tv Middle East Institute Hosts Discussion on ISIS in Libya CSPAN May 21, 2016 1:15am-2:48am EDT
an american history tv, and american c-span3. announcer: now, a discussion on libya's role in the fight against isis. foreign diplomats, state andrtment officials, scholars take part in a discussion by the middle east institute. this is an hour and a half. host: good afternoon everyone. i'm kate seeley. senior vice president of the middle east institute it gives . and it gives me great pleasure to welcome you to today's panel. it is very gratifying to have such a large audience today given how beautiful the weather is. so, thank you very much for your interest. in recent days and weeks, we one seen intense focus
combating isis in libya. and today's panel is going to examine their role. how they have managed to take control of cities, gaddafi's and defeating al qaeda affiliates in this country. ofhave a diverse group individuals. it is a great honor to be joined by the senior libyan official in washington. and i also want to recognize the u.s. government official on the panel today, jonathan winer. taking time out of his very busy schedule to share his thoughts. his colleague had to be called away into a meeting with anne patterson, perhaps on libya. and it is always a pleasure to do panels with charles lister . thank you for having a
conversation that will be wide-ranging and very informative. and of course many thanks as well to our moderator, david a mac. he is a libyan expert in his own right. he is a scholar and former vice president of the middle east institute. he is a frequent commentator on north african and golf affairs. during his diplomatic career, he served as deputy assistant secretary of state. and before that, he was also united ambassador to united arab emirates. including stints in libya and tunisia. he knows north africa well. david, i would like to hand over the panel to you. thank you very much. david: there are so many things we can talk about regarding libya. but this particular program is going to focus on what the
so-called islamic state is up to in libya. and although it has wrongfully appropriated that name is lamic and does not function as a state, i am going to refer to it as daesh. i will not contradict the president of the united states , who insists on calling it it isil. daesh worked for me. expert, ander is an on terrorism, and is also very knowledgeable about other substate armed groups that often practice terrorism. without coverage, very often, in the u.s. media.
he understands the complexities and he brings a strong grasp to the theory and practice of terrorism. as illustrated by his recent book on syria. full biographies i believe in the sheet you have received. he brings that particular perspective to this panel and the other panelists have other perspectives that will be useful in forming a composite view of the problem. fred has a wide experience in political-military affairs. he knows libya well. having served as defense attache to the consulate in libya. he understands the complexities of libyan armed groups. and the foreign military establishments that might be involved at some point in interacting with the libyan government. guest is in charge of
the affairs for libyans in washington. she has shown herself to be an articulate voice for the libyan people. she is a patriot and was involved in libyan civil society efforts against the former gaddafi regime. she responded to her country's call by accepting senior positions in the ministries of education and foreign affairs, prior to her current assignment. jonathan winer is secretary kerry's special emissary for libya. he was a key member of kerry's staff, when john kerry was the chairman of the senate foreign relations committee. john kerry brought them over to the state department, where he
performed a number of jobs that might be called thankless because they were really touchy issues. but he showed himself able to apply the very broad pencils of foreign policy to specific circumstances in countries that are important to national interest. assignment as special envoy to libya is been doing fors two and a half years. it has made him very aware of the interest to libya's arab neighbors as well as the various crosscurrents in the libyan body politic. that is the order on which i'm going to ask our speakers to address issues for about eight minutes. then, i will ask a few questions . you may have a little bit of an
interchange, before we open it up to questions from the audience. we will start with charles lester. good afternoon, everyone. david, thank you very much for that kind introduction. seeing as i only have roughly eight minutes, i'm going to fly straight into my discussion points. i am not a libya expert, per se. so, i am going to aim to present more of a big picture how isis is operating in libya, and how it operates today. since isis's declaration of a so-called caliphate in late june 2014, isis as an organization has fought to become an international movement. and libya as become arguably its most important, secondary
efforts outside of the iraq. it has done so by exploiting libyan instability and failures. i will lean down. and it has done so by exploiting the political vacuum and the social divisions that have emerged out of libya over the last several years. this is a model of exploiting existing divisions that isis used to its own advantage in syria and iraq. over the last several years, in a sense, isis aims to enter into areas where there are already expensive and intense divisions, within existing power players and existing social structures. enteredook at how isis into syria, this is exactly the same model it entered into syria into 2013. it is exactly how they exploited the city of mosul. there is a variety of open
source information out there nowadays that talks about how isis learned local dynamics. it knew all of the tribal leaders and all of their dirty histories. it knew how certain tribes were against other tribes. it knew how certain malicious at a certain -- militias had a certain problem. and they used it to its advantage. this learning the lay of the land is something isis has been very well practiced in and it arguably was the key to its entrance into the capital of libya today. so, what does isis represent in libya today? estimates vary. in terms of manpower. but arguably, it represents between 3000-6000 fighters. some estimates suggest as much as 70% of its manpower is made up of non-libyan fighters. sians, in -- tuni
particular, have turned out. and they have become extremely significant in iraq. again, there is a lot of information existing today about how tunisians have left syria and iraq to bolster the presence in libya. the same has taken place with regard to senior commanders, fighting in syria and iraq, they least half ahad at dozen employed to bolster the senior command structure. it is of strategic importance to isis'objectives. the organization is coming under pressure in syria and iraq. 36,000 fighters. isis controls territory along the central coast in libya.
basically in the middle, operationally, isis have the capacity to reach the tunisian border. and as was demonstrated in march this year, across the border into benghaziand and further afield. it is led by a senior isis official who came from iraq to bolster isis's leadership in libya. isil has demonstrated a capacity for very fast growth. the estimate in november was theiry 2000 fighters in ranks in libya. now, the estimate suggests about 6000. i suggest it is at least 3000 or 4000.
that is at least doubling of manpower under its command in the last 6-7 months. it operates multiple training camps across the country, including training camps for children. those are called caliphate camps. clearly, it is trying to be in libya for the long haul. its de facto capital in libya. it began as is organization in 2014 exploiting the kind of pre-existing social divisions , tribal divisions, political divisions, militia division. in particular, and i am sure my is deemed libyan experts on the panel will be able to talk about in more detail than i but in particular, it was gaddafi's hometown. it was well known to have been an area where some gaddafi loyalists had gone back to after the fall of the gaddafi regime. but it was also a town that was essentially under the control of these militias.
isis used the fact that there were individuals and other militias accused of being loyal , or still loyal, to gaddafi to their own advantage. and it is many of those individuals who now fight for isis. you can use a similar analogy to talk about how isis has exploited former saddam area officials in iraq. to bolster its own ranks in iraq. so this pre-existing divisions tensions,e-existing they have used to their own advantage. i will fast-forward. i already have a time warning. suffice it to say, it is extremely harsh. as soon as isis took over, it imposed what it called a city charter. this is something they did in rocca, syria and molzahn, i
rock. -- molzahn, iraq. it lays out a full approach to how civilians are expected to behave. women are subject to many dress code regulations. and men have similar regulations to the length of their trousers. there are three prisons where basically establishing three central prisons, depending on the magnitude of your alleged crime. behavioral police that was established, patrolling the streets. internet is now restricted only to internet cafes run by isis. so, the acquisition of outside information is particularly restricted, unless one is able to travel outside of the city. l areas of of misi control. fare is little evidence so
to suggest that isis is earning a lot of money. all of this basically underlines exactly the same model isis has used to control through fear populations under its influence. for that reason, i would briefly turned to the iunter-isis efforts in libya, would actually advocate that in this current phase not rushing. i think there is an impetus in political discussions to rapidly bring the fight to isis in libya through local forces and appointment of special forces from the u.s. and france and the u.k. and various other western countries. isis will exploit this. ofess that full structure local fighters are officially trained, ready, vetted and under a single command. we are not anywhere near that position as of now.
in that sense, i would advocate a let them rot strategy in the meantime. in a sense, accept the fact that people are not happy under isis control. i am sure there are people willing to be under isis control . but in the meantime, over time resentment will continue to grow. this is something we have seen in syria and iraq. and places like the the egyptian sinai are showing particular tendencies. time should be spent on better uniting the political structure in libya, after the december 2015 agreement. and most importantly, perhaps of all, uniting the east and west structures under the current government that was agreed to in december 2015. and under the commander general in benghazi, in the east.
unless those two forces unite, i can say with significant certainty that isis will exploit those two divisions. or certainly it will try to. and it will devote significant resources to doing so. in terms of the influx of weaponry, there is currently an embargo. --has not done and all full awful lot of good. various outsiders have been sending weaponry to libya throughout that embargo. there is now a discussion carried out last week about finding a way out in order to send weaponry to acquire armed forces on the ground. again, i would urge caution. until there is a unified arms structure, until the resources have been sufficiently vetted and trained and significantly linked up with
preferably external western forces, i would hesitate to send in large influxes of weaponry. i can say we have learned many lessons from 2011 and 2012 from syria that should be learned in a place like libya today. i'm sure there is plenty more we can discuss with the q&a. but hopefully, i have made some sense, while rushing through my nose. -- my notes. david: thank you, charles. [applause] i have been advised that we need 30 seconds to make some technical adjustments up here. among other things, we will get the mic level up for people in the back of the room.
ok. well, thank you so much. and thanks to the middle east institute for that invitation. what an introduction. hopefully, i will find something new to say. but i will hopefully underscore just the notes that have been made. i will illustrate from some recent trends have made to libya. i think that when we look at the islamic state, we have to sort of understand this fusion between foreign and indigenous elements. that there is a long legacy of jihad is him that the islamic state is built upon. we are seeing an evolution of jihadism in libya. and these intense debates among jihadi, among the states, caliphate's, the acceptance of
governments, these are all being played out over the last 2-3 years. and i think the islamic state represents the ascendancy of one particular strain. but that is not to say there are not other strains of it pushing back. so again, the generations of of it. you probably know about them. in the 1980's, the post-2011 of generations, that was radicalized by the syria war. going to participate in the syria jihad. there are keynotes for jihadism. historic notes that the islamic state has tapped into. and i would argue also that when it arrived in libya, there was an infrastructure that was already in place. much of the islamic state development has been this flipping or co-opting of that.
so, what were the catalysts? i mean, obviously, the syrian war was huge. many of them went to libya in 2011. some of them just wanted to volunteer and fight. with the ascendancy of the islamic state in syria, some of them defected over to that group. others came back. and then defected to the islamic state earlier on. it was this nucleus of islamic state and libyan fighters that came back to libya that implanted the organization first in darna. announcing that in the fall of 2014. simultaneously, you had the weakening of the old al qaeda-affiliated groups. and this is really my next point. the political division of libya that was fundamental in giving the space for islamic state to insert itself. these factions were so busy fighting each other, cynically
using the islamic state to demonize their opponents. accusing each other of supporting the islamic state. meanwhile, the islamic state is growing. in tandem, you have the islamic state investing in libya through emissaries and advisers. we heard about the leadership of that. technical advisors, sharia courts, many of these are foreign. you then also had the foreign fighter influx. islamic state made a concerted effort to direct foreign fighters towards africa and in general. don't come to syria and iraq, come to libya. and many of these fighters are the most hardened, vicious fighters. when i was in benghazi with the libyan army forces, they said to me that the snipers and suicide bombers were all foreign. tunisians, mostly. that the checkpoint has most
recently been taken. when we look at countering those on the next day really understand the case by case basis. their roots are different and different places. so, that requires a tailor-made approach in all of these areas. darna, its reputation is well known. again, the key thing there is that it ran up against this barrier of an older generation of al qaeda that pushes out. also, the tribal element. so, the very factionalism that allows the islamic state to assert itself into libya is also a buffer. it also balances how far the islamic state can expand. and in benghazi, the islamic state inserted itself into a militant insurgency. and flipped many of the anti-sharia entities. it enjoyed support from those social fabrics of neighborhoods
under assault by operation dignity. it was bolstered by foreigners coming in from abroad and by boat. the main stronghold. here, this is where the infrastructure proves so critical. andsharia went into cert really played a role in flipping some of the the pro-gadhafi tribes that were on the outside. and indeed, that is what the islamic state has really played upon. as charles mentioned, this notion that you are the losers in the new order and we can protect you. i am not going to say that entire tribes are split. you cannot say that gadhafi has come over to isis. it is often a very personalized choices. but some refugees told me, they had the saying, better the hell of islamic state than the paradise of this.
we would rather subjugate this draconian group, then after the revolution. it was fruitful. the islamic state appears to be moving south towards tripoli. exclusionng on the and marginalization. the dynamics there are more financial. there are families that have had the longtime affiliation with jihaidsm. there is a large foreign component. most of it is tunisians. what is their strategy right now? i would argue it is one of consolidation and disruption, to consolidate their hold and to cut off oil revenues. and disrupt the formation of a new state. you saw this in the attacks on police training. to peel away the losers of the new orders. what are the tribes? what are the disgruntled youth that we can peel away? and to shift westward towards
tripoli. now, the key challenges that we have. i guess i have one minute. i think charles outlined them really well. the partnership, who do they ally with? the country is divided, there is no central chain of command. no military chain of command. the great risk that the u.s. has is identifying local partners and militias. that could further fracture of the country and reduce incentives for reconciliation. so counterterrorism must termnforce the long building of inclusive governance. there is the enormous challenges of rebuilding the police. and the army. and i think him batting the islamic state should be a platform to do that. as i see it, there are three options. there is western directed air. this is untenable. we know this from experience.
there has to be a local element. the second option is the west plus local enablers and this is fraught with risks. in terms of what comes next, what kind of government replaces this? and the third option is the most desirable. but the one of the longest verizon, the west supporting a libyan led government through a unit type united force. and i will leave it to the next speaker. [applause] david: well, that is a very timely introduction for you. very timely introduction for you. get as close to that mic as you can. >> i am too short. special thanks to the middle for hosting this
discussion. ok. special thanks to the middle east institute for hosting this discussion. this is a very important topic to my country. dangerous turning point. and after hearing the experts, i'm going to be talking about a different aspect. what we think is a different perspective on defeating isis in libya, sustainable dv. deep economic in crisis with a severe cash shortage and desperate need of humanitarian aid. and threatened by the islamic state. caliphate recently is the result of
domestic complicated political and economic that resulted in divisions across the country. and technical assistance alone will not be enough to defeat isis. and i will elaborate on this area this is my perspective. libyans will defeat terrorism only through addressing domestic drivers of instability. the u.s. and international community should focus on helping libya with stabilization, such as the economy, reconciliation with groups, and decentralization of powers as well. the most effective response to the rise of isis in libya is the construction of an accountable libyan state with an effective security sector. without an accountable libyan eshte, the war against da
will be endless in libya. this is not to say that nothing can be done against isis and libya in the short term. quite the opposite. the anti-isis fight could strengthen the political process and vice versa. for instance, efforts right now by the presidential council to create a military joint command to fight isis can both help the security situation and strengthen the political process. moreover, new libyan governments should be supported to reduce threats and helping the central bank and government pushed back against the demands and put constraints on spending on the salaries. not only that. but according to the political agreement, militias should be dismantled. either in civil or military sectors. it is also essential for the
government to reconcile with the forces dominate in eastern libya. namely, the libyan national army. the national community should help in devising a proposal for reconciliation and acknowledging roleibyan national army's in defeating terrorist forces in the north. the u.s. and the international community should support libya through a different policy aspect. in terms of priorities, the economic crisis should come first. a failure to resolve the economic crisis will further exacerbate the humanitarian crisis. second, political conciliation is crucial to make libyan institutions work. and international partners should react on international
drivers. acting on these pillars will help address the two most pressing concerns and libya. and illegal immigrants on the other. the idea is giving security. international community should not be putting security first, and supporting government to build its forces and control its borders. this strategy has failed before , and i was witness to that. as i was arrested, and responsible for many of the security initiatives offered by many countries around. libya's insecurity is the result of complex interactions between complicated economic factors. in conclusion, the u.s. and the
international community should not see libya purely through counterterrorism and should not take up purely technical approach only on arming and building up equipment. even though they are important. but in order to achieve tangible results,sustainable the partnership should help the new government tackle economic crisis, step up reconciliation and help develop functioning institutions so it can result offered by the international community. so it can absorb whatever is offered by the international community. to grapple with these problems, very high level of political, diplomatic efforts is more important now than ever. thank you. [applause]
jonathan: hi, i'm jonathan winer. united states special envoy to libya. first of all, there is an enormous amount of wisdom already expressed. generally speaking, i agree with pretty much everything. not every word, but close to it. we ought not be too abstract about what we are facing. in the last 72 hours, we try to regain critical territory. some critical territory which leads to tripoli and to the south. in return, they equipped a big bus with the vehicle and killed
with improvised explosive devices what has been reported as three dozen libyan soldiers. there were some 100 people serious injured, who they are now trying to keep alive. this battle between libyans and daesh. i will differentiate them. libyans believes in a country and daesh believes in itself. and it offers a very predatory of gold, glory, girls, and guns. it can be attractive to teenagers and men in their 20's. this battle being fought right now, i had written down that chaos is the enemy. daesh is an enemy and a big enemy. but chaos is the enemy. she kept using that word. because daesh feeds on chaos.
so, if you want to get and defeat daesh, you have to address the factors. as she did in her presentation, that has set chaos in libya. that is what policy has to be based on at its core. our broad strategic interest in libya is therefore to support a unified libya, not one that gets divided into parts with an accountable government, not people self proclaiming. i control the resources, you have to talk to me if you want anything. because it is me, because i do. that was kind of the way gaddafi ruled on behalf of the people for 42 years. it doesn't work then or now. and it does not work with the gaddafi's who want control. the u.s. strategy has allowed violent extremist groups to grow.
you have had al qaeda and two different sharia groups. when you have under governed space, it is a greater opportunity for bad guys to make mischief. and for foreigners to come in. luckily, libyans do not tend to like foreigners of any kind telling them what to do. itains, it is br french, iraq, syria. they develop antibodies. quickly. and that is why i'm betting on libya and libyans to win, not daesh. whatever that strength may be. our approach is that we are tied very closely to support the government of national accord. we think libyans must be able and need a stable government to close the security vacuum. and that is a precondition to effectively combating dieaesh.
so, is it security first or economy first? well, it is hard to get people to invest in a country where security is a disaster. and internationals cannot be present. it washington, d.c. had no international presence, we would be a much poorer place. if the united states had every foreigner leave, our economy would be an absolute economic shambles. having everyone leave libya has been bad for libya. in terms of foreigners, you have to get enough security back in . things iof the key learned in talking to people at the imf about libya, i said what reforms can we put in place? with public financial management, good government, illuminating corruption, getting rid of duplicative salaries, and so on and so forth. they said there is not anything you can do. if libya is not pumping oil, you cannot be successful.
oil is responsible for 90% revenue. pretty close to 100%. right now, 150,000 barrels a day. 1/10 of the price of oil was one fourth of what it used to be. three minutes? i will not get to all four sections, or even section one. it doesn't work. corn,ll eat up all of the and then you have real chaos. the current economic problems and the security conditions are intimately linked with the political. so, we keep looking at security and what we're going to do about daesh. and airstrikes, well, we have had two so far of against terrorists. if you had one you can have two, avenue can have three. we have done training and equipping the libyans in the past.
we're going to offer more. we've secured a successful ministerial communique agreement -- in vienna earlier this week. i just came back from there. 22 countries including it every in the region. all are agreeing on the same thing. international core, exemption from the arms embargo to take on terrorists. which we support and will probably participate in if the libyans ask us. to try andahead build successful national structure. on the economy, that is liquidity. some of that is hoarding. we need to get through it. we have to get libyans hope that there is a future through government and governance. we have to get the next generation of libyans getting a proudly significant role in a
future generation, because they have bad habits developed under gaddafi. i see hope with incoming generations that have fresh ideas. who, like people everywhere, believe in their own country. and want to see a place they can grow up in. u.s. policy is founded on the premise on one government, not multiple government. one political process, not multiple negotiation places. regional states, anyone who has had clients and proxies. aligning on behalf of of the unified government, rather than fighting ideological, regional, or sectarian battles. and resources being shared on a national level. so whether you are east, west, south you have a stake in the government. those are pretty core principles.
it is very simple in the end. from this commentator problem, what your goals are, if you stick with those principles, you may begin to make some process. which i think we are starting to begins toe policy take hold. thank you. [applause] david: ok, my thanks to all of our panelists. are you hearing me well in the back? ok. i am going to go -- i am going to ask a question of each one of our speakers. roughly in the order they came up your. -- came up here. i may ask them to question one another a little bit. let me start with charles lister. charles, your description does not make it look like a very fun place for libyans to be living. but i wonder, is it a place
where daesh can feel safe? i mean, this is not raqqa. it is not mosul. it is very, very close to the seaborne assets of nato countries. there are these libyan actions that have been discussed quite d, that think, by fre aesh in one way or another. do they really see this as a place where they can build a caliphate long-term? >> i am not convinced. but it is the best that they have for now. 2015, to a014 emily qualified territorial foothold.
elsewhere on the coast and further south, as i said throughout my presentation, i am not enough of a libya expert but from what i can see, they have made attempts to go further south. i think for sure, in terms of recruitment, there are indications they are acquiring foreign fighters further into the african continent. so, i think it is going to be their bastion. i have little doubt that there is going to be a fight for the city at some point. and knowing how they operate elsewhere, that they appear to being led by commanders who have come from syria and iraq. they will seek to sow as made divisions and other communities, so as to prolong it as long as possible. of course, what happens after
that, is what we have to wait and see. i do not think it is a coincidence that isis has demonstrated a capacity to spill over into tunisia. i do not think it is coincidence that we have seen that look number. they probably are aware of the potential dangers they have there. if they feel under pressure, we will see more spectacular attacks. we will see more mass executions. we are in that city building.
david: fred, let me ask you to pick up on that. , let me ask yoo pick up on that. how successful can daesh be in building the kind of quasi-state in turkey that it has and syria? after all, there has got to be a lot of competition. i just question how much in the way of financial reserves could they bring to bear in trying to attract libyans and other fighters. i realize there is a big reservoir of potential fighters elsewhere in africa and tunisia and so on. what are the practical
and hownts on daesh would it be possible for the combination of the libyan and international partners to compete with them? >> there is a lot there. you have answered it. they are not able to replicate the state building function they have elsewhere because they lack revenue streams. intoare not able to tap this disenchantment. are these isolated pockets that they have implanted themselves. they have been pushed out. it is also a buffer.
it has allow them to grow. capable of great disruption. flow -- plot attacks abroad. was preemptive. they saw something covering -- coming. the question on what they can do. this comes as inclusive governance. something has to come after isis. there has to be a rule of law. to substitute one extremist threat to another. it is absolutely critical that we received cautiously and
methodically. said, if things oftinue to stagnate in terms reestablishing stability in libya and if as the weather the mediterranean, we have another wave of people europe.cross towards with all the potential for terrorist coming along with them , which countries would be most to militarycal efforts to bolster and dealing with the security problems? which countries feel most threatened?
which countries are likely to come forward with some kind of military assets. you sort of answered it. the european countries that are , the italians have kind of backed off. that the forces are already on the ground. there is a huge well among the european powers and i think it is a matter of coordinating those efforts. they are not working across purposes. making sure that countries to have these capabilities, italians have a training mission that could be an official to what libya needs.
the u.s. has certain capabilities. to learn the lessons of our past training failures. we did the training before there was anything to absorb the trainees. you trained in bunch of soldiers and they came back to militias. you need to make sure you're not just training one particular town or tried. david: you are not suggesting that we just don't some military ther one in their -- this newly found the libyan government. that? i say david: no but how much training for themto be required
to be absorbed. >> we know from past experiences. how well do we do in iraq #when you train at counterterrorism at technicalnot capacity only. you have to have political unity. it is a long horizon. we're looking at a very long time. we have this immediate isis that. we need to be looking at the long game. it is going to take a long time. up on that with you. they have indicated support for lifting the arms embargo on sales of military equipment to
the government. through thet gets un security council and i understand it will take us un security council vote. i don't know what russia might do at this stage. assuming there is a un security council. is your government also going to request specific assistance in terms of training its forces and how would that be organized. on territory. have you form of the armed forces starting from where you are now.
>> it is not an easy question. let me tell you something. among the countries where they had proposed to train some soldiers, -- libyan to create aproposal nucleus of the national army. the idea was to train them are broad. theailed big-time because bedding was inappropriate. the young people were taking two different countries. critical thing ande how can you train expect the soldiers to come back.
it failed because the vetting failed. we did not have a proper's strong interests -- institution. they were creating committees to that parallel institutions. you that, let me tell we have a nucleus of an army. we have a lot of professionals all over the country. we have many different ranks. existed during this time. big massive movement. this was when the camps were it bigd the country had amount of arms.
those links are available. they are there. this is what is starting to happen. they are already working with these people in tripoli. sometimes they had recruited civilians. it is not traditional military fight. traditional classic confrontation. it is very complicated and very devastating. it should depend on intelligence and central forces and not by a means of heavy artillery. to some that up, we have the
nucleus of an army in libya. we have a huge number of trained soldiers. we have trained many and now we are in a. where they are technocrats. they should come back. they are already there and we should build on it. capacity build their with lifting the arms embargo. we have to be very careful here because we need to assess what we have already. we need to make sure it is falling in the right hands. we need to solve the problem of the militia and i spoke about that earlier. wantingrnment has to be andesist the pressures their desire to continue. we do not want to go back to square one.
we need to convince these young people and i wished many times this would be an one of our resolutions that it is the duty of the government to support us on that. they should be given incentives. point can we see a proper army being formed and assessing what we have and what is needed. i think it will be prepared at that point. they will be prepared to make its proper request. david: thank you for that. i want to apologize for jumping orderhe well considered in which you presented the
issues that this government have to face. you said in your prepared remarks that security coding come first. -- couldn't come first. you had to start with the economy getting going. i want to recognize that you had a well-thought-out approach to that. i do not mean to distort your views on military preparedness. you did that extremely well. military ding the topic but you did that extremely well, thank you. to you , i want to come last here. noting that some of the things indicating, the u.s. government indicated following to be a very me
successful meeting in vienna, as that we were going to be prepared to be quite forthcoming in support of a wide range of support for the libyan government of national accord. if they , saying that would form themselves up as a partner, we would be there to with them. but i really wonder to what going to have the necessary level of support from the congress of the united states, which hasn't shown itself to be notably enthusiastic for -- sometimes for all the things that need to what extent do we more support and, the united states particularly, even though there were, as you noted, all the
governments in the region, vienna, in the past, it's been my impression, that we haven't had whole-hearted support for the idea of the international community getting behind a ingle government, and i wonder to what degree this issue needs on the agenda of our relations with egypt, for making in terms of certain that the international community carries out the kind high-minded pledges it made in vienna. jonathan: thank you very much, ambassad ambassador. we were talking libya all week last week. probably much of the week last before.d the week you forget when you have conversation after conversation another.
getting alignment among all the regional players, as well as the european players, has been at the core of our policy for the years.veral libya can't afford to get divided up by people with different interests fighting with one another. that's part of what leads to chaos. if you've got one regional state and leads to one player another regional state supporting a different player, that's not going to work well libya, and i think everybody understands that. emirates, ted arab arabia, nigerria, sudan, i hope have aren't missed any north african regional i did miss one, as well as united kingdom,
germany, france, spain, european union, african union, all signed the this, which was government of the national accord. where i think about it, it's a bit like water hydraulics, and all kinds of hydraulics. you can't predict where the individual particle will go, towards r is falling something. that's the chaos theory, right. trench, you ig a know most of the water will go through that trench. more you dig the channel, of the water goes through and you coat the channel and start put nothing filt ers and a variety of things to get the water looking good and useful for more purposes. so what we're doing with the governor of national accord is channel for ate a national unity and reconciliation and building for libya's needs and building enough stability so the economy an come back, pump oil, which
libya needs for libyans, distribute the wealth fairly, equitably in a way that brings people in, and take advantage of libya's natural resources to rebuild the country. that's what we're trying to do. nd i think we've made a lot of progress. there's still a lot of problems, but the more progress we make, will be able to take on as the vast, vast, vast libyanses want to do, and reduce it and push it out. it's happening already. , u see fighting against them fighting against them in benghazi. like nothing is happening to push them back. hey're going to have less territory again. this is not a native phenomenon. iraqi-syria phenomenon
transplanted into libya, which elements.ative some of whom said we don't want them. we had extremism a long time. we didn't like being told what to do by foreign extremists, and kicked them out. so the libyans are difficult. she's not difficult. she's very sensible, dynamic, and easy to work with. her.ove working with but libyans overall can be quite fractious. so carving that channel in a way that they're going to say this is good is what we're trying to do, and we can't predict where our individual draw folk are if it's going d to -- even though it's going to take time, which it is, and it will. thank you. david: thank you. i'm going to be willing to take some questions from the so raise your hands. i've already seen a few of you
with your hands up. will be more e questioners than i'm able to get to. when i call on somebody, would you, number 1, introduce yourself as to your name and affiliation. number 2, ask a question. don't make a statement. keep it short. question mark. all right? middle tart in the there, jason. and wait until you get the microphone, please. audience: always a pleasure to panel.ch an all-star i'm jason mack, founder of a web libya.bout i agree with the broad outlines of the panel. isis is no doubt a symptom of he malities of libya's implosion plus 2011 and not the ause, and of course as charles started off saying and fred
ommented, without a bona fide anti-isis coalition, it will be impossible to make real gains or sustainable gains. in a way tion is, following up on david's last actors who se support other factions, such as hopkar in the east, or others who don't want to be part coalition, -isis t's all well and signed communiques. what can be done concretely on sanctions and other areas. what are concrete proposals and i ask this of the whole panel, people fall into line, both regiona actors and s on the groundia into the different channels you described. you start by n,
addressing that and i'll ask other members of the panel to they have particular comments. jonathan: we'll start with sanctions. intended to e respond to global and national security threats of various inds and have to be legally justified. of e sanctioned the speaker the parliament of the governor f libya we recognized prior to the gna. after he undertook a series of activities, which included violence l threats of and intimidation when the to support thedy governor of national accord, not majority but super majority. we prevented it from happening. kalifa tioned him and grail who was sanctioned to be inflict violence on anyone who participated in core of nor's national
entry into tripoli. after the sanctions, he wound up leaving town. he lost protection and financial resources. he central bank channelled all the s authority to government of national accord and ceased responding to of the from either legacy governments, so that was a very profound economic shift, which i'm sure had its impact. recently, there was an effort to sell oil illicitly by the self-proclaimed eastern national oil company. self-proclaimed because it was supported by the house of epresentatives, but not responding to the government of .ational accord u.n., it issued by the the ship's captain cooperated, unloaded, and was
he oil was no long er susceptible to diversion. we were very grateful, collective, all of us for the libyan government to help. global responsibility. unified global approach. all u.n. security council members said yes. not just the typical three but the full five, fully cooperated with one another, just as russia and china participated, should have mentioned that, participated in the vienna communique. very important to have all five five pu nd have all pulling together on behalf of the same goals. we worked very hard to consult with russia and china as we go along. russia had complaints about how all of us came to be. a lot goes into that history. they have noting that them and that alignment there is tremendously important, too. happened hat, what
next? narc say they n would move out because they have a right to? they should. heard there was a possibility that the participants might wind up not ng sanctioned as well, just the individuals. i don't know whether that had an impact on them or not. i do know that this was a deal cut in the last 48 hours between narc and the western narc. narc agrees to the national government authority, then they are. here's reconciliation, integration and action with a mixture of sanctions and reconciliation. do we want to sanction anybody? we don't want to sanction anybody. to have tont libyans be told what to do by us or anybody else. if they're not coming together and unifying, you have to continue to carve that channel. t's a signalling device and a tool to get people in the right erritory and to back off whenever you can.
thank you. david: let's get a microphone to the gentleman on the right. audience: daniel from johns hopkins. question, swered my g.n.a. degree does the control things, the investment authorities, the central bank, gree has any progress been made on unifying the parliaments? where are we in this process? and i would add to what degree is there a connection between g.n.a. and the local governments that still exist? >> gentleman in the fourth row back there.
>> it's a work in progress, of course. the central bank that controls all foreign exchange, all of it, based in tripoli, exists under at this point the authority of g.n.a. and undertakes no activities that aren't in lignment with the policies and approach of the g.n.a. he central banks have some independence but it's still in aligned. the role to the east is hard to assess. last week when i read in the wall street journal, they hired -- safe ck tore cracker to break into a safe, qadaffi's face, it would reduce the value to libyan coin collectors. disturbing.t was i thought when they broke into safes, it only happened in movies, but it was being
discussed in libya right now by purports to be a bank governor. disturbing. large amounts of currency being printed to be imported into libya. i don't know whether those are true or not. very disturbing. it's a work in progress. libyan authority has said we'll support and back the g.n.a. and most of the money is tied up still anyway and which is a good thing. the national oil company as we just discussed. it's a work in progress. t's a channel being carved, as it were. in terms of the localities, the accord's of national ability to directly control things is quite limited but most of the times, cities in the united states don't take their direction from president obama and vice president biden. about their work under existing arrangements. us take guidance from the top offices of our system it's how the kind of works. the question is, who's exercising authority and jurisdiction where? said twice and i'll
say a third time and try not to repeat a fourth time, it's a work in progress and hard to say, but if people agree to accept the authority of something, then the authority is accepted. so the process is as much of a estate of mind and a political g else.it is anythin what has to happen over the next governor of he national accord has to use authority wisely, working with particular, ank in to procure sufficient liquidity ground, esources on the currency on the ground and purchasing power, things like layers of credit to get things imported so there's enough stuff so, yeah, or ramadan our needs are being taken care of properly. most important immediate thing they have to do, and they're working on it, and i people that e there's going to be a real congress over the next couple of weeks just in time, and another people tearing their hair out saying it's not enough and
they'll need more emergency measures. focused on it? yes. it's absolutely essential. thank you. david: it's been a great discussion by a couple of our cous-cousand t sanctions, i appreciate. one more to ask to get question out here at least from the gentleman here. go ahead. audience: thank you very much the presentation. i'm eric goldstein from human rights watch. of course isis is awful but since 2011 the various militia responsible been for far more abuses. those who are talking about a listing of the arms embargo, assure us that there -- vetting, g, any member hear from of the panel who can explain how the vetting will be credible, who has the t, intelligence to ensure that the arms don't go into the wrong
hands. thank you. david: wafa bugaig his was involved with the civil society before and i think she's in a great position to answer this question. i will vil society, answer it maybe with my capacity in foreign affairs before. this is what i mentioned should not aid we rush, and it's not as simple as kosher, d we have to be and i iterated that. lifting armsdea of mbargo and just importing arms right now, we need to assess what we have. assess our legitimate forces that are going to use make sure ed to that -- we have to make sure t's not going to fall in other
hands, and i guess my colleagues and i lso agree with me, heard him mention this, we should not rush into such an issue. we need to organize ourselves going to take what, where's it going to go, therwise -- and i pointed out previously, that we had a huge amount of arms and there's a lot of smuggling. there's a lot of organized crime, smuggling arms, stealing country, and e the -- besides isis, you know, huge organized crime network in the country, and a huge amount of arms going in and out. so we need to be kosher, and i think mean, this is going to help. thanks. david: thank you. i'd like to take -- yeah, let me take one more question from the middle, and then i'm going to ask all four members of a panel to leave us with
final thought, one or two entences, what the take-away from the program should be in their mind. go ahead, ma'am. kadlick. i am amanda can you hear me now? okay. my name is amanda kadlick with rand. about tion is coordination among international actors, sort of carrying on from jason said about communique s nice, but beyond that, there needs to be some sort of concrete measures. coordination among u.s. allies, like italy, because from k. what it seems, is that each actor or each country has its own plan in place for what it's doing on the ground in terms of its special forces operations, and relationship-building. the degree of communication among those ctors, and are they communicating in terms of
they igence sharing, do have individual relationships that are different on the then from there, do you trust that the g.n.a. is ctually a body that will provide the kind of factual information that you're looking of which militias to trust and which militias to work with? david: let me start with fred in answering that question. well, i'll take the last part of that. mean, factual information, i mean, this is the real problem militias lot of these are sort of auditioning and aising their hands, yeah, i'll fight isis, help me, it's a great way to get is want and about sort of question what does that really mean? is there a criteria for signing up and that goes also to the human rights vetting, which is tremendously problematic. in the past, i think when the
outside -- when the europeans train the tried to general purpose force, the record-keeping system in libya was quite sparse. you didn't know he was a criminal. some people talked to tribes you know, ask around the families, is this a good person or bad person. .t's worrisome some of the actors pushing back against the islamic state right running their own prison. i ran into one of them in tripoli where guys are being who's isis, re, who's not? how do you know he's isis. proce uestion of drew process -- due process is really an issue. the issue of coordination among special forces. don't know -- i've seen the reports about what the french did in benghazi, so each actor impulse and agendas and i think it can be detrimental to national cohesion if it's not orchestrated. i guess that would be my point that they would have to be on
the same sheet because when you back faction a, it creates a certain ripple effect that could road so ng down the that just goes to my poign that on the same e all sheet. caution.proceed with that would be my closing sheet. of course, do no harm. before we rush in. this is a society that is probably more resilient than we think. people we talked to, they want their lifestyle issues addressed economy, so that has to be their first step. >> okay. that's a good way for you to end. first, do no harm. charles, how about you. charles: two things i want to mention. it's been said already that isis libyan ecessarily a phenomenon and i think that's absolutely right. that would spark me to say what say when i talk about syr syria, which is don't forget al-qaida.other one, and i think they have had a hold
in libya longer than isis. nd their branch is intensely connected to al-qaida's central leadership and in the field. i think last year, there was a conference held between basically every single north a-linked group in africa and all the way far south that i in benghazi, and was coordinated by sharia. panel, i g on the isis would say don't forget about the other jihadi enemy which i would say has much more of a historical foothold in parts of libya. the second part on train and equip, if i was someone in syria parallel, the a training equipment in syria that known as the one that spectacularly failed. it failed because there was a refusal to understand and acknowledge the reality of local dynamics, the reality of what peoples' priorities were. so if i was to draw a parallel don't make would say
any training equip mission only about isis. the whole broader long term context is that libya has to be secondly account and by extension, the train equip is the that has worked one that was managed by the central intelligence agency and coordinated with regional governments. that took 18 months to find the first genuinely reliable vetted forces that still exist to this day, over 50 on groups have training hat vetting, and equipping process since 2012-2013, and two out of 53 on my count don't exist anymore. it's a remarkable success rate, but it does go to show how long a process conduct like this and how important that rocess was in succeeding and actually acknowledging the local dynamics, that was the primary success.r its so again to sort of reiterate what i said and what others have
time.it takes don't rush a process like this. fail.u rush it, it will david: wafa, would you like to couple of us with a thoughts. thought.st one the process of unifying libya going to be at is long process. and the situation will probably still get worse before it gets better. mission is communicating ith the u.s. government with relation to the high political efforts so far, and to jonathan who has been doing a lot of traveling and hard work with communique sometimes around my day and the hour, but message is for them to maintain he momentum and help in
coordinating efforts for reconciliation. e need more and more and more reconciliation. , you know, inven proposals and initiatives, and the key for libya and for reaching peace. thank you. republican jonathan: i know it would be much better to wait for president clinton or president over to leave them with a libyan problem. better ld actively be for my psychological and physical well being. no doubt about it. convinced it would be better for libya to just wait, according to the issues we just talked about. don't do things until you know what the results are going to be. afraid. very not just very, very careful. sure. i love omlets.
eatomlets. i hate breaking eggs. i don't like egg beaters. satisfactory y form of stipulations. it's going to kill a lot more people before it's done and will that.a lot more than it will destroy a lot more if you let them be. libyans have been asking for it east and west, and south, different types of help. should the united states and other members of the international community, a hate, responded positively, or go to them and wait for president clinton or president clump. trump. i said clump. that was not a freudian slip. .t was just a mispronunciation we're faced with the policy choices that we're faced with. don't underestimate, and this is he last point, the power of communiques. they establish norms and you can norms conduct against
and build activities based upon norms that have been set and of thetimating the power communique, is i think a particularly if people are determined to use it. thank you. thing let me just say one as moderator and somebody who's been involved in libya since i went there as a young diplomat history of whole of -libyan relations is one some very rapid brief periods of very intense involvement, often relate, our war against tripoli 19th beginning of the century, our bombing of tripoli and benghazi in 1986, and but periods of very benevolent involvement, helping
an independent country after the second world war, when other people would to just turned them back the italians. and also, the role of american oil companies in helping libya had e prosperous after it been one of the poorest countries in the world. but basically, if you look at been ole history, it's long, long periods of neglect. nd i hope we are turning that around now, and that we will be in helpingy involved the libyans have the kind of future that they deserve, and thanking our in >> the opening of the national museum of african american history and coulter. on saturday morning, american history tv is live for a
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