tv Discussion on Russian Military Intervention in Syria CSPAN December 22, 2015 10:58am-12:10pm EST
present himself as a hero there. and two related issues is first of all, during several years the military in the russian where not intricate shape because first of all they were humiliated during -- and then they were involved in ukraine and major operations. not publicly announced was involved in ukraine. it was in all, some kind of hidden operation and, therefore, now past the possibly for the first time in many years to be openly, to test military capabilities, to protect in this way, to protect russia outside. so this is also to please the military and to contest accomplice which is quite important to provide around 15-70% of the actual jobs and
russia. will -- 17%. the last one is terror threat because the fighting of terrorists even may be in some grotesque way was for many years mr. putin's big game. and now in taking once again this issue of terrified, mr. putin wants to capitalize on this issue. three reasons or international scale is of course the relationship with iraq because iran was for many years a good friend of russia and ally for russia in the middle east. now after the iranian nuclear deal with and after the sanctions maybe were lifted in january, so iran, russia feels it's going out of its influence. putin somehow maneuvers to
>> you have different agendas, so i cannot see any for compromise. it was mentioned today. i would say that i doubt that someone can achieve victory over the islamic state there. i really doubt that we can speak for future about united and -- i think the best way to do the job is to make a state because it's inviable for the years to come.
but i completely -- i'm completely sure that he would never succeed in defeating isis in coming years. i think that if mr. putin wants to do this, let him try. it's a good experience for the russian. and if you want to have a very necessary on the ground, you should speak about the possibility of the state. so i think that syria is gone. victory is unachievable and coalition is out of question. thank you. [laughter] >> painful in your validation of the assumptions particularly struck by your point that you don't see a common purpose
between what russia is about and what secretary kerry is about, for example, in new york. that is a very sobberring thought. so back in the game days, we were going to split today's programming about how we got here with the idea that the second panel where would be where we go from here, but, in fact, substantial overlap. in that case professor stent. >> thank you for inviting me here. i don't disagree. i'm going to confine my remarks to russia, and russian goals and maybe reinforce what he said but you're not going to get any good news either. russia has multiple goals in the
campaign today in syria and some but not all are related to syria itself. ii want to reference about the border complex that you have alluded. russia has a right to be at table. he believes that the united states has try today deny him this right for the past 25 years. he wants to show that he is back and to insist that the u.s. and its allies recognize that russia's interest are legitimate, it's not more light mate than -- legitimate gol. right now he's the sort of go-to man if you want to get something right on syria as we saw with
secretary kerry's visit to moscow a few days ago. putin does believe that not only russia has influence in the post soviet space and he's been trying to get the west to recognize this. he talks about the need and things like that. russia has a right to reestablish areas beyond russia where the soviet union has quite a lot of union where russia lost after the soviet union. if you look at the last six months, we had the leaders of egypt, saudi arabia, jordan, kuwait, the united arab republic and israel and saudi arabia signing a 20-billion dollar
investment. we were talking with mark katz beforehand. it would be the largest single investment in russia. given the history of russia's development, that is in itself very interesting data point if you like. and then, of course, the new element in russian policy in this part of the world since the soviet collapse has been russian -israeli's relationship. bashar al-assad is not the desired leader. so this really is russia wanting the west to recognize that it has a right to reestablish its influence in this part of the world. i also agree with vladislav. obviously, i won't go into it. you have a failing economy, low oil prices, they keep going
down, under forty dollars a barrel now and, therefore, it's very important to keep having imagine of the west, of the united states, islamic state. ukraine has disappeared from russian tv. it's all international terrorism. putin has to keep showing himself as a very strong leader who can deal with the threats to russia. there's a basic paradox that you see at the moment. the united states continues to be demonized in russian media. if you hear the statements, it was time to abolish in theo when he was speaking in serbia. you have the economy image of the united states and you have mr. putin saying in his press conference, very interesting press conference that russia and the united states the two big
powers should join together and lead against the islamic state and it's going to be like the antihitler alliance during world war ii. then you really have to ask yourself is there some kind of distance between approaches to dealing with the united states. just a couple of comments on the russian view of president assad, this has already been said. from putin's point of view the support for assad, you know, has to do with russia's own goals in syria but has to do with the issue of regime change. putin is putting russia forward as champion of established sovereign government all around the world. obviously from the russian point of view strong men is far preferable to anything else, but pretty much defender of these in that kind of the world as
opposed to the u.s. that goes around the world trying to do regime change. i find it funny that without interested in regime change, which any official has quite said that before. and so from the russian point of view president putin's point about the u.s. abandoning, gadhafi and all the leaders, it's all about supporting a legitimately leader around the world. so i think -- yeah, another interesting thing that the conference in october, mr. putin said that russia doesn't really distinguish between islamic state and other opposition groups in syria. as far as russia is concerned, they're all terrorists. now i know we've had some -- there was the question that putin really did say that russia
was supporting the free-syrian army. i think there's also that kind of feeling that you cannot really distinguish between the different groups in syria. so i think going forward it's -- you know, i think it's unlikely that we are -- that the u.s. and russia are going to be really be able to work together to form a coalition to defeat the islamic state. i agree with what was said before that for russia islamic state isn't the issue. it's supporting the assad government, maybe a government that might come afterwards as long as russia has a say in what that government is and retains influence there. and so i think it's highly unlikely that this is going to work, nor do i really see russia and the united states agreeing on a transition in syria because, again, it's a fundamentally different view of mr. assad and what might happen
after him. i think the best that's going to happen between the u.s. and russia is, you know, to continue to deconflict our air operations and will continue talking in all of these different but that's the most that we can accomplish. [laughter] >> all right. i want to thank the atlantic council for inviting me as well. certainly both papers i thought were extremely interesting. in fact, fredrik hof, i agree, also that moscow see support for assad see important for defeating what it sees america's jihad. moscow seek to eliminate all syrian at earn toifs assad --
alternatives and presuming the west is going to see assad as less worse as an alternative. i also think he's right in saying for moscow the main utility for the negotiating process is delaying tactic during which moscow can support assad and it's not an actual call resolution process. i agree with overall critic of the obama administration policy calling for assad to step aside, at least they used to but not doing anything to make this happen or stop assad from targeting his own population with conventional means. i do disagree hof on one point. it seems to me that even if isil in syria such attacks could still occur. isil exists in many other places besides syria, even if isil were eliminated everywhere other
jihadi groups would launch such attacks. the concerns do not mean that the defeat of isil in syria is not a worthwhile goal but we must be realistic what results from it. i found hof's strategy to be quite sensible. this alone says why it won't implemented. sorry. [laughter] >> indeed, while virtually every actor sports this goal, it's not really the highest priority for any of them. i think for turkey keeping the kurds down is more important than defeating isil. for saudi arabia and the gulf states, iran's presence is more of a threat than isil. for the obama administration the possibility of other large-scale u.s. military intervention, that's more of a threat than
isil. for the eu, jordan, lebanon, i would argue that the refugee flows are more of a threat than isil. and so i think that this is the problem, everyone opposes isil but everyone has more important goal that they pursue and, therefore, not the priority for anyone. turning to the french paper, i agree with most of his as well. i think he's dead on when he say it is iranian nuclear agreement was something that actually worried moscow and rush ban intervention in syria allowed moscow to quote from him to find new points of cooperation that could prevent iran's unpredictable moves both in political and economic issues, ie, moving somehow towards the west.
moscow may feel impelled to introduce grounds forces into syria since assad's forces control so little despite russian air support as we have learned air support alone doesn't protect a weak ally. as the ground operation does, indeed, occur, russian -- russian hopes to emerge naturally as the leader force in any perspective antiterrorist coalition. in my view may remain fulfill. the basic problem to putin's approach to syria is outlined that while it is against the west, it is also intend today gain western support for russia, as not just a member but the leader of coalition in general. but even if the u.s. does not oppose a russian ground offense in syria, it's hardly likely to support it.
let russia suffer that washington is all too familiar with and moscow should be as well. america will somehow will be first to cooperate with moscow in syrian elsewhere. this is not inevitable by any means. those in the west may calculate when russian hostility to the west is rising, it's much better for the west if it's russia and not the west that's bogged down in middle eastern conflict. many would argue, of course, that the obama administration does not think in such terms, that the recent visit by secretary kerry to moscow during which reportedly backed off from washington's previous position athat -- that assad has to go. now, i think in john kerry's defense, i would like to say that they clearly have different expectations what the syrian people will decide about assad
but that obviously this is a change in approach and one that moscow welcomes. this leaves to observation of putin's call to broad alliance against hitler against world war ii. everyone is familiar with the the men my of my enemy is my friend. but there's another adage about alliance. when a purpose of alliance comes to an end, the alliance itself comes to an end. when hitler was defeat it had western allies and the soviet union quickly disagreed about who should govern in eastern europe. if isil is defeated, differences about who should govern syria among the coalition partners fighting isil will reemerge. putin may calculate that their presence there may be the deciding factor.
now, sunni powers lead by saudi arabia may see what became of the soviet occupation of afghanistan in the 1980's as the guiding analogy as to what could happen as they will see as a russian occupation of syria. united states, even if the obama administration may not employ logic, allows syria to take the lead and manage the administration to do so, thank you. >> thank you for addressing that point. i was going to ask -- we had actually heard attributed to white house sources at least people speaking about the russians and welcome to it. so embassador, minister, dean, if you could give us a perspective on all that you heard but also the question of
how the world reactions as to what russia is doing, are they calculating their long-term interest in accurate way or making some serious miscalculations here? >> let me start by saying that i'm going to be the devil advocacy, one because i enjoy and it's necessary to have the russian discussion about this. i'm going to throw out my conclusion first and explain why. this is not about whether you're going to engage russia or whether you're going to compete with russia or whether you're going to cooperate with russia, you're going to do all three of them. at the same time it's simply a reality that neither the u.s., west, the arab world or for that matter iran has a conclusive tool in its hand to either solve the syrian issue or deal with
isis alone. so we are going to have to do all of that at the same time. the real question isn't whether we do that, the real question is are we going to pursue crisis management and they are two different things. that applies to the isis issue and the syrian issue. depending on whether we decide whether we want to limit the damage rather than solve the problem, there's a level of cooperation that we can actually achieve without pushing that. on the other hand, if you try to resolve the problem, then there's going to have to be a grand bargain, not only between the u.s. and russia but regional players because they will have to make serious compromises that are strategic rather than tactical. let me go back and try to address the russian issue. i'm always sort of provoked by sort of my not line background
that goes way back. many people don't remember that by people telling me who has the right to intervene in my region. i mean, what seems to be provoking here is does russia have the right. well, who gave you the right? so it's not a matter of whether we need -- whether you'll be there or not, i'm going to invite you as i will invite the russians to come and help us address these issues because frankly i can't solve them alone. because if -- assayed by the speakers here, does anybody anybody really believe you can deal with isis without ground forces. who is going to put them in will the americans, russians alone, iranians, will anybody put them alone? so we are going to find a way to work together. the issue is how much we do this and how much not. let me get back to the russian issue.
i went when i was foreign minister with president putin, 45 minutes he spoke about extremism and the threats to russia from an extremist and we went through the whole package of extremist. ten minutes, western which is both personal and political, a few minutes politics and then, of course, we spent a a little bit of time in at least egyptian terms an hour is more than 60 minutes. we spent some time on egypt, russia per say. i actually belief and doesn't contradict what's been said in the papers here but complements it. those are the reasons. i think he's serious about being concerned about extremism. there's no question that he is angry about how he's perceived
that his country has been treated by the west. my question to the u.s. is can you do it without the russians? whether you give the russians a role or not -- nobody here -- looking at the age brack here, nobody believes that any of us pursue politics without an interest. we obviously have an agenda, an interest, the positive side that i see in all this is we all know that we cannot do it alone. they'll be a point in time where we will have to start engaging the others and probably there will be setbacks where we move away. i am from my contacts with the russia over the last year, they know very clearly that nato
operations are not sustainable long-term, that they need to move from that phase to a political phase. i would argue also that i don't think at the viena talks took us to a new level, but there's no question that the intervention by the russians created a sense of urgency be it that the west got scared that they're going to play the role again or on the ground that all parties came together for the first time, the regional parties as well and came to viena. it created a sense of urgency that this issue has to be dealt with. in that respect, i actually find the intervention as a tool, not the policy, the intervention as a tool, i see it tactically as having had a reasonable party to the effect. now, is the policy right depends on what we do after the
intervention. in other words, if this ends up different simply using force without a policy to try to solve the isis issue or the syrian issue, then you're going to have a lot of different forces on the ground and it's going to be very dangerous for all of us and, therefore, results will be much more negative. but if all different parties, be that henry kissinger said that russians have been out most of the middle east and now they are back, well, they are back. nobody else was there and there are a lot of problems. but as a middle easterner, frankly, i will engage the west as much as i can to help solve what's happening in the middle east and i will engage the russians equally so to help solve that. from the middle eastern perspective, there's tremendous sensitivity and little bit of
exaggeration, frankly, as to how many conspiracies the west has managed to get the middle east to where it is. i'm not a big conspiracy fan. although you get me a lot of ammunition to think and move in that direction. [laughter] >> nevertheless, we can't solve this without the west and we can't solve it without russia. so my argument to all of you frankly is, yeah, sure they have interest, sure they have agenda, sure they want to play a role there, but how can i take advantage of that rather than is this going to be a coalition where we all embrace the same goals exactly and walk at the same pace or are we -- is our competition necessarily mutually excusively and i i believe that engaging russia is a good thing and i believe that they understand that there's only so
much you can do without engaging other parties. but i'm not ready to say yet that this step per say is the beginning of the solution. that depends on the parties after the fact. >> beyond the issues that are involved there, motivations of gulf states versus iran or iran motivations, do you detect in all your travels in the region of the world much sensitivity to the humanitarian cost and attributing the blame for that to iranians and rush apes and -- russians and assad, one point of role diplomacy ought to be at least agreement on that, on stopping the barrel bombing.
russian material, is there a sense activity there, is that not even in the secondary level of conversation? >> six, seven months ago i would argue that you could look at the center in east of the arab middle east as being more sensitive to western interventions than russian interventions. they are more sensitive about the russian intervention. now whether it's because of real politics or otherwise there still is a lot more sensitivity regarding the russian
intervention particularly the gulf. there's a larger degree of realism, can they be pushed in the right direction. the point that angela made before, how many have been there. i think this is a good point. we will have agreements and disagreements. i don't question that. we don't necessarily agree on everything they do and we don't necessarily disagree on everything we do either. and i actually believe that while they may have policies that we differ with, they are rational people pursuing those politics. so i believe in the value of diplomacy, trying to engage them because i have no other alternative and secondly, i am ready to have a -- if we are living a quote, unquote, aviation, open society, open
skies, there will be competition. that doesn't really concern me that much, but the point that i think as a middle easterner, we have to emphasize much more is that that the debate shouldn't be about whether the fact -- effect western interest or russian interest. does this help solve the problems of the region? that's really my point and part of that leads me to come to conclusion that are completely politics, do i think we can -- if there was a clear solution to how we move from where we are in the tragedies in syria to a new syria, we would do it. there's no cure solution. you drew it up and i can draw a couple of formulas. the issue has been raised.
how long does it or does it not or if he does bashar stay. clearly you're negotiating by the new syria. but to get there i can't simply talk to my friends. i have to talk to the other parties on the ground and as angry as i understand and i respect and i agree where the syrian opposition in their anger with bashar there are other despicable characters on the ground that are tremendous threat to the middle east. it's not something that i'm going to talk to these and that. it's complicated. because of the complexity we need to engage each other asthmature and rational people and understand that i may differ on interest, but it's better to engage you than say your interests are different than
mine and therefore we won't play cards. >> if i may take the privilege also to asking you about assad, nobody mentioned the word turkey which along egypt and arab world is close to my heart. a lot of my professional experiences there. there has been quite a major turn in turkish relationships. i was there until a year ago and we had people -- we had visits back and forth between the then prime minister and the president, people around now president praising putin to the sky publicly and then very dramatic turn even before the late november shotdown of the airplane in russian-turkish regardlesses going back to a cold war rhetoric.
do you have an insight and how that is in mr. putin's outlook on the region and what he's trying to do in syria or even prospects for managing it? >> i would not say that mr. putin has changed his agenda due to all this shutdown. turkey, i think, that turkey to be an ally in this fight and what happened is incident with russian airplane is one -- it just benefited putin because enlarge strategy of confrontation, can, you know, change russia. i would say even in the russian opinions, conflict, more
commanded than syria. continue policy on closing the egyptian flight to egypt. you know prove that russia is stronger, it can somehow, you know, abandon the economic relationship. from my point of view what is going on with turkey, from moscow it seems that it's just, you know, another kind of propaganda. >> if you read what mr. putin said yesterday in his press conference about turkey and the united states, i'm not going to repeat it because it wasn't very polite. but again, linking turkey with the u.s. and so turkey is now again part of the general, you
know, propaganda on the russian tv and what the russian officials are saying about the west being out to threaten russia and they even have things on russian tv suggesting that that it was the u.s. that told the turks to do this. >> really? >> yes, yes. >> definitely between turkey and nato. >> nato is the u.s. >> exactly. as far as the other russian airplane that went down, it looks like the other sides are overcoming that. egypt and russia. >> we are on different sides, frankly. the fact is the plane went down. there's an official committee that investigated that. they're bound by public statements. for once they have conclusive evidence and i say this from past experience having followed the egypt air crash, they can't come up and say we expect this
or we think it's this, they have to come up and say this is the evidence that's so and so. they will ultimately come up much later intelligent sources or other government officials. the russians have said that they think it's a terrorist act so in terms of public statements there's a difference between the russians and the committee but the government has nod said anything. whatever it is, it's a tragedy and we need to find out what it is and whether it was done by a terrorist or not, it's important to find that out but nobody has questioned that if there is terrorism and we haven't denied that we will make that announcement. in many respects, it's never going to be an excuse that we will use cynically but if it is clear that a terrorist -- that's much clearer answer than say somebody got through your
security system. there's no reason for us to hide this, by the way. >> and the countries are moving toward collaboration of improving security. >> yesterday i think i saw something in the media that we invited the eu security, aviation security team to come in and check the airport processes back home and the airport passed test. look, we are a nation that will only really fly if we have tourists, so we need to ensure that the tourists feel comfortable beyond how much it costs us. there's no question we will make an extra effort to ensure that. >> if no further along the panelists, we will try to move around. maybe, judith. yes. if you can bring the microphone.
>> thank you, very good panel. i would like to address my question to you. but let me start by saying that clearly the misconceived strategically catastrophic war in iraq by the u.s. disrupted an unstable status quo and made the arab transition toward necessary inevitable more vicious, violent, everything you can say about it and probably helped to create isis. nevertheless, when we look at the problem the lack of arab leadership, arab willingness to participate and help, whether it's refugees, except for jordan and lebanon which are the weakest of the weak, the gulf states are totally absolutely completely preoccupied with their allergy to iran.
they don't talk about syria or isis, the lack of cohesion in the arab world. egypt is a big country with a u.s. armed military, maybe you can't do it without the international community and it's now become russian-american problem, but how do we do it without something, something coming out of the arab world and so far there's next to nothing? >> well, there's no answer to the problems but i wouldn't say it's next to nothing. the -- the egyptian proposal to deploy forces was one step towards well, we need to have the capacity and the tools to deal with threats and not always call others to do that. it's still up for debate and there are some countries that are not comfortable with that. two days ago the saudis came up
with another coalition about terrorism. that's just the beginning, but it reflects that the arab world is starting to look at what they can actually do. if -- i understand that there's no question that there is the humanitarian pressure, i think as you said correctly, jordan and lebanon have carried a lot of this and egypt, even though not on the border has brought 400,000 syrian refugees now. we need -- and kuwaits have an annual conference where they provide financial support for the refugees. is this going to be solved completely alone by the arab world, no, and therefore the point i make at the end of my comments, there's so much distrust in the region, be that among some of the parties in the region or between some of them and the west and some of them and russia.
unless we have a better political understanding of what limitations of the corporation and the competition, unless we have sort of this, not grand bargain, at least a grand understanding, you're not going to get a strong commitment to arab forces or strong commitment for western forces or russian forces that's sustainable. all of the form swleas will fail unless we have a stronger political understanding. that's why as much as i would like to say i have the answer, i'm hoping to say i don't have the answer so i need to talk with people, then -- that will actually compete with me. that's really my point. i think is -- i think what your point is judith, the arabs need to be doing more, i have been saying that for years.
>> stabilization based on arab contributions. >> for me a little bit surprising. >> if the united states were to mount the kind of diplomatic campaign, i think it should. as an alternative to the president being force today deploy american soldiers and marines in the wake of a paris-like incident occurring in the united states, i think the going asubjects would be certainly at the leadership level in the region, a very, very suppressed appetite for putting ground forces into eastern syria against isil. this is an appetite that would have have to be stimulated by the
united states. i would not in the least try to short-change or underestimate, that we are in this for the duration, we will provide the leadership and we will put skin in the game, so there may be substantial in growing popular support for decisive military intervention against isil but my going assumption is that at leadership level the appetite for ground intervention would be very much under control. >> any comments on this issue or any of the ones we got -- you want to save it for the next panel. okay. over to this side. sir, with your hand up.
we will come back around. >> david colton, my question to the panel. >> from again? >> hor group. my question to the panel is the question of quote, unquote the russian offensive. let's be very candid, the russian offensive has been a flop to date. their progress has been measured in scant kilometers. they have about 50 aircraft, most of with unguided bombs and if you recall under the soviet union there were 8,000 troops stationed in syria at the time. if you look at the current ratio of the russian military which is about 7 to 1 or 6 to 1 and actually worked through the military requirements to maintain a sustained operation,
i put to the panel putin can't do it. more importantly the iranians have taken casualties at second-lieutenant levels. iranians are talking about on-state tv and there are reports that the iranian troops are pulling out, meaning that the russians themselves are going to add more ground pounders and i put out how much we are seeing to putin is the same kind of bluff with ukraine. he has tried to get allot by cheap. when push comes to shove, how much can he really do? >> anyone wishing to respond to that? >> i agree that for hoping to
achieve some -- impose much more and deploy much more forces there, actually i would say that economically and financially not a big problem for russia to defend ground troops to syria because now the operation looks like cheap compared to russia military expenditures. whether they do this or not, my personal position is that they actually will try to do this. [inaudible] >> he will go as far as -- i think that it may happen. of course, i know there are casualties and russians are starting to question. but the logic of the operation as it unfolds asks mr. putin to intervene on the ground. so this is my point. of course, they will not
succeed. no one can succeed in fighting islamic state. accept of local forces, which i think are crooks. if russians want to go further, they should have a good alliance with kurds. the kurds can secure from influence of islamic state. it can help. no russians, no americans will succeed in government operations. my point is russians as, i believe, will try to start it, how to go further, i don't know. >> isn't the point that several of you had made earlier including fred that they are not trying to succeed against isis really. >> even the engage in operation, it will be some pressure.
what i would like to say a very small point that putin seems to be controversial in attitude extremism, there are 5 to 6,000 people having conflict, are fighting on the part of isis in syria. and all these people when in the last two or three years, with isis having, getting around in syria t russians have succeeded in squeezing out the terrorist out of russia. they are forced to come back. i think that putin is completely counterproductive in what he is doing for syria for russian security. he's doing what he does. >> mark. >> putin himself has talked
about he prefers to fight them there than fight them here in russia and i think, you know, i think part of the problem is that, you know, as we ourselves learn because we intern veened with -- intervene with iraq it doesn't mean that it won't go elsewhere. no matter what they do, even if they're successful in syria, this is a huge problem that they're not dealing with successful in russia itself. i'm not sure that there are many russian muslims who are really basically agitated to what's happening in syria. putin's operation in syria doesn't change this at all.
>> my question is for ms. stent. my questions is about putin's goals in syria and assad. so you said that he wants to keep assad in power and you also said that he always supports legitimate regimes, which is not exactly true because you probably remember the first visit of miguel when he was elected, jordan president to moscow, he was quite accepted and moreover russia supported all those three presidents. so according to this we cannot say that putin always stands guard which makes him what he is
probably a great. we all know that he's a liar and this is not my -- this is not my criticizing me, it's just a matter of fact he lies constantly and publicly. >> is there a question as well as comment? >> how do we believe that his goal is to keep assad in power? don't you think that he would give up assad as soon as it's like -- if he needs it so that's my question. thank you. >> first of all, i think you misunderstood me. i said that putin wants to project to the world and this is what he says that russia supports all legitimate rulers in that part of the world. i didn't say that i agreed with that but that's certainly the message that russia is sending to that part of the world, we support the leaders in power and against regime changing. that's point one. maybe i didn't make that clear.
i think for the moment russia does want to show up assad. going back to the previous question, you know, whether russian operation has been successful or not, it's being successful in as much russia intervened because it was very concerned that the assad forces were weakened and might be really -- the government there might be in danger, and so for now, right, assad seems to be stronger and russia has achieved limited goals, that doesn't mean that at some point they think it's in their interest to support another leader, again, unless they have a say on who the leader is and they can be reassured that their influence in syria will last, it's not tied to the man. they're not necessarily tied to president assad, but for the moment that's where they are and in talks in viena, that certainly is position.
>> also having detected any is based on power and interest. >> there's no love laws. at the moment this is the government that's in power. >> not a matter of principle. >> yeah. >> i'm afraid it's going to cause pain. >> bill jones from intelligence review. given that most of the speakers were seeing from the same song sheet or beating on the same drum, i might say, i want to ask a contrarian question, one is with professor hof's presentation. if you see the russians and iranians connected at the hip, i think that's a very big mistake
because they both have their own interests, they have common interests and they have different interests and the only way that we can deal with this situation was russia specially where we have a much broader spectrum of interest and issues that have been to be dealt with trying to see them together would be the biggest mistake in dealing with this problem. secondly, i would just like to say the question is how much putin's actions are actually proactive, that is we have to go into syria to assert our great power, aspiration and how much was reactive, remember what was happening in syria right before that was that the u.s. was considering having a no-fly zone which would have put the conflict in a much different context. we would be on the way towards regime change by setting up an area which was under our
protection. and i think putin is seeing this, made the russian moves in order to counter that, if you see it that way, that was a brilliant move on his part to throw a monkey wrench. with regard to proposals working together, i remember when he came to kenny bunk port and talked with bush and said, let's work together to deal with the terrorism problem. yes, we will do that. everything that happened after that, i think my microphone is going out, everything that happened after that was expansion of nato, there was the missile defense, we didn't follow up at all and that was the biggest mistake in the world, so there's a certain sense from russia that they have put a hand for friendship a long time ago putin and has been rejected and if they are doing it again --
>> right down to the question. >> those are the two questions that i would like to throw on the table. >> did you pick up something that you would like to respond to? >> when my paper is published you will see a little bit more nuance. they do come at this from an entirely separate set of interests. where they come together at least for the time being, at least for the foreseeable future is in the -- is in bashar al-assad in power in syria. now this touches on nadil's point as well. i am absolutely in favor to engaging the russians on the question of syria. this is one thing for all the shortfalls in american policies,
this is not an area where we can be criticized. for most of 2003, john kerry chased and when he finally caught him he got a peace conference in geneva where -- we are chasing again. we have a viena process that we can all hope and pray succeeds. what i would like to see and i do think we are very much in the crisis management mode, i agree entirely with nabil that nobody has the silver bullet that's going to solve this problem. we are in a crisis management and i think the one thing that is absolutely essential for the united states, russia, and iran to agree upon is that aattacs on
civilian population are inadmissible under international law and must stop now. i must say that even if the fact that we are in the middle of the premier humanitarian of our time, even if this means nothing to individuals, how -- how in the world -- how in the world is this viena process going to get anywhere with civilians on the bulls eye? how does it come to the table and deal in the spirit of good will and compromise and political arraignments while its constituency is being blown away on a daily basis? how do we fight isil when this marvelous recruiting tool provided by the assad regime
remains in effect? , i mean, this is why this issue between the united states, iran and russia really needs to be addressed up front, otherwise, otherwise this viena process becomes a permission slip for continued slaughter which will stop anything good at all from happening in syria. >> a lady here who had a comment. >> brenda, cornerstone of u.s. policy on assad must go. we heard this from president obama and probably the only issues that had bipartisan support during the obama administration that everyone in the u.s. agreed that assad must go but the debate was about how much u.s. support for him to go. we really never challenged the basic premise, russians came in 2011, told the u.s. that assad
must go strategy was dangerous and would lead to destabilization. we need to challenge the premise and maybe the russians got it right and we should have listened to them? >> i think given the role of bashar al-assad and making isil possible in syria, and his ongoing role in keeping that organization healthy and well inside syria tends to -- tends to reemphasize the fact that if we had had a strategy, had we implemented the strategy we would be in a much better place than we are now. ..
regime is not for stability it is the cause of instability and i think that is the trouble there is no bringing stability about. if i have a feeling that we are going to see him syria will be like iraq and a de facto spread out over it might be more complicated with little fiefdoms in areas and a kurdish area, the sunni and arab area, isis would have their area and then then the may be neighboring states that have influence as well. that's what we are actually going to see. >> if i can just jump in on this, i think the issue of whether the assad goes or if he goes for that matter is an issue
unless we care if i would have after. so my suggestion is to do some reverse engineering in other words, how do we ensure that syria remains syria irrespective of who decides to be present i'm not digressing not addressing that and the reason i say this is if you develop a formula or the guarantees you factor in the interests of the state so that makes addressing the question question where it's a bit more rational and i can kill you because call you because i've done this for a long time how
can the schematics of what would or would not have happened conflict in with themselves is a question and you can get closer to the answer if you try to develop the structures and then look back to how do we choose that. >> we will designate when we try to do this same issue with respect to saddam hussein to work with the opposition to construct this idea the morning after what would it look like. and in fact i think that if the failure to actually succeed in having the vision of how the shiites and kurds and sunnis and
christians and all the rest would hold that out. why don't we see if we can put together whatever questions are there and any panelists what we take the furthest hand that i can see yours in the back and then i will work forward. >> from the turkish organization there was a mentioning about the bombing going on by the russians. yesterday we had a conference in the council and you mentioned the number of people has increased actually and a lot of them are going for the refugees. i never heard anyone talk about russia and expressing interest helping syria and assad.
what has russia been doing in terms of refugees? >> okay. thank you. a gentle man in the red tie. >> i would like to thank the egyptian colleague i think that's very helpful. we heard there is a red line on the part of the administration for force that seems to be accepted. if we want to be mature and accept that then we have to make compromises with other people's interest. if we don't do not stop accepting it from keeping syria and matched in the war and mr. kerry said that it's in his point is he doesn't want our side to win by force. others can but it doesn't do any
good he says which is a very peculiar argument. i think there is a need for maternity and i would like to see the initial presenter to put enough behind the hopes for the substance to compromise on some of them that in the absence of that we have to compromise a lot more and i would like to suggest the coalitions might not solve everything. >> to have a grand coalition because they might disagree over the future after words which wouldn't be a new cold war as eastern europe was. >> one more comment and then we will have to close him.
>> you said that qb leave the middle east can do it without the west end without russia. do you think the population supports that idea or do you think the islamist extremism has increased over the past ten to 20 years or do they have more avenues in the resource at their disposal. >> the use of force in the popular opinion people like to sum up. >> i will just start by answering that question like before. i generally belief that the educated public understands in our world cannot solve it and therefore engaging both america and nato and you're a panel that
is the only realistic way out because frankly. is no support for the world alone taking all its risk or where is there any sense of what they can actually succeed if they do that so that existed. the emotional public dislikes them equally although that's not really what my concern is. it's worthy activists that want to engage in this and i would argue the rational thinking is we need to do this together. >> if i could just address the point about the grand coalition i think that the trouble is there are certain patterns that we see in international relations and the fact of the matter is the grand coalition doesn't lead to a grand coalition going forward