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tv   Foreign Policy Analysts Discuss State of U.S.- Arab Relations  CSPAN  December 7, 2018 1:20pm-3:09pm EST

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homeland security, agriculture, transportation are among the departments that need to be funded. one of the issues to be resolved is funding for president trump's proposed border wall. the president has requested that congress provide $5 billion for the wall which democrats do not support. you can see live coverage of the u.s. house on c-span and watch the senate live here on c-span 2. >> the national council on u.s./arab relations recently hosted a discussion on u.s. policy towards saudi arabia, syria and iran and also russia's role in the region. this is about an hour and 45 minutes. >> we are going to begin our last session and so we will turn it over to the chair of the discussion titled u.s./arab relations, where are we going. >> good afternoon.
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one more time, let's hope you're not tired of me yet. i'm founder and executive chairman of beirut institute, the think tank for the arab region with global reach, and whose idea is to continue a very constructive conversation amongst us so that we can fix it rather than only complain about it. everything we do is to see how do we reach solutions and how do we go for the next step. i am honored today to chair this very important session. i am very happy that i have three wonderful women, how many are we? finally, we have one man on the session rather than normally one woman. i'm glad to welcome you. i will conduct this conversation, each person alone for about four or five minutes, then i will engage everyone together so we have experts on
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egypt, on libya, on tunisia and libya and iraq, and on syria and on iraq. i would assume that it will fall on me to see if there is anything on lebanon simply because i come from this beautiful country and it's in my heart and i would like to also keep it on your radar. i want to first welcome the right honor jaable distinguishe lecturer on political science, as a member of the egyptian council, she is former member of council on human rights and former egyptian peoples assembly member, that is a parliament member. welcome. >> thank you. [ applause ] >> can we start out with
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thinking of egypt as being a necessary [ inaudible ]? there can be no balance of power without egypt being at the center of this. are there hurdles that are stopping egypt from leading in that way, or shall we look at the relationship between egypt, saudi arabia and united ar rab emirates as being a central gathering in order to restore arab power in that region? >> right. thank you for this question. egypt is the bellwether in the region, absolutely. it's not for -- it's not just senseless to say mother of the world when you speak about
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egypt. however, egypt does not have the same clout as it's had in arab or in regional media. that's why today, the idea of restoring the region is one of the objectives, but it is mainly linked to spur investment in egypt to get it out of its economic hardship that is facing them. so of course, you know, on one ha hand, you have a more assertive russia, a more assertive china, it's in conflict with the u.s., the u.s. is transforming its foreign policy, so egypt today is facing hard choices. it's not following the path it followed during mubarak.
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as i said, all this is -- if it has a new approach also to syria and to iran, it is with the idea of developing an integrated strategy, because egypt is against military conflict. it wants to have political resolution of conflicts, whether it is in syria, in libya, even with iran. it is for deescalation of the tension and not provocation as the main threat to the middle east. >> while i was in sochi about ten days ago, president sisi was meeting with president vladimir putin and it was a very important meeting because they spoke about their strategic relationship. can you address this point, the
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value of building a strategic relationship with russia while egypt is a strategic ally of the united states? can you address this angle and then i will ask you to reflect on how this new relationship or this enhanced relationship is affecting that regional conflict and collaboration of operation on regional conflicts such as syria. >> well, in general, there is a warming up between relations between egypt and russia since 2015 or '16, and lately, it has been very visible, particularly with the last visit of president sisi to russia and the promise of russia to furnish it more arms and the nuclear plans, and in many ways, you know, trying to take advantage of the
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tensions between egypt and the united states where it feels it's been let down a bit. as for the regional issues, egypt is very much on the side of moscow, whether it is on syria or on libya. >> very interesting. i really want to talk about the syrian angle later, why would egypt be on the side of moscow in syria. that is fascinating. i will get to that later. keep that thought in your head. but i want to ask you about libya, however. why are ou the side of moscow in libya? i think this side is not the u.s. side in libya, or am i wrong? >> in libya, egypt is supposed to in general help us. egypt always supports national armies and not militias. so this is its position. it is against conflict. it is for the safeguarding of
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the security and entity of these different countries, not the division and not their, you know, between ethnicities and tribalism and sectarianism. >> thank you. i will get back to you in a bit but i'm going to move -- sorry, i think i have the wrong person here. actually, i do. emily estell, american enterprise institute, critical project senior analyst and head of the team, welcome. so let's take it from where we left it. the u.s. position on one hand versus the russian position in libya, the regional players, one is on one side, one is not.
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explain to us how this is going to affect the future of libya. explain to us if this is a good thing to do so or a dangerous thing to do so. >> thank you for the question. this actually gets to the point you brought up in your earlier conversation about france and italy as well. so the picture regionally, internationally on libya is that there are many different camps. you can't really even split it into two. so this is a very dangerous dynamic because we have multiple competing initiatives trying to bring together political resolution in libya, bring together security cooperation, et cetera, but many of these efforts are actually working at cross-purposes. so the problem is that while there is so much discord between different external players on libya, it severely decreases the likelihood we would actually see any internal cohesion in the country as well. >> you think that the united states should be playing a particular active role, but describe the level, the u.s. role in libya now. i know the russians are very
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active. so is there less of an interest by the u.s. in libya? is the u.s. leaving it to the europeans? should it leave it to the europeans? should the u.s. come in in a stronger way to say you know what, something happened, something went so wrong in libya, and it's everybody's fault, even if the europeans are at fault more than the u.s., doesn't matter. we have a state that is now suffering not only of the neglect it faced, it received after this whole bringing down gadhafi but also by driving a lot of the fighters, isis fighters, out of syria and they are going to libya. can you address what the u.s. should do at this point? >> absolutely. to characterize the current level of u.s. involvement right now, i do think that there has been interest in having other
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countries take the lead on the libya file. we have seen different european countries trying to take the lead at different points as an example, so the u.s. policy is to support the u.n. mission towards political reconciliation in libya and also maintaining a limited counterterrorism mission focused on isis in particular in the aftermath of the campaign. i think that the problem there is that i don't see the u.n.-led process leading towards the desired result at this time. we are coming up on conference in palermo so there's a lot of motion to try and move forward progress on that front. there have been announced last night two of the legislative bodies came to an agreement about restructuring the presidential council but i remain skeptical, because we have seen different iterations
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of these steps forward that don't actually reflect real progress, and part of that is because there is immunity in the international community so a role that i see that the u.s. could take could be as a convener, trying to bring together unity among u.s. allies and partners so that we actually have a libya strategy that is not only correct on paper but that all of these different regional international partners are actually hearing, too. >> why are you hesitant about endorsing the u.n.-led process? >> because we have had several of them already at this point. and i don't want to be pessimistic. i feel that the structures for example the current u.n. envoy laid out most recently is a good structure, but the problem is it has not -- the steps have not been met according to plan. i think the implementation is the problem, not the framework that was initially passed. >> thank you. william lawrence, george washington university school of
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international affairs part-time professor for political science and international affairs, former associate director of wilson center for the study of islam. doesn't make sense. forgive me. you are someone who is quite knowledgeable about tunisia and libya. i think you just came back from the region. let us continue the conversation on libya. i have a good friend in the audience here, wonderful libyan, and she would really take me to task if i interrupt this thread of the conversation. i cannot upset her. continue with libya, if you don't mind. what is this palermo process? do you trust it, do you not? where were you? >> so i'm having coffee with her on sunday. we are going to continue that conversation. but let me start by saying that as you mentioned in your previous session, the
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italian/french competition over libya is not helping the situation. the effort by the italians to convene the palermo meeting started pretty much the day after the paris meeting. there was a lot of resentment in libya and among others about the decisions that came out of the paris meeting. none of the libyans spoke to each other at the paris meeting, and an announcement was made about elections nobody wanted. the elections won't be happening but the announcement hasn't been made yet, and in the meantime, the italians have been organizing a meeting that the purposes of which seem to be changing every day and while i was in tunis for six days having meetings, sometimes hour to hour we would get different pictures of what was happening with the palermo meeting. i was making a joke, i will make it about italian americans, but sometimes you will go over to someone's house for dinner and the fight starts in the kitchen and maybe you will get the best
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pot you ever had in your life and maybe there won't be a dinner served when the fight starts. but even the italian minister of defense and minister of foreign affairs don't agree on the palermo, if you permit me one more minute, it came out of the meetings i had in tunis, there are three options. the first option is a new constitution or constitutional declaration followed by elections, but that seems to be going nowhere. the second option is amendments to the 2015 libya critical agreement and that seems to be going nowhere, although the announcement last night suggests that we may have another agreement that may go somewhere between the two houses of parliament. that again may go nowhere. the third option is a national conference and that would include 500 libyans, and this is what will be announced at palermo on the 13th if the other
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two options fail, and he's looking for inputs on not who should attend but the mechanism for selecting who should attend. but i see a lot of this as kind of throwing up his hands, he's very unpopular in libya. >> why? why is he unpopular in libya? >> i think because he didn't follow his own really good plan. to give you a small example of what's going on, the french convened their meeting without the u.n. blessing, yet he was there seeming to bless it but not really, then sort of undermined it after the fact. his agenda for palermo seems to be different from the italian agenda for palermo which doesn't help. >> you are saying he's acting very french instead of italian? >> certainly not italian. there seems to be a lot of efforts at cross-purposes to get back to what emily correctly said and i agree with all the comments she made, and the lib
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yaliby liby libyans who hold the united states in great esteem, are desperate for american input and are not getting it. the americans like the u.n. seem to be overly focused on economics and sanctions and on security arrangements and dropping the ball on politics. >> thank you very much. i want to continue down the line here but we are coming back to this conversation in a bit more detail. we have right now with us the united states institute of peace adviser for syria, middle east and north africa. she was formerly with u.s. aid, spokesman for syria and other things. i don't have very good notes here. anyway, you will introduce yourself a little better, please, when you speak. i will give you an extra minute. so syria.
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so the next big battle that is going to come to syria, it's a place that is where president donald trump told the russians hold it, don't go so fast -- so it's a postponed battle or do you agree, it's a postponed battle that will still be very bloody, very costly, and when do you expect it to take place? do you think the russians need to do it fast, the military, at least? >> well, i think, yeah, i do think it more likely than not is a postponed battle. my sense is that the russians have -- are looking to create some breathing room, some
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breathing space, perhaps, until the end of the year, then i think the idea would be to undertake operations should they decide this is necessary and it depends on what happens in these intervening two or three months, that would be more limited than what was initially feared. but that said, we are already seeing an uptick in tensions. we have the syrian regime accusing turkey of not upholding its end of the bargain with respect to moving militants, extremists, particularly those that are somewhat affiliated with al qaeda, out of this demilitarized zone and you have the russians frankly a little bit caught in the middle in terms of i think the russians are not interested in a massive military incursion at this time -- >> i think they are being pressured by syria. >> exactly right. the question really is who has the upper hand in that relationship when it comes to these kinds of questions.
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>> how costly, is it true that it is going to be a very bloody battle with loads of lives and tell me, what do you know? >> it's a terrific question. i think what we have to understand is the large number of civilians internally displaced civilians who have ended up in idlib displaced from other parts of syria through so-called reconciliation agreements, really surrender agreements. so it's estimated there are more than three million civilians there now. the fear is that were there to be the sort of massive military operation that we have seen undertaken in other parts of syria, that you would see massive displacement, on the order of 800,000 and upwards of civilians moving. by the way, many of those, at least half of them children, and this comes at a time when turkey in particular has noted they
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already host 3.5 million syrian refugees, the largest number of any country in the region, any country in the world of syrian refugees, and turkey has said it's not willing to take on more refugees. so it raises this big humanitarian question. the u.n. has termed it potentially the greatest humanitarian catastrophe of the century. should it happen. >> what do you think the trump administration is going to continue to oppose it, or do you think at one point that the military in russia is going to overrule and say i can't wait, i've got to win this war and idlib is necessary to win it? >> i think the trump administration took a very strong position against this and in particular, warned against the use of chemical weapons which of course, the regime has used elsewhere. i don't think -- i think it's the trump administration, i think it's the international community writ large. europeans as well have said that that kind of humanitarian
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catastrophe in idlib is untenable. the big question is, what leverage does the international community have, what can the u.s., turkey and others do in the event that this sort of incursion is undertaken. >> let me take you to a larger question. what is it that the u.s. should do as a policy towards syria at this point? i know there's a good team in place, where everybody is talking about it and know that the u.s. is staying -- i think the u.s. has maybe about nine bases, i don't know, maybe more, but it doesn't seem to me that the u.s. is going to pull out and say good-bye, especially this is an oil-rich area, the russians will sort of dry out of money before the areas controlled in syria by the united states, oil fields.
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what is it from your point of view that has not been done yet by the administration other than, you know, of course an adviser, what should you not lose sight of? >> you must not lose sight of holding primarily the enduring defeat of isis as a key policy goal. >> explain. >> okay. so what that means is already, we are in a better position than we were before because as you rightly point out, there's a reinvigorated u.s./syria policy. there's a new team in place. there's guarantees that are being made that the relatively small u.s. force on the ground will stay for the foreseeable future. those are two very important shifts over the last several months. what needs to happen, though, i would argue, is in addition to that, there needs to be a restoration of the funding, the stabilization funding that was
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to go into eastern syria in order to support the kinds of activities that are critical once areas are liberated from isis. you had the general speaking earlier today. he underscored that what we have learned is not -- it's not simply the kinetic action, not simply the military action on the ground, it's what comes after that. it's engaging local populations, ensuring that you are addressing those grievances that gave rise to extremist groups like isis in the first place. >> thank you. dr. judith, how are you today? >> fine. >> good. i will talk to you about iraq. as you have heard, there is also a good team in iraq at the level of the president, the prime minister, speaker of the parliament. it's a nice team in town. but still, people are holding their breath, saying is this going to be, you know, is this going to work.
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do you think it's going to work? >> that's such a wonderful question because so often, so little things have worked in iraq but maybe we are seeing an unusual moment or maybe we are seeing a change, a transformation to more stable forms of participatory politics. i kind of hope that that's true but i think that there is a greater caution in what is happening and how they are behaving. i think there are reasons to hope for a better outlook certainly than the kind of instability we have seen in the past both internal and external relations. >> what lessons have we learned from the past? what lessons should we learn from the past in iraq in particular? i am still focused on iraq. there has been some mistakes after the invasion of iraq, occupation. what lessons have we learned? >> i think we have learned we
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have to be much more cautious what we do in iraq. we're not welcomed there in terms of force, whatever, but i think that our non-military, our diplomatic and i think even more important, civilian interchange is critical at developing those ties. the iraqis want to learn a lot more about us and our education and all the advantages here, and they want us to learn more about them. i'm very positive about all of this because i think we are seeing what may be a unique moment but i think may not be. >> i hope so, because we need something positive in that part of the world. so what makes you positive? is it the new team or is it the shift in the trump administration's focus against iran? >> it's suddenly a different kind of team there i think more managerial focused, more success oriented, but they are certainly much more interested in getting
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along internally as well as externally. i think you have seen a greater cooperation inside. you see greater reciprocity, especially for example statements about where we are part of iraq which you didn't hear before. i think you are hearing a more positive or at least an indication of a willingness, this is part of where we are and where we have to survive. that's encouraging. >> thank you. i want to come back to you, william lawrence. you also have been very well versed in iraq. tell me again, who is going to -- tell me in english. >> [ inaudible ]. >> thank you. i think arabic in my head. what's going to become of them? what do you know about the conversation that's taking place
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and how problematic are they going to be in finishing the formulation of the government? >> well, let me first say that their popularity is maintained and to some degree, we expected the election result to have maybe a bigger outcome in their favor but that did not come to pass. the realignment in iraqi politics away from iran has been very interesting over the past year and the various realignments going on in the formation of the government and the re-realignments leading to the nonconfirmation of ministers. all that plays into this very interesting dynamic situation in iraq and i would say going forward that three things are sure. number one, the grievances of iraqi youth which you haven't mentioned yet are dominating iraqi politics right now.
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number two, there is credibility that isn't going to go away and number three, the political class like the political class in tunisia and some of the other countries i've been looking at, is so busy making its own arrangements and its own deals to maintain power through political alliances that they are often missing the larger picture, and so that is -- and i think in many ways that's sort of outside those political deals but i think they will maintain their popularity going forward. >> about the youth, the youth has been mentioned now, egypt has very substantial population. some of those younger generation are the ones who went out in the square and they want it changed.
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they went down to ask for change and you would correct me if this is wrong, please, to object to the status quo but then of course, then they were anticipated by the brotherhood and the rest is history, what happened. this does not put away the anger of the younger generation. this does not deal with their disappointments. give us the picture of egypt. how are they feeling? are they disappointed, are they scared, are they looking forward? what do you think? >> scared. >> okay. >> yeah? >> it's not only the youth that participated in tahrir but it was all of egypt. expectations were very big. there was overexpectation. of course, the disillusion is big also. but that doesn't mean that the
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youth is not there. the youth have not given up. they are there. they are setting aside a lot of these formal ideologies, secularism, sectarianism, et cetera, looking forward. they think they have everything to compete with the same generation abroad in the west, and that's what they want. that's what they want to get at and they will, i think. because the will is there. of course, the general will is not particularly there to support them and to encourage young leaders to be in leading positions, but they're there and they're pushing forward and i think they will arrive. >> i did use that word to provoke you because i knew you would get right back at me. listen, when i was in egypt,
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only about a year ago, i think, i sensed there was a good amount of euphoria about the potential of egypt, because the italian petroleum, the big -- >> the gas discovery today, which will make egypt self-sufficient and maybe exporters, so it's giving a lot of hope, because first of all, it will need to provide jobs. petroleum provides jobs. we too can provide jobs. so there is hope. there is hope that at the end of, you know, at the end of the tunnel, there is hope.
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>> on the other hand, the level of poverty, the level of disappointment, the life of the poor man or the poor woman, for that matter, is very painful in egypt. is this because there is no long-term plan, or is this a national consequence to a plan that is to be implemented later? >> you know, it is very interesti interesting, this frustration has given rise to a rise in hostility. it's not good for egypt. which we didn't need. whereas we have overpopulation but it was 2.5, it is now reaching 3.5 because most of the women are out of a job in the public sector. this is very, very serious. of course, the private sectors don't take them because they ask for maternal leave and for other advantages. so this is how they have fallen
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back on that and i don't think the government is taking this seriously enough as a ticking bomb. >> it is a ticking bomb. >> absolutely. absolutely. what i just said in your last meeting, what women need today is a voice and a job. >> she's referring to my last meeting, a beirut institute summit in abu dhabi that she honored us with her presence. i give women one minute each to get on the stage and say in one minute what's the bottom line, what is it that they should hear us saying and she was on the advisory board and the messages are really potent because it is one minute and people remember it.
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emily, egypt's role in libya, how essential is it? and is it only egypt-libya or is this going to be reflecting on the whole of north africa? does egypt have a leading role on libya in north africa or is this bilateral? >> sure. i think egypt does have a special set of interest in libya based on historical relationships, based on very obvious interests because of proximity and so when i look at the egyptian involvement in libya, i see a lot of different reasons for it. there are economic concerns, political concerns related to what kind of leadership the egyptian government would like to see in libya. there are very obvious security concerns because of the quite real terrorists inside libya that have impacted egypt as well. i agree with the issue you raise that there is also a regional
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picture so the question of maybe egypt and algeria and who is the dominant power across north africa, egypt had been far more involved, at least more visibly in libya than algeria has. there is also the larger picture of regional dynamics so the closer relationship between egypt and the uae has also played out inside of libya and also, the closer egyptian/russian relationship has been strengthened by cooperation inside of libya as well. so libya for egypt is a priority on some things but it's also a way to kind of build on some of these other relationships that are independent priorities. >> so let's go back to the fact that egypt chose, if i'm not mistaken in paraphrasing, to take the fight of russia in libya, plus alongside the traditional rivalries between egypt and algeria, plus of
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course, always have to think egypt and turkey. this is the one thing, the muslim brotherhood, if you put all of this together, do you think egypt is on the right track in the way it's handling libya? >> complicated question. >> that's my job here. >> i actually think that -- so one of my concerns with the egyptian involvement initially is that there is some libyan groups, particularly political islam, that are going to be excluded from political processes that they maybe needed to be a part of. this is groups that completely non-violent political groups that i think need to be part of the process that were excluded by hearing the rhetoric from that hashtar kind of wing but i think the egyptian handling of the situation has been increasingly pragmatic so looking at the security, the
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unification talks cairo has hosted, i think of the many different processes happening in libya, that's been an example of some coming together from different libyan groups that aren't usually on the same side. so i'm heartened by that, as i think a positive example of progress. >> before i give this angle, i thought the relationship between egypt and the united arab emirates is one of alliance, almost. >> absolutely. >> but then where are you on libya? >> on libya, we are not on the same track. but the trilateral relationship between egypt, the uae and saudi is working. but with differences in opinion and differences in factions, who are you supporting. egypt has as its main objective
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political reconciliation between the different factions, keeping the entity of the state and not dividing the state into different statehoods is the plan for syria, eventually for libya, i don't know, but that is really avoiding military conflicts, avoiding boots on the ground, this is it. >> syria, do you think this is the plan to divide it into three sections just like what you heard right now? >> it's the plan by the international community or by the arab world or who? >> talking about egypt. she's saying, she's projecting that the plan, you know, the plan so that egypt -- excuse me, so that syria becomes de facto
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divided into three different areas, one controlled by the u.s., and one by turkey. ... certainly not see the resurgence in syria or the strengthening in syria of the muslim brotherhood, islamist factions, et cetera. so i would see egypt as looking
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to the extent it can -- i can't underscore enough its role in sirways far less influential than other regional players. >> not going to stay like this because apparently from when i follow the news of the meeting between president sisi and president putin -- president putin said when he came to meet and is asked him the question but egypt and the went on for quite a long time, speaking about how strengthened this relationship is going to be and they had military exercises together. said something that were essential on syria, that from what i understood later on is that egypt is going to try to rehabilitate the regime of bash shag al-assad and his regime in the arab league, for example, in syria, so that's not small. that's a big step that egypt -- plus, of course, the opposition. >> that's -- >> the egyptian opposition. >> that to me -- what you just
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said actually would underscore the notion others egypt trying restore the status quo, looking to see a stable syria, albeit under al-assad, that hat returned to the arab followed in which militias are nut -- neutralized. >> what do you think of that else? that do-able? >> i think we're a long way from that and certainly rehabilitating bash slash al-assad is not something the international community would be support supportive off. that was not be supported by the international community. >> what is this syrian civil war at right now? is it -- is it an end game? at the end of the game or at the -- protracted. >> we're now nearly eight years into the civil war, i think we're actually at the most dangerous state of the conflict.
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i think the syrian civil war, the initial conflict that kicked this off between assad and those who sought to unseat him, that i think is entering an end game stage. unfortunately, like it or not, it seems clear at least for the short to medium term the assad regime will prevail but i think we're entering a very protracted and messy end game and i sass that because assad will prevail but it's because of the help, the significant support of russia, but also iran. and that is really in some ways -- iran's military entrenchment in sirways unprecedented and has really, i think, thrown up in the air the rules of the game that had pertained prior to the uprising taking place. >> you're not talking at all about the european union, which is really the main supporter of syria today. the only last resort supporter of syria.
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what do you say to that? >> i'm not -- again, depends on you how define support. the u.s. has provided humanitarian assistance and is on the ground in syria, playing very important role. led the counter-isis coalition. the problem with syria is it's so complex. so many layers to conflict. the eu has played a role in terms of wanting to in particular play a strong role in supporting the general have no a peace process but unfortunately the process has more or less stagnated. we'll see what happens with the new envoy. >> these are -- >> he will be able -- okay, but is there going to be a political solution in syria? i don't really know what is the road map to that, because you have already a problem with the continued presence of iranian
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troops and their allies in syria, and its seems the russians are not willing to say let's help the u.s. get them out. >> willing or able. it's a question of both. will and the capacity to do so. i do think that we are at a very dangerous moment because, again, iran is entrenched in ways it's never been before, right on israel's border and have already seen the israelis responding to this threat. the israelis have, by the own admission, undertaken 200 attacks against iranian targets in syria over the past two years. what i worrisome is the extend to which the escalation intention spirals out of control. >> seems israel got a good gaynor for is presence, gash guaranteor. a huge chunk of land in the
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golan heights but talk about that again. the way -- they have been begin the golan heights. >> until the russian surveillance plane was shot done, which is an important -- actually an important event because the russians -- of course it wasn't the israeli that shot the plane down, the syrians accidently shot the plane down but the russians accused israel of being more reckless in their incursions into syria and syrian air space and as a result provided now more sophisticated air defense systems to syria. and so -- and also my forwarding from russians is they are concerned about israeli conduct in syria. where does this go is another question but i think we're at a
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moment where there's some ambiguity and some ways dangerous ambiguity. >> you think the iranians will pull out. >> no what. >> what happens then. >> a great question. the iranians have made quite an investment in syria and the we is hour intertwined or the iranians in the syrian apparatus. to what extent is this going to be extremely difficult to disentangle. my sense is it will be very, very difficult to eject iran from syria. >> even after the sanctions weakened the iranian economy, even after the sanctions have their impact as the trump administration hopes they would. >> it's a good question. depends on what happens. there's some that say the iranians overstretched and will be forced to pull back, but there's another argument that says the extent to which iran feels threatened, the extent to which these sanctions
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threatennen iran, may compel them to dig their deals in deeper. >> i'm going -- dig their heels in. >> we're told it was a good story of the arab spring this good place. change the subject of depressing things in syria. welcome he speak but tunisia? how is it going? >> if you asked most tunisians, badly. i if you ask most close watchers of tunisia, they're hanging in there i was in tunisia this morning and the bomb went off just down the street from my hotel and i didn't see any tunisian other than those within the bomb blast area who changed their routine, it was a kind of resilience there maybe it's blase but a the resilient --
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the way in which tunisians pressured off the attack and for all the complaining we are hearing and will be hearing from them but the lack of progress in any number of areas, they are resilient and they're going to hang on. when you push them on their complaining, that's where they end up, we'll defend this democracy and mace this -- make this work. >> to the who say it's going badly, what does that mean? >> so, there are many layers of complaints here about the largest maintain is most tunisian youth who do not vote in elections, who supported the revolution, got no dividend from the revolution so that's causing, for example, the huge protests and riots last january around austerity measures encouraged by the imf and a
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general malaise/anger/willingness to mobilize and even migration, the ngo reporting more tunisians acrossing acrossing acrossing the border. so great angst and frustration among the youth. in terms of marginal areas, new report out in 2018 on increased recruiting for isis domestically. our main concern this year were returning foreign fighters. a lot of them returned from syria and iraq to libya and didn't go back to tunisia, and those who came back, they were handle el relatively will but we have much larger numbers, not the numbers from 2011 to '13 but larger numbers from the west who are still joining isis for the same socioeconomic reasons and frustration with the government. >> what are the number us. >> the few nearby sans sent the
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large he number of fighters to iraq and syria and the libyan conflict and a lot of this was just post revolution elan and wants to go topple dictators as they had done in their country. some very inspired by islamic themes. most. no increasingly we have seen a lot of radical extremists are economically motivated. >> the jasmine revolution, it inspired the tunisians to be fighter in syria and iraq. >> certainly. >> isis? >> absolutely. a lot of tunisians -- there was a famous case the bbc covered but the jihaddist in a wheel cheer. a tunisian who went to syria to engage in the online jihad in the wheelchair and he got and isis decided he would be a suicide bomber, and then he called his family to rescue him in syria.
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they came, wheeled him out to syria, back to tunisia, and when he balance back his family was frustrated because he couldn't find a job and was look for another jihad to join. they complained, he hasn't found his new jihad. it's a desire among young people to have valuable lives and to be -- have meaningful live, and whether it's toppling dictators or making revolutions-this is what they're looking for, and just to fast forward to a solution, i've been advocating for seven years, and starting to catch on, revolutionary national service in few nearby sharks putting putting the initial or so unemployed university graduates are, who major playeres revolution to work, doing projects, like peace corps volunteers and would be very willing willing willing and tunisian government
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has not come to that level of understanding. >> that's a good project. >> i want to point out these problem are not unique to that region. there are fighters returning to iraq. what do you do with them? people who are coming back and the iraqis don't know what to do with them. what will they do? what will they have learned? what are they going to bring back with them? i them this promise cross border incursions, that's going on all the time. turkish incurrings, -- incursio, and all the things have to be watched and worried about. but these are not isolated to one area. they're streaming in from all sides and iraq is certainly experiencing all that. >> so, you think that program that william was -- dr. lawrence was talking about, good program?
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>> which program. >> a national service to give young people things to do that are meaningful. >> the iraqs rafe had some national service. not quite a question. women have been able to find jobs in iraq. not like the countries where women have had trouble getting positions. that's different. >> emily, it seems to me that libya really got a bad deal. >> i think libyans would agree. >> yeah. you think libya -- >> i think libyans would agree. if your look at polling there's increasing nostalgia for the gadhafi gadhafi days and it's not just gadhafi and -- but people are looking backwards because of how things have turn out. >> i want to engage both of you,
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emily, in this -- so we have right now isis situation in syria unfolding. we don't know where the fighters are going to go. the turk say they're not going to come to me, i've had enough. and lebanon says we don't need them. i never make their way there seems like ending up in libya. so, what on earth? who is helping the libyans? tell me what do you know about true engagement by the international community on this priority? it's a mother of priority. what do you mean? bring it on. seems libya is going to be the place that, the nation for all these have-been fighters, isis, nostra, et cetera.
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>> i share the same return to return back to what general pet trace said, when there's ungoverns space it's an opportunity for bad actors, in the case of southern libya, those groups, al qaeda, and the human trafficking and arms and drug smuggling and these other things in one sort of baked interconnected nexus. i i don't think the international community has adjusted sufficiently. we talk about the political process in libya is supposed to establish a central authority that can then govern the territory but we're a long way off from solving that problem. so, there have been some kind of -- measures designed to deal with this problem with libya. u.n. sanctions targeting human trafficker. in june -- interesting step but got some reaction, but there is this whole problem set of -- even if you get in tripoli and benghazi. we don't have a solution.
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>> what is like -- moammar gadhafi warned us and they'd asset going to happen. was he right? >> i thick it was already happening to a certain extent, and then the end of the gadhafi regime took the lid off of it. i think that nexus area, southernian and then looking at northern mali and -- really critical place which is going to take us out of the arab world but as far as the criminality and extremism, that's a core area where these problems are together. to tie back into the issue of foreign fighters, we talk but fighters returning from iraq and syria and it's interesting that isis in libya sparks a mobilization of african -- sub saharan africaam jihaddists liking their home countries in an unpress debits way. the question of whether they go next if they return to the places they cam from and start
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additional problem, that's also a secondary problem. >> one more complication here which is that we -- in iraq, few jobs in the kurdish areas but they don't have arab pick. so the complicate socioeconomic picture of labor force on the move but lacking the skills which allow them to integrate into the southern society. >> i have to take advantage and conclude. i'm going to do to each of you to think -- give me what does iraq look like for the next ten years from your point of view? which iraq do you see coming and i'll go down the line, what do you foresee in a realistic way are. not what we wish. what does iraq look like in ten years. >> i think it wants to look or the goal is integration but the
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problem is, economic resources are not spread out equally. the oil and energy are in one area, but the populations are in other areas, and how you get that population to move back and forthis a problem. i think it needs to work on that and the picture for the moment is, populations want to work in that integration. whether that works long-term, i don't know. an interesting experiment for the iraqis to work on. >> thank you, judith. >> mona? >> i'm glad i'm not last. you don't want to end on this note. think syria is a generation long conflict that is still evolving. think we're going to -- while the regime may have quote-unquote won won, this country will remain fractured and violent, run with war lords
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running around and mafias with spheres influence that are directed by various regional powers and let's not forget the syrian people themselves, the suffering of syrian civilians, the massive levels of displacement and unfortunately, potentially a lost generation of syrian christian who have suffered through unspeakable violence and trauma. >> about the spillover of the syrian situation. can you dress since you spoke of the refugees. what does lebanon look lick for the ten years? >> well, i'm glad you asked that question because i think lebanon is often lost in this equation, lebanon hosts the highest number of refugees per capita in the world. at aid we worked on this intensely. lebanon has borne an enormous burden in terms of the number of syrian refugees in the country.
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at the same time, unfortunately, lebanon also has as you knee pre-existing issues, whether it's poor governance, corruption, at unprecedented levels, an economy on the verge of collapse. one of the highest debt to gdp ratios in the world. it's the third highest. so, lebanon faces enormous challenges but at the same time in my roots are lebanese as well -- i think there's an incredible energy and entrepreneurial spirit in the lebanese people. the question is to what extent they can get their governans issues right and address these corruption issues and only then i think is the international community going to be willing to come in with the kind assistant that is needed. for lebanon it's a big question mark what it looks like in ten years. >> thank you, mona. emily? what does libya look like in ten years? >> i think -- well, i see a pessimistic version and an
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optimistic version. if we continue on current trajectory i expect that libya will remain unstable, possibly in ways different than it has previously so i expect more of these local conflicts or conflicts city by city or region by region, rather than a full fledged war akin to what we saw in 2014 but the same problem if ungoverned spaces and criminality, unstable and the occasional terrorist problem that the west will come in and try deal with periodically but not actually fix. that is unfortunately what i see happening. i am hopeful, the problem is fixable off the libyan explored the international community come together, and there's frustration how long it took on. i'm hoping the trajectory we change and actually head towards progress within that time frame. >> william, how does north africa region, short of egypt --
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i will leave that to moan macaque clubban -- what does -- what does tunisia look like? a pretty story or a very ugly story because it is going to be in cahoots or in -- the recipient of what happens in libya. >> it's going be a mixed story. few nearby. she morocco, algeria and tunisia are over ten thousand what we call microprotests a year. it's gone from big conflicts to small conflicts and the microprotests have double and we're going to have more and more of that. city externalities of that is the question mark, what is the spillover, when do they then the big macro political issues. i think politics will remain complicated.
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economic interventions will be insufficient and then the big question is, what what degree tunisias can keep the lid on -- but they're maintaining a hold. if i can add one sentence on libya. i'm in total agreement with italy but a i'd like to add an if then. i if the u.s. continues to be unedge gauged in lib yay predict the pessimistic version of the scenario. if the u.s. puts in a modicum of effort, they're streaming ask the u.s. to help out. if the u.s. steps up and starts paying attention to politic's not just economics economics an, libways the easiest conflict to fix of the three. over yemen and syria. libways fixable, going to taken an american involvement. >> i agree.
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>> mona makram-ebeid, i say your full name because i have two monas. egypt, what is it going to look like in ten years? >> beautiful. >> you care to elaborate. >> promising country, as we just said before. the mega projects that we're all criticizing now, will be in fruition by then. jobs will be found. every day that a new discovery in the nile. of the artifacts. a new museum. i invite you to come to egypt and see by yourselves the progress that is being done, except for one thing. we'll be 120 million by then. >> that is something to think about. i invited some to beirut. the invitations are out. either new york or beirut
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because i live in both places but i came from the region now, and since this is where we are going to be living this -- this is the last panel and dr. -- is going to come to give the last word. want to think the organizers of everything -- for everything they've done and for this session that played a very big role in making sure we communicated and were on the same page and understanding how to make it nice and smooth and different rather than delivering speeches and i i want to think -- an amazing person and has been really great. [applause] >> this is for you and we think an excellent moderator, intelligent, incisive and agreeable. thank you. >> thank you. [applause]
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] black. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> there will be additives to some of the questions that weren't answered and some of the
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presentations that had the speakers, had more time, they would have covered because they would have provided you with otherwise hard to come by insight. number one, education. people to people. it's been ten years now since deputy minister of one of the gcc countries said that -- well, saudi arabia -- said we have 300 graduates of america's universities. 300. now, the number of american graduates of gcc universities, if you take time and round them off to the nearest even numbers is zero. so, this was ten years ago, and that was one country. i don't know how to estimate it but all i would think 600,000 is
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not an exaggeration. if you add kuwait, bahrain, qatar, the emirates and ohman. how did this come about? it came about in a way that it experienced in 1962, when the yemen revolution began -- civil war began, and it was a revolution because it toppled the monarchy that had been in existence for several hundred years, and one by one there were 80,000 egyptian troops on saudi arabia's doorstep. this had not ever hand before. hasn't happened since. and you can imagine how we would feel -- look at the sensation of us sending 3,000 to 5,000 to mexico's border. spouse 80,000 were concentrated just above maine or just above
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minnesota there of some foreign troops. very effective, eager to beat you up, foreign troops. we would be scared to death. found that all of egypt's secondary school graduates, up until that time. went to secondary school in egypt. there weren't many in saudi arabia. so here they were sending their youth to at the very country that was invading and occupying them. so he made a strategic decision. when you make strategic decision in the area of education, to completely scrap the existing curriculum or at least the dynamics of it, and substitute with another one, you will not see the results until 12 years later. k through 12, kindergarten,
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elementary school, junior high school, high school, graduation at grade 12. do the arithmetic. started in 1962 and here they come in 1974. 99.9 of americans said they're got can because they got all that goddamn oil money. jacked the price of oil up and screwings, got us over a barrel. that's why they're coming. that enabled them to have more means than they had in of 62 for sure but the. he tuesday was strategic. this impetus was long-term, and we have had several speakers emphasize this relationship needs to have people looking at it who are able to look at things long-term, and so we have been the beneficiaries of that.
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these are almost 97% pro-american vivids in these countries. there's nothing comparable on the reverse side. so there's no equilibrium there. there's massive asymmetry. so their ability to understand us is not perfect, hardly devoid of fat, defect, blemish, but you seeing and by having a conference like this, is evidence of how little we know about that region. and how important it is and how much work we have in front of us to learn about that region. this region is not saturated with people. if you went to a faculty adviser, they're not going to say to you, oh, focus on latin america or africa instead because there are too many specialists in the region. no!
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15 years ago, at a middle east studies association of 3,000 academics, it was decided, let's savage a society -- establish a society for gulf arab studies among the 3,000 of us, those who focus on aian and the gulf. total was 16. iran at the same time had an iran studies association with 440 members. turkish study, 200 members. so, you see what work we have to do. there are six countries a person could focus on one two, three, all six, and you'd be in demand if you did it, seriously and with great effort and energy. that is point one. point two is that these individuals have pressured their governments to do something from which we're the only people on
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the planet that benefit, and that is support for the dollar, as the means and the currency for their international financial tran transactions. think from the russians' point of view dish was going to say chinese opinion of view beau they have plenty of dollars, ours. from the russian point of view, they're having to expert enough to earn dollars in offered to -- order to play in dollars. we do not want to do that. what they do has nothing to do with oil. sure, it was made possible by oil but the money in the bank has a life of its own and not influenced by oil or gas or anything in between. so, this is key to the preeminence of the american banking system worldwide. and those of you who are going
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into this field who have a financial economic business management acumen, you will have your choice of the jobs offered to you was because of the deficit of people who have arabic or arab studies with this kind of skill. that's 2009 two. point three is the support that these allies, these individuals and larry leech and leaders provide for us where we are vulnerable, where we're weak, where we are exposed, where we are endangered, namely, inside eight different international organizations where we have interests. we have concerns. we have needs. but we're not only inside of that, want do anything about it when they meet. they all have charters and
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secretaries and headquarters and annual meetings, if not also quarterly meetings. we're not in any of them but on the table for them is always what are we going to do about uncle sam and aunt samarra, the united states in terms of their relationship and draw stronger and more expansive or cut our losses because we are embarrassed by the positions that the administration, one of -- that takessen issue of moral importance to us. we don't have to take this. china doesn't do that. russia does -- no other country does that. america's not pressured by any country to have the policies it has regarding palestine. or to provide the country that will not allow palestine to be free, sovereign, nationally
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independent, its territory intact. we, those in the audience, and other taxpayers, pay that country $150 a second. this is since 1979. don't have the figures before that. 150 decide every second. $6,777 every minute. $366,000 every hour. and a minimum of $10 million a day. the recipient is a come pet of with us for being -- competitor with us for being the olympic champion of violators of international law and their own constitution. that's point three -- that's point four. point five, is what they have done when we have been in conflict. i mentioned three. the iran-iraq war in 1988,
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liberation of kuwait, 90-91 ask the iraq since 2003. when we are injured in that region it is often to their clinics. their hospitals. and that we are taken. because it's too far to go ram stein in germany or across the atlantic to the united statesy we could probably die on route and so we are tended to by our arab friend right in the region. during the iran-iraq war, when we were trying to put our flag on tanks going to kuwait, one of them was hit. the uss stark, and americans were killed, and thrown into the sea. it was bahrain that went out and rescued them. it was bahrain that brought them into beau rain's hospitals.
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it was bahrain's ruler that visited them in their bedded, their sick rooms. many people do not know that. with regard to company main any's -- khomeini -- not love that there was a meeting of the association of islamic council in riyadh. iran wanted a resolution supportive of what it did. every single member country voted against what iran had done. i thought, wow, because we had been looking at the whole region through the lens of a small country in the eastern
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mediterranean and a large country on the eastern side of the gulf, and i thought, wow, this will settle it, have a more level playing field. not one american news outlet covered it. printed it. that major breakthrough there. similarly, again, with the organization of islamic conference, they pulled a trick because of what iran was doing, not to stop the war. they said, we have been talking about remodeling the area around the grand mosque in mecca and the prophets, mosque and we keep putting it off. no, we're going do it right now. and all of us will sever. have to pull our belt in and each of us will have 10% less
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pilgrims allowed to go in the pilgrimage next iranents went through the roof and so did the pakistans and the malaysians. you're not going to tell us how many pilgrims we can take. iran was the loudest and saudi arabia broke relations with iran and said good, luck on getting your visa. a number of iranians that's win to the pilgrimage that year were less than six versus the 330 that they wanted -- demand that day by allowed to take and this eroded and corroded the popular base support for khomeini who was prolonging the war, old whiskers there. and many people, every one who knows a muslim know that many save all their life to make that
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journey, especially in subsoar share ran africa. the hajj. with the organization of islamic conference which did something like that and i hastened the end of the iran-iraq war, and they stood with us on july 15th, 1987, when the u.n. resolution 687 came for a vote. this was to condemn the war's prolongation and demand an immediate cease fire. iraq accepted it. iran took 13 months to accept it. and many, many more thousands were killed as a result. when to the leader of iran did accept it, he said i would rather have drunk poison than
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accept this cease fire. so, mentioning things that are not well-known but are part of the glue and the adhesive that hold us together, despite what is happening in the last month where journalists, nobody heard of, implying we should be pulled apart or pushed apart. six. we have three laws that are punitive to american business women and men who want to invest or have trade and establish joint commercial ventures in the region. one is the arab -- anti-arab boycott act of 1975. the second one this corrupt practices act of 1976. and the third one, amendment to the tax reform act of 1978.
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no other country in the world has that kind of legislation. iceland had it for a time. but what this does is drive a wedge between our private sector and the private sector of the region. you can go to jail on the arab boycott side of this. wasn't by the department of commerce, another by the department of the treasury. you think i'm making these things up? a business person from an american aerospace or defense company, and going into the ministry of defense in an arab country, and they become friends and the process of negotiation and conversation, and the minister or the deputy minister, the director general, whatever, says, you know, i have a 13-year-old daughter and she
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has had infantile paralysis since she was a little girl. and her legs are very deformed and it's very difficult for her to walk, and we don't have anybody who specializes in that kind of medical assistance. but we know of one in switzerland and one in france and three in germany and two the great britain. but we don't know -- they have a long line, and we're told that will be at least a year and a half. can you help? if that person says, yes, i'll help you, that can by interpreted and the person put in prison. for doing a favor to an official of another government. in an effort to try to make a sale. with regard to the amendment to the tax reform act, i may have
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my awrith me tick wrong but get the gist of it. a physician would ordinarily go for $100,000 in one of these countries. you can get three canadians for that. you can get six pakistanis for that. say it's an engineer, but you have to pay the american tens of thousands of dollars more so that she or he pay her tax and not be fun issued for working -- punished for working abroad and this is inside-out when you talk to announcing trades and service industries and jobs related to. the americans living and working abroad, they are our best marketeers. they're right there on the ground. and when they are in a
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discussion, talking about this refinery they don't talk but german specifications or japanese specifications for the column; no. they went to texas a&m and they recommend the only ones they know, which are american specifics there. for it to be otherwise, we're talking about tens of billions of dollars that one has to pay just in order to accommodate somebody else's weights, measures and standard, when the situation is largely that we are able to trade and invest and have joint commercial ventures with arab friends regardless of that set of punitive laws that no other country has. all other countries want to us keep them on the books because
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it's a boon to them and help them in their marketing expertise and efforts there. all efforts to amendment those laws have failed because the lobbyists of another set or friends, allies, strategic partners in the same region intimidate threaten any congressman or woman who would dare move to take those books -- those laws off the books. where is the courage? eight. i think there's saudi aramco. me misvoted there it's no longer aramco. it is saudi aramco, once it was the araban american oil company. the one that discovered the oil produced the pipes, terminals,
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refineries, ships, et cetera, and aide it not just the recovery of europe from the marshall plan, and the future -- but much of japan as well. jon has -- japan has no oil. italy has no oil. half a dozen european unions don't have drop of oil. it came from these countries, and this was in their net as well as our gross benefit. but think of it for a minute. there's no country in the world that would not trade places with us in terms of the overall relationship that we have with the arab region. 22 countries in the arab regions 28 net middle east, 57 members of the association of islamic
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cooperation. the more we get exasperated and anxious increase as does the dispore we say, let's be independent of those at the base, and movements -- movements to that effect began in the 1970s after the last arab oil embargo in october of 1973. people began to invest in scientific labs to find something, anything, so we wouldn't be key pen dent on -- dependent on those s.o. work. ss. nobody necessary the world did. the press and no other country is as anti-hydrocarbon fuels is this is the media and much else amongst america's private sector
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towards hydrocarbon fuels and yet it is absolutely vital to human existence. on your table is a cloth inside of which there are textiles laced with petrochemicals. much of your lunch was raised as a result of the nutrients in the soil that allow the crop to come up and be harvested there maybe of the pills and equipment and hospitals all over the world come from petrochemicals which come from oil and gas. it is the engine. there is no other remotely comparable competitive engine that drives the world's economies, and as being the largest, we, therefore, the
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largest beneficiary of that. i'm suggesting additional ways to look at this issue. so, we have benefited enormously with the highest standard of living in the world, with the most enviable material well-being in the world, with funds and money that can have a $750 billion defense budget. and 250 billion from the department of energy which regulates and runs ands a mr.s the nuclear d -- administers the nuclear situation and you have more than a trillion. where did that money come from? largely on their own but we do borrow, as do others. there was a time in the '70s when saudi arabia alone was in the top five of countries that
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purchased america's debt, and enabled americans to continue paying the salaries of cadets and people in service and school lunches for the underprivileged. had that not occurred we would have had to have raised taxes to find the requisite funds to do that. so that's benefit number eight. but hidden in most people's analyses of it is this. it was not just a boon for both end of the bridge, saudi arabia's economy, people in their society, material well-being and america society, economy, material well, revenue, joint ven fewers, trading,
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et cetera. the entire region benefited. because it is so valuable, so precious, that we built willy-nilly a protective ring all around it as best we could, and that protective ring protected more than saudi arabia. protected saudi arabia has 13 neighbors. protected most of them. the awacs we sold to a small country the east of the mediterranean didn't want us to sell to saudi arabia. it covers kuwait. bahrain, and qatar and the emirates emirates emirates and parts of ohman because of its technology and its reach. from saudi arabia. the awacs fly, but look at the
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multiple beneficiaries of this one particular aspect here. and when kuwait was invaded, you had almost an automaticityie, nance vote in the united nations security council to come to kuwait's aid. communist -- the ussr stood with us on the -- average to arm, shoulder to shoulder, 12 consecutive times and voted with us on the resolutions that contend with what iraq was doing. i'm not sure we would do that so quickly or as effectively. we're not seeing since then the russians standing with us and voting on issues of importance and we have not seen china
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standing with us and voting with us on issues of importance there. so, i'll stop here and simply revert to four words that have come up intermittently in the discussions. and this is every country's strong -- there's no stronger urge to be secure. as we human beings seek to be secure, none of us want to be insecure. it's hell. and if when you are insecure. and if you have never been insecure, you will know it when you are insecure, and you will never, ever want to be in that situation again. and your mind will start racing, how can i prevent this from
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recuring? here's a situation where we have been involved in aiding that, as -- i don't like to use the word "they" as the people in other country inside this region have contributed to our ability to make this achievement a reality. so, less security. the next siamese twin joined can he hit is civility. without security you will not have in the necessary stability, and people look at stability as a given. it's not at all a given. but with stability and a government's secure situation, one can plan with confidence. one of the young people yesterday spoke about how you
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can obtain confidence when you don't have confidence or didn't have confidence, but you can get confidence and we worked with youth to achieve precisely that kind of result. so you can plan, you can prepare, you can anticipate, you can predict all of these things are keys to a better life than talk those keys away and what they life would be. those two are absolutely related to peace. everyone says they want peace. many people do not have peace. part of the reasons is the absence of security and the absence of stability and someone invaded them, one at -- wanted
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their mountain, wanted their gas, wanted their greenfields and did so with impunity. so peace be upon us. but peace is also key to prosperity. you cannot have a chance at prosperity absent security, stability, and peace, and his relationship there -- the arab-u.s. relationship, working on trying to improve two ps and and two a's. one p is positions on issues. we signed for this, we don't stand for that. i'm thinking, standing there with the knee, taking a knee nor national anthem there.
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this dime my mind there. and we largely stand against the people who are doing that because we think it's unpatriotic. is it really? unpatriotic? if you know the reason a person knelt in respect to the flag? but just in a different way? do we all have to be exactly the same in our behavior or at positions? we have positions on abortion, right to life. so that's one of the ps. another one, i'll come back to last. two of the a's are actions, and attitudes. actions that one takes after thinking out of the box and
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saying, now i've got it. you have to do something to bring it about. and that means taking action but what kind of action, how long will you do it? how much will it cost? are you confident? can you achieve your goal by undertaking an action to accomplish it? i don't think you can. but what is the other a? that drives the three i've mentionedle? -- two i've mentioned and that is attitudes. are you depressed, optimistic? are you jaded? are you exhausted? just tired out, worn out? with this region in and america there is arab fatigue. there are people who just say,
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enough is enough. there oar regions of people in the world who are deserving and i'm going to focus on them. the arab world is hopeless. are you like that? have you been like that? and in the event, the attitudes of key as the other two actions and policies and -- excuse me -- and positions. those three combined are the essence of policies and we have had a lot here to focus on policies, and let's hope, as we vote next week, that we can vote with our head and our heart, much more informed, in our head of what is right and what is
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wrong, and realize that achieving our goals will not occur by accident accident or coincidence. it will be in my view, a combination of what some have said of conviction, and conviction is associated with will and you heard several people mention that. and conviction and will are linked at the hip to commitment. what are you going to do about it? in my life, and i don't know about your life -- i have maybe 40-plugs con -- 40-plus convictions. a number of thin air, maybe i have 80, maybe only 13.
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but in any event, like the rest of us, we can only work so many hours before we have to go to sleep, and we have to eat and we have to runner rands. so we -- run errand sod we can't have a commitment for every conviction so which conviction will we roll into commitment? that takes a lot of inner searching and talking with yourself, but in this field, because for many arab is a four-letter word, what is required is courage, not just political courage, which is absent and both houses of our congress. a side bar here forks the three civil rights laws passed in 1963-64-65 -- not a single
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southern senator of the 26 states, 13 southern states, voted for any of the three civil rights laws. not one senator. and then the house of representatives that had more than 140 representatives in the house from the south, only one voted for those laws. that gave african-americans their due. that was long overdue from the moment the first slave set foot in america in 1619. this aspect -- he was voted out ofs of the very next year. and so there are people who have the moral will and political
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will to a degree, but in our national situation, they pay a mighty price. the chairman of our international advisory board is former congressman paul finally. served 23 years and he rote a blockbuster book, on the best bestseller list for weeks after weeks in the super when he wrote it there. he is 97 years old. when we talk, he says, john duke, i'm 97, i'm still on fire. and he is. there are these people. so, it's not just the political courage. it's also the moral courage without which the political courage won't come to pass.
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i'll stop here and thank you for listening, and being part of this conference where we try to make a difference and we have been trying since 1991. but we can't do it without participants. thank you. [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> the 116 conference starts on january 3rd.
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on the other side of the aisle, chuck schumer remains the top democrat as minority leader, with dick durbin as minority whip and patty murray as assistant minority leader. on january 3rd watch the senate on c-span2 and the house on c-span. new congress, new leaders. watch the process unfold on c-span. >> c-span, in 199 c-span was created as a public service by america's cape television companies and today we continue to bring you unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court, and public policy events in washington, dc and around the country. c-span is brought to you by your cable or satellite provider. >> up information a port of the justice department's

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