tv Washington Journal Michael Eisenstadt CSPAN April 16, 2018 11:28pm-12:04am EDT
experimentation. >> please join me in thanking our panelists. [applause] announcer: next, a discussion on last week's attack by the u.s. and its allies on syria's chemical weapons sites. this is from monday's washington journal. host: michael eisenstadt joins us now. washington institute for near east policy military and security studies program. last week before the latest
strikes, you wrote that the problems in syria will ot end with a single set of strikes. so what did and didn't the nited states and britain and france accomplish with what happened on friday night? guest: we probably did some to chemical weapons capabilities, although the department of defense briefings struck the only targets that would not likely so lt in harm to civilians, there probably were other chemical weapon related targets that reason. for our experience in the past, you year after the strike a ago, it didn't stop the regime weapons.ng chemical there was a pause for a while, perhaps we will buy time as a and using less ethal agents such as chlorine, rather than sarin. there might be beneficial results from this. in terms of how this, in terms f stopping the regime's
military operation, chemicals are not that important for the were a game never changer, they were more important earlier in the war. regime has preponderance and russians and hezbollah behind them, chemical weapons aren't important, probably won't -- affect the overall host: if they are not that important, why do they keep using them? it drew u.s. strikes, why do they keep using them? they: part is just because can and to show they can. they are condemned for doing it ago, ook a strike a year when they last used sarin to people, se to 100 basically show they can't be coerced, won't be bowed and like ancing on your enemy's grave, way to instill terror and hopelessness in the hearts of
opposition because a large part of these kind of campaign not just ogical, defeat enemy militarily, force be fear nternalize and sxfl they won't ever fight back again. how would you describe the coalition establishment right now? punishment? guest: i think the defense department and secretary mattis deterrence, establish deterrence, there is norm gainst use of chemical weapons since world war i, enshrined in international agreements and was being eroded. north al crisis with korea, who believed fo have this genie back in the bottle, could have implication if the norm is eroded. days after the strike, what is assessment of strategy that was used, what was picked to hit?
targetsagain, we hit the we were able to hit without causing civilian losses. near damascus and my understanding is that is really r&d center for chemical weapons in the country. also hit storage facilities that precursors or ore chemical agents itself, in form.ized form or bulk all appearances from tactical oint of view, mission accomplished, but overall mission in syria and our policy it yria, i don't see how contributes to goals of consolidating our successes against isis by tabilization and by deescalation zones, other goals it doesn't address. parts of the strategy are a work in progress. where could you accomplish the goals, hurt the assad regime
wedge between syria and russia? guest: one thing i advocated in week, let i wrote last me just say, i think it is regrettable we are involved this conflict at this point. think would have been more desirable to have a proxy strategy based on supporting could rampmembers we up support of to put pressure on the regime. involved directly, i think beside hits hemical-weapons related facilities, should have hit, if possible, delivery means, lthough it is possible disbursed as result of the resident's tweets and the syrians knew something was coming and moved aircraft by the we ians on the assumption wouldn't strike those as a result and i think that was assumption.correct could have probably hit the units involved in building on successes, or the
of the eld effects chemical weapons. they then move in with ground small number of unts we involved in that and if hit those units or headquarters of the units and killed people to the closely tied regime, may have had a greater also logical effect and tangible effect. it would have had the deterrence would be ave gotten more long lasting and also would their ability to prosecute the campaign on the battlefield. i would have preferred something broader, but again, we had to be care to feel avoid steps resulted in escalation with iran and russia and i support that. host: phone lines are open. republicans, 202-748-8001. democrats, 202-748-8000. independents, 202-748-8002. the el eisenstadt is with washington institute for near east policy military and security studies program.
who aren't iewers familiar, what the institute does? grist for the ide mill policy makers. olicy analysis in the hope we might provide ali-add to people making decisions and the dvantages we bring to bear, a lot of us have been dealing with decades, a lot of continuity and institutional built-up institutional knowledge. host: what is your background? guest: middle east specialist by training, georgetown university studies, i served from 1991 turkey, ern iraq, in mobilized in 11, various stints in iraq. host: with us, talking to viewers for the next 20 minutes. first, humble, texas. good morning.
aller: yes, i worked around hazmat material and i didn't see no one with gear on after the bombing. seemed like it would have spread or something like that. nd what is report on afghanistan and expenditures out $5 e, i think missing like billion? thank you. syrian eah, feelings of and russian personnel in douma, he area where the chemical attacks reportedly took part. my understanding is that a lot both chlorine and sarin are onpersistent agents, they evaporate very quickly. so, you know tis possible to -- where, youthat know, chemical weapons have been hours or a fewew days, although probably prudence so, youictate you not do never know whether there is of in that is kind puddles or whatever, but the
lasts for a few minutes or on the agent or temperature. ost: rond align for independents, good morning. calk kauktd /* kaukd did the investigation go through? guest: i think what the caller s talking about organization for chemical war fare sent a team, i'm not up to date in erms of whether they have been on the ground and in the past they have been denied access, access.s allowed i don't know what the current state of the play is, with inspection team. host: can you talk about what the governments of the united and great britain had been able to find out? what theybriefings on believe was used in the attacks on civilian? guest: yes, my understanding and hasn't been a lot release body this.
have, at least french claimed to have concrete information based on blood tests in the vicinity, which ndicated at least chlorine and possibly sarin was used. reports it was some type of possibly of nerve agent. is clarity to be given to the topic. u.s. officials have said they information which led them to believe this was the case. you wouldn't launch a strike unless have you definitive information in this regard. here is one of the pictures. 76 missiles struck that research development center before awn in community outside of damascus. there is the picture on the front page of the "wall street remains of that facility and the bunker and
storage site that were hit in the attack. alexandria, virginia, line for democrats, go ahead. aller: thank you for allowing me to speak. it sounded like you said that president trump sort of preempted or gave update or alert to those who had chemical allowed them to move. i want to know if that is common officials to either pre-emptiv ely put out something allows the enemy to move the target and if so, what is law, or ed in u.s. consequence? host: referring to the tweet? uest: referring to the tweet last week, let me be careful and ust say in 1991, after the saddam, of kuwait by president bush said, this shall not stand and moved toward the countering the iraq invasion, that is a different situation.
troop volves movement of and deployment easily seen by everybody. strike in respond, as the last week, there would probably have been indications that the united putting assets into place, even if the president had not said anything. not sure what impact it really had in the end. reports that the -- to hit other aspects of nfrastructure such as delivery means. host: did the sometiming of that come after that first tweet about this? that is my understanding. quite possible, every time we use forces, the pentagon repairing a response, it is possible they would have done things anyhow. strike of last year after these of nerve agent it was possible they as
matter of prudence disbursed forces. know what would have happened if the president hadn't said anything. is whether they moved agents at the site. '91, did that in disbursed it in open field and that. like there is no, according to pentagon, no evidence the agents themselves were disbursed, but military ome of the force was disbursed. that would probably preclude targeted. still, we don't know at this point. nashville, tennessee. independent, good morning. caller: hi. all just f we are american fools? i mean, are you telling me that used chlorine gas on their eople as a public relations
event so that it would make and knowing itar would result in us bombing them, is ridiculous. chlorine gas is available everywhere and they don't know evidence as tono who did it that was presented. also, there were ready and waiting to go in where the team investigators, this has and awe written all over it. we're being drug own a hole of warmongering and every bit of our moral fiber is for what?aded guest: actually a lot of questions there. some of to address them. first of all, i think no indication that the president
be involved in the war in syria and that is why his response to fema ran agents in contrary to trajectory he's taken on american-syrian policy. think there is actually a desire on the part of the resident and most senior advisors to get more deeply involved in there and i don't believe we should be more deeply involved directly ourselves. it would be ideal if we could strategy, although we've taken steps in the past, that has made things more difficult. with regard, yes, you are right. that is one reason why they are lethal, not the most psychological -- the scenario you describe, i don't what actually
happened, i don't think they thought we would respond. i think the regime for these w regimes overreach and right now the regime in damascus is on they are kind , f -- they were in the final stages outside of damascus and kind of wiping up resistance. i said, the term i would graves of g on the your enemys to humiliate and eal the victory by showing not a dam thing you can do and we use -- host: a caller in an earlier series wanted to know what role kurds play in syria. 60,000 now e of active in northeast part of the country. part of syrian kurdish called
wing is ypd, ary kurdish group., and they turned out to be effective partners in the fight against isis. you remember the fight a couple years ago, we initiated the pyd.tion with outsidehey engaging the government? moved to hem have invaded northern syria. it is not clear what turkey is want to r, they prevent, you know, a continued kurdish rule in northern syria that would reach to syria and ts of mediterranean. salie nt byd in this the town of eph rain, to break
kurds control. the kurds in the east have gone the east and it is on hold now. we don't have enough fighters arabs and a lot of leadership is kurdish. commanders, kurds have gone, on hold in the east and brought us into, caused tension with the turks, remark terrorists, say we are partnering with terrorists and that narrow to walk line with turkey. damascus?change in >> they are actually, their particular ir own -- cultural and degree olitical academy in terms of selling of oil -- they are
accommodate, i think they would rather not. they like having us there in against turkey. and that raises question if we out as president has said, to be honest, i'm not thrilled to have 2000 americans ground there, it does create complications, but so does our leaving potentially. we've seen elsewhere, we've often played a role we don't terms of shoring up status quo in various places. in 2011, it iraq had, as we saw, a dramatic impact on stability of the country in terms of leaving it the side and to the khadafy -- gence of leave from the northeast, it might have
consequence in terms of dramatically escalating the war and en turkey and the pyd perhaps also having the syrian egime return to areas that it formerly controlled in the east, as well 6789 host: so what is the good option? guest: no good option, bad and worse. it is bad option is stay where the e right now, preserve status quo, i would have liked to be involved in continuing to support the opposition with arms simply because i believe all, this puts pressure on the outside regime. i don't believe we can get rid them. i never supported the idea of getting rid of them. be something better. opposition never showed it was capable of doing that. e never really supported them to give them that option, they were divided and fractuous, syrian opposition is unfortunately a mess. but i still think there is still value in arming the opposition keep pressure on the regime so the regime is not able to
first of all on humanitarian reasons. if the opposition is able to continue to areas that it controls now, at least those eople will not be living under regime control, won't be mass refugee flow into turkey. potential for mass refugee flows and keeps pressure keeps them nd occupied so they cannot engage in rouble making elsewhere the region. seeing as result of victory and allies, possibility of hezbollah it will be -- we -- stay thering now might be best way to prevent that. host: peter, good morning. caller: good morning. thank you to c-span for doing excellent job, as usual. questions. first, my understanding as of a month ago, there were still fighters on the ground
air base there. those fighters, may or may not involved in this eries just conducted over the past few days in syria. to, you know, how he sees the situation vis-a-vis, nato air base, easier to y, so much run raids in syria, if we wanted o, but are we really on dicey ground now that the russians anti-aird up the s-400 delivery to turkey, which is questionable, , given the nato implications? that is my first question. -- second one is host: peter, hold on, let michael eisenstadt answer the lot there.ion, a guest: the air base, the united states uses is critical asset in the n syria and region. my knowledge, the aircraft
in the raid over -- weekend were not based basically all elements we relied bombers that participated in the strike, probably flew out of the gulf or -- garcia, i came from the opposite direction. red sea editerranean, and persian gulf and british fighters came out of cypress and think the french fighters may have flew out of france, air navy as far as -- if i'm correct. don't think we used that strike for syria over the weekend. i think our ability at the base limited this point because of the relationship with iraqi relationship with the turks, but still there. i just i'm not clear in terms of whether they are still flying over syria. i think most aircraft flying missions over syria are coming
region. gulf host: peter, did you have a quick follow-up? north yeah, back to korea, i mean, it took forever to the el to fess up act the 2007 raid on the nucle involved- yes, we were in that. there was a footprint there, that was an footprint unmistakable and the syrian and north korean connection goes you know, decades. what about i have, the north korean and this gas attack situation, has that been brought that has been out? is there nothing there at all? i can't believe that is the case. actually h, there was a report by u.n. experts, who out once in s come a while from the u.n. looking at compliance of north korea and u.n. countries with
sanctions. they said the north korean are yan chemical r weapon program. they had, actually, available public domain, very well done studies, based on from numerous countries, open sources. so there is a north korean angle syria chemical weapon program, the caller is right. ost: ohio, cliff is a republican, good morning. caller: good morning. can you address the historical on this syria issue? holy that russia, their the m ve port on mediterrane mediterranean. the entire middle east situation 19th century great game politics, that is one
thing. addressr thing, too, to he people that say there is no weapons of mass destruction -- counting and and was ts in iraq that there convoy of what could have been chemical weapons going into iraq. into syria at the time of the invasion invasion, can you address the two points? a lot i never really put of credence in that report. simply because i believe saddam believe we were going to baghdad in 2003. from his point of view, i think he thought we had limited goals, from his point of view, he thought we wanted iraq soil and the soil is basically in north and far south. we don't need to invade the iraq country if you want soil. had a handful of divisions to
having troubleas holding the country down with 20 divisions. from his point of view, crazy to no py the entire country, need to, we only want his oil. no reason to send chemical syria, large parts would remain under his control. force in 2003. yemen, and rce to elsewhere, to iran, to preserve it and get it back after the war 2003, he buried it in the esert, in hopes it would be saved, wouldn't be hit by the united states. nd then dig it up, he would be controlling part of the country. i don't think he believed we the whole way. host: question on russian aim necessary syria. you very much. great s an element of gain to geo-positive is involved here. from i think or,
my point of view, geo-political you know, general on aeus called it -- impact his neighbors and long-term impacts take a long time to work and figure out. if you look at impact on uropean politics and rise of antiimmigrant sentiment, terrorism that came out of syria the war there, he kind of rise of the populists in europe, more putin american.an inelieve we have an interest shaping developments without coming directly involved militarily. had a proxy option in terms of opposition forces that could put pressure on the regime. host: running low on time.
troy, michigan, line for republicans, go ahead. caller: good morning. job, as always. the mr. michael eisenstadt, i if you could just give us a little more information in regards to the feelings of the people in that area. the other night i was listening broadcasting and the gentleman that was instrumental taking down the statue that when ad of saddam hussein we went in there and american trucks pulled them down. was imprisoned 11 years under saddam and he said we invaded ry that that country because the country than it ever ape he under saddam, even though as a dictator and did things
dictators do, he said not one person in iraq wouldn't wish him back because the christians were not persecuted and i know that have some ecause i iraqi friends that are christian their t they hear from families left there and syria, too -- is the question? aller: i guess i'm saying, our involvement for 17 years, area, i object to the president dropping those bombs ago leaving these craters when in the united in our e have craters roads that look like they were bombed. this money spent in the wrong area. point.ot your guest: i wouldn't presume to speak for iraqis, i will say iraqi friends.m there are some that deeply regret we did this.
we did the right thing, but we made too many mistakes and i would agree. way more mistakes than to great power has the right make and this has caused a lot more harm than it needed to have done. i think many iraqis will say, look, in the end he was a hundreds of ator, thousands were murdered by him. did to get rid of him fwe had done it in a more think anybody i who served there would agree, sustainable ow a democracy there. iraqi characteristics, far from and ct, the nationalists anti-american politics are regretful, but on the other it is sustaining itself now. so there are some positive iraqiss and i think many will say, you know, there were
some host: last call. >> good morning. wantedd to say, and i the opinion on this, that i do not think the conversation should be whether or not we remove assad. a lot of people are agreeing with that right now. you have a lot of callers from generations older than mine. i hear a lot of talk in the news make america great again, and this nostalgia for a time when we were the only power aside from the soviet union. are we moving into a multipolar a unipolar world, and if we are, how do we respond to different forms of government without overreacting to
nondemocratic states? i would put it, the problems we face are bigger than any one country can deal with. we need to be able to work with allies, whether in the middle east or elsewhere. we are seeing with the rise of china and india, and russia playing an important role in the , there are other to takeot accustomed account of their interests. that is a fact of life, and we have to get used to it. ino, the bottom-line is , shortthey said before of invading a country, which 2003,ot do after iraq in we ended up doing that in iraq
and afghanistan. we do not get to decide what wars we want after we make that decision. way to we have to find a look at problems in a clearheaded way. not take an ideological approach. it is what it is. there are americans who look at things through an ideological prism. we all have blinders, myself included. as long as you are playing a major role in the world, and trying to shape governments overseas, you are going to make mistakes. we make mistakes in our own country. how many americans did not understand what is going on in their own country? it is difficult overseas when you are dealing with foreign countries and cultures. you are going to make mistakes. you have to minimize the
mistakes you make. if you want to find him online, washington institute.org. c-span's "washington journal," with news and policy issues that impact you. tuesday morning, john garamendi will join us to talk about u.s. military action against syria. pennsylvania republican congressman glenn thompson will talk about the farm bill and changes to the snap program. chris edwards will discuss tax policy. "atch "washington journal, joined the discussion. our landmark cases series continues in a moment. tonight, the supremert