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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  October 21, 2015 2:00am-4:01am EDT

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in retrospect how they say they saw it, a sort of expansion but expansion of what had gone on for the past several years. theressians had a base and had a naval base. they had some aircraft stations there. they were constantly sending supplies in. they didn't see it as very troubling. allies to denyr the rights. they particularly asked greece bulgaria, the -- greece didn't have to really make a the requestause went away after a while. bulgaria after a specific request to deny the overflight rights did deny them. but the administration in late august specifically asked the russians. what are you up to? what are you doing? they said quoting again to the administration, we are fortifying our interest there. as scared of the
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islamic state as you are. we think something needs to be gone. so the administration in response to all of this adopted a sort of watch and wait. is sort ofnk it wishful thinking posture. speeches, one in early september and another in mid september. heecially the second one, stated very specifically what it was he wanted to do. newanted to form a coalition that would fight against the islamic state. includethat it had to the syrian armed forces because they were the only ones capable of defeating on the ground to be the ground force to defeat the state. there was some rational in this usi's. it is almost a mere image of the policy that the obama has had in iraq. the localo bolster
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forces and to use a lot of guysrikes to hit the bad and go in and occupy a territory guys to force the bad vacate. of course the administration wisdom of doing military andian inecially not with assad charge. but they decided as a result of was worth talking to putin. the u.s.member that has subspended all military russia following crimean andon of further actions in eastern ukraine. there hadn't been any high level at all. there was a big meeting upcoming ukraine. so they decided because of that and because of the serious
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situation, it was worth having a meeting with putin at the u.n. in early --mbly late september or early october? early october. yeah. so i think the assumption was russians perhaps the at some point would do some airstrikes. they were at this point bringing a lot of aircraft and they were repaving a lot of runways, expanding the airport that they were using along the mediterranean coast. pretty hard to continually say to ourselves that they weren't actually going airplanes for something. again the assumption was that were going toly use them against the islamic what thecause that's russians had said. they had their meeting in new york. did not go very well. the -- putin and obama each laid out their vision. putin sang, you know, let's go in this together. with assad ande
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with the syrian army and obama saying, no, you are welcome to join our coalition if you like. assad has to go. and his military has to become negotiations for a transition in syria that would include assad. of course putin came in early in the morning. was monday. left as soon as he talked to obama that afghanistan. -- that afternoon. he didn't even spend the night. got back toefore he moscow. apparent heecome intended to bomb and the opposition of the forces in the in syria which is primarily being fought in syria and isis is in eastern syria and in the north. the administration said we still
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talk to the russian. we're doing to have decon nicks talks. did not make any sharp statements. week later, obama in talks with his national security advisors agreed to several proposals that had been on the table for sometime. one was to -- was to directly forces inand arab eastern syria who were fighting against the islamic state. other was to greatly expand u.s. airstrikes in the northwest corner of syria along the border where the islamic state was coming from the east comingad forces were from the south basically. most of the city was being held forces.ition the air drops happened to the fighters in the east. tons ofpped 50
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ammunition and supplies last week. the expanded flights have not started yet. in like so many things syria, events on the ground have what's to out pace happening in washington and the speed at which decisions are being made. weak -- theeven the iranian forces pouring in to syria along with hezbollah and basically taking fighting on the ground in that area from the syrian military while the russians and moving ina the second largest city. also moving onte from the east. of worry among american friends and allies in the region that nobody seems to anything about this.
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it falls, they agree it will increase exponentially. this will be an even bigger for europe. the americans say they are studying other alternatives. turks are still pushing for a no fly zone. the russians don't seem to be any attention to what the americans have to say about it. elizabeth: okay. on that bright note, let me ask question.u the same a couple of weeks ago -- several weeks ago obama basically said putin was going to get into a quagmire and just basically -- implied that this would be another afghanistan for him and bogged down there for ten years. is there any indication of that at this point? do you think -- that's my first question. second question would be just about there seems to be
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consensus they've made short-term military gains especially with their new military that's on display here. that? agree with what do you think about obama's remarks? steven: is this working now? back to not working? okay. sorry. think it is too soon to start talking about a quagmire or not. the important thing to understand is russia's intervention is still at this limited.rly what is striking about it is how ableof an impact he's been to have with a force that's the size ofth of the coalition raid against the islamic state. i think that goes to somewhat was saying. there's more of a clarity to the strategy that putin is employing right now. he knows exactly what the immediate goal is. which is to shore up assad's
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forces. that, i know there's a lot of -- the russians blur the opposition of what groups there are. they've said this. again sometimes you just have to they say.what everybody takes up a weapon against the assad government is a terrorists. they are going to kill them. the again today in interview. there's something about what they are doing that makes it, i clear -- at least short -- istrategy that has think -- begun to change at battlefield. it is not to say that it is -- that he's won anything yet. know whatl hard to the end game is. that's where you get to the know,on of the, you afghanistan. they poured 100,000 troops into afghanistan. were there for eight or nine years. they haven't done that. putin, much like obama, has ruled out boots on the ground.
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exert with the air force that does seem to have modernized. it is more effective. though still blunter than our strikes, which is another i think. factor, he's not that concerned about thativilian casualties know suffer in addition to the distinctions and rebel factions. is far too think, it soon to say that. because at least right now it is on thedecisive turn ground in syria. karen: i think that's true. question of time. what i think the administration they sayg about when putin, you'll be sorry, is that doing is essentially taking sides in what has become in a verytarian war large country in the middle east. he's taken sides against the sunnies.
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is that if the sunnies who are fighting against assad are driven out of the forces with assad's iran and with the russians end the islamic state, in other words if they are the lefttwo sides that are there, it doesn't bode very well sunni population is going to think of russia and that eventually russia will for this. assumptionse of the is that what they are trying to do is carve out a sort of lump syria in the western part of the country that can be assad can have a little kind ofin the populated string of cities and the russians can have the coast, what they want and have their bases there.
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assumption bye the administration and it is probably a correct one is that lettingians are themselves in for a whole lot of trouble eventually. the problem is as steve said, it thehat right now toxically, russians strategy seem to be working. facts on thehes ground that then change the long situation in ways that i think the americans haven't deal withut how to yet. >> on that topic, obama just abandoned his training program after his famous number of training four to five fighters actually fight. what do you think of the strategy now? it seems to be a containment strategy that will get obama through the end of the term. what happened with the next obama is just containing it and passing it on? problematicould be
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long before that. you have tissue yes, the training program got nowhere. largely because the fighters who toe recruited were asked pledge that they would fight against the islamic state and they were not going to fight against assad. are guys who are fighting for their own families and for their own countries. assad as the enemy. i think that it become very hard find enough people who could survive this month's long process. what they've done now is really sort of jabbed the vetting altogether. they said we really like the border.o are on the it managed to push the islamic state back. they have some arab forces, not huge, but a number of them from eastern syria who never had much assad anyway who were willing to fight against theist lambic state.
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-- islamic state. leadersd we'll vet the and make sure they are okay. we'll ask them some questions. it from them their fighters are all good guys. they've dropped a lot of ammunition and weapons. this supports normally irritates the turks. who feel like the kurds are all -- they consider the kurdish organization that we're terrorists to be a organization along with kurds are in iraq. at the same time, you've got our allies in the region, the ataris, the uea who are throwing up their hands. your we've been following lead, united states. you've told us not to arm the other people. i mean they've done it under the table. they haven't done it as an official policy. perhaps we need to start
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rethinking this. athink the administration has lot of decisions to make. the chanceswhat are think there's a between the the air u.s. and russian air missile. it hasn't happened yet. how dangerous is this right now? is alwaysthink it dangerous whenever there's military operations going on, such a confounding -- targets and forces involved on both sides. one of theesting first things they did in reaching out to the military was to deconflict and make sure was protocols. i'm not sure they hammered those out. i have a friend that worked far long time. who workedc friend in russia.
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she put it to me this is sometime ago before the conflict. we have decades of experience of avoiding a hot war with the russians. i think they are -- that is going to carry through now. i don't have a sense that, you know, this administration or any allies -- we've seen them encourage them into turkey. don't think anybody wants to go toe to toe with the russians way.ven in the limited i think it will be a lot of effort made to make sure that doesn't happen. is an enormous risk. karen: i think that's true. it becomes more of a risk as the closer together alepo.area north of it has stuck to the defining this?ple in
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what the interest? it is the islamic state. that's who we are fighting against. much as we can. the other people who are but ing the civil war thinkfeel like they that's justifiable. you have them moving farther to the west. if they are going to try to push them back, that's exactly the area where the russians are going to be operating on and where they have started operating as this campaign the city. take elizabeth: what is putin's assad?nship with steve: the last time i know, it was da mas damascus
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in 2010. there's clearly a lot of coordination going on on the military levels. putin likes to operate. on the intelligence level, ofre's been a lot information and long standing re-supply mission and training that's going on even before in cooperating with the syrian government. personally somebody once describes to me their is transactional. more than personal. see russia -- russia sees its interest there in the region. the begin,ingd in they see the importance of checking, you know, the the west and, you know, toppling yet another thernment and unleashing chaos. i wanted to add one thing about the sectarian thing. in russia, there are
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the estimates vary because they haven't done a census in a while the question. there's somewhere between 14 and 20% of russians are muslim. the vast majority of them are sunni. don't thinkans -- i view this as a sectarian conflict or at least their role in it as siding in a sectarian way. be the fatal flaw in his strategy given how much the sectarian conflict is boiling over now in the middle east. i -- putineir mind, has addressed this. see an't want to conflict. he thinks there needs to be a resolution. intervening not on behalf other, but the legitimate government in his mind whether you like it or not is the assad government. russia is going to intervene.
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elizabeth: for both of you, what can you -- what have we thened about the state of russian military in the last two or three weeks looking at all of missiles going over there and coordination with the ground on airstrikes and so forth. one.r steve: i think it is easy to overstate it. military isrussian a shadow of what the united states' military is and the nato allies, and combined they don't come close at all to the power of nato. after the war in georgia in 2008, which was a smashing russians in that they drove out the georgian forces, they routed them almost back to their capitol. if they had wanted to, they taken but stopped short. it was a disaster for the russian military. they lost seven planes, four in the first day to the georgian defenses. let alone nato air defenses.
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nonetheless they took away the lessons from that war and put to use. a lot of attention is paid to the big ticket items. the showy aircraft and the new cruise missiles, and the new jet that is are now flying there. been a kindthere's of quiet revolution in russian affairs in the way they structure and organize their forces. them the redke army again. nonetheless, they've shown a amount of improvement. some of the technological may, i'm told, have leapfrogged our advances muchse we haven't paid as attention to the cruise missiles and air defenses. zonetalk of a no-flight now is moot. they have a ship parked off of will stopt now that any no-fly zone from being
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established. elizabeth: that was my question. a no-fly establish zone? karen: my question is how do shooting short of down? steve: that's how you stop it. karen: that would be a challenge. comes back to the question: do we -- or in this to war with go russia? we can do a show of hands. i don't think that there's an appetite for that. there's not to intervene forcefully in syria. athink it would be catastrophe. i think.nts that, somehow forcefully stopping the russians in their intervention, that's what it means. that's what it would have taken to stop the annexation of crimean. there was not an appetite for anyone to do that. some people in nato who question if we have the appetite
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our nato allies. reness a lot of we are about our commitment to that. dangerous we're in a phase. has re-asserted russia's reckoned force to be with. back toh: administration at the white house. what is the administration's next yearrio over the for what its doing now getting airstrikes --rds, karen: hopefully they will make islamic against the state and they can push the parties in syria into some kind of negotiation. that's been their strategy for a number of years. elizabeth: what do you think chances are of a settlement before obama or beginning of talks before obama? think the chances are probably less favorable than
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they've been in a long time. mean you have the opposition oppositionpolitical put out a statement about ten days ago says no way. assad.ever talk to we'll never agree to anyway that includes him. americans, excuse me, and the europeans say, well, we're not saying he has to go immediately. they've basically sort of said that from the start. refers to the geneva agreement which is an agreement signed. russians and the iranians in the summer of 2012 that said that all of players in syria would get transitionalorm a government and that government decidehen -- will then on elections. it doesn't mention bashar assad. it doesn't -- it says that everyone in the transitional
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mutuallyt has to be agreed to by all sides. thatssumption was always meant it wouldn't include assad sidese the guys on our would never agree to that. the opposition feels that they've been sort of the west, i think that their probably less likely thearticipate in negotiations. isd question, i think though whether the -- if some kind of found in syriae assad's immediate departure. is that something that's going suitable for the west? are the europeans now that huge influx of refugees, are they just hoping for peace in syria so that will go home or is
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everyone going to stick to their guns sort to speak? think we don't know the answer to that yet. elizabeth: one last question about putin and his fear of the mob. i thought it was so fascinating go the book and about how to dresdin in 1991. i thought that was the mentality and fear of the chaos. steve: it is in 1989 right after the berlin wall fell. drin was kgp officer in dresdin. the euphoria of the division of germany was coming down. the outpost in
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dresdin which i went to visit. theescribes the scene of night a few weeks after the wall the down where when protesters in dresdin basically and overran the stazi head quarters on the river there a few hundred yards from where had worked for five years. 80's.ow, at end of the they describe the scene of people. it as deranged. he saw it as a mob. it was a fairly peaceful protest. the among -- certainly not
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stazi. the chief there in dresden stopzed he couldn't history. people were milling through the stazi headquarters. they were going through the files. watching all of this feete kgp villa from a few away. went up of protesters the street. putin was the deputy. his boss was out in town. reach him. he tried to call the military base nearby to ask for reinforcements because he was terrified. there were several thousand stasi thing. a few dozen had come up to his villa. a description that he recalls of the officer at the he couldn'tthat
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help because he had called and instructions from moscow. silent.s putin.four rated he felt abandoned by it. here are the people outside. a crazed of them as mass, the horde of people. overthrowing the government. an amount of sympathy for him. it comes up again and again throughout his career. unione up with the soviet fell. 1990'sn on through the as he rose to power. saw it in ukraine. he had no instructions. of legends grew out of the night that he had confronted the stairsat the top of the
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waving a pistol. there was one version he had an ak-47. shirtless. it was the heroic pugh putin has it was told. one of the guys who was there describe to me how he came out and it was test. it is at night. he bluffed. it is a protected diplomatic facility. protect to we'll open fire if you seize the building. the crowd.moved they didn't want to pick a fight. achieved their goals. they went away. handingly, as he often dreamed and intelligence agents do, stood down the mob. know, you see this again even today.
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the notion of the chaos. affects people's thoughts. it is a fear of the uprising entireurses through his political career. elizabeth: right. question. .ou get the first question, pat >> okay. it was a very small protest. day, there was a protest in moscow. again russian involvement in syria and i'm wondering if you itld just talk about what meant and what it means. have any significance? and to karen and maybe to both of you, in terms of the for political settlement, secretary kerry in be next few days is going to andking with the turks
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saudi arabia and even with russia and jordan. way, could perhaps this escalation and bombing lead to more talks and lead to more settlements? steve: the protest i think speaks for itself. its size, it is not very big. an anti-warhere's sentiment, i think in russia. haven't been there since the strikes began. i was there last in july. questioningpeople the strategy the same way we are tonight. wondering what is the end game. i've heard some people that i was talking to the other day know, the you economic pain that russia is going through right now. its economy is in terrible shape because of the sanctions and low prices.
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people questioning can russia afford this. can they afford to lob a $500,000 missile at syria? really the fight? what's russia's national security interest? i think that's has very little influence on what putin does. a muchar there was larger protest against the war in ukraine. ony had 50,000 people out the street. but even the number that big is a fairly marginal one. in terms of influencing, you know, policymaking. they largely ignore that. it is ignored on tv. some ofou know, make the opposition feel better or feel like they are at least their disapproval. but it is not that important. your second question, to jump strikes mething that is that everybody seems to agree islamic state the
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is really bad, and only a solution is possible. putin has said it himself. knows he can't bomb his way out of this situation. assad in power by using force. i think at some point -- i think scenario, but it seems a long way off. there has to be a negotiated end. as there were in the conflicts in the balkans and ultimately as though they have to be in iraqi and in afghanistan and all wars some kind end through of negotiation. that's the obama administration policy.that's putin's so the question is how do you find the process that allows to happen. i really don't see it on the horizon. i think eventually it will come to that. karen: i completely agree with
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that. i think the americans say the russians are still giving them signals they are not vetted to assad. i think that's true. i think if they could find someone to serve the same negotiationsllow to go forward, ultimately, that's probably the way out. although you've seen in the past couple of weeks a lot of senior of syrian military officers getting killed. just all of the sudden. -- you know, there's one theory this is assad and his backers getting rid of people who could play that role in order to protect his own position. not vogueing for that interpretation. that's what some people think. right.lly you are that's what has to happen. it is certainly much farther away than the administration was going to be last summer. on the groundng
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needs to play itself out. i don't know again what happens to the opposition in that scenario. not managed through all of the years to really themselvesn cohesively into a political body the table sit across from anyone or convince the alone assad, that they were capable of joining a unitedto present political front completely separate from the military situation. how credible is the strategic putin's pressure in refugees the flow of
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into europe such that the europeans cry wave the white of january that are end the sanctions as long as reduces the pressure on the lever and therefore reduces of refugees? karen: i haven't heard that. it is entirely possible that i've missed something. as far as i can see for now, at least in their public statements, the europeans are hanging pretty tough. don't -- if anything, putin has increased pressure on aleppo. i think things are moving very quickly there. you are drawing a link between syria and ukraine. yeah. >> the sanction. karen: right. right. i haven't seen that. steve: i think that's very much like to seeould
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happen. i'm not so sure that's a grand bargain in anyone's interest to pursue right now. that's a notion in russia i think is completely misguided. the world eventually will accept the annexation of crimean. i just don't think that's going to happen soon. eventually perhaps maybe we'll have to deal with him again on, know, the iran nuclear talks that we did on this settlement. i think that at least in this government, there's going make sure the to sanctions imposed because of the remain in place. let alone the shoot down of the malaysian airliner. the woods yet. i think in his mind, he sees those as punitive measures that, know, eventually will just -- he'll wait out. whether that's part of some negotiated solution, you know, we'll see.
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back to syria. the kurds, how far can they go? you expect -- again do you the kurds will be there what kind ofand agreement and arrangement do you see between outside of the kurds. being driven by assad. we'll see what the best scenario the kurds in the future of syria and with whom they will have to work. expressed some reluctance to work with the continuebecause they in the handling of the security interest. kurds can work in
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the scenario and structure. elizabeth: could you state your name please? [inaudible] elizabeth: thank you. karen: you know, the americans the dealhat part of for helping the beyond was theye kurds would not move west of the euphrates river. the official position is they are not helping. i think they are all mixed together there. said, there are reports of kurdish pockets fights aleppo. the church believed there are many, many, many of them. is a betrayalhis in some ways. ofon't know what the reality that is. certainly the kurds have their objective and have their own goals in terms of what they are fighting for in syria. for now, the americans believe really they've been --
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the only effective fighting force against the islamic state ableria that they've been to find and because they have their a deal with leadership and believe that for the moment they can trust them, that's the direction they are in.g again it is made the turks very unhappy. i don't know what the kurdish long term objectives are in syria. certainly the -- you know, the have tried to down pkk withlink with the other groups that are actively fighting in turkey and against turks. i think those links are there. it is a sort of tactical alliance right now with the americans whether -- over the long term -- it works to anybody's advantage, i don't know. as long as nobody wants to put
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troops on the ground to fight against the islamic state in as a, it is sort of viewed good option let alone the only option that's available at moment. i agree with you. it does pose a lot of difficult the future.r steve: one of the things that i was stuck by when i was spending a lot of time with in iraq is it particularly relevant now is whether or not anybody has an appetite to re-open the issue of borders and partition. a -- an, there's independencere for among kurds in iraq certainly and essentially they have a sort autonomy.o you wonder whether or not -- i've heard this in russian ofculation and analysis whether or not it is time that both iraq partitions
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and syria as part of the longer term solution. being taken that very seriously in terms of policy right now. i think everybody knows that's opening of pandora's box. kind ofe ultimately a solution. i don't think it would be kurds. by a lot of elizabeth: yes, up here. a follow up on what saying, steven. what does it take to prop up assad? the postal enclave where -- what is and putin's short-term objective? actually mean? what is the, why -- hasislamic state opposition
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more of the threat to assad than than isis? i guess finally to put it a bit more stark, your last thetion that we've seen end. steve: i think the russian calculation is that the people who are on the front lines with the fighting the syrian are the people where you have to start bombing. those for the most part are not whoislamic state fighters as karen pointed out are in the other part of the country. they are intervening against the immediate threat to the government, at least government a lot of areas. you know, again, the -- with the airstrikes, being as deliberate theyey are and as blunt as are, not making a lot of
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discrimination about civilian casualties either, unfortunately. ofhink they can quite a lot impact. i mean we're only three weeks in. you know, but it seems to have, the way foreared some advances by government forces backed up by the iranians, hezbollah, and so forth. it does seem to be having an effect. whether or not it leads to re-opening decisions made when the ottoman empire came undone. is pie in the sky speculation. anld you envision international agreement where gold to the u.n. and re-draw borders? >> they are de facto on the ground. think de facto is what's already happening in areas. been willing to
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say let's talk about the independence. maybe -- i think obama said 19th centuryw, the power of politics are over when byders were drawn like this force. you know, putin re-draw the by force.ukraine you know, at least right now no that. prepared to stop they will sanction it. you wonder why there's not the we wouldich we thought move beyond is now back at least at the center of the discussion. i think just -- i agree with that. ont they are trying to do the ground now is to re-gain betweenof the road atakiah to operate lines and transport among the cities in the west. putin who has said this publicly, you know, the only force that can defeat the
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islamic state is the syrian military on the ground. with help from abroad coalition. order for the soviet military to turn the attention, it's got the pesky of opposition people first. that's what they are trying to do now. think they believe -- you can correct me -- but i think what's putin's strategy is that once we get rid of the people, the fact that theybody agrees islamic state is bad really won't be any other option. we'll all have to join together to get rid of them. meanwhile we will preserve our region. in the >> up here. thank you. sarah cobb. i'm at george mason.
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that, i was the director of the program at the harvard law school. i've had a lot of years thinking about negotiation processes. in your view, steven, about the title of your book is about, you know, metaphor of bizarre; right? wondered could you tell us a little bit about how he understands the way in which change?nts what's his view on how that works? because the fact that, you know, 1917 or something didn't happen, i don't know how he incorporates that into his own world view. possible toould be otherwise have a conversation with him, i can imagine, about creation ofon and the process for the over there.on you know, a political transformation. make sense to him. i don't know what kind of political transformation would
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make sense to him. simply the maintenance of a aven government is not strategy for political transformation or political change. quo asn see the status something he would like. i would wonder what's his theory about how political transformation would or should happen. steve: you know, it is interesting that only recently, that's in the last few years, the argument hear that what happened in 1917 was a foreign invasion that corrupted imperialhe great russia was taint the by a bunch foreigners. it was plotted in the west. marxism was a foreign infection that came into russia from abroad. putin is notn -- -- i don't think -- a great sense that you are thinking about these kinds of issues. morenk he's much
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instinctive. certainly his background not but as agp officer proud soviet boy. the hay day of soviet power. they put a man in space. it was the period of rebuilding war and so forth. not, you know, -- it wasn't in i think in the end it is a very conservative person. abrupt change. he sees things being evolutionary. so, i mean himself, i don't thek he's trying to restore soviet union. he is looking for a kind of creation of a stable political for russia which draws on a lot of things. instinctually almost. he's well read and read russian so and it is kind of picking and choosing from each of them the
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elements of the state ideology. about him.y it is about, you know, him as the leader of a new russia. is not quite the empire, it is not the soviet union. it has no real ideology behind the continuation of his own power and the central idea of the state being the stabilizing force that holds a society together. multiethnic and confessional society. to hold itmething together. for a lot of years, it was the and czars. communist ideology. they've been searching. not sure it is the model you are talking about or he thinks
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it applies to a country like syria. except in each of the cases the is clear. he sees when people take to the street that chaos follows. sees elections as ly destablizing. even his own experience the workedlection when he for the deputy mayor -- he was working for the mayor of st. petersburg. was one of the great democrats that emerged. withis the guy he worked during the early years. 1996, he faced re-election. he was a huge personality. like yelson. he thought just by the sheer his charisma, he could cruise to re-election. another deputy on a level of
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challenged him in the election. this.was infuriated by he thought it was an act of betrayal. he called him a judas. seemed that, you know, he the ideaconceive of that people could get rid of the adored.uite he was almost a father figure. election fair and square. it was a real, vibrant election. style,campaign, american you know, ads and so forth. so putin, it is a disaster. look what happens when you let the people decide. karen: i think to your specific have saidrussians they believe in the geneva process. they believe there should be transitional government formed of all of the players followed by an election. don't think that assad should be barred from the
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process however. think they if there's an orction, he should run someone who they feel equally confident will protect their interest there. so they, you know, -- their -- what they say is what's the problem? we all agree on what has to be done. we're here. know, -- assad, the government is ready to talk. your side? who are you speaking for? elizabeth: let me just -- one question. no one has a question. okay. all right. >> i don't understand the idea ended throughare negotiation. that's not what ended world war ii, it is not what end the civil war, it is not even what ended vietnam. the paris we had piece of cords. vietnams later, north
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anddes south vietnam conquers it. i don't see what you negotiate with the islamic state. enemy.e the these people are so extreme, outline what a negotiated solution would look like? karen: they are not part of the process. they are separate. the negotiations would be governmentad and his or assad's government and the opponents of his government. islamic state is something completely separate. think, is part of the russian point. they are saying we all agree have to fight against them. we all agree they are the bad guys. let's get this civil war against to all go fight them. nobody is arguing they should come to the negotiating table. is the people around who are syria.g over
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steve: i think you make an excellent point about world war civiltainly and even the war. both of those were followed by political processes. islamic state.he you can't negotiate with them. nonetheless, i think there has within syrian society a negotiation about how they are going to live together. people ands a nation. or we go to the question of partitions. true in iraq as well. islamic state isn't something you negotiate with. i don't think you can defeat by militaryemism power alone as well. i think in the end there has to a political process, not so talks, butce isolating the elements so they support in
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significant parts of the society. you'll always have the people willing to blow themselves up ideological reasons. the question is how you can incorporate the society that can completely marginalize the element of it. botabeth: thank you, >> we have panels with new hampshire voters on the 2016 elections. ", washington " congressman gop leadership
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and fiscal deadlines. then, representative chris van holleen talks about the budget and debt ceiling. "washington journal" is live every morning at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. you can join the conversation with your calls and comments on facebook and twitter. thursday, former secretary of state and presidential candidate hillary clinton testifies before the house committee on benghazi. ambassador christopher stephens and three other americans were killed in the attack. we have live coverage of her testimony on 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span3, c-span radio, and night on "q&a"
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from hillaryiences clinton's campaign. traveling alle the time, i got to know the people who traveled with her. i got to know her but well because she came back to the plane and talk to us. at the same time, i did not have the same sources at the campaign and high-level people i have now. function of is a the times, or a function of being in a more senior role. easterny night at 8:00 and pacific. announced he is willing to run for speaker of the house if all three republican groups give him
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their endorsement. here is his statement. paul ryan: tonight i shared with my colleagues what i think it would take to have a unified conference and for the next speaker to be successful. committee fee requests for what -- i made a few requests for what i think is necessary. first, we need to move up from an opposition party to being a proposition party. because we think the nation is on the wrong path, we have a duty to show the right one. the next speaker has to be a visionary one. second, we need to update our house rules so everybody can be a more effective representative. this is after all, the people's house.
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we need to do this as a team and it needs to include fixes that make sure we do not constantly experience leadership crises. conference should unify now, and not after the speaker election. the last point is personal. i cannot, and i will not, give up my family time. they may not be on the road as often as revia's speakers, but i pledge to make up for it with more time communicating our vision and message. what i told members is, if you can agree to these requests, and if i can truly be a unifying figure, i will gladly serve. unifying, that is fine as well. i am happy to stay where i am at the ways and means committee. here is how i see it.
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it is our duty to serve the people he weighed they deserve to be served. it is our duty to make the tough decisions this country needs to get the nation back on track. the challenges we face today are too difficult and too demanding to turn our backs and walk away. global terror, war on multiple fronts, and a government grown , unconstitutional, and out of touch. persistent poverty, a sluggish economy, flat wages, a skyrocketing debt. we cannot take on these challenges alone. now more than ever, we must work together. all of us are representatives of the people. all people. we have been interested by them to lead and yet, the people we not feel we are delivering on the job they hired us to do. we have become the problem.
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if my colleagues in trust me to be the speaker, i want us to become the solution. i have learned from my upbringing in janesville is nothing is ever solved a by blaming people. we can blame the president. we can blame the media. that is kind of a fun sometimes. we can point fingers across the aisle. we can dismiss our critics and criticism as unfair. people don't care about blame. people don't care about effort. people p or about results. results that are measurable. results that are meaningful. results that make a difference in their daily lives. i want to be clear about this. i think we are still unexceptional country with exceptional people and a republic clearly worth fighting for. the american idea is not too late to save.
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we are running out of time. make no mistake, i believe in the ideas and principles of a conservatism. the idea that the federal to facilitatenot dependency, but to create an opportunity for everyone. the idea that government should do less and do it better. the idea that those who serve should say what they mean and mean what they say. the principle that we should all determine the course of our own conceding the of right to those who think they are better than the rest of us. we will stand and fight when we must. surely, this presidency will require that. the commitment to natural rights. a commitment to common sense.
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to compassion and cooperation. genuine compassion commitment to conservatism. i can see to do this with reluctance. i have children who are in the formative, foundational years of their lives. i genuinely worry about the consequences that might agreeing to serve will have on them. will the experience the viciousness and incivility that we all face on a daily basis here? my greatest worry is the consequence of not stepping up. someday having my own kids ask me, why did you not do all you could do? why did you not stand and fight for my future when you had a
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chance to do so? none of us want to hear that question and none of us should ever have to. i have shown my colleagues what i think success looks like. what i think it takes to unify and lead, and how my family commitment comes first. i have left this decision in their hands. should they agree with these requests, i am happy and ready to get to work. thank you. sam? [inaudible] this is not a job i ever wanted or thought. i think our country is in desperate need of leadership.
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what assurances do you have? paul ryan: i have laid out for what i think it takes to have a successful speakership. it is in their hands and i will leave it up to my colleagues to decide if i am that unifying person. that is what we always do. >> in terms of a unanimous vote. paul ryan: i laid it out in the conference. of being the unified candidate. that has to be done as a whole. thank you very much. the house republican leaders meet wednesday to discuss their legislative agenda and
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leadership elections, including the race for speaker of the house. that is live at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span3. then, a hearing on global and homeland security threats. thefbi director and national counterterrorism center will testify. later, a house armed services subcommittee gets an update on thef35 fighter program from executive director of the program. 3:30 p.m.fve at eastern. >>'s signature feature of booktv is our all day coverage of book fairs. we're live in the nation's
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heartland in madison. that diat the end of the month e will be back on the boston coast. then, the louisiana book festival in baton rouge. at the end of november, we are alive from florida for the miami book fair international. and the national book awards from new york city. fairs andof the festivals this fall on c-span2's booktv. members of a columbia university task force discuss iraq.orce building in this is one hour.
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>> thank you for coming. there isou believe inevitable independence from iraq for iraqi kurdistan. the report secured by a task force organized i the program on peace building and rights of instituteniversity's for the study of human rights. the task force chair to my right is the ambassador. is foreign policy resume extensive and includes serving as the third highest ranking official on bill clinton's national security council and then an alternate u.s. delegate to the united nations. she served as a foreign-policy advisor to a number of democratic residential campaigns
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into the late massachusetts senator edward kennedy. to her right is david phillips. david and i are old friends and go back to the wars in the balkans. experience inve the balkans, middle east, and south asia. he is the director of the program on peace building and rights. as an advisor to the united nations and the u.s. state department and is the author of numerous books and on foreign policy. no matter how you feel on the question of the iraqi kurds independence, this report could not be timelier. iraq, syria, and turkey have large kurdish populations. the way i see it, it is hard to argue with the report's
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essential premise, or one of them. raq and syria are partitions. it is all but impossible to see how they can be put back together again. more than half a million people a populationhalf has been uprooted and some 4 million people are refugees. i was there twice last year and saw entire towns destroyed and depopulated. i have no idea how that will be rebuilt so people can live there again. i was also in iraq. the country is awash in millions of internal displays and refugees. isis has been driven back, but the iraqi armies and shiite militias have failed to liberate. there is little chance that mosul will be recovered anytime soon.
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ands financially strapped living through ethnic and a carrion corruption. political instability. one of the only cohesive political units that has continued to function in this upheaval is iraqi cordis dan whose as people have here and kurdistan, whose people have longed for decades to be free. they face daunting security and economic hurdles on delivering on that promise. this report charts a difficult and challenging course to that goal. i will turn it over to nancy and david. we will take a questions. there is a microphone there at the side. i ask you to please, identify yourself when you do ask questions. you very much,
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jonathan. take you for long work and these war zones. it is wonderful to see some cold friends here and i appreciate you all coming out on short notice. we are very delighted. i would like to say thank you to david phillips to my pride. david has spent decades analyzing the issues. also want to thank columbia university and its program on peace building and human rights at columbia's university institute for the study of human rights. it has been a wonderful host and provided a lot of support to the project. i also want to thank the task force members. include former u.s.
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officials, u.s. and european scholars and activists, who have many decades of experience in kurdish affairs. we met regularly since april of this year to discuss strategies, , and findings. a number of us visited the region. thent to thank all of members for their participation and expertise and time. i am delighted to welcome brendan o'leary, who has been a he the most knowledgeable on constitutional issues in the region. thank you for your contribution. christina, who has been a key soccer on these issues. on these issues.
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also, the atlantic council provided invaluable support. likehose of you who would us to mail few copies of the pretty looking glossy report, there is a sign-up sheet on the cookie tray. we would be happy to send you a copy. to review theed recommendations. i will talk briefly. david will talk briefly. we will answer some questions and end at 1:00. thisnathan mentioned, region is one in prices. you have the collapse of the iraqi states, the brutal sweep of isis, the flood of 4 million refugees and another 6 million displaced in syria. have of the country has moved from syria. the latest moves by russians have upped the ante, propping up the assad regime and increasing
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the carnage. these events should be a wake-up call for u.s. policymakers and international policymakers that the current course is failing. the u.s. is gradually shifting from some of its policies and recognition of this fact. the midst of this chaos, we want to highlight and overlooked element. the study toward the independence of the iraqi kurds. this is part of a larger puzzle, but we want to focus on this one under analyzed fact in hopes that it will serve for further thinking and further analysis of the kurdish question going forward. iraqi kurds have to make very tough decisions. with respect to iraqi kurdistan's march toward
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doneendence, if it is correctly, the march toward an iraqi kurdistan is a win-win for the region. i will summarize the key findings in three broad areas and turn it over to david. i will talk about the need for the international community to work with, and not against, iraqi kurds independence. the need for the international community to build a more unified effort to combat isis. lastly, the need for the international community to help the kurds address the overwhelming refugee crisis. first, our recommendation is for the international community to stop blocking the iraqi kurds march toward independence. if you look back, they have been building a to fact of since 1991.
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2003,he 12 years since the iraqi kurds have thoughts to work with the central government in baghdad. with the collapse of iraq and baghdad's obstructionism they will longer do so. during the negotiations of the 2005 constitution the kurds made a deal to remain in iraq if iraq were truly federal, democratic, and decentralized. such an iraq does not exist. , thely of last year kurdistan regional government announced plans for a referendum on independence, which will set the stage for a declaration of independence. rg understands it must not act hurriedly or impulsively and understands it must not do so, lest to invite conflict.
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we do not yet know how and when iraqi kurdistan will seek independence. it is not in the interest of the international community to block the kurds. we argue the international community should work with the regional government with baghdad to ensure the process is consulted to, democratic, and stable. iraqi kurds march toward independence, even with careful consideration, has risks. the international community will also face challenges as the iraqi kurds consolidate their state. we lay out a few recommendations in the report. them. highlight a few of first, a recommendation to the
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iraqi government. result its outstanding territorial issues. in accordance with article 140 of the iraqi constitution, there is a referendum. is regarding the disputed areas with monitoring by the international community. if the government of iraq is unwilling or unable to do so, we recommend the kurdistan regional government conduct the referendum with drun inter strong international assistance. first, reassure turkey and i run that the krg harbors no plan for a greater kurdistan incorporating parts of syria, turkey, or iran. work to ensure iraq, neighboring
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states, and the international community are kept fully informed. third, develop special power-sharing arrangements for territories, should they vote for independence following the referendum. ngage the governments in a dialogue on political issues such as boundaries and economic issues. the recommendation to the international community includes understanding that iraqi kurdistan is moving toward independence. work with the kurdistan regional government and iraq, and their neighbors, to support the development of a transparent map and timetable for the iraqi kurds to separate from iraq. transparency will enhance stable post referendum relations. provide direct assistance to kurdistan's electro commission.
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internationaleet standards. dispatch monitors to make sure the referendum is free and fair. on theouch base need for a stronger effort against isis. the kurds rt to the fight against isis in syria and iraq. we were impressed with the u.s. effort to support the kurds to keep isis from overrunning the city in 2013. the international community has a interest in making iraqi kurdistan a better ally in the fight against isis. with us-madearmed state-of-the-art military equipment seized from the iraqi security forces. u.s. cooperation with the model for a
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successful security cooperation that should be expanded as the fight against isis expands. first, our recommendation is for the kurdistan regional government to strengthen its own ability to take on these tasks. for affairs should enhance the civilian controls and must transform into a professional army by defining salary structures and offering regular pensions and other retirement on offense. -- retirement benefits. it should support the ministry efforts to create nonpartisan battalions, in which the recruits do not affiliate by political party. recommendations to the international community with respect to the security against
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isis would be first, to support a more unified effort and both syria and iraq to defeat isis who cooperation among kurdish groups with the necessary training and equipping to when. continue to review the military needs, as the isis threat and the role of the kurds evolves. they need immediate provisions of antitank weapons to more effectively defend themselves of explosiveith devices. we need to train and equip with more sophisticated weapons, as needed. todate, the u.s. has managed deliver weapons quickly to the kurds, despite their insistence on first seeking approval from baghdad. should that become a problem, there is a presidential waiver that could be invoked to deliver weapons directly to the kurds.
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the ongoing critical security needs in the region, over time we recommend the u.s. should develop plans to place a u.s. military base inside iraqi kurdistan. it would only become fully operational should iraqi kurdistan become independent. given the critical needs there, the kurds are welcoming, friendly, and good fighters. they could advance u.s. security interests dramatically. lastly, i will touch on the humanitarian crisis. the u.n. office of humanitarian affairs estimates there are a .2 million people in iraq that need support. 1.6 million people of which are in kurdistan. the government is struggling to provide relief, settlement, and protection for those 1.6 million refugees. iraqi kurdistan's population has
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grown 28%, creating budgetary issues and social tensions. the suspension by baghdad of payments has exacerbated the tensions. those payments were stopped by baghdad in february of 2014. the world bank estimates that the cost of stabilizing the situation in kurdistan is $1.4 billion. couple of recommendations in this section to the kurdistan regional government and the international community for consideration. one would be to position the foristan government donations from the international community by developing a plan thative recovery focuses on stabilization during the transition from relief to development. to the international community, we suggest they invited the krg
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to present this recovery plan at a special session of the un security council. methoduld be an informal to allow nonmember states of the security council to address the security council in an informal session. we also suggest providing enhanced direct donors to agencies froof the krg. this would include the regionally based ngo's that assist with the crisis. certainly, no new state is ready for independence. communitynternational can help the kurds meet these challenges. now, let me turn it over to david who will present recommendations to both of the u.s. and the key challenges the kurds are facing as they prepare for independence. david: thank you, nancy. there is a old kurdish adage
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which says the kurds have no friends but the mountains. thebmit to you today that united states have no better friend in iraq and syria than the kurds. influenceo exert its to help iraqi kurdistan be viable, stable and secure, advancing its progress toward ultimate independence. focus needs not only to be on iraqi kurdistan, but on regional issues. the u.s. is uniquely placed to iraq,its influence in turkey, and syria. we have seen recent announcements of plans to provide ammunition and maybe, some weapons to the people's protection units. they will need more
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sophisticated weapons to successfully establish a viable buffer along the in addition there needs to be more frequent and higher-level contacts between u.s. officials and the authorities. including members of the democratic union party, the pyd. the purpose of these discussions are multi fold, including discussions about reinforcing the partnership with the pyd and its commitment to kurdish autonomy and a reconstituted syria. we all have watched with great concern the resumption of the war in turkey. the u.s. needs to encourage both ankara and the kurds to resume secession of hostilities, to go back to the negotiating table. the trend towards escalating violence which was initiated in a large-scale by president arduan is not constructed to the
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broader girls of turkey or turkish citizens, including those of kurdish origin. as far as the u.s. role towards iraqi kurdistan, we recommend that the u.s. should establish a future of kurdistan project involving u.s. officials, private experts, and iraqi kurds in order to develop a capacity building plan for iraqi kurdistan's democratic and economic development as well as its security. so that kurdish issues don't slip between the bureaucratic cracks in washington, we recommend the appointment of a special envoy for kurdish issues, bridging the groep -- gap between euros of eastern affairs, european affairs at the state department. this special envoy would serve
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as an interagency focal point within the u.s. government. it would also help to coordinate policies between the u.s. and european countries. columbia university invited the cochair of the pyd two young states. that has not been acted upon. you should be issued a visa so that he can come to the united states and attend high-level meetings in washington. nancy spoke about the economic crisis facing iraqi-kurdistan. the budget crisis is exacerbated by the suspension of oil payments from baghdad, the depressed energy prices in world markets, and also the collapse of investor confidence due to the invasion by isis. the kurdistan regional
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government has stepped up and absorbed and honest costs thing for the military and assistance. it also has had to bear the expense of its security in the fight against isis. we offer some recommendations to the krg and the united states. in order to revitalize the economy in the kurdistan region, the krg should review and strengthen the investment law. steps are needed to create a predictable environment for doing business through a legal system that governs commerce and property rights, as well as taxes and tariffs that are levied in a consistent and transparent way. the krg has made enormous progress, but it has done so in an adhoc fashion which is not systematic. it needs to create balance sheet
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that harmonizes its budgetary practices across the iraqi kurdistan. iraqi kurdistan has a cash-based economy. it needs to develop its banking sector, reduced cash-based transactions, and promote foreign direct investment by creating special economic and industrial zones. i am going to speak briefly about the issues surrounding the kurdistan government. progress towards finalizing iraqi-kurdistan's draft constitution stalled in 2006. there is an ongoing debate about whether to have a polar entry system or a strong executive presidency. recently, there have been conflicts over the term of president barzani and the presidency law. we recognize the need for
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internal reforms and the importance of ensuring those reforms through legislation and also a new constitution. in the words of a krg official, the dispute over the presidency is an unfortunate self inflict it won't. it comes at a moment when iraqi-kurdistan is on the brink of realizing its historic national aspirations. i have interacted with kurds over 30 years and have always found that they will contest to the 11th hour. at the end of the day, kurds know what suffering is about. they will put the national interest above self interest. we call upon officials to keep that in mind so that we can move beyond this impasse over the presidency. specifically, the report recommends that the krg settle the controversy peacefully over whether to have a presidential
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system, a parliamentary system, or a combination of the two. the new constitution which is long overdue should meet and exceed the highest international standards for individual human rights, as well as the mystic, religious, ethnic, and national minority rights, including provisions for local autonomy. so that minority groups that are living in iraqi-kurdistan feel as though they are fully participating and have their interests upheld. the krg needs to promote women's rights more vigorously by treating civil codes to promote equal rights, honor killings, and enforcing the ban on female genital relations. whenever i raise these concerns with kurdish officials over the years, they rightfully point out that the status of human rights in iraqi-kurdistan is much better than human rights in iraq as a whole.
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as an old friend of the kurds, we feel it is incumbent to point out areas were they can still make improvements and to encourage them to take those steps. we also recognize the importance of transparency. the failures and problems resulting from corruption and lack of transparency risk undermining prosperity and political stability in iraqi-kurdistan, as it would in any country in the middle east or in the world. our recommendations to the krg involve the prosecution and punishment of corrupt officials, regardless of their rank. civil servants need to be provided clear anticorruption guidelines, a code of conduct, especially when it comes to contracting. of course, the rule of law overall needs to be enforced. the data on oil revenue should be published so that it is known to all. in addition, there is a wealth of knowledge that exists in the
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international community on anticorruption activities. links to the un's global compact, transparency international, the industries transparency initiative are all relevant to kurdistan's economic development. the comparable agency, including a complaints hotline, is possible for investigating instances of alleged corruption, would also improve the environment for doing business. my grandfather had an expression. he would say that the future is beckoningly bright. for kurdistan, we can say that is the case. the hydrocarbon sector is a pillar of the economy. it is estimated that they may have as much as for the 5 billion barrels of recoverable oil -- 45 billion barrels. as well as large natural gas reserves. the problem for the krg is how to transport and monetize it hydrocarbon resources.
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traditional sectors such as agriculture are also important to the kurds who live off of land. it is a largely rural society. tourism has potential. if visitors can travel freely and insecurity. -- in security. they need to invest in human capital and upgrade of rubber and systems, moving further toward the establishment of a modern information age economy. the overall economy in iraqi-kurdistan today suffers from over employment by the state and the lack of an economist banking system which limits financing and capital flows. there are important recommendations for each of these sectors. for the hydrocarbon fields, we propose that the krg diversify its expert options. it is also important that
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international oil companies working in iraqi-kurdistan are insured they will be paid as soon as the krg's economic crisis is addressed very concerns over nationalization of their assets should also be addressed. when it comes to banking and credit, there is a need for a central bank for iraqi kurdistan and eight transition from a cash-based economy to one with better banking and financing. you also need to foster a banking culture where citizens have public confidence in order to deposit their money into banks. this needs a legal framework for retail and commercial banking. new york is a banking center. there are a number of bankers that i have spoken to there who would be more than pleased to lend their expertise and networks to the kurdistan regional government. on the question of food security which is also related to water resources, we propose the conduct of a confidence of study of water resources.
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critical to sustainable agriculture, production, food security. this would also enable the use of more modern irrigation systems. the u.s. geological service has technical expertise that could be usefully brought to bear in partnership with the k rg. tourism has great potential. we talked before about the need for security. that is paramount. initially, tourism should be marketed to visitors from iraq and other middle eastern countries. as the situation improves, tourism outreach could be expanded to western and asian countries. we learned a great deal from christina about the question of education and human capital. there is a large percentage of the population which is employed by the state. steps are needed to strengthen the private sector by expanding employment benefits such as
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pensions, health care, unemployment insurance. overall, we recognize the significant steps that iraqi-kurdistan has made over these years. my first visit there was in 1992 in february. there was no electricity. no heating. you go there today, it is a thriving metropolis. it is a well-managed city. the kurds have made the most of their opportunity for self-rule. it's progress is threatened by the economic state. in order to continue to develop its society economy, be a more full security partner with the united states, we cannot sit on the sidelines. we need to step up and work more
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closely and all of the areas that nancy and i have touched upon. i will cause their and asked jonathan if he has any questions. and we can open it to before. >> thank you very much. i am going to take advantage of the moderators prerogative and ask at least one question. it is difficult enough for an aspiring independent state at peace to achieve independence. to accomplish the steps that you have set out in your report. setting down this path in the midst of a war with no apparent and insight -- end in sight is an everest sized challenge. timeframe is a vital element. can you talk about how you see that? how you avoid the major risk of another internal conflict corrupt in between baghdad and the kurds that would effectively, i think, eliminate any chance for liberating moesal?
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that will be heavily dependent upon the kurds cooperation. >> first of all, no one is more conscious of the challenge of the region than the kurds. it is a tough neighborhood with many challenges. therefore, they make it very clear that they will move towards independence in a deliberate, careful way that involves consultation. they are not going to do anything percipitously. what is driving this is the iraqi regime. the unified iraq is a fiction. they have agreed to work with us, they have tried. baghdad left them. they didn't leave baghdad. one of the reasons we are doing this report is to have a wake-up call to policymakers that there
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is so -- no such thing as a unified iraq. we need to begin to help that process go forward. what happens to the sunnis in iraq that are welcoming isis because they would rather have isis than the iranian backed militia that are shiia? that is a bad choice. in terms of a timeframe and the exact conditions, president ours on he told us he was first worried about isis. i think it is very much undecided. the things that are decided is they are not going to work through baghdad again, they will work towards independence. his life is a book and of the aspirations of iraqi-kurdistan. he was born on the days and all of that. we were certainly assured there is no precipitous action.
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to have the international community ignore the fact that they are not working to baghdad anymore is a mistake. >> it is important to see baghdad for what it is, not for what we wish it were. the supply of weapons from russia to the base required oversight. through iran and iraq. u.s. officials on september 5 raised concerns with iraqi counterparts. they were ignored. we learned on a monday morning reading the international news that iran, iraq, russia, and syria have formed an agreement to share intelligence. the u.s. needs to recognize who its friends are in the region. who are its adversaries.
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after having spent joint of dollars and lost thousands of men and women who were not only killed but also maimed, i would have expected that washington would have had greater insolence over baghdad's behavior. it hasn't been acting in these recent weeks. as a friend or an ally. the kurds, over many years, have demonstrated that they sure values with the west. they are working for closer -- with -- they are worthy of closer cooperation and partnership. >> we have seen the united states shift positions on independence. they have supported it, partitioned bosnia to try to get peace there. in your discussions with american officials, did you sense any movement towards shifting out of the one iraq policy? >> no. [laughter] >> i am going to differ with nancy a little bit. the public posture of these officials is adamantly supporting the one of iraq
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policy. i think there is a growing awareness in washington that iraqi kurdistan will become independent. as we recommend in the report, the u.s. should not stand in its way. nor should it encourage the disintegration of iraq. the u.s. needs to be prepared for all outcomes, including the referendum on independence and ultimately the declaration of independence. we should not be caught flat-footed and in a position where we are not able to provide for our kurdish friends in the region. >> i would just add that they recognize the disintegration of iraq as a challenge. i would argue that the policy on how to address those challenges is lagging behind events on the ground quite radically. >> let's open it up to questions. there is a microphone are there. -- a microphone is right there. identify yourself. >> i would like to ask both of you to extract -- extrapolate on the implication of an
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independent kurdistan, the partition of iraq and possibly syria, as well. shouldn't we also be prepared for the reality of a shia stan, suunistan? isn't this the first step on that road? >> jonathan mentioned the artificial boundaries that were drawn are very much in question. i have been going to the middle east for decades. last year was the first time i heard people openly saying these borders are being challenged. i would say that they are being challenged less by the kurds. they are not talking about trying to affect the kurds in turkey or europe. they recognize that is not something they and salt. they are trying to protect themselves. the bigger question for the
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international community is what is going to happen to the sunnis? isis has taken over the sunni areas of iraq. it is taking over much of syria. what is going to happen to them, who is going to be protecting them? when we foot the power balance in iraq in 2003, we disenfranchised the sunnis and
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they haven't had a protector since. that is a question to me that deserves great thinking by focusing on the atlantic council. in this room of what is going to happen there. eventually, integrity will be restored to both iraq and syria. isis will not stay there forever. how many people die in the process is a big question. i would argue that 200,000 have died in syria. twice that will die before this is done. it is an absolute horrific challenge. we need more efforts to retake those. you have to look at who is going to be the ongoing protector. >> what is in it for the sunnis if, for example, any rock they always ring -- even with the kurds taken out of the equation, they will be an even smaller minority. many of the kurds are sunni. >> the international community will not let isis ferments terror and destruction in iraq and syria. it will be defeated. i have confidence of that. that is a longer conversation. i will ask david to jump in. >> on the subject -- of sunnistan, there is one, it is called the islamic state. they are terrified by the islamic state which exert full control over those territories. we need to be honest about how we view the sunni regions and iraq. i also want to underscore that when we talk about the past
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independence, we are speaking only about iraqi-kurdistan. we admire, i admire the steps that syrian kurds have taken to establish grassroots marker see, sustainable environment of practices, women's rights. we are not proposing a greater kurdistan. he may someday be a confederate part of syria which also establishes links to iraqi-kurdistan. we are not envisioning a greater kurdistan that would absorb territories in syria, turkey, or iran. we are explicit in our recommendations that the arg is to make clear to its neighbors that it harbors no such ambitions. >> it is not our impression that that is the case. i think that is where the iraqi-kurds are.
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the larger question of what happens to the sunnis and iraq, i have yet to hear a coherent answer from anywhere. >> to continue the atlantic council run, i am a senior fellow at the line to counsel. dealing with oil and gas in eurasia. my question is can we separate -- a separate package of measures that would facilitate the investment into oil and gas in iraqi kurdistan? you mentioned moving away from the cash economy. that is important. strengthening the legal framework of the oil and gas law, strengths and -- strengthen the institutions. they have an outstanding oil and gas minister, but when it comes to transactions, things are not
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always smooth. how could you describe the measures that could really put krg and eventually independent kurdistan on the map in terms of oil and gas? >> transparency is going to be important. it is going to have to develop its hydrocarbon sector. there needs to be some kind of revenue or profit sharing so that the people of iraqi kurdistan benefit more fully. there was a very strong strategic partnership between turkey and iraqi-kurdistan. it was based on the commercial and trade links between turkey and markets in iraq and iraqi kurdistan. also, the transport of oil largely goes to the port of jay on in eastern military and -- in the mediterranean. the krg sent an envoy to turkey asking for help, any turks on several reasons not to assist.
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the first was the presidential election coming up in august 10, the second reason was possession by isis of turkish hostages. we need to restore that strategic partnership. that cannot happen in a vacuum. that needs to be concert with turkey addressing its own kurdish issues. awarding greater cultural and political rights to the 18 million to 20 million kurds who live in turkey. they would create an environment that is conducive to reinvigorating a strategic partnership.
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>> anybody else? >> i think i will just take the question. >> i am david pollock, i'm with the washington policy institute. i have been treated -- had the privilege to host many kurdish delegations. you are all invaded -- invited. my question is about iran. i think that while turkey is, in my judgment, still very much opposed to full independence just for iraqi kurdistan, leave aside kurds anywhere else, iran is even more adamantly opposed. i wanted to know what, specifically, you would recommend for the united states, the international community, and
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for the kurds themselves by way of addressing that? >> i think most of the world right now strongly opposes unilateral declarations of independence. that is not what the kurds are talking about. they are defective independent and have been since 91. page tried to work after the invasion of 2003, but as we have seen, that has fallen apart. i think you will never get anything but acquiescence from the neighbors. it is a question of how can you have the support of the u.s., the european union, and others to say this is a process with a clear international roadmap, observers, and a process which will put at ease the aspirations or a pen kurdistan state.
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aspirations for a sudden independence with no preparation is not on the table. both of us have been going there for decades. the kurds are not going to work through baghdad anymore. they are building up these elements of a state that will help it be a stable pocket of democracy in the region which is in the united states interest to support in a responsible way. we did not hear anyone talking about anything precipitous or sudden. no time -- no timetable on the table. we are try to have a wake-up call so that we can manage it precisely so that turkey, iran, syria are part of the discussion going forward. ultimately, to be a state, you have to go to the un security council. all of that is way down the road. i don't see russia agreeing to do that with the security council anytime soon. there are lots of steps. they declared independence ears
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ago, and it still does not have a flag flying at the run. this case, in particular, caution will be the name of any process. >> it may also be a model given the fact that there are a lot of people who are pushing for greater albanian. it has remained separate that that is not a movement. i was just there in february. macedonia has a large ethnic albanian population. albania is right next door, too. perhaps that is a model. i do not know. >> let me add a quick point. the development of institutions and iraqi kurdistan can have a positive effects, not only on kurds in the neighboring states, but also among those countries as a whole. we envision kurds in iraq being an engine for reform and democratization. for iraq and its neighbors.
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>> that is exactly what those governments do not want. next democratization is a process, not an event. we may have to be patient. ande may have to be patient use all of our persuasion and resources to try to advance that. >> it is a long-term process. >> good afternoon. i'm the kurdistan regional government representative to the united states. i'd like to thank you for taking on this task and thank you as a the for coming to conclusion that we are on a steady march toward independence. there will be an independent kurdistan. i would love to invite all of you to come to our celebration. my question really is, i would love for you to flesh oor


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