tv Middle East Institute Annual Conference - Panel on Middle East Policy CSPAN November 12, 2018 3:28am-4:48am EST
often fail to deliver. thank you very much for your time today. thank you. [applause] >> thank you, very much. >> former government officials and diplomats talked about the conflict in yemen and relations with saudi arabia. this is an hour and 20 minutes. >> am going to be introducing a moderator and our panelists. as the moderator of our first -- courtney has broken
key stories on russia, north korea, national security matters. recently worked as a producer for nbc news. the panel is on the challenges facing u.s. policy in human rights and national security. >> great. thank you so much. i appreciate this. i am honored to be here. i am honored to be at the conference and with such a distinguished panel right now. i had a whole set of questions. i am a chronic over prepareer. we are lucky we have the most up-to-date view from the administration just now.
i would like to start by introducing the panel. tim pollack at the end is a resident scholar at the american enterprise institute. focusing on iran, iraq, and the gulf countries. he has held several positions that -- at the brookings institution, something all our panelists have in common. he has served twice on the national security council, first as director for near east and south asian affairs and then asked discussion for gulf affairs. we will get into your cia time also. we have the executive vice president and senior advisor for the german marshall fund of the united states. he was the assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, advising leon panetta and chuck hagel.
he served as senior drafter for strategic planning on national security staff under president and as principal deputy director of secretary of state hillary clinton's policy planning staff. that is a long title. i have never had a title as long as some of these. member of the obama-biden transition team. at the far end we have the retired ambassador. retired ambassador feldman joined the brookings institution in june. years in the6 foreign service focusing on the middle east and north africa. before joining brookings he served as the undersecretary general for political affairs at the united nations, where he shares being implementation task force. pleasedight, who i am to not call a recovering journalist yet, served for years as the diplomatic correspondent
for the washington post, where she reported from over 140 countries. europe,iddle east, asia, and latin america. she is a senior fellow at the woodrow wilson center at u.s. ip. -- usip. she has been at yale and duke and she is currently a contributing writer for the new yorker. welcome all. i would like to start with what we just heard. this panel is supposed to focus on a couple of things. the u.s. position on these many proxy wars going on in the middle east. how the u.s. is maintaining relations with key allies in the conflicts.xy three implementation of sanctions and then how this is having an impact on diplomatic relations with the u.s..
i would like to start with what we have just heard from david hale talking about the u.s. goal in syria. one of the ones we have been hearing from the administration is this goal of pushing iran out of syria. i would like to go in a broad sense. ron do you see as the eye -- iran goal in syria? start with ken. >> thanks very much. it is great to be on this panel with some very old friends. briefly, because i want to talk ,bout a lot of different issues i think iran's goals and syria are to maintain the assad regime and maintain its own position. that is a new goal. going into this they were more concerned about the assad regime.
because of the position they have taken, they see that as an asset to iran. i do not think they are going to relinquish it. is it possible the u.s. could accomplish different goals secretary held laid out? absolutely. they are reasonable goals. but, it's going to be very difficult. what i see out there as the potential clash, what we consistently heard from this president, which is he is not interested in syria, he wants syria to be vladimir putin's problem. with this desire to do things like drive iran out of syria, that is a big deal. that is going to require a much bigger commitment than we have seen so far. i do not see the trump administration being willing to make that commitment. there is a tremendous amount
more i could say about this. i'm going to cede my time. >> a bigger commitment militarily? financially? >> yes. >> i agree. first, thanks for having me. can has saidwhat about -- ken has said about iran's goals. i also agree with the fundamental dissonance we see coming out of the current administration about how to approach addressing what iran's goals are. policiese hand we hear coming out, rhetoric coming out, the admin's rations sounds like bernie sanders. get out of the middle east, this is a huge mistake. also a lot of rhetoric that sounds like dick cheney.
and how one can reconcile these perspectives is a challenge. you were just in syria in the last few weeks. you saw this up close. i see the u.s. military in a pentagon that is willing to stay in syria, is fighting rearguard actions within the bureaucracy for a president whose instinct is to get out of syria. ory are also not willing enthusiastic about taking on the challenges of pushing back against iran. they want to stay. they are very concerned about escalation. they are concerned about managing risk. the kinds of policies many in the region, the israelis and the gulf partners were thinking they were going to be seeing coming out of the united states a year ago, a more aggressive effort to push back against iran militarily, we are just not seeing that.
>> i would make -- looking at syria, i wasts in just in the golan heights. one question is, does iran want anize syria? -- leb or does it want to use syria as a backstop to lebanon to deploy equipment there it can then take into lebanon and make lebanon just one front? even the israelis debate what the goals are. -- thelly think when we iranians are preparing for the next phase, we are all focused it, i current war, ending
think the iranians are deploying example,sonnel, for have done a deal with the russians they will pull out from the israeli border, that does not involve military advisers. whether it is putting on syrian , theyms or, as i was told figured out they are much more advanced in terms of thinking what plays out next. i think the iranians will stay long term. the idea we will ever get them out is a dilution. the russians will pare down to and --nt they have basis bases and they will want their conventional forces, they will be put what they had before.
this has become costly for them. -- on the issue of u.s. goals, i have covered iran since 1973. what i used to do all the time was going to supermarkets to figure out how desperate iranians were during the war when meat was rationed, families could not get kids to school because public transportation was lousy. the shelves were bare. you would see a few bags of rice. the basic commodities were scarce. when i go back to iran now they cannot keep versions in stock. there will be shortages but you can get diapers and cookies. the smuggling network is efficient. the idea we are going to squeeze iran economically anytime soon is an allusion. it will get oil down to about a million barrels a day.
schemes, all kinds of there is talk of the russians buying discounted iranian oil. there will be a lot of discounts or -- offers. the russians are selling oil to compensate for the lack of iranian oil and they will use discounted iranian oil for domestic uses and pocket the profits in the meantime. , -- eight waivers will allow countries to continue to buy iranian oil. that will go down, but probably never to zero. the iranians are gaming trump, whether it is two years or six years. the persians have been around for 5000 years. they know how to do this stuff. the idea that we can make our policy work, the danger is that rouhani is a lame-duck. there is the potential he --omes another consummate
the president two presidents ago who talked a great game, but in the end, ended up being emasculated politically, and the danger is rouhani staked his presidency on engaging with the outside world, ending the nuclear crisis, and opening the country economically. incentive to cheat on the jcpoa right now. it needs the europeans, russians, and chinese. they do not want all of them to join in u.s. sanctions. this is a serious situation. i'm not trying to understated. there are a lot of alternatives. they still have five of the six major world powers behind them. i think there is a real disconnect. we saw a demonstration of a
crime january and february. wants regime if it change. one of the questions is, do they really want regime change? behavior,nging potentially the leaders. the other one is actually changing the system. the idea of a role change the -- ideas theyash will change the system is hogwash. .hey cannot create utopias that is where iran is vulnerable to its own ideology. they may evoke regime change. the danger is if the hardliners emerge stronger out of this. >> it seems to me the administration is serious about wanting to push back against the iranian influence in the region.
look at the background of how iran was able to them -- to encourage power. iran does a good job of playing in chaos. you look at what happened in iraq. you look at syria. iran has been able to exploit those opportunities. to work in chaos in a way that countries like the united states and european powers do not tend to be able to do. if you want to try to start dialing back iranian influence, stop giving them opportunities. right now i would say yemen is one of those opportunities. hypedudi-led coalition the iranian presidency behavior when the coalition's military campaign started. it was not entirely fictional. it was largely hype.
now the influence is greater in yemen than it was. you look at the fight among the gcc countries. it gives iran the ability to qatar in ater -- different way. stop giving them the opportunity to expand their influence by preventing these kinds of foreign policy gifts that open the door for them. this is ancient history, but i am always struck by the impression i have when i accompanied then secretary-general of the united nations to tehran a few years ago where we had a meeting with the supreme leader. -- his pluss one one. there was a great picture from this meeting that has me, an iranian aid.
there was a caption contest at the state department. the winning caption was, see no evil, speak no evil, fear no evil, and, left to right, and you're no evil, see no evil, speak no evil, and evil. [laughter] jeffrey: but what struck me about the meeting is the monologue was entirely about the united states. there were lots of international issues in which iran was involved. the syrian war was already well underway. but he chose to use these three-hour monologue to talk only about the united states. about thefirst of all depth of his obsession with the i was states, but second, struck about how wrong he was about the united states. there are a lot of very sophisticated iranians, people who have studied here, people
who study us now, who would be able, if they have the access to the influence, the credibility, to be able to try to correct his impression, but it was completely fictional. his analysis of the united states, what was going to happen in the united states, what he was going to do. at the time, i thought you know, i have been in a want of meetings where we talked about iran, and i am sure there were gaps in our meetings about iran, gaps in our perceptions about iran. but i am sure whatever our gaps were, our leader, our president was not as ignorant about iran as the supreme leader of iran was about the united states. i hope that is still the case. [laughter] jeffrey: um. wouldools
include red instruction, because i do not think either russia or held fors to be before reconstruction, and there will be a move toward reconstruction carrie. this will be waiting at to get the migrants back into their homeland. but to use reconstruction effectively as a lever, you have to have unity of donor countries, and it worries me because i am not sure the united states will be able to promote unified approach on reconstruction given the jt the declaration of the european union is an
enemy. anyway, thank you. iran.ould like to stay on is talking about in u.s. intelligence. i realize you have been outside of u.s. government for some time, but what do you think the u.s. intelligence is right now with respect to iran? picture,ys have a good to be in this position with position.rsarial eric, if you talk about the military views of it, how can at all, they were ork on that? we definitely see your position, so how do we see the position, how can the
u.s. pressure iran, is that are one of jeff, you the few americans who have met with the leader of the ayatollah. way to you see the pressure them and what would be successful against iran, starting with ken. ken: sure. question that u.s. intelligence was regarding to iran have improved over the years, but it has not improved greatly in the area where we need it, because it is most difficult area of all, which is what is it thinking, we have much greater ability to track u.s. military forces, have a general sense of what is going the economicf activity in iran.
improved overs the years. wasproblem is, and just alluding to the story before, what is in the mind of harmin khomeini? are they facing sanctions that is likely to change their behavior? that is question number one, and that will be difficult, because it speaks to a whole variety of sub questions. what information are they getting about the state of their ?eople do they care that their people are impoverished and unhappy? at some level, of course they care, but the issue is really --
do they care enough to change their policy, or is there well, the people may be unhappy, but we do not want to change our policy for any reason. these are absolutely intelligence questions, and they are exceptionally difficult to answer. what if iranians really offered, because it may be that the administration is right in certain ways, we may do a lot of damage to the iranians through the sanctions. we may or economy of which is in tough shape because of their own mismanagement over the years, added to our own sanctions and abilities, but if that is the administration has to be able to say the iranians are hurting, they are changing their behavior, but the question becomes -- what is that change? we know the president is hoping that will be i will sit down
with you, i look great to a new nuclear deal with you, which is probably all that matters to him as far as he is concerned. it may be, you know what, we are hurting, we do not like this pressure, we are not going to sit here and try to take it, we're going to try to sit here and do something. it may be pushed back, especially given the politics, how they read with the jcpoa. decide to change their billionaire as a result of these sanctions, their first move is not going to because it down with donald trump, is going to be able to find directions donald trump during ways we don't like terrorist actions, support for various proxies and insurgent groups of the middle east, attacking our allies, cyber attacks.
i know that the intelligence community has to be in a position to answer those questions, prepare the administration. what we never know on the intel site, keeping my intel high on, not my policymaker had on -- because when i was at the agency, i always listened to the intel. president, the whether the administration is actually going to listen, because if they come in and they ishink the policy -- and say "mr. president, we think the policy is working, and they will turn up the heat on you." you have to recognize that take action with enough time to do something about it. at all the hardest thing in the intelligence community to try to convince the administration of. derek: on the military
perspective, probably one of the underappreciated components of the revia is policies that led oa was not the same willingness to talk to dramatically, it was also military pressure, and that came in four components -- posture, procurement, partners, and planning. when i see with the u.s. military is currently doing despite all of the talk of withdrawal during the obama years, there is actually a remarkable degree of continuity, but actually, it has gotten a little harder. think about the military posture. it has not changed fundamentally in the last four or five years in the region. our bases, if anything, that has -- the posture has gotten down a bit, because we have a rotating
capability out of the region. we have not had to carry a battle group in the gulf since march. earlier this year. i think that is the largest it years,?'s in, what, 20 i am sure we also had a presence in the gulf as we also try to around the world. and the pentagon is working on implementing the national defense strategy, which is all -- whichn of the great is about the middle east, but also not about the middle east. so you have got presence was come on the one hand, no major shifts, but is trending downwards, despite the perception, and now the u.s. is there and really ready to go. our procurement, and despite all of the talk of weapons sales,
particularly the gulf country, most of it is taking credit for things that happened before, and the prospect of large weapons sales in the future i think is really, really hard to see, particularly even harder after of the election here, where i think, when the congress there will be a lot of discussion about what to do about the pending arms sales, and i'd see a big political appetite here in washington to push very hard on that. that was a big component of the obama administration's strategy to put pressure. arms deal of a big saudi arabia, uae, and israel, that was about building pressure and building capacity to deal with an iranian threat -- partners. i give the administration credit for trying to continue the effort to build greater cohesion and muscle tissue between the
united states and our partners. it is a logical progression and a positive one from the security corporations forum, which was in 2013, 2014, to the usg's easy ministerial come up to the camp david process, to this needs the other idea, which was prior to the murder istanbul paradigm think they were going to have a meeting in january. i'm not sure that is going to happen. and finally, planning. i am not sure, because we are not privy to classified planning , but there is a tremendous amount that goes into military planning to be sure that all options are on the table should they been this area to deal with
the iranian nuclear program. obama administration, we call that a theater, to be able to execute on any options should the president so order. that is not something that just happens naturally. that comes with a lot of hard resource decisions inside the pentagon. we have not heard a lot about that recently. my guess would be given the overall trend of how we are moving some of our military globally, is we are not as prepared today to execute on military options as we would have been three or four years ago. you'd argue we have been jcpoa, so there is less of a need, but if we are in a post--jcpoa wor ld, if we are assuming we will not be engaging in a diplomatic negotiation with the iranians anytime soon, if ever, with this administration, then the question of plans has to be back on the table and something we are talking about. robin: don't get me wrong --
iran is suffering. the value of the currency is 1/3 of what it was a year ago. sanctions, at the end of the day, that ukrainians iranians to the table in 2013. -- that got the iranians to the table in 2013. oft was clearly the way squeezing them. it is a timetable. beginning of his administration, had campaigned obama interested in changing in the aftermath of the arab spring and the chaos the region,across kind of taking that nuclear components off the table. one of the questions ken mentioned is the issue of the supreme leader's mind. i had breakfast with him once hen he was president, and
was the first iranian revolutionary figure to come to york, it was 1987, and the presidency that was not an executive presidency. the prime minister was the most powerful. he was dispatched. basically in the context of contra, the deadly end of the iran, iraq war, iran was getting a period every engagement with the world after eight years of neither east nor west. he came with a mission to say we want to end the war, we want to engage with everybody. usre were about a dozen of who were invited to have breakfast with him in new york, and it was very striking. we had been told, all of us, that this was a big deal
announcement, the reason he had come the first time, since the ouster of the monarchy. sunk that time, the u.s. aiga, which was a ship in the gulf. we sank theship -- ship, kill soldiers, it had to rescue the rest of them. the supreme leader looked at this and thought it was to make him look bad. he really thought this was the showing what it really intended, and he has never recovered from that. you cannot trust the united states. it has influenced his thinking and perspective on all negotiations ever since, and
that is important to understand, things we do not even remember back then, much less today. this was a man who assumes the leadership, having been a weak president, and he was put there islamice thinking the of iran trying to become more of a republican, but have his ownnot power base, so dangerous lessons in the future, when you try to put a week and man in power, where do they go? they go to the military to try to build up the power base fears over for a guy with a mediocre he isto put it mildly, now disproportionately powerful. he has been in that office now
.or almost 30 years it is important to understand how this process plays out. i was very struck after the announcement of sanctions this one of the things president rouhani set was we don't rule out sanctions, and that is what we also sent to me and september when i saw him at the united nations. he said in september it is easier for us to go back six months than it is to go back six years. this week, little covert, was a statement that we do not rule out negotiations, but we have to go back to what was committed to, the united nations agreed to unanimously, and
this is the ground on this, and saying they are willing to engage under certain conditions. one last point, what else can we do to pressure? again, one of the little reported stories this week is the fact that iranians have othernced there was an massive cyber attack. this will be the third that we know of cyberattack. and it penetrated their information systems, and information in iran is a synonym for intelligence, so i think that the covert campaign, in many ways, may be far more interesting dynamic and imaginative and the kind of perfunctory sanctions that we all spend a lot of time talking about. jeff, you met with ayatollah 25 years later. i am very is on your perception.
think robin gave the backgrounds of your session that i witnessed in the meeting that bantended when he met with ki-moon, the summit in tehran several years ago. as i said, it was not only the of session was just how wrong his analysis was about the united states, based on ideology -- fan paranoia, it was penetrate what he thought. i was in europe and met in a a high-level iranian official, after the singapore summit, after the results of the and this iranian official asked me whether i thought they could pull off a kim jong-un, whether they can pull off a singapore-like breakthrough with president trump.
it was interesting that he asked , and my response i think was probably wrong, but i said it would publicly the far more difficult, because in the case oulnorth korea, you had se cheerleading, whereas with iran, you have the emirates, saudi arabia, others pushing against it so you would not have the reinforcement that you would have in the case of north korea, that, president trump indicated he would be willing, so it shows the limits to my own analysis. but, robin, you and i were both in the same meeting that you, president, asked rouhani we could talk more on the record about this. in addition to the median robin had privately with rouhani, there was a meeting in new york with the general assembly, 24, 2
dozen americans with various backgrounds that was supposed to be off the record, and robin pushed and said "can't we put this on the record?" david singer covered it, because to robin's rather persistent push to being on the record. there was no roadblock that could not be superseded. when things get really bad is when the experts start talking. and that i found intriguing, because it was different from what he said about they cannot talk to to trump until they went back to where the u.s. i diverge path in which they were talking. i thought it was interesting. i want to bring up one more idea about proxy wars, and start with yemen.
i will start with you, jeff, because you have had the longest time to think about your answers so far. secretary mattis musick richard bove os just said that things mattis, -- secretary secretary pompeo said that things need to end in yemen. what happens next after those shootings stopped? jeffrey: i think the u.s. does have a pressure, a brookings colleague talked about how the saudi's would be grounded as spareechnicals or prepare parts, refueling within. it could happen very quickly. it is much different than longer-term arms sales, which would not have the immediate impact of technical assistance and so forth. -- withn work is very
great reluctance, but who these are in the international dialogue process. they signed on to the agreements of the national dialogue process. it was a give-and-take compromise. it was complicated. 400 some participants. houthisn the wh who used a fuel demonstration to overtake and overthrow. it isnderstand why difficult for people who say the war should just stop, because haveeasons for the war di not been addressed. did violate anthis
agreement and just took over the country. but all of the goals of the military conflict, or the that was adopted in the chapter seven authority have not been met and are harder to me now than they were. at some point, if you are in a hole, stop digging. said, iranians have a greater role now, hezbollah has a greater role now, they have weaponry. everything has worked the land that is not even talking about the absolute humanitarian calamity,', that is shameful. this war needs to stop, and the u.s. has the power. i was a that as awful as it is they doing some kind of transactional deal over the khashoggi murder, unacceptable what has happened to someone that many people in this knew,e, still -- room
still it provides the leverage to say we need to preserve it saudi relationship, which the u.s. does. we have to get past this. pick who the saudi crown prince is, but the yemen were has to stop. general agree that staff certainly created a john death certainly created a dynamic that pressures the saudis, whether it is just weapons sales or the issue, the issues on the table. my sense in this twitterverse, that there needed to be much more momentum to make that happen, that we are already rehabilitation campaign for mohammad bin salman on. the king went with his son across the country to
effectively endorsed him say "he is my boy, oh and there will not be any changes. and the idea that there may be a price, there may be some portfolio taken away from him, but he that is striping is over the past week since secretary mattis first rolled out the idea of having a talk by the end of november with a sense of versions the, that the saudis have doubled their airstrikes, this is an doyour-face reaction, and i not think it is just gaining leverage and territory, but i think it is a statement -- we make the decisions. reason,they, for some do it under the negotiating table, that we are not likely to see a process that leads some place. that is the sad part. i think there is a way to get negotiations going. i am not sure there is the will
to do it. think there are -- one of the things -- this is a, by the way, largely a pentagon initiative to push. out,s mattis who role that then again a time frame as the u.s. institute of peace. the statement that pompeo issued, i am told, was drafted at the dod. so this is something he is pushing and i do not think reflects the will of a new energy within the administration to end the human war. i do think -- the yemen war. are everyone's refueling the saudi planes, we are the ones who are providing the bombs that civilians and providing the intelligence that tells them where they are going, and the saudis are ignoring it. the pentagon is not really happy
about the way they have used and abused the equipment and information we have given them. i also think the pentagon is very aware that resident of he spent most of the last two months to the cleveland clinic. even though he has been in exile since, i think, 2015 -- anyways, a number of years in riyadh, i think he has gone back, but the government does not control. the capital. . the problem is if he does, the vice president is from the islam party. the president is a saudi man, the vice president is not. so what you have is a complicated scenario where there is military chaos already. over whatribery government is saudi arabia trying to put back in control. process see a political
makesels makes them alon unravd diplomacy and harder. then you throw in jamaal's deat h, which is given more focused. the u.s. is talking about the special envoy taking the lead on this, and unless the united states takes the lead and we arethe table and says using our influence to defer to the u.n., it is not going to go in claims, and it will drive on for years. again, a great idea, wonderful, but will it lead anyplace? i am yet to be convinced. courtney: i am curious -- do you agree the saudi strikes, the margin of data, humanitarian crisis, the ucs as more of a strategic than a tactical move by the saudi's right now?
derek: no, but i agree with what robin has said, that they have leverage. we need to be the ones leading this increasing volume of criticism. there is a question again about how widely shared is that within the administration. aere is absolutely rehabilitation of the mbs campaign underway that is getting some traction. however, as i said earlier with congress coming back, that is going to be harder. in many ways, and yes, our congress is lucky they were out of sessions at this time, so there was not the joint of analysis and criticism, but i
the u.s.seems to me will use leverage in regard to yemen, either the administration will get out ahead of it, or congress will force them to do it is my sense. what does that leverage actually mean? tools to create leverage the i am humbled by our ability to make leverage. calculations for cairo, that had limited success. on one end of the spectrum, we will credit the riddell plan, we i do not it off and think pentagon will push for that, but it is an option. everything short of that, it gets harder. resupply, cutting off the pgm's, what elsee thing, but
gets through? saying that they will have a robust approach to iran and they -- i think it will be the one very difficult set of choices they will have in the coming months. finally, going back to robin, it does feel like there is a lack of a man's vital of the military discussion, there is a lack of a diplomatic push here. it is clear to me, other than supporting the u.n. envoy, making that your big play tolomatically to bring this an end, it is not clear who in the administration we need to play this role. pompeo, i do not see him doing this. maybe david will step up and do it. we do not even have an assistant secretary for nea right now.
is there even a decision to use the leverage? how they execute it, i think, is an open question. i am going to be a skunk at the garden party. told we force the parties end it? i think we could. that is about it. let's be very clear. that will not end the yemeni civil war. was burningivil war before the saudi's intervened. and i think jeff is right, the saudis greatly exaggerated the iranian's rep. a self fulfilling prophecy. they are there. that werewolf you going on because of its own internal dynamics, and we have seen in a number of civil wars before, and we know how they end.
withdrawing external intervention sometimes is a necessary precondition, but it a never sufficient to end civil war, and often times it is actually counterproductive. oftentimes you actually need intervention to end a civil war. saudis, it willvictoria not remove the who the military houthi military threat to riyadh. they can say "well, it would not have happened if you have not intervened," that could be true, but it is irrelevant. at riyadh isiles no small thing. we would not be terribly happy missilese were lobbing
at washington, d.c. even if it were missing, it would be a very big problem. plus also understand that none of this is likely to affect the humanitarian situation. used to work for one of the big eight organizations, one aidhe big eight ngo's, -- ngos, mercy corps, and she would say how do we feed the syrians, and my response was the same war."he syrian civil until you do that, you will not end the humanitarian problems, and the problems in human are much bigger than simply the intervention, greatly feared most of the civil wars, certainly in the middle east today, or about state failure .nd security vacuums until you feel the security vacuum, forging new
power-sharing arrangement that allowsable and that then the different parties to start building a state, you will not in the civil war. -- end the civil war. this over and over and over again. it is all well and good for us to blame the saudi's for the tragedy in yemen. it is all well and good to say maybe we should try to push the saudis to pull back. that is not a solution to the yemeni civil work. clear that that is the start to the end of the yemeni civil war. vast majority of civil war site and and and and ended quickly ended with the military victory of one side. you want to limit civilian casualties in a civil war? is tost site to do it have one side went and went fast. -- win and win fast.
now, the saudi backed coalition have the upper answered the smart thing may be with my friend argues, fax them to the hilt -- back them to the hilt. that may be the fastest way to do it. but it may also be entirely unpalatable. civil wars have their own dynamics. group isbacking one not going to integrate the civil war, and when the full humanitarian discount is taken in the yemeni civil war, my guess is that we're going to look at it and say it is because this is how long the war burned, not because of who is involved. that is typically was civil wars are about. that is typically how the discount is measured. courtney: i have to press you on that for one minute. endagree that the way into eto
the conflict in yemen is to double down on it militarily? do you think -- i have a slightly different point than i was into articulating their. foreign intervention has to be with the right strategy and the right force level. i would like to see the saudis b ack the yemens and force them to sit down with the khomeini -- with the houthis and make a deal. very quickly, the way we negotiate a civil war you first need a stalemate in which neither side orside believe it -- side believe that can have victory.
weigh the benefits to mr. it with the demographics. finally, you need some kind of institution i can make sure conditions wanted to hold firm for one to two years. typically, that is enough to know he's keeping oars -- keep peacekeeping force. have a nelson mandela had, he or she could do that job. yemen.t see that in 40% of all of the civil wars since 1991 have been in it in exactly that fashion but you have got to be willing to do that. that probably would mean theyncing the houthis that cannot win, which we can probably do if we back the saudis, in varieties, -- e .iraties, and more
you have to sit down and make a reasonable concession to the houthis. courtney: i want to take the questions and open it up to the audience. sir? >> how do you think the election results on tuesday will affect the middle east analysis? courtney: does anyone want to it?e it yet though >> many of us in the room, foreign-policy experts, were not even being asked about it or it that said, i think given the configuration of the new congress when it comes into session, particularly in the house with the democrats, you will see much raters scrutiny of the administration policies across the board. it will be interesting to see how this plays out.
there will be an effort among democrats, i think, to keep the embers of the jcpoa alive in some way, whatever way they can, and it will be an interesting dynamic when european colleagues, for example, come to washington and do their customary meeting also go to capitol hill, and now they will be sitting with the democratic speaker of the house and the democratic chairman of the house, foreign affairs committee care they will be talking about things like jcpoa and iran, and there will be a lot more agreement and there was six months ago. one can already kind of write pop outts that will when you see nancy pelosi talking about the jcpoa. as we were talking earlier on yemen, certainly a much higher scores me on u.s. armed ss sales. i do not see congress having the passenger on those.
i think you will see an administration that will be more besieged on its policies, a lot of hard questions about what the plan is, how the policies will work. i think for middle eastern partners looking in from the it will probably be more confusing bandit has already been to this point. t has already been to this point. speech wasd hill's noteworthy because it left out arab-israeli peace process, which president trump came and said it "really it is not as difficult to solve as everybody says," angier sure -- and jared kushner's plan will be unveiled. and of course now they say right khashoggi's jamal depomed was ready to be -- it is
,hether it is unveiled or not jerusalem, shutting down the missiontic here, as somebody come if they have palestinian iftact, should tell them they have not ended their "washington post" subscription, the the post is piling up on the front steps of the embassy. [laughter] robin: that is the one thing that they want mbs for. when you think of the goal, that is the one thing they were going to do down and dirty and kind of say "done." and i think that is not going to orpen during this first term is term of the trump
administration. >> i am no fan of iran, and iran as an abysmal human rights effort. but why do we give the saudis such a pass? regionally, the saudis are not keeping the region secure. them are talking about funding and giving researchers to al qaeda and two isis, i mean, they are behind that. and it is interesting, mr. pollock, in terms of using militarism, it was the saudis that chopped up and possibly burned in acid mr. show khashoggi, who was a u.s. resident. iran are a more natural ally to the united states if we work it than saudi arabia would be. why, in understand
terms of u.s. interests, why saudi arabia such a good friend instead of iran. courtney: we heard that from david hill as well, he talked about iran's human rights record, but he did not talk about others in the region, even turkey. kenneth: to be clear, when i --d i ran engages in acts of acts ofages of terrorism, it is not the others don't. as someone who has championed every single american effort with iran, the problem that we have goes back to the points that both jeff and robin made before. had,roblem that we have and we have made sincere efforts rebuild relations with iran, is that iranians don't want it. thatually do believe rouhani and others
would like a referendum with the united states. i was very much in favor of the obama administration's effort to use the jcpoa -- and let's understand the jcpoa was only supposed to be part of a wider effort to have a better relationship with iran. right,that was exactly and president clinton tried the exact same thing. i was his persian gulf director of the time. i thought this was exactly the right thing. i did everything i could. what we found every time it is even though on occasion there were iranians who want to the exact same thing, the leadership kept defining us as their enemy and kept acting as if we were their enemy, deliberately trying to harm our interests. in so while we can say, yes, theory, iran would be a great ally for the united states,
it was -- careful here -- under the shah. the problem is iranian leadership is not see at the same way. i am hopeful, to robins point about regime change, my hope is at some point in time we will have a new leadership in tehran, within this regime, in a different regime, that one a better relationship with us. i think nothing would be more beneficial to us. finally, with regard to the saudis, the difference is the us as theirfine great ally and their great protector and have always done so. while there is no question that has been a problematic relationship for many years, but saudis have also acted to advance our interests, just as we have acted to advance theirs. was with meer derek in the government and the 1990's, and we would come to the saudis with all kinds of stuff that had nothing to do with the middle east, and we would say
"we need your help," and the saudis were there. the saudis funded a keto deal, the light water reactors for north korea. the saudis had no interest in that. it is simply because we asked them to do it. they had interest, no question about that, interest in our relationship. but that is why we have a relationship with the because we have sharedm interest, and they do a lot of things with us. to answer your question, administration after administration has consistently looked the other way at the misdeeds of not just the saudis but any number of our allies, in the middle east and, frankly, beyond it. -- where ihat we hope we have learned in 2011 is that does not pay off in the long run. it desperately needs to change. and if they don't, they are byng to be swept away
revolution, and when they are, we are going to pay the price for having looked the other way at all of the misdeeds toward their own people. robin: and i add something very quickly? among those countries that we are giving a total pass is human and, you know, its rights violations, being held to account by nobody. to the point of hoping for a leadership change in iran, let me point out the supreme leader is only one year older than nancy pelosi. [laughter] i like mr. bullock's ack'ssment -- mr. poll assessment regarding the syrian war. could there be some cards that we could play?
inso the arab minority and iran. thank you. robin: i will take the arab minority in iran. iran,riking thing about and i mentioned earlier, we are looking for regime change in a country where there is no visible opposition. -- it is able to pay a lot of come tot officials to annual conferences in paris, but in terms of having an impact inside the country, it is almost zero. there are arab protests in the arab part of iran. is the place but, if you go to parliament any given day, there is some 50, 100,whether it is 350 people, whether they have
not been paid in three months, a price hike in electricity, or they are not getting electricity, this is a very engaged population. even when there is a crackdown, people continue to get out. iran is 51% persian, but there are a lot of ethnic minorities. the pollution in the southeast have been active in challenging regime in iran. the place bubbles. yes, economic issues in the country, gender issues, the women who have gotten out, and things have changed. i hate to certain -- say the word "flexible, but there is a sort of dynamic" to this.
women who walk their dogs are hijabr cars and their j has fallen off. girls and i go there, their long hair flowing. they have a baseball cap. a different environment. there are a few outlets. on in terms of capitalizing any of the different components, there is not something inside the country. but iranians are good at griping. they gripe at griping. they grant that the monarchy, they gripe that whoever is in power over economic conditions. the big challenge for the u.s. intelligence community is deciphering -- is this something that is going to produce changes or force the regime to change, or is this something that is part of the persian society? i will pick up the syrian peace here, because i think it
is a great question. is it possible that the carrot will work? possible. i have a little skeptical. the issue in syria as we are in between two models of how the civil war is in. the model that seems to be working as the victory. the regime, the iranians some of the russians very much have the upper hand. : nadere looking to victory, and we are working hard to state that often forced them into some kind of power-sharing agreement by holding onto a certain amount of territory and holding out the prospect of reconstruction aid. could that work? maybe. but that is going to be really tricky, because it means shifting from one model, the oneory of one side, to
solution. historically, you cannot get to the negotiated solution unless you have got more military pressure, which is what i was referring to when courtney asked the original question. unless we can threaten the assad regime, and less we can control various parts of the population, they do not have much incentive. while it is possible, what i fear is we get ourselves into a lebanon situation, which of course just had to live through as ambassador there. where we are providing a lot of assistance in her trying as hard as we can to condition it, but because one side has more or less won it and is in control, they more or less take the money and only provided lipservice. courtney: if each one if you want to ask your questions, and we will try to do them both at the same time. >> i am from voice of america turkish. for turkey.will be
turkey is one of the countries that was able to get a waiver from the recent iranian sanctions, but president erdogan those sanctions in the future. there is also the case of the turkish bank at the u.s. treasury might be imposing a fine on the turkish bank. also bearing in mind the recent follow from the saudi 's murdert khashoggi on turkish soil, how do you think this whole thing will play out for turkey? >> fortunately, i also want to talk about turkey. [laughter] because we have not talked about turkey so far. is a serious potential of conflict between the united states and turkey are the kurds and syria. we have been trying to cooperate with them on the one hand, but there are all kinds of signs of
conflict east of the euphrates that we are heading for conflict, if we are going to defend our arab and kurdish allies there. what is your assessment, any of you, on where we are going in our policy toward turkey and dealing with what will happen east of the euphrates? courtney: that it is confusing now because the u.s. has begun these joint patrols with the turks, but the same time, the turks. and halted their fight against isis. i would be curious, it seems like there might be some momentum for the deputy general manager who is in jail right now for 32 or 36 months. it seems like there might be some kind of a deal to send him back to turkey despite his being convicted of sanctions invasion with iran. that is a lot things we just laid out on turkey right now. [laughs]
it.ot [laughter] courtney: derek? where wee question of are going with turkey, i think we can kind of model free through, right? erdogan has had a good couple of weeks, the way he has been using the khashoggi affair -- he has on ain the drivers seat lot of this. if we believe what is in the news on the last few days, he has some other cards he has yet to play on that that he has been holding, so we will kind of have to see how that plays out. it is hard for me to imagine given the confluence of issues where the u.s. entered he has fundamental disagreements -- u.s. and turkey has fundamental disagreements, whether it is related to iran, europe, inside of turkey, syria, that there is a prospect for anything much better to mow through.
i think that tensions between the turks and the kurds is something we have been dealing with for years now. we have seen flareups of this now and again, and at times, i think in the last year or so, it got very dire in terms of the tension between the two sides. we sort of seemed to make our way through it. i do not have great optimism that it will get much better notime soon, because i do think the prospect of the situation inside turkey under erdogan is going to improve much , but giving the other interest we have a play, it does not get much worse, but i think we have to prepare the it will. they have beenow involved in these negotiations come up with this, and now at talk about others. i think we are about out of time. i am so sorry we did not get to all the questions. i just want to thank the panel. i am sure you are accustomed to
hearing from experts and geniuses all the time of these kinds of events. i am really honored to be a part of something where there are literally decades of experience and expertise on the middle east come all the region, and we were able to get someone's insight from the today, so thank you -- so much insight from all of them today, so thank you to all of our panelists. thank you. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> thank you, courtney, for moderating, and we have a quick coffee break. we will be back at 11:05. tonight on "the communicators," verizon senior vice president and chief network
officer navy over on verizon -- verizon'ser on attempt to implement 5g. us new currency us massive speed and bandwidth. totimes the speed on average 4g networks and about 1000 times the bandwidth, because the way we are deploying it, and clayton knows, we are calling this ultra wideband, and that is because we are using spectrum and there is a lot of it, and when you have a lot of spectrum, what that goes to is even throughput. >> watch "the communicators" tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span two.
new congress, new leaders, watch the process unfold on c-span. democrats have reclaimed control of the house. republicans regained majority control of the senate. as the parties organize the new congress, watch it unfold on c-span. >> now a discussion on the results of the 2018 midterm elections from american university, this is one hour and 10 minutes. >> ok, thank you everyone, for your patience. my name is betsy fischer martin.