tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN February 17, 2016 12:00am-2:01am EST
i remember watching casualty count go up. 120 dead. june, 2007. everybody was a person. american. that june 2007 that sacrifice would turn time. it did. brought basic security. various then build structures. >> thank you. ambassador jeffrey, you are there later under obama. reflect a little on what ambassador crocker said. was u.s. prepared to act as middleman?
bring in components of iraqi society together. as u.s. mission changed by time you were ambassador? all-star with a story. it involves writing. he visited us. he walked into my office. i said, only you could say the rack. embarrass his and answer, but many of you can imagine how he responded. we laughed. ryan, dave petraeus, bush, most important way, iraqi people save direct. -- safety rock. -- iraq. looking better. constitutional system care democracy.
people who don't do well are driven out. managed to stem tide of isis. changed. in the world since that time. after 1987-1989, we do not face real existential major global challenges. be an't each problem taiwan or taiwan or columbia or iraq as a specific problem. in a generally positive world. things are shifting. not in our direction.
particularly, not in the middle iraq was getting caught up in that when i was there. he came in and, oppositiony on a dealer clinton vote in 2009 -- 2002. he voted against it. he was going to withdraw troops. actually, he did not have to because u.s. government agreed in 2008 and security agreement we would withdraw by 2011. obama came in with a double success story. iraq was relatively stable. casualties were down.
on a glide to withdraw. he gave a speech in february, 2009, where he endorsed the entire bush administration program for iraq. calling for a country that would and ally andable, friend of the united states. and partner in struggle against terrorism. caveat is that a little bit by saying cannot be on every street corner. cannot solve all problems. iraqis have to step up. optimistic about it. through 2010.ned he's iraq is a success. he saw something fixed. focus was on afghanistan. iraq was on automatic pilot.
business of experience previously were concerned that things might shift and a bad direction given the clouds looming in the region. from iran. recommended at the end of 2010 after government formed that we try to keep troops on. and of january, beginning february, obama took the decision to do that. we announced at beginning of june publicly to american people that we were going to try to keep some troops on. ending america's war in iraq and bringing troops on. stopped being the policy. it was to keep troops on.
obama was a good sport and willing to try. we can argue. obama's heart was in it. i had instructions to negotiate. iraqi parties agreed that we could keep military personnel on send adid not want to status of forces agreement granting american truby's immunity to iraqi parliament. they thought it would blow up. and when i get past. and appended assessment, was that probably right. secondly, and a nonemergency time when iraqis did not feel a major security threat, getting that these of paper from the possibly notr was smart. regretfully, we
wound up executing 2008 plan and got overtures out at the end of 2000 -- 2011. obama administration did not walk away from iraq. plan to use embassy as platform. ironically, before mozilla fell, model toed it as the withdraw from afghanistan of how to do things after 2016. thin model fell and afghanistan got in trouble. model did not work. could go into details about special forces. well thought out, problem, do not have boots on grounds, do not have american military presence, potentially dangerous and difficult place,
washington's ability to do hard things and focus on a very important, but from washington , indpoint peripheral issue the green, drops and drops. some of that is my fault. some of it is washington's fall. some of it is maliki's fall. point is, could've done better after 2012. we did not. i want to move on to talk about popular mobilization forces. 60,000e possibly possibly 80,000 shiite militia men under arms in iraq. helped infighting in some areas. other areas, u.s. tries hard to keep them out of the fighting. role, all parties in
iraq are very worried about what the future is going to be. how can they be demobilized and disarmed or properly integrated into state military structure? we experience with shiite militia previously. general.urn to the we talked about this before. he refers to the march madness which is march 2008 when promised her maliki decided unilaterally time was now to go after -- and lunch military campaign that could have failed if we did not back them up. reflecting on iraqi government experience in dealing with militias and bring them back
under control, integrating them into iraqi security forces and into interior ministry, police forces other structures. what is the lesson that we could learn as we prepare to confront large challenge trying to deal with this? >> thanks. comment, looking back, a lesson learned we should take forward to new strategy. perfect, which is for strategist is essence. understood into a very clear. stop violence. sakura population. allow institutions to mature. allow security forces to move.
40,000 additional troops. among population, don't try to work to work. separate reconcilable from irreconcilable. destroy reconcilable's. that, understand it is about population. hence, ways, means always standard by which to test strategy. an alignment during that time. we make mistakenly lumped together pms and militias. there are nationalists and iraqi friend of baghdad describe this to me.
a ronnie's circuit militias. that nationalst militias who answered the call could be brought back into the fold in some measure. they were reconcilable. they could be brought in and made part of the institution. question, hadnd to put this back in the bottle? sponsored circuit militias? similar to pass. that's the question. daesh is being granted away at. you could see a way forward. internal problems in iraq are deep and have been deepened during time. you could still see a way forward there. militias aligned with iran more than iraq, have you
contained them and get them back into the bottle? greatest threat to iraqi stability and security moving forward. an open question. >> thank you. ambassador crocker, continue talking about reining in militias. you have extensive experience. afghanistan, pakistan. and lebanon. can you reflect on lessons that come to mind in terms of trying down militia forces, particularly in the context of weak central government? prime minister maliki launching military action against -- doing so on basis of strong electoral support. unequivocally backing of
significant proportion of iraqi people. intentions, cannot say same about prime minister abadi. how does a weak central government to really go about beginning to confront armed actors, many of whom have quite clearly got political ambitions echoed reflecting on that time, 2008, march and april, thinking about an event in basra, much deploy iraqiort to forces into basra to bring order. prime minister had to withdraw. pretty stark contrast between 2008 and now.
thing, what we tried to do, don't get trapped by experience. this and that happens, therefore it would apply everywhere else. really hard. lebanon. years in two tours. second as ambassador. i see parallels. lebanon andlace in what is going on in iraq. weak central governments. iran playing a very significant role. anyone who thought that iran nuclear deal was going to bring a new era of a gentle iran in the region is nuts.
what you are saying in iraq or syria is indication of that. iraq, isare seeing in old iranian playbook. written in the early 80's and the wake of israeli invasion. working with syria, they created what became hezbollah. i mentioned avoiding getting captured by experience, mine was a survivor of 1983 bombing of embassy. and beirut. i was there when the barracks when it. brought by combination of iran and syria and a local proxy. hezbollah. p.m. you is not monochromatic.
nationalist elements. individualsand taking instructions from iran. this will be really hard. for iraqi government. if you cannot deploy military unit into basra, maintain it. establish order. maliki could do that in 2008 with our help. you are in trouble. a way forward might come through acceptance of militias. accounts, basra not a
very fun place to live. no rule of law. militia role. same as beirut. people get sick of that. to start opportunity to gain ground back. this will be hard. as we withdrew, politically and militarily, did not end a war. simply left battlefield to adversaries. in this case iran and their proxies. and to isil. will be a hugely difficult lift. job as task force, define problem. various dynamics.
in methodical way. set out possible courses of action. this will be externally difficult. >> ambassador jeffrey, reflect a iran's endgame in iraq. betweenrelationship maliki and iranians and how it --changed between a body premise or a body and iranians. where does iran get its power and influence from? what is their medium term goals? >> take a step back. given we are in a different world than a few years ago. we could look at iran and iraq
as separate. problem andran syria and russia problem in middle east. number one problem in region. and also isis. first, what is he ran trying to do? all, observers believe it is try to establish something like a regional power position. unite the shia with a early sovietf union and 1920's which both had official diplomatic relations as a state and political ideological movement as a party. iran has toinger,
decide whether it is a country or a cause. as a cause, borders are important. they all melted together. what is important is iran's advancing is interests in the region all the way to the mediterranean. fromboth drawing support and then coming to the rescue of local allies. typically but not entirely shia arabs. if that is framework, you have to deduce from that how that applies to iraq. iraq particularly important for iran neighboring state. of a rant-iraq war. competing center of shia islam. but, in the state system, an independent state.
in the world of the middle east, an arab state. in a region that take that seriously. iran has no totally free hands. phenomenon not all that different from beirut. governments, weak major forces able to bear arms and serve as militia. and more loyal to their and or iranian surrogates than government they are able to exercise tremendous influence. we see it every day. i rate iran's influence as higher than that of u.s., a rant influence in iraq and ours are not higher than iraqi people themselves. push and pull. body, to maliki in a
thati had a lot of traits contributed to rise of isis and alienation of sunni-arabs and the kurds. leader, he would stand up to the iranians. feeling -- a good feeling -- he was trying to play americans and irradiance off and balance each other. body is a man a sympathetic to u.s. and west. also, iraqi patriot. has to be aware of what is happening. in shia coalition and his country. and a different position the maliki was five years ago. to be provocative here, jim
touched on iran-iraq war. something little remembered in this country, but never to be forgotten there. look at key figures in iran today likes omani, commissioned before war started and went through hole eight years. seven of the near the front. if getting blown up once affects her worldview, think about seven years on a western front will do. looking at players and iran doing in iraq. pushing them into
sin he areas along with revolutionary guard. hypothesis: salon he and others in hierarchy in iran seeking to innow what cannot be done 1988, gain definitive total victory over a rock. by fragmenting it. way to bring that about. islamic state does not run iran. a good foil for iranians. and vice versa. use that. mobilize population. country mobilization. chalice in 1988 may turn into victory cut. others.
understand why iran is pursuing line of action to further national security interest in iraq, but iraqis -- iraqis were with iranians and those interests. you spoke with petraeus , really fascinating opportunity charactersights into now very influential. potentially as conduits for iranian influence. actors,insight into what do they get out of the relationship? how are they potentially manipulating relationship?
i had to meet with -- head of the court and very active and aligns. you see them on tv. it was obvious back then where he received marching orders and support. on open display today. continuation of trends we saw been. i would say, looking at toward strategy in iran in iraq. strategy -- deal with iran. major player.
notion of interest aligns with ours, they are aligned in opposite directions. to think we could work with them and merge our interest is totally false. we must understand that. we saw that throughout our time in iraq in the past and must account for that in future. >> ambassador jeffreys, moving to turkey, you were ambassador before moving to iraq. 'sat do you think turkey strategic goals are in iraq? -- ss deployment ssess that.
what are they trying to get at? them to get out. get out of iraq. no great success. explain. i'd enough anyone can explain day today. all actors in region acting through different prism than 6-8 years ago. turkey had interest and made apparent. comfortable and uncomfortable ways. looking at specific problem. turkey more than anybody except saudi arabia believer in reality
of russian-iranian and others. actions informed by conceptions and misconceptions and experiences interact. in context of dealing with threat. degree, think they are doing this to provoke us to change policy. play more active role dealing with that. i think, other days, signed allies to his cause. friends in kurdistan. whole controversial great areas now isis creates a mixed areas.
an iraqi army melted away when isis came in. peshmerga moved in. these areas show a split among arabs. partially, strong turkish effort play kurdish card and sunni-era card. strategic focus. more existential. refusal to fold under pressure. internal political dynamics in iraq. saidsador crocker, general strong effort in 2007 two
separate reconcilable's from a reconcilable's and sunni community. do you think that effort has really happens this time around in our effort to defeat the latest, worst reincarnation of al qaeda in iraq? glad you turned back to isis. fors the opportunity to say record what task force is about. islamic state is symptom. not a cause. we focus on immediate. they are pretty immediate. let's make that the ultimate objective of everything we are trying to do. that way lies madness. get out the fundamental political issues in iraq.
failure of governance. we'll look at that. i said and politics, alienating sunni community. islamic state takes advantage. what we were doing was full-court press against what was al qaeda in iraq. 95% of the way there. could never quite get rid of and in parts of muzzle euphrates river valley. why? thereof the residents at kurdish region and
baghdad and that gave them just enough of a crevice to hang on. those services now canyons. iraqis with help from outside could fill in canyons, are not going to get rid of islamic state. time, mike more directly involved than i was. effort to reach out to really nasty people. as david trias said, you don't make peace with friends. so, we talked to a lot of bad thems to cf we could shift
and we did this in conjunction with iraqis. also, to mess with their minds. some things he would tell them is coming in out of the cold. you should be like him. and if we were lucky, he would go kill that person. a somewhat rough game. at the end of the day, certain number of people who have to be killed. a reconcilable's. youryou have to do is know landscape well enough so that you are killing absolute minimum number of people and not creating a whole new set of enemies. frankly, i think you can only do that if you are very deeply engaged. on the ground, where people are
taking it seriously. sadly, not the case in iran. >> ambassador jeffreys, given where we are, no troop levels in iraq, nothing like it that we had back in 2007. iraqi governments does not have -- arguably does not have political capacity to reach out citiesreconcilable's, and certainly, not able to push through legislative agenda to show government very serious about re-engaging in political process. short of carpet bombing approach by ted cruz, generating new generation of radical actors, how do we encourage from outside reengage men of sunnis?
if we could ever secure areas? >> that is going on to a degree. we have semi-in whole isis 2014, much of province did not fall after falluja. fall of ramadi a year ago, defended primarily by city-era and police, and tribespeople. and iraqi army. up militarily. city has been retaken. other place is held by sunnis. amount back and forth
between government and city groups. many in exile now. provincial councils flat. don't think they are playing same role we saw before. last most of territory. 2007-2008,nce, essentially everywhere we had control of population. therefore, you could carry this out. incessantlyy talked about this in 2005. cannot carry out policy because we were not embedded on the grounds and could actually discover the difference and get intelligence.
without that, difficult. isis is such a uniquely evil organization and while it has many former baptist officers, also an alien force in iraq. offensiveat military will find a way to have some kind of preliminary resolution. in tikrit. iranianeplacing isis by baghdad, you'll be back in the same mess in the future. same question again. comments, how do we deal with this? isis problem in the context of the sunni population?
tactically, it can be done. strategy. ecosystem, network. attack a network. starting with intelligence. questionable whether we had that. then leadership, suppliers, soldiers. then resources. putting boots on grounds. it can be done. more complex and more difficult question, how do incentivize a sunni population to reject this by in two government
from baghdad? difficult. can't impose that. we can help and nurture. set conditions. crux of it. incentivize cities to reject and more poorly by into future in i want to turn and look at tremendous capacity building in pastu.s. invested decade? 2000 9-2011, you are senior u.s. nato commander expected -- >> were you the guy responsible
for iraqi security forces -- [laughter] reflect on what did and did not work. approaching continued effort to strengthen iraqi forces, how do we approach? >> underestimated things. societyant divisions in that had been in pressure cooker controlled by saddam hussein. brutal regime. underestimating effects of that. we knew this a be a long, tough slog. building iraqi security forces. make them significant. noncommissioned officer cord. share intelligence. had been a weapon.
now share to defeat common goal. very tough challenges. beyond the last couple of years. capabilitiesum would not be in place. two after last 5% of al qaeda in iraq. underestimated. 2003, we said let's build an army. we understood challenge annually take many more years to do this. we committed resources.
made that decision. things on a path. you could see iraqi security forces could be capable. to take on immense challenge. we laughed. wrong time. -- last. >> not a criticism. environments, not turkey, russia, forward,urope, 1918 conventional armies and structures and culture have a hard time dealing with those environments. who does well? the high-end guys. golden lions.
like in vietnam. lots of local militias wearing black john is out there defending hamlets. the focus on that. prime minister abadi, idea of recruiting city locals to popular mobilization units. he 5000. when -- 25,000. people fighting and and bar. recruited and trained by us, as well. some working out. capabilities to train. motivation. motivated people. a lot can be done.
10,000 sunnis currently under , many more without progress being made in baghdad, want to fight. cannot get an audience in baghdad. we'll get an audience with k argie. only supported by k argie f there absolutely not a threat. certainly, sunni militia forces in 2007, more toward 100,000. ceiling of 25, but nobody particularly motivated to pay fighters. -- ambassador
crocker, we've seen progress on and off for years in iraq. since last summer, lack of electricity, problems with sanitation, water, education, health care services. build capacityo and oil ministry and electricity. andring transparency international standards. where we have succeeded, what has been the magic ingredient? should wewe have not, give up? or something radically different? huge problem. atething we will be looking
in great detail. question of governance. and capacity. hardly a secret. is a cancer.ption and iraqi society. i don't pretend to know ins and outs of it. iraqi friends from all communities, pretty constant theme. wonder if there may be one tied that binds together. sunni shia and kurdish elites. that's good. that is, they are all making a whole lot of fuss. out of current system.
that makes it very hard to reform. are making at be whole lot of money out of current system, incentives for changing system are few and far between. actors like at, ron and proxies. not that interested in seeing good governance. particularly not inconsistent rule of law. that works against interests. this plays into huge part of challenges currently facing iraq. does that mean say nothing can be done? no, of course not. i think one has to be modest and expectations one has to
probably at the top of the list of things that united states or any other outside power is not going to fix is quality of internal governance. committed toraqis a better future, identify problems, and then, look at localized solutions. particular, oil sector. engine of economy. iraqis have long history of running own oil industry. have a memory of how to do this. something we are doing at texas a&m. a lot of iraqis in engineering department. back with skills, necessary to run successful oil
business, also absorbed something of the way governments and societies interact, which we hope will be long-term good. looking like identifying the problem and a team of american experts is not going to do that. and means working with the iraqis. outthen start figuring where you can move and where you cannot. there will be no across-the-board fix to this. that i can predict. i think there can be incremented progress. if i could just add to this, the new challenge of the utter devastation of occupied areas, the situation in anbar is underreported. security forces are decimated, infrastructure destroyed. 75 schools destroyed. 250 damage to the point of not
being able to be used. on and on. fork of what that portends mosul. where they will fight to the end. it will be tougher as liberating these areas as we continue to grind away at them and what we find there, is just going to exacerbate this lack of basic services and infrastructure, especially areas that need it worse. sunni areas. the ones you're trying to convince to align themselves with government in baghdad. immense challenge. we must face. and take on. >> devastation we have seen an that we can imagine will take place poses huge challenge at time when iraqi governments is struggling with a collapse in
oil prices. and with cost of running war against islamic state. can we use financial contributions and infusions of weapons and training to the iraqi government and to the krg? leverage? them as part of the effort to make a dent in the corruption that we greaterto incentivize a push toward focus of rectifying governance programs. i was hoping for a chance to jump in on this. we can rebuild things. we did in falluja after we took the place apart. something united states can do, or the iraqis can do.
requires money. as long as somebody is not turned to blow it up, assuming you have security situation, which is first parity under control, you can do that. comes will also be able to to us for expertise to augment and reinforce what they are doing. huge success. things, we are horrified because it undercut electricity program. neighborhood generators. this issons why it uneconomical and stupid. how baghdad was lit up. always talking about encouraging entrepreneurial activity. we cannot do that. it won't work. first of all, if we can generate
enough support in this place, washington, to provide weapons or economic redevelopment and relief, huge strategic reason for that. tonot make that hostage pressuring them. people do not like to be told what to do. badraqis want corruption is that they will indent and they need advice. they know our telephone number. with everyn there single american institution clone, ngo, pressure group, here individualon, and actors like newt gingrich coming in with their 20 good ideas on how to fix iraq and try to deploy that, it does not have intended effect. i'll leave it at that. >> how true that is.
>> general, you said you no longer believe that the forces pulling iraq together are greater than the forces pushing them apart. where yourxplain shift in thinking has come from? >> just returned from baghdad. i'd like to modify. of 2007, month of february, 34 car bombs in baghdad alone. and norma's iraqi casualties. investment in u.s. casualties. always felt that forces pulling iraq together were stronger than the ones pulling it apart. that there was a sense of iraqi nationalism which would prevail. not an optimist, just take a look at it and hopefully being a realist. in the last few years, sectarian
faultlines,lled where we would impose ourselves to try to hold rings together or set conditions for it to be reconciled, i think has become so deep, i've heard -- and kurdistan after isis advances, heard comments, why should we fight for sunnis when they would not fight for themselves? christians are not going back. shia, sunni's will tell you the ethnic cleansing and some of these areas were militias are moving into. my concern is that divisions have become so deep that it is questionable. -- ifcan hold entity iraqis can hold this entity called iraq together.
>> and master crocker, you said publicly you think fragmentation of state system and middle east would be catastrophic. what you include in that, kurdish independence? >> the lines that were drawn on , notap about 100 years ago by the people whose lives they proceeded to define, but by european statesmen and versailles, have had an amazing durability and i think if one tries to redraw them at great certainly that was what the islamic state is trying to do, literally. ,n their sweep through iraq other mosul and a lot of
real estate. they took time out to eliminate border posts. just to the race, literally, the notion of these hundred euro borders. old borders.ar i do not see anything good coming from the process. this is part of the conversation i used to have with my kurdish. i understand kurdish aspirations to italy after what they've been through. -- particularly after what they've been through. these of the best of times, to move towards independence in nor thern iraq or to make it even extreme, across the northern syria. that can trigger a whole new
wave of violence in the area. we already see what the turks are saying, and doing, as the kurds moved towards northern syria. thing turks, iranians agree on and that is no independent kurdistan. this is the next year i learned a long time ago, has better things are today they can always get worse. as bad as things are today they can always get worse. >> it seems like the relationship between the krg and the kdp and the government is stronger than ever. do you think that turkey would risk the economic ties to the kdp by blocking a move to independence? practically speaking, if the
kurds were to have their independence, what would be the catastrophic result that you would foresee? this.efer to jim on your name is something i always associated with catastrophe. [laughter] indeed, it is precisely those business ties, if you will, mayeen the kdp and that be the best bulwark against steps being taken. certain elements of the turkish ascendancy may be making good money out of oil dealings with the kurds, i would find it hard to believe that it would translate into a passive turkish stands at the kurds -- if the kurds formally declared independence. the right of is
self-determination. he always have to keep that in this very broad mix. secondly, the relationship between kurdistan and the rest of iraq is something the kurds have their own army and borders, their own economy -- they will be major players. given all that we have talked about today, and the kurdish leader that doesn't consider the reserve parachute of declaring independence as things turn even more chaotic is not doing his or her job. i'll get to your question after all of those caveats. a number of difficult things can happen. one is, with the blink of an eye, kurdistan is exporting security thousand barrels a day
-- 600,000 barrels a day. for many very complicated reasons, baghdad, while pushing an alternative scheme, is kind of ok with that. -- i'mpendent kurdistan not sure sure -- so sure. that goes out of international market and can be and has been challenged. secondly, we had an incident two months ago where the russians decided they wanted to fire some cruise missiles from one of their lakes into syria. they had a baghdad closed down in the airspace over kurdistan. this had a huge impact on international air travel. that is a problem. curtis stands -- k
urdistan's semi-international status is dependent on them having some legal tolerance. if you pull the plug on that you although the series attribute of a state and figure out how you deal with that. the first and most obvious thing is you need the absolute cooperation of turkey. that might not be enough. all the turks in the world couldn't change the airspace closure. and they can't get people to lift oil. open tol throw this questions now. you've covered a huge range of topics. i will start here. could you introduce yourself? >> the airspace is dropping lower and lower. said that the insider
game plan for iraq to fracture the state and to divided. questions, how do you know if that is the case? does the behavior points that way? and what is the advantage of the iranians who break up the state minutes ago, you said the wanting everybody agrees on is no independent kurdistan. thatrst, i did not state as irrefutable fact. i think i call that a provocative hypothesis. i do think it is something to look at. what would be the rationale for it? to absolutely ensure that iraq never again is a threat to iran. would atgmented iraq least, and a conventional sense, never be a threat to iran. au would have, again,
jihadistan, as i suggested for stuff i don't think iran feel threatened by the islamic state. thatould have a shiastan would include most of iraq's oil. iran could find ways to profit from the. and a somewhat problematic kurdistan. what we have seen, of course, is the iranian influence in kurdistan in that scenario. -- a long-term fragmentation. you would see even more influence in the kurdish region. just a they would ensure that nothing would come out of there that is really dangerous. i imagine this is a subject to debate in tehran. anon't set this out as
absolute fact. worth thinking about, giving her some of the iranian players are. while you cannot deduce motive purely from what is happening on the ground, it is still worth thinking about. >> thank you. professor davis, and the back? i'm taking names down. i already have barbara. if we can send the mic that way. iranrun the future of initiative. at the lead to counsel, i thought i should come and see what the future of iraq was going to be. advantageed iran took of the united states toppling a suni government. the reality and truth here, own domestic, our
situations -- how can you project that a future american administration has ever going to troops or to engage treasure in the way that we did over the past decade? to reverse what looks like a pretty solid again on the part of the iranians in iraq? any more than we would go to lebanon again to try to do it hezbollah. >> i will start. just summarize the obama administration argument to -- what do we call them? target attacks? if you guys out there with radios.
this is an of the going in with 100,000 troops. how many airplanes does putin have in the middle east? they are doing a lot of really good work from putin's standpoint. how many people as he lost? i think we're looking up to two. that is the kind of deployment ends, that strategic i admire. i admire the trade, and i sense that most of the people making recommendations are talking about that. plenty of people in an 85% sunni middle east are willing to stand up and fight against this iranian offensive. they did a systems, they need air cover. that is what we are therefore, potentially. add to that,
whatever we have this discussion, it continues what we are doing now. it will be thousands of troops. it is a false choice. there is a good way to do it. it starts with what are our national interests in the region? and how does iraq fit into that? then devise a strategy at the onset that matches ways and means. when you say you will destroy isis, destroy isis. when you hitting them at six or seven target today with a small cadre of advisors that is not going to destroy isis. hear thestrating to discourse on this. i think it is -- well, it is in our interest to do that. then devise a strategy to do it.
it has to start with u.s. interests. , not as we wish it to be but the situation on the ground that we find. >> some of us would distinguish between shia power and a rainy and power. -- iranian power. that is the point that i would press. unlike what some of our arab friends believe, shia does not equal iranian. those of us living out there passionate arab nationalists many iraqi shia are. about troopslk not and treasure, i would talk about politics and diplomacy. argued with his administration with a singular lack of success.
don't send 101st airborne to baghdad, said the secretary of state. -- send it the secretary of state. influence -- what deals can be done? inactioneen missing politically, and diplomatically. that is where i would like to see the thrust in the renewed effort come. iranians may actually help. hypothesis,ocative that is war and another form. at a certain point you will probably get -- you see it in some areas already -- an iraqi arab reaction to that. we saw al qaeda's accesses
surging to the awakening. they were their own worst enemy. and iranian overreach can potentially deliver the same results. we need to be giving some alternative to tehran, because right now that isn't. that needs to be political, and diplomatic. >> we are not talking about rolling back shia power in baghdad. the point is just for those militias that have sprung up during this time of instability to be properly integrated into the country's armed forces. and for iraq and the new communities to have enough of a seat at the table that they can go back to their constituencies and be able to deliver something. >> in the document i received from you, editor exciting to see
all the dimensions of this task force.aq you're emphasizing the future. he noticed one category not there, that is the category of youth. 70% of the population is under the age of 30, 40% under the age of 15. we know most of the violence comes from the activities of youth. we also know if we look at the civil society, organizations we see the main drivers are youths. how do we integrate youth, not just give them a kind of off-the-cuff importance. think of how they'll take over the new iraq. the education they receive his or a wanting because the school textbooks have been denuded of and eventually to any iraqi group that they don't like. i want you to see what our panelists would say about this very important demographic. >> that is a great point.
let me just say, generally, that an illustrative menu, not a company has a checklist. there certainly expecting everyone who is associated with this effort it has that kind of input. that is what we came up with as an initial draft. what else should be on that? please give us that kind of feedback. we tried to get at that -- there is an education reference in there. thatouth bulge and the way curriculum are being modified and altered. so that certainly is our intention that that be a part of it. sterling work flushing that out a bit.
i am on the board of mercy corps international. that is something we -- or mercy corps does everywhere we are involved. drill down on youth and education, because we learned how absolutely central that is to long-term security and stability. massive challenge. all of that said, and my friend knows this so well, there was a lot of speculation at the end of the active phase of the lebanese civil war in 1990. 15 years of vicious conflict had produced an entire generation of no formalho had education, really only knew how to operate a weapon. that would be a recipe for long-term murder mayhem pillage and plunder.
lebanon still has its share of problems, but that did not materialize -- that apocalyptic production did not pan out. the young lebanese who have grown up in militias once they had an alternative option to do something else drop that gun and took that option. of, this is deserving serious concerns. but also i dont think we should sell a young generation coming of horrific conditions to short. give them some alternatives, i bet you they will take them. >> thank you very much for an excellent discussion. the panelists bring a huge amount of experience, insight, and wisdom.
i am an admirer of each of them. there is a discussion in a whole -- some central and important -- and some of them are better discussed in a smaller circle. to pick one strategic issue. that was touched upon, that is that there is an alliance of iran, russia, and syria. making actually tremendous gains. way they are,he they are heading towards victory. the iranians and
russians are good chess players. i'm not sure that as a political is in the american system that league in terms of chess. seeing so many moves ahead. the question i have is -- will in thistical system country, nevermind the middle will produce the political that will stop this advance. to put downily shia, this is not really a solution. this is just suggesting the polarity of sectarianism does not solve anything.
and this distinction is necessary. if anyone in this country, with power a decision, going to stand thusd say to the russians far, and no further. stand up to the iranians and say thus far, and no further. othersow the sunnis and solve theirn to problems, which are many, and they have so many challenges as we know. one?o wants to tackle that [laughter] >> well, it is a great point. it is both heartwarming -- to see all of you in this room, so many of you i know. to think of the knowledge and
expertise on iraq and the region that you represent, the kind of unsettling follow along thought is all of you in this room 2/3 of theepresent americans in this country who really care about iraq. you know very well, americans have tremendous qualities. we also have a few challenges. one of them is what i call strategic patience. we didn't build our great country on patience. done, let's get on with it, and that it gets messy and costly and difficult. let's go on to something else and get that done instead. forre genetically wired
let's fix it now. the middle east is not a region that lends itself to easy quick fixes. a challenge for us. and of course, our political system is also not the geared towards long-term policies. our policies change as the white house changes hands and the balance shifts in congress. .he example again in iraq the american people to the representatives in congress basically voted to have a big war in iraq. 2006 the american people through their elected representatives in congress voted not to have a big war in iraq. you can't rewind the film. you put your finger on a real challenge for the american public, and american policy.
in terms of the specific incident you cite, clearly there were other policy alternatives open to this administration. in syria, and iraq, vis-a-vis iran. i suggested some of them. the administration has elected sit pretty tight. there is nothing in our system that would have prevented more robust actions. the policy decisions, policies made at one end of pennsylvania avenue and the resources of the other, we diplomats and soldiers don't make policy. we just kind of carrying out. i think that i was recently out in the middle east, not in iraq. perception i found among
people i had known for years -- the benign interpretation is tehran,re is a damascus, moscow axis. in the face of which we are just passive. that is the terrible interpretation. the less terrible interpretation is that it is actually a tehran, damascus, moscow, washington axis. that by our in action we are in effect accomplices. i think it is quite dangerous. there is not going to be any kind of american intervention in the middle east on the scale even remotely like that of the first 10 years of the century. is pretty apparent. we barely got enough political support for the first gulf war
even that didn't involve all the downsides of vietnam. to do the long time same mistake again. not as i said, we are talking about that level of effort to make a difference. we're talking about, again, a putin-esque 1500 man expedition. -- expeditionary element. we have a body of 50,000 troops, and 10,000 afghanistan alone. i could go on and on, we have --numbered about 20-the one
20-1, which is not using them. i could see a different administration, almost any of them from 1945 until either 2000 or 2008, using those forces and providing a counterbalancing force. whether we will arrive -- we've had to it administrations try different forces to work slowly. i don't think the american people are happy with the result of either of them. campaign, there aren't a whole lot of -- there's nobody really endorsing this administration's foreign policy. lot of them a whole endorsing ronald reagan's, or even bill clinton's. you have to wait and see. >> i think what you bring up is we are not very good at conflict resolution. , if there are the terms
unconditional surrender, we are good with that. anything short of that, which most and up that way, where never good enough. from the past decade, in our i would sign up for some open-ended turning back of some axis of evil. success, we just recalibrated our commitment to afghanistan. we haven't done that adequately. just from the sacrifice we have -- we can turn back this axis -- we need a very clear strategy. >> thank you very much. thank you for this panel. no one can assemble better experience.
let me ask about methodology, approach, and maybe the philosophy of the task force. thans been more about iraq what this task force is going to do. this experience, which is great ad coveted, i think it casts very heavy shadow on the work of the task force. it could turn easily into a hindrance. i think there is a lot of that experience in dictating what has been said on the panel today. no criticism, this is annoying about people like me. you have to take it, both of you. but it basically, i think that is very important. what will be new from the iraq study group, i had the honor to talk to them.
are you looking at your experience valuable as it is. it is right now probably part of what we historians versus what happened after june. that is very important. what will be new here. when we talk about, let me take one quick example. talking about, we hear the word militia. even the iraqi government says they are not militia. the pastor general that u -- past general that used elements of that were not supported by many iraqis because their job was to terrorize many segments of iraqi society. nowadays, their popularity is
through the roof. i can tell you with the declining popularity of the , since it doesn't rate, there is a lot of change. just support rather than let it overcome or overshadow, or overwork. i think this is going to be successe event aware could be created. i would love to talk to you about it another time. thank you for this excellent panel. i'm wishing you all the success, and luck. >> i will collect all of the remaining questions i have.
>> thank you. i am with the kurdistan regional governments representative to the u.s.. being kurdish, i will inevitable he talked about a borders. cost?t genocide,been chemical bombardment, bloodshed repeatedly. we are seeing it today in iraq yet again. i think we should stop thinking about 19th century men. 21st, the in the president has declared a referendum. he hasn't declared independence. i would like to make that point. my question is regarding saudi arabia and the other gulf countries.
we heard a little bit about turkey come we haven't really heard about the sunni arab countries and what role you see for them in the future of iraq. >> can you see him? towards the middle. >> ambassador, and it's been a long time since i have seen you. >> can you make sure the microphone is on? >> ok. i was part of the iraqi an iraqin, then i was parliamentarian. now i am very active in the cause.
listened to the excellent panel you have gathered. i have listened to the general saying that in the past two or three years the forces taking iraq apart are much greater than the forces that are putting iraq together. i have listened to ryan crocker, ambassador crocker, saying we symptom.ng at a it is not the cause. i agree with you completely. we talked about the political solution before the military solution. because, whatever force you said that it will yield problems. , andrms of carpet bombing what i believe has come in the
arms committee, there has been carpet bombing. we have total destroyed arab sunni cities. those that were not destroyed by the carpet bombing were destroyed by the militias in tikrit. binary -- with the iranians, dismantling all of their primary backing. the targeting that has happened to the iraqi sunnis after 2003 edy that is never been talked about in the quarters and a proper manner. genocide that is being committed against the arab , and maybe even
in syria. it doesn't matter which side you are. , you have toainst be taken out. that is the question. about a sunniht regional government which can make sure that iraq stays together rather than torn apart? >> thank you. just hand the mic off? >> it was interesting to see not aalk about how monolithic was the shia community. ,ow it was divided nationalistic movements was greater in number. the less financially rich.
is, would be interesting to look at empowering these locals that are maybe to the limited iranian expansion. withan the u.s. do that the poor history it has talking about these movements. >> there was just one more question. he is been waiting, they go. i want to go back actually, we're hearing some questions about what will happen to the sunni areas. of the example that was given about lebanon and what it took to rebuild that country, some of the services that also ambassador jeffrey spoke about. the entrepreneurial spirit that brought back electricity to
baghdad. as we look at iraq, whether we talk about a feature that includes multiple states, an independent kurdistan, or not, those areas under isis will be liberated. people have to go back one way or another. the 2 million people that a then displays. the one thing that could unite and look into a future of iraq is building upon that entrepreneurial spirit and the leadership development of youth. that has been completely neglected. i was born in iraq and raise their. i understand the iraqi resilience both on the kurdish and the other communities. i have gone back. there was a huge level of disenfranchisement and distrust of the iraqi government. whether it is to control those areas, or not. my question, how do we end our current foreign policy as well as the broader depth law make -- thatmatic and created
country ownership and entrepreneurial spirit that engages the young people? we really have to think about the trauma and retranslated back into an economic productivity of rebuilding. >> thank you very much, i'm sorry i had a couple more on my list but i think we had to leave it here. if you can wrap up your final remarks. >> i am trying to absorb all of that. becausetart with you, part of what we're trying to do is something that is not just a repetition of everything that has been numb before. we want to do it in a way that is useful. -- done before. we want to do it in a way that is useful. the structure says a lot about it.
25 senior adviser representing i can assure you every conceivable -- there is iraq going to be a lot of healthy debate and discussion. that is very important for together thing i said at the beginning, this is hard to do, all of us involved in this, to the extent we can, need to check our preconceptions at the door. , let'shere is the issue drill down in it and let it speak to us. let it define itself rather than us trying to overlay our own preconceived definitions on whatever the issue is. again, that is really hard to do. you can check that tendency. one of the mistakes i made in my career have always involved letting my preconceptions shape
and objective reality. these are very good cautions. you did hear us pontificate because that is what happens when you're sitting up here. i tried to say at the beginning, that is -- what this task force is about is discovering iraq realities first then trying to come up with constructive ways to deal with them. not starting with the preconceptions than adjusting facts to fit those most of i'm sure we will be getting your refreshing academic critique as we proceed. [laughter] >> very quickly, on some of the other issues. otheraq'son neighbors, particularly the sunni arabs is a very important one. we spent today talking a lot about iran because that is
obviously the challenge of the hour. that is our intention to look at not alwaysated, discernible, roles the arab states like saudi arabia, jordan, do play in iraq. i have way more questions than i had tentative answers list that is an important issue. we will get at it. what else do you need to talk about? support the we nationalistic militias here at the moment? >> that is a great point. it is a challenge for the task force. who are these guys? are youngidy, if you enough to remember -- who are these guys?
who directs them, what motivates them? understanding their reality, and then coming up with some ideas as to how they might to be dealt possibly incorporated into some state structure. mind a certain sense of humility. it is not the united states that is going to do this. i think we can do some interesting analysis and iuggestions both to iraq authorities as well as our own. that aboutke entrepreneurship. one of the things that is cap lebanon going is its deeply rooted sense of personal entrepreneurship. that is alive and iraq as well. if there's one thing it is unite kurds, arabs sunnis, and arab shia, it is the desire to go
make. in earlyeek in iraq 2009 at to go walk through downtown ramadi. was bustling, buyers and sellers everywhere. i went to a couple of shops that were selling housewares. they were made in new york. i said how do you get this stuff? they have a middleman. we get a good prices. they willliveries, never meet him. it is great doing business with them. that spirit is everywhere out there. that will be something that we look at. leastn the state at
allow, if not encourage, iraqis to do what they do very well which is business. >> thank you. this flurry of questions to try to think of something intelligible about to some them all up most i usually fail, this time i will try. in looking at all of these things, let's empower the people, 70% under 20, let's find the militias, let's do something about a courtesy regional government for the sunnis. -- with a, let's find lot of it is. none of this works in my experience. the assumption we are making is patient, that is turned him or herself over to a
team of doctors. do whatever you want and fix me then goes under. that team of doctors you have blood pressure guy, a blood sugar girl, a heart specialist, this and that, they all sit together and have debates. we tried that. we were the team of doctors during the military period. we had this huge effort trying to deal with the patient. but iraq, other than a brief time around the surge were a civil war was about to tell the don't think iti ever said tell us what is wrong with us and we will do what you say. the problem is, we hear every day in iraq many people telling us what is wrong and how to fix it. never deeply ingrained in the population and the various groups.
would urge is, apart from , todiplomatic and military look at those things that seem to be working, that seem to have buy in, and seemed to be really iraqi. it can be the oil sector, electricity, trading relationships, and find ways to support that. if we try to diagnose this patient and then find ways to fix it it will keep us busy but will not do anything for the patient. >> thank you very much come with run out of time. [applause] >> thank you for everything.
[indiscernible] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> american history tv features programs a tell the american story. this weekend we continue our special series on the vietnam hearings, 50 years later. we will hear special consultants to president johnson, general maxwell taylor is opening statement. our purpose is equally clear and defined. speech when president johnson did so in the following
-- our objective is the independence of south vietnam and its freedom from attack. we want nothing for ourselves. only the people of south vietnam be allowed to guide their own country in their own way. this has been our basic objective since 1954. it has been pursued by three successive administrations and remains our basic objective today. >> that saturday, secretary of defensean rusk give his of president johnson's policies. for a complete schedule, go to www.c-span.org. >> former national security council counterterrorism director dan rosenthal spoke last month about the challenges of closing guantanamo bay military prison. that is tomorrow night at 8:00 eastern. he is joined by attorney john is thomas wilmer. here's a portion of the discussion.
>> guantanamo is terribly important for this country. i am bored about the people there. i want them treated well. -- worried about the people there. i want them treated well, and brought home. the whole purpose of what economy, the bush administration consider the law and impediments that it would have to avoid. visit if we put foreigners in a place that is technically outside our sovereign territory we can avoid review by the courts and can deprive them of legal rights. unfortunately, although we won the case saying they had a constitutional right, the d circuit has said they still don't have the right to due proc ess. there beyond the reach of the constitution. that is a horrible thing for this country.
it is a horrible loophole. i find it reprehensible. and not only want the people home, i want the law corrected so the united states can stand by its principle. >> you can watch this entire event wednesday, at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> this weekend the city's or host of our charter community's cable partners takes you to greenville, south carolina to explore the city's history and literary culture. on book tv -- >> since 1930 nine when your points to war, our allies primarily england and france looked to washington dc for goods and materials that they needed. washington, d.c. looks down to the textiles of the world and over seven government contract came funneling into this area.
it asked the mills to begin producing for the war effort for our allies. >> on american history tv, >> this really was a pretty nasty spot. it is hard to believe now looking at it, one of the best part of the country. this was a really depressed, nasty place. it is a great story of how a andunity can get the behind start to appreciate and cherish its river. >> watch the c-span city tour saturday at noon eastern on c-span twos book tv. afternoon, on american history tv on c-span3. the c-span city store, working with our cable affiliates and visiting cities across the country. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016]
>> president obama held a news conference and was asking but this supreme court vacancy left by the death of justice scalia, and the ongoing conflict in syria. the president jose leaders of southeast asian countries in ranco mirage, south california. obama: we believe a number of key principles. be essential to peace and prosperity in the asia-pacific. asean speaks, i can help advance security and human dignity. but only for the more than 600 million people across the area but for people across the asia-pacific and around the world. i am pleased that here at this summit asean's strong voice allowed us to make progress of multiple fronts. andgree to do more together
mccurdy entrepreneurship and innovation at the heart of modest competitive economists. we had an excellent discussion with binary business leaders who reiterated the recipe for trade and investment. the rule of law, transparency, protection of intellectual property, efficient customs, modern infrastructure, e-commerce, and the free flow of information support for small and medium-size businesses and most important investment in people. investment in strong schools to educate and train the next generation. around the table there was widespread recognition that this is the path the countries did to continue on. as they do, they will create more opportunities for trade between the u.s. and asean countries. i affirmed our strong support for the asean community. the united states will continue to be part of the process.
i am announcing a new an connects u.s.-ase to better coordinate our economic engagement and more of our entrepreneurs with each other. helpe doing more to aspiring innovators in the region learn english. the international language of business, i reiterated that the transpacific partnership which includes four asean members can advance economic integration across asean and stronger rules for trade across the pacific. we launched a new initiative to help all asean understand the key elements of tpp in the reforms that could lead them to join. second, with regard to security, ae united states and asean reaffirming our strong commitment to regional order were international rules and norms, the rights of all nations
large and small, are upheld. we discussed the need for tangible steps to lower tensions , including a holster to for the reclamation and new construction. freedom of navigation must be upheld. i reiterated the united states will continue to fly, sale, and operate whatever international law allows. we will support the right of all countries to the same. we will continue to help our allies to strengthen their maritime get abilities and discussed how any dispute must be resolved peacefully. and through legal means, such as the upcoming arbitration ruling over the u.n. convention. the parties are obligated to respect that, and abide by it. u.s., i made it clear the will stand with those across out
these asia working to advance rule of law. we continue to encourage a return to civilian rule in thailand. we will sustain our engagement with the people of myanmar as a new president is selected and they work to implement the cease-fire agreement and work forward with national reconciliation. across the region we will stand with businesses and civil society to defend their freedom of speech, assembly, and the press. no one, including those in political opposition should ever be detained or imprisoned simply for speaking their mind. it only stymies progress, only makes it harder for countries to truly thrive. morely, the u.s. is doing with the transnational challenges. i offered our assistance to help asean countries better harness interpol data. we agree that implementing the
paris climate change agreement, including helping developing countries adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change will be critical. it will enable them to leap ahead to new, affordable clean energy. as we pursue our sustainable development goals we're launching a new competition. and innovation challenge to encourage students across asean to develop new solutions. we are moving ahead with our global health security agenda. i pledge additional u.s. assistant to help asean combat the order of human trafficking. to sum up, i believe the summit is put the u.s. ostend partnership on a new trajectory asean partnership on a new trajectory. that will continue to be a part only of my presidency. i look forward to visiting vietnam for the first time in
may and becoming the first u.s. president to visit laos when it hosts the east asia summit in september. i am confident that whoever the next president may be will build on the next foundation we have laid. there is strong, sustained bipartisan support for american engagement in the asia-pacific region. young southeast leaders initiative our investment in young people and ieir success in civil society believe will further bind us together in the spirit of partnership and friendship for many years to come. with that, let me take a few questions. i will start with darlene of the associated press. where is she? there she is. >> my question is about the supreme court. president obama: i'm shocked. [laughter]
>> what recourse do you have it leader mcconnell blocks a vote on your supreme court nominee? do you think that if you choose someone moderate enough, that republicans will change course and schedule a vote? as you consider that choice and who to nominee, what qualities are important to you and is diversity among them? thank you. president obama: first of all, i want to reiterate my heartfelt condolences to the scalia family. obviously, justice scalia and i had different political orientations, and probably would have disagreed on the outcome of certain cases, but there is no doubt that he was a giant on the supreme court. he helped to shape the legal landscape. he was, by all accounts, a good friends, and loved his family deeply. it's important, before we rush into the politics of this, to take stock of someone who made