the authority of congress. the supreme court was going to strike down that law. this is something the court had never done before, declaring an
act of congress unconstitutional. >> that is sunday night at 8:00 and onstern and pacific, monday as the supreme court starts a new term, c-span debuts "landmark cases." on the series premiere, we take a look at the real story behind the famous marbury versus madison case, delving into the heated battles between outgoing president john adams, the new tom -- the new president thomas jefferson, and the newly appointed justice john marshall. >> john marshall established that the court as the interpreter of the constitution in the famous decision he wrote in marbury versus madison. >> marbury versus madison is probably the most famous case this court ever decided. >> joining the discussion, he ye law school professor akhil lamar and cliff sloan.
"landmark cases" premieres monday at 9:00 p.m. eastern on c-span, c-span3, and c-span radio. for background on each case, order your copy of the "landmark cases" companion book at c-span.org/landmarkcases. his weekly address, the president discusses economic growth and gives his reaction to a potential government shutdown in december. senator john barrasso of wyoming gives the republican response. he talks about the costs of federal regulations. obama: hi, everybody. yesterday, we learned our businesses created 118,000 jobs in september. that makes 67 straight months of job creation and 13.2 million ne