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tv   News  Al Jazeera  September 17, 2014 4:00pm-5:01pm EDT

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predict how a blaze might spread >> this has been in a fire, now we gotta get the data out of it >> playing with fire... >> you guys are working just to save lives... >> i hope so... >> tech know every saturday go where science meets humanity >> sharks like affection >> spot on... >> don't try this at home... >> tech know, only on al jazeera america >> perfect testimony going on in washington, d.c. the senate foreign relations committee secretary of state john kerry essentially laying out the policy to take on isil in iraq, and then the question is what happens in syria? we want to get you back to that testimony. let's just show the briefing room right now as we bring in my colleague david shuster, i'm tony harris in new york city. tell us about the high point of the briefing, john kerry laying
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out the strategy moving forward to be led by the united states against isil as we see marco rubio. we want to get to some of that testimony. before we get there, let's go to senator rubio. >> let's listen. >> combat troops on the ground on the part of the united states. over the last few days since the president has made that announcement there has been real doubts build weather that strategy will achieve what is defined as the goal. advised the president of needing a modest contingent especially special operation forces to advise and assist the iraqi army. my question is, if it becomes clear that the only way to achieve the defeat of isil period, end of story is for the engagement of american ground troops is that something that
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the president will consider at that time? >> the president will not put american ground troops in iraq. he made it clear, the statement he made that america can make a--quoting the president, we can make a decisive difference, but i want for clear the troops deployed to iraq do not and will not have a combat mission. we believe, and we're not going to deal with hypotheticals about what happens if, and this and this. we believe there are an any number of options of how one can guarantee the effect on isil alon long before you get to the hypothetical speculation. i understand the need to look at it, but the president has made a judgment as command center chief that that's not in the cards, and that's where we are. >> even it--i am. >> ' not going to deal with a
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hypothetical. >> it appears to be quite frankly we're relying on a military a strategy built on rebels, and iraqi forces, some testimony has been they're not up to it, and the kurds. the reason why it is not a hypothetical, the only thing that can solve this problem is u.s. combat forces, we're not going to do that, and isil gets to stay. >> we're so far away from that being the only way in that hypothetical. let me. >> let me ask you this-- >> no, let me get to that. you're saying that iran and syria don't have capability of taking on isil. who knows. i don't mow what's going to happen here. >> let me ask you about that. you're saying there is the potential that the u.s. would be coordinating with iran-- >> i never said anything about coordinating.
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if we're failing and failing miserably, who knows--you're setting this on the proposition that we're failing. you said we're going to fail. >> i'll go back to the report. a number of people, forme many who state they believe, and you stated in your opening statement. >> there are lots of possibilities between here and there. the president has said he is not going to put-- >> you mentioned iran, and you know, iran yesterday said not that it was on the sidelines of these negotiations they claim that the u.s. ambassador in iraq reached out to the iranian am bat der iraq and the rai iranian opened dialogue and he has already answered the question. he said he sees no point in
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coordinating with a country whose hands are dirty. that's what he said about us. he said that you're lying. we did not exclude them from the talks to join the coalition. they excluded themselves, that they refused to participate, and he went on to say that in iraq the u.s. goal is to turn it into a playground where we can inter freely and bomb at will. i would say any hopes of coordinating with iran who i consider to be just as evil as isis is something that i would discourage for a number of different reasons. i would ask this one more question. later a ambassador ford is going to testify that the assad regime has stepped up its targeting of moderate rebel or non-isis rebel forces in the hopes of wiping them out so that they, the assad regime will be the only alternative left in syria. if we're interested in supporting the moderate rebels
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will it not require us to protect them from the assad regime as well if we hope they can develop into a credible fighting force? >> isil, first. that's our policy. >> but ambassador ford is going to testify later today that the biggest enemy they face is the assad regime bombing them and there are credible reports that assad has stepped up his campaign attacking these moderate rebels. they may not be there for us to arm. >> that's not our judgment, but we obviously recognize there are serious challenges with the assad regime. and in classified forum, i think we have a better opportunity to discuss what we're doing additionally in order to do that. >> thank you, mr. secretary, for being here, and for all of your
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tireless efforts to address the isis threat. that is a threat that i believe was really brought home to the american people by the barbaric and heinous murder of james foley and stephen sotlaff. jim foley grew up in new hampshire, and stephen sotloff went to school there. so they both have ties to my state, and everyone across the country felt personally those murders. i appreciate, and i said this yesterday at the arms services hearing with general dempsey and secretary hagel, i appreciate the efforts of the men and women in the military to make a rescue attempt to free those james foley and stephen sotloff and other americans being held
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hostage, but i have been very troubled by the comments from the foley family that have been reported about their concern that they did not--they were not communicated with, and did not have support from our government as they were trying to deal with the hostage situation for their son. and i wonder if you could--well, let me rephrase this, i hope that post the murders that this administration and future administration will seriously reassess what can better be done to support families who are dealing with this kind of a crisis. some of the reports have pointed out that there are other--that there are other countries who have different ways of dealing with the families, and i hope that you will help in this effort as we look at how we can
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better support those families. >> well, senator shaheen. first of all, let me begin by saying i know how personally, deeply involved you were in jim's case, and in working with us to try to keep the focus on it. i know how closely you worked with the family and the prior effort when jim was in libya. i worked on that personally, and on this subsequent effort. we raised it country after country to get some foreign minister, some contact in the country is there a way to get proof of life, is there a way to negotiate the release? most recently even in the last
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two months before he was barba barbarously killed, i was talking with one of the people who traveled to syria on our behalf to find a way to negotiate the release of these hostages. i know that you made incredible effort to reach out to country after country, i know the czech republic, others, you were very active on this and engaged in it. when we got him out of libya, which we worked hard to do, i woulworked with members of the global post. they were always in touch with me and talking personally about
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it. i've read the accounts of things that happened and their judgment. i talked to diane and john foley after jim was killed, and i just shudder what they have to go through. this is something that we feel very deeply. so much so that i remember the hours we sat in the situation room in the white house working with our brilliant military, who did a remarkable job of resig resigning a rescue mission, and the president made the difficult decision because it is always difficult. you put american service people at risk going into another country. they have air defense, you don't know what is going to happen. you know you're going in where there is isil. i sat and watched that entire
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mission unfold, and was amazed by the capacity of our military people to do what they did. the high risk mission performed flawlessly, and the intelligence was correct to every degree that they went the place, they did things correctly. it was empty. they moved them. we don't know exactly how soon or ahead of time. you have no idea just the feeling in that room when the message came from our people on the ground saying nobody is there. so we felt that. and feel it to this day. but if they feel unhappy some how it was not worked properly. whoever agency it was, we have to make sure in the future that we'll make sure that--i mean
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first of all we hope that no other family has to suffer that and go through it. but that is a possibility and eventuallity that we have to make sure that people feel better about the process. i can assure you that from the president on down everybody feels that sensitive glit i appreciate that, and for the hostages still being held i hope there is an effort it taken to look at how those families are supported. >> we'll continue to follow the testimony. with secretary of state john kerry. this is really important stuff and important to keep on eye on it. i think that senator marco rubio
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was tough and pointed and i think asked tough questions. diving deeper into his point, what do you do? what is next if the strategy you're laying out in discussing right now doesn't work against isil? >> that's the job of the pentagon, to come up with every possible con ten scentcy. but what secretary carry is saying is that administration is so far away from reaching that point that it's premature to talk about that. the problem is that it's not premature to point out that the free syrian army cannot take out isil by themselves even if assisted by airstrikes by the united states. this strategy, and you heard it from bob corker earlier, we'll play it again in a few minutes, bob corker was stating thats
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unrealistic. he said it was unrealistic and not serious. secretary kerry said no, this is very serious, and said that the kurdish peshmerga has been very successful in pushing back. the obama administration making it clear and emphatic on the president say from secretary kerry from a my moments ago, and he's say, no u.s. troops on the grouped in iraq will be involved in combat. >> let's see if we can sort this out even as a deeper level. it is important, i think, for us to make the distinction, and for focus watching us and we understand, we're talking about
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one strategy with two components. there is the effort moving forward in iraq, and then there is syria. that's a different proposition. what we're talking about in iraq, and correct me if you're hearing as quickly different here. it is supporting and bolstering the iraqi and the peshmerga to fight for iraq. then there is the strategy moving forward for syria. and the free syrian army, it is still an open question. no one is suggesting that i've heard at this point that the syrian army is going to try in to go into iraq. right now they'll fight the battle in syria, but the question is when you're training and equipping the free syrian army, it is to do what? to do wha fight whom?
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>> the administration has gotten criticism from how come it took so long, and secretary kerry tested, saying look, we couldn't do that before growing on a new government and agreed on going after them. they said that is the trigger that will engage airstrikes in the president has made it clear it's not just now approaching islamic state out of iraq. it's not about bottling them up in syria, it's about can you do that, which syrian opposition forces do they identify without having to put troops on the ground in syria. republicans are convinced if the islamic state even if they're
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bottled up and coin takenned in syria they still can be a let to the united states am assess where you find the sectarian part of this. >> we now go back to secretary kerry. >> we're just getting started with that. i can tell that you we're not going into this in order to fail, nor are even of these other people ready to sign up. >> i'll be up in new york next week with senator cardin. i caan analogy i've been using, if this is going to take years, the analogy is if you identify a hornet's nest in your backyard,
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you realize you got to take care of that, but if what we're doing is poking that hornet nest with a stick, isn't that a concern? you mentioned brent mcgurk provided powerful testimony to this committee back in july about the threat that isis really does represent being able to funnel 30 or 50 suits bombers. now we see those suits bombers come from australia, jeremy, america, with was ports and they could easily--don't we increase the time in which we're under threat and danger? >> well, we hope not, senator,
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obviously--look, isil, why do we have to focus first on isil, and focus on it the way that we are because they're seizing and holding thousands of square miles of territory. because they're claiming to be a state, they're not a state in so many ways, and we can go through that. they are confronting and defeating thus far conventional army with conventional tactics. they're avoid genocidizes, who have already practiced genocidal activities at a certain level. the yazidis, people that they've decided to go after along the way, christians. they have a very large amount of money unlike other terrorist organizations because they have
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sold oil and other things in the process. even al-qaeda, bold as they were, didn't exhibit these capacities. we think most of the region have come to understand this including the opposition, who are already fighting isil. we believe we have the makings and ability to be able to have a very significant impact, and already, by the way, france and the united kingdom are flying with us over iraq, and several other countries are now starting to be willing to join that. so we think we have the building and ability to turn that around. i guarantee you the president's goal is to defeat them. as you and we see this unfold and make judgments about how well we're doing, wit there are
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judgments of what is bein decisions are being made. >> mr. secretary, as i look at this challenge from isil i think there are two distinctly different parts to it. relating to iraq and syria. i don't believe there is any future for iraq unless iraq is committed to that future. the new leadership there has given us hope. but ultimately we have to trust that we can either train or or provide the skills and support necessary to the iraq army that they will not be so overrum with corruption that they cannot be an effective fighting force.
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it's a big task but it's within our grasp. i look at syria and see a totally different circumstance there. syria is a dog's breakfast of violence, deceit and carnage that has gone on for three years. here we are talking about equipping and training a moderate force within syria, now i've read the language, and it never mentions assad once when it talks about what we're trying to achieve in syria. it comes down to this basic question. it looks to me that there are at least three identifiable forces. assad, isil, moderate forces that we ar we hope that we can
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worse request. ho yohow do you defeat isil in syria and in the end does not strengthen assad's hand? how do we find the so-called moderate opposition in syria and believe that something will emerge there that results in what is their responsibility? >> the calculation is that even with the difficulties they faced over the last year and a half particularly, when i first came in february of last year the
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opposition in syria was actually in a slightly better position with respect to assad and the other groups and there were as many of the other groups at that moment in time. then regretbly they started to squabble, politically, as well as which military group would do what. they lost some momentum, and number two, they didn't get enough at that point in time. number three, the country began to be flooded with these external fighters from outside, and some countries in the region who wanted to get rid of assad started funding people who seem to be tougher fighters who morphed intoa into al nusra or isil.
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during that time some of the support coming from the region was coming in very badly directed and managed. all of that is changed now. we have upped our support and our engagement, our training and things that we're doing. other countries have upped. they've worked out leadership issues that existed. even despite these difficulties they've been able to fight isil and move isil out of certain areas and continue with assad. as they begin to take hits. they gain greater strength, greater training, greater capacity, there will be larger
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structure as well as a greater know how and ability. if isil is defeated they're going to be taking that experience in the same direction that they originally set out to, which is to deal with assad. >> i would like to ask one last question. we know, and you've said it in this testimony, that russia is supplying assad. we've known in the past when there have been sources of money, equipment, and other support for our enemies. as we look at isil today you told us in testimony that russia, you mentioned russia and china, and we know by its nature that iran is a shia nation, oppose islamic state isil. who are the countries who are aiding and abetting the isil cause, by providing resources,
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equipment and arms to them, and by allowing their trade to create resources and wealth so we can continue this point that it is state supported. we believe because of the success and particularly getting the bank in mosul and other oi others buying oil. >> who are they selling the oil-- >> they're smuggling it out. >> through which countries is it being smuggled. >> interest was a lot of good testimony to come. a great questions we're getting. david shuster is with me. this is testimony from senator john kerry--i keep saying
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senator. >> he was chairman before. >> yes, right, part. right. we heard senator durbin talking again about one other complicated factors of syria. this is a singe strategy with two distinct prongs. part of the challenge here you saw secretary kerry struggling to answer the question because syria is so complicated, and it has become more complicated over the past year. >> yes, and he described the last year the groups who would be willing to help now are no long strong to help out. the question becomes, well, what do you do to try to--how do you make sure that they're hopeful, and we're going to take a break.
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when we come back davis as here, there was a fiery moment between secretary kerry and senator corker. we'll play yo for you and take it apart for you right after the break. this
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>> welcome back to our coverage of secretary of state john kerry before the foreign relations committee. terrific questions from the senators right now.
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david you were here when this hearing started. there was a tremendous moment with a lot of energy and a lot of passion from both sides here between secretary kerry and senator corker of tennessee. >> the main theme for republicans is skepticism that the administration policy of not putting troops on the ground can work. and we've heard from senator corker who is the leader of this committee, and what corker was saying, this comes in response to secretary kerry talking about arming syrian opposition forces. they're not talking necessarily about iraq, but the idea that
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they'll go in with no boots on the ground. >> you're not going to ask for a buy in from the u.s. senator and house of representatives on past people taking us into another country with a different enemy is exercising. >> the ushe was say going to you want to do that, vote it out of the committee. corker said we can't because we don't agree with your strategy. we don't think your strategy is going to work, and you have not articulated a clear strategy that can work. two bottl battle, congress buying in, republicans are
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skeptical. >> we have retired general with us. we're getting tough questions about the strategy that is being articulated by the president moving forward. i think it feels to me one strategy with two objectives here. the first is taking on isil in iraq, and the secretary seems articulating with the help of the peshmerga fighters, the iraqi security forces and partners will attack isil. that's part one of the strategy. what are your thoughts on that going forward? the president's strategy is
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facing some tough questions, then we can talk about the nest that is syria. >> tony, great to be with you again. i've just listened to the last 10 or 15 minutes of this hearing, and i' it's not surprising. i've been to many of these on the other side of the long green table, and you get a lot of political activity here, that's really the thrust of this. i think as the administration takes the idea forward that they're going to do something against isil, it's going to be awhile before they sort out the details of how this goes forward. there is lots of cance consultation with those who will have to execute this, and you just outlined a two-piece interpretation of this strategy. i think you got it basically about right. the first idea is to do
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something to stop them in iraq. they've been generally halted in their advances, but to try to roll this back some how, and then the second thing is very related to the first. it isn't a separate fear, the fact that isil is operating from syria and coming into iraq and vice versa, you can't give them the sanctuary. the idea that the president has authorized strikes when represent into syria makes a lot of sense. the challenge, though, here is multi fold in my opinion. first and foremost unless there's a real outreach by the new government in baghdad to include the sunnies and most of the area that's been overrun or the towns and cities that have been taken by isil or in the sunni lands in the west of iraq, unless those people o out there get the feeling that they're going to be included in the new
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government to share in some of the largess, i don't think this is going to be a fruitful exercise. that's very fundamental part of this that's really out of our control right now. in the hands of the iraqis. it sounds like we've articulated what they're going to have to do to step up. >> admiral, we'll get to two pieces of that. it seems to me that what you've just articulated is clearly part of the strategy, and the united states leading a coalition that is principally launching airstrikes seems to me, and again correct me if my think something off, it degrades isil. it doesn't destroy isil. what has the potential to destroy isil is a change of ideology, the idea that this government does not behave in the kind of sectarian yay as the
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al maliki government behaved. is that the two-prong strategy for destroying--not degrading but destroying isil in iraq. >> the air power piece of this, the thing that the u.s. is bringing to this particular engagement is something that we can do, and virtually nobody else can do. the idea that we're reaching out and trying to get a coalition of the willingness to help in this is very good, and particularly in a ring to get the regional players on board. it's essential. it's something that we didn't particularly do well in the last war, and it's really critical now. it can be helpful in support of activities that may go on the ground to push these guys back,
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and i expect that woul would be an objective here. but in and of itself it is not likely to destroy isil. i would expect pressure from non-military means to try to choke these guys. they're alleged to have a lot of money, resources. i'm not sure where all that has come from. there are lots of stories going around, but there are other ways than bombs and bullets to get at this thing. what you'll see is a multi facetted approach. trying to get cooperation around the world. i know a lot has been made in the last couple of days about the willingness or unwillingness of neighboring countries to provide support, so i don't think there were two mean folks who were expecting their legions of troops to march into the desert. what can be extremely helpful here is intelligence, information. that's critical to actually going after these guys. if there is a successful
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blueprint, i think what we were able to do in iraq in 2006 through 2007 to defeat al-qaeda, and their henchmen who were operating in much the same way that these guys are. it was a multi pronged approach. it took a number of months to be effective and to reduce that threat. i think that's what the objective would be right now. >> admiral fallen, i want to peculiar up on something that--i want to pick up on something that you just said. tony, he's in a sensitive political spot because he's in the race of his life in colorado, and caught between the two pressures between americans who don't want to see troops on the ground but wants to see something done by isil. admiral fallan, and we said it's
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too early to determine that this would mail. in your estimation is it too early, and do you think this policy can work without ground troops from the united states? >> first of all, this is a political hearing, you're going to have all kinds of statements made and challenges issued. what i suspect the military people are doing given their over arching guidance from the administration is how to do this. i think any talk whether you need troops of whatever kinds and from wherever is pretty premature. i know that we would--i don't think there is any appetite whatsoever for significant ground forces from the u.s. but the reality is that we have 1500 or more uniformed people on the ground. they're collectively called troops. i suspect there are people doing a lot of different tasks. but the fact is we do have people there.
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i think that's essential to be able to advise and help the iraqis. i would suspect that the iraqis would take the lead on doing what ever needs to be done on the ground, and something needs to be done on the ground to push these guys back and out. they'll need to take the lead, and we're there to support them. the extent we get our fingers into this remains to be seen, and you take it one step at a time. the idea that you snap your fingers and that this is going to be done in a week's time is nonsense. there is going to be needing of planning. who will be willing to do what on the ground, but there is no desire by anybody i know to put any u.s. combat forces on the ground. however, we're actually in combat already. the pilots, it's their combat
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missions. they're being fired on by the opposition, so you're into it. the idea is to, i think to spend less time parsing the words and figure out the tactics. >> admiral fallon. let's turn to syria now. i'm going to put a straight-forward question to you here. there is a talk of $500 million that guess into equipping and training the free syrian army. my question is to equip them to do what? i can't imagine there would be a lot of appetite among members of the free syrian army to take on isis, isil in syria. as you know, because we've had these conversations in the past, they're stated objective from day one has been damascus.
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what is the mission of training the syrian free army to do what in syria? >> you've articulated key points. the syrian opposition has been aimed at removing assad. there are all kinds of implications in having agenda, in addition to or alou of going after assad. that's been the problem. major first forward, first of all, a reality check on this. training and supporting a new army is going to take quite awhile. >> can i cut in for just a second. i don't want you to go anywhere. stay right there. senator mccain is asking questions of secretary kerry,
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and i certainly want your thoughts on this. >> there will be boots on the ground if there is to be any hope of success in the strategy, and i think by continuing to repeat that, that the u.s. won't put boots on the ground, the president in effect draps himself. i've talked to so many people with military experience on both sides of this issue. they all agree with secretary gates assessment, and that's just the reality, and there is some of us who place a great deal of confidence in the opinion of people like secretary gates and architects of the surge and so many others. is it your view that the syrian
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opposition is viable? hello? >> hello, senator. i'm taking you so serious-- >> is it your view the syrian opposition is viable? >> the syrian opposition has been viable enough to survive under difficult circumstances, but not yet--but they still have some distance to go and we'll help them go that distance. >> they obviously need our assistance, weapons and training, which you're going to embark on. are you surprised sometimes of the degree of disinformation that members of congress will swallow whole like there's been a cease-fire agreement between the free syrian army and isis put out by isis? does that surprise you sometimes? >> senator--sometimes, sometimes. >> i got it. the hero of this piece so far in my view is a guy whose going to testify here after you,
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ambassador ford. did he a magnificent job at the risk of his own life riding around damascus in support of the free syrian army. here's what he's going to say in his testimony. the moderate armed opposition as biggest enemy is not the islamic state. it is the assad regime, which has killed far more syrians than that is the detestable islamic state, and they won't stop fighting the assad regime. but you're saying isil first. we're going to train and equip the syrian army, and they're going to be fighting assad, who they view as their number one enemy. i agree with ambassador ford's assessment. with you we're saying isil first. if we tell a syrian today, join the free syrian army, you have to fight isil first, but by the way these barrel bombs and attacks from the air that have massacred so many syrians, we're
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not going to do anything about that. i think at least we owe the free syrian army to m negate the air attacks as they go into the fight. why is it that we won't neutralize bashar al-assad's air activity, whic which has slaughtered thousands and thousands and 192,000 dead, 3 million refugees, and we're not going to do anything about assad's air capabilities, and finally isil first, that's what you're telling these young men who really view assad as the one who has slaughtered their family members, not isil as bad as isil is. so how do you square that circle, mr. secretary? >> well, you square it this way, senator, and first of all, let me just say a word.
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i think everybody knows that i had the pleasure of working with robert ford in the department from the day that i arrived there. >> we share admiration for him. >> i huge respect and admiration for him. and he and i worked many long hours with the syrian oppositi opposition, and i respect his opinion, etc. he is correct that he won't stop fighting the assad regime. i understand that. we understand that. >> not only will they stop fighting, it is their primary goal. >> well, it is. >> and i know too many of them, john. >> i understand. it is. i'm not denying that, but they also are fighting isil. they're up i in aleppo fighting isil. they're engaged in fighting isil. our belief is, and i think--i
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bet you, i hope robert ford believes that they will actually get stronger as a result of isil being removed from the field. >> are you not going to protect them from airstrikes. >> i think what we need--yes. that's a legitimate concern. it is a concern that i would need to address with you in a classified session for reasons you well understand and i think robert ford would understand that. >> and i think the free syrian army would like to understand. >> and if we have a good classified session and things happen here, who knows. the important thing is for us to recognize if isil continues doing what it is doing, and i think you know this, without being stopped, if we haven't helped peshmerga, they were threatening baghdad, and they
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were threatening more. >> we're talking about syria. >> i'm about to come back. >> thank you, i'm running out of time. >> that pertains to their capacity, then to, focus on assad, and it might be not the free syrian army, but isil that you see in damascus. isil bringing al nusra and others to them because of the level of their success. clearly many people have told us in the region success breeds success. and many of the people who have come to isil have come because it seemed as if they weren't being opposed. we believe that transition works to the benefit of the moderate opposition, works to all of our benefit by removing isil from the field. >> you cannot ask people to go, fight and die unless you promise them that we will defeat their enemy and defeat them right away. you can't say wait until we defeat isil. people will not volunteer for
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such-- >> i don't believe that it's going to be ultimately a wait and see. i don't believe, number one, that people supporting the opposition in various parts of the region are ever going to stop until the assad problem is resolved. and number two, i don't think the moderate opposition will stop in that effort. so therefore, there will be these two prongs. there is no way to avoid that. >> i hope there are two prongs and not isil first, and that message is given to these brave young people who are sacrificing. >> if we don't do isil first. >> we can't take on two adversaries at once. that's bogus and false. >> i know you two colleagues would like to go at it. >> no, i know the fight not
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joined is not a fight enjoyed so we always have a great time. >> senator. >> thank you, secretary kerry for appearing and for outlining and discussing with us in details the strategy to destroy aisles. i want to thank an ambassador ford for his commendable service. >> that was all of it. that was golden. admiral fallon is with us. i appreciate you so much for staying with us as we continue to watch this hearing. a fascinating hearing. david shuster, they've been calling him, senator kerry, and part of it is the dynamic, as you mentioned, he used to chair this committee, and the dynamics between old colleagues and warriors on so many of these other issues evident right there in those exchanges. >> and they are close friends. >> close friends in the senate.
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>> john mccain was senator kerry's closest friend. when john kerry asked if senator mccain would join the democratic ticket, and senator mccain said no. but that's how much respect they have. >> i keep going back to secretary kerry but it's part of what is going on here, the dynamics here. admiral fallon, and it was discussed between these two men. what are we training the syrian army to do, we had to go, but i want to hear your thoughts on this. >> i'm not plugged in to the detail of what the plan is, but what i would expect is significant decision to actually go and overtly assist the free syrian army to the extent we can
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identify the moderates, so what would this mean in this particular isil challenge? i think it's not as you may have heard in that last exchange where people are trying to pars the words, and be very definitive, and it was teed up as an either othe either/or thing. i think it's a little more gray. if support goes to the moderates, the so-called free syrian army, then i think it has a couple of likely outcomes. one is the very fact that we're going to actively try to train and equip these guys will be a challenge to icel isil wherever they are. whether they're immediately going after isil or not the fact that they're receiving support from the u.s. and maybe some allies is going to, i believe, cause isil to start looking closer as the cheese these
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guys, and maybe they'll have to look at a couple of things and trstop trying to run amok and interact. when you try to train an army of whatever size to be effective in the field is going to take quite a bit of time. i would expect months at a minimum. but the idea that there is a signal sent that we're actually going to be actively supporting these folks, i think it will be hopeful. again, whether they decide they wanting to right or they wanting to left, they're going to do what they do at the end of the day. we'll try to influence them, and we want them to be a force to be reckoned with on the ground. if they can be effective in diverting attention from isil or actually going against these guys, i think that would be helpful. but that's just one--if we go back to what we were talking about earlier, that's just one of many activities that are
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going to need to go on to roll back isil and make head way against them. >> what are your thoughts on the strategy of again, and sort of separating these operations. secretary kerry is determined to frame this in a way to suggest that what we're going to do first with coalition partners is to take on isil in iraq, and then we will take on the challenge of syria through the free syrian army, and maybe other proxies there. as a strategy point, disagree with it where you want, and talk about the challenges of it, does that make sense? i think part of what the american people are trying to discern here is whether or not that makes sense as a strategy, or do you need to take on both at the same time? the training of the free syrian army is going to take a year, at least a year. what are your thoughts. >> i believe it makes a lot of sense. the problem right now is in
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iraq. we actually know a lot about iraq. we've been there. we've been to all these places before. i suspect there are places on the ground that are intimately familiar with it. we have tremendously vested interests in the outcome here. syria has been a problem for a couple of years, but we have not been actively involved nearly to the extent as we have in iraq. the threat had reached the outskirts of baghdad quite recently. it makes all the sense in the world to start there. but the bigger piece of this is, you don't conduct an operation like this and give the opposition, the enemy in this case a sanctuary in syria. that's been articulated that it won't stop at the border. we'll go back if we have to, to degrade them and weaken them.
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it makes all the sense in the world to me. start in iraq. that's where the real problem is right now. and frankly this is an opportunity for the new iraqi government to stand on its feet and demonstrate they're interested and willing, and they're going to be effective. >> retired admiral william fallon, admiral, great to see you. thank you for your time. you've been generous with your time. thank you for your thoughts, and i hope to see you soon in washington, d.c. very soon. david shuster is with me here in new york city. as we go to break maybe give us a sense of what to come and some of the senators who have yet to question secretary kerry. >> secretary kerry is responding to senator chris coons, a democrat from delaware, but the politics will get interesting in about ten minutes again because senator rand paul, who opposed the use of military strikes and troops a year ago has recently changed his position but part of
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paul's appeal is that of an interventionist as opposed to marco rubio who has become one of the more hawkish. representatives.