tv U.S. Senate CSPAN April 20, 2011 9:00am-12:00pm EDT
club, >> how do you feel like you're treated by the news business? as a news subject? >> yeah, i feel -- i feel fine. [laughter] >> well, we're glad to hear that. [laughter] >> well, if i could write the articles, i'd write them a little different. [laughter] >> having said that, i think they treat me very fairly but they're better as i've gotten older. they used to jump on my ass pretty bad, you know? [laughter] >> but i've gotten older now and they introduced me as legendary oilman. [laughter] >> i thought -- i thought about that. and you notice most articles say t. boone pickens legendary oilman. legendary, what's that mean? do you know what that mean? that's a guy 75 years old and still has a job. [laughter] >> that's good thing. >> but i'm 82, though. >> god bless you. well, we're almost out of time and before we ask the last two questions from our speakers. a couple of housekeeping jobs.
i would like to remind our guests of some upcoming speakers. general james jones, former marine corps commandant among his offices will be our speaker. on may 20th a lot going on with organized labor these days. richard trumka will speak. you will remember we had vivian schiller here before she lost her job and yawn williams will sort of deliver a rebuttal so to speak. next up on the order of business i would like to present both our guests with the traditional npr mug so boone -- >> thank you. [applause] >> you're collect ago set so we're grateful for that. and -- >> as this event comes to a close, we are going live now to
the carnegie endowment for international peace this morning for an all-day conference on the recent unrest in the arab world and its regional impact. panels throughout the day will discuss egypt, libya, and yemen and the influence of iran. we'll hear from bruce riedel and former u.s. ambassadors to yemen and saudi arabia. it's hosted by the jamestown foundation and it's just getting underwa underway. >> this is a very interesting time to have this conference and we started planning several months ago and it's been quite fascinating to see the great evolution of what's happened in the arab world -- what began on december 17th last year with the tunisian street vendor unleashing a spark that set off a very contagious revolution throughout the world and we've compared of the revolution of 1848. regardless of that analogy and whether it's true or not, it's certainly a time of great change
in the region. in fact, you don't have to look much further than the recent issue of foreign affairs magazine, which said the cover of the foreign affairs magazine basically says the new arab revolt which starts with -- which starts its series of articles with these questions. what just happened? why no one saw it coming. what it means? and what comes next? so this is really, you know, these type of questions are really why we're here gathered today to try to make sense of it all. it's not -- there's no decisive conclusion to what's happening. but we're delighted to have the insight who spent time studied the region for quite a long time and always at jamestown you will find a conference that will have a lot of diversity and views and issues and opinions. today we'll be examining north africa and the developments in egypt, libya and algeria. in the afternoon discussion we'll be focusing on the developments in the gulf which included iran's reaction to the
developments in the middle east and its impact on domestic and foreign policy as well as its impact on iranian ties to the gulf cooperation council. and last but not least, the last panel of the day will deal with the crisis in yemen which will address different very important questions that's a very important country that has repercussions in the arabian peninsula. as many of you there will be many different personalities and names that we mentioned. i would like to put a plug for the jamestown publication militant leadership monitor. copies of it will be found in each of your folders. we'd encourage you to take out a copy and look at it and if you can, subscribe and also i'd like to thank c-span for its live coverage for today's event. if you -- for those viewing our conference today live, you can learn more information about jamestown at www.jamestown.org and last but not least i want
one further comment that bruce riedel who is here today former general michael v. hayden former director of the cia are two new members on the board. we're delighted to have their participation and involvement with jamestown's activities as activities in the developments of the foundation continue to grow and we hope to have them involved in future conferences. so i'm going to turn the floor over to the moderator for today's discussion who is michael ryan, senior fellow of the jamestown foundation. >> thank you. and good morning, everyone. welcome again. i've learned from sitting where you are right now for years that the most important duty of a moderator is to be modest and not say very much and i'm going to try to do very much because the two gentlemen i have on my left have a lot to say and i want to give them the maximum amount of time to do that. so i'm not going to in my introductions repeat everything that you can find in your package about their background. they both have tremendous background and tremendous authority when they speak about
the topic today. i've followed them for years in my own life, and i continue to do so today. one thing i will mention that isn't in bruce riedel's little write-up here in your folder is his latest book "the deadly embrace: pakistan, american and the future of the global jihad" which i would highly recommend you can get in a kindle edition and other diagnoses. without further ado, bruce, would you like to begin? >>thank you, ron. thank you, mike, for those very kind introductions. i want to thank the jamestown foundation for inviting me. i want to plug the militant
leadership monitor publication. i highly recommend it. one of the best publications for following terrorism available anywhere in the world today. i also want to say it's a great pleasure to be here with gary sick, one of the most foremost experts on the middle east and on american policy in the middle east. and as we think about how to deal with the winter of arab discontent and the spring of arab revolutions is seminal works on the iranian revolution and americans' response to it are well worth taking another look at. we have seen remarkable events in the last 100 days in the arab world. first in tunisia, then in egypt, now libya, yemen, bahrain, syria and i could go on and on. there is a full day's worth of discussions here. i'm going to focus, though, on the impact of egypt, on events
in egypt and on what they mean for american foreign policy. i should begin by saying a word about the title. stability is, of course, is the "s" word to egyptian revolutionaries. stability has been the code word for repression, for dictatorship for the last 30 years in egypt. they are quite right in saying that. but we also have an interest in trying to see how the change will impact on stability. so with apologies to the egyptian revolutionaries, i think we should proceed forward. there are many ways to explain what is happening in the arab world today. one is, of course, demography. its enormous youth bulge, demanding jobs, demanding more than jobs. demanding the opportunity for a lifetime.
the slogans in tahir jobs, we want jobs, we want to get married. very poignant about how prospects in enjoying life in egypt have become so dim for so many. 60% of the arab world is under the age of 30. the median age is 26. but it's not just demographics and it's not just about jobs. i think the revolt in the arab world is even more about something more fundamental. it's a revolt against the police state system, which has dominated arab politics for a half century if not more. the state to use its arabic name, ruled every arab country from morocco to amman. some with a gentler hand than others but all with the state. it is a state within a state.
a state in which the inner state is accountable to only one person, to one man, the boss, whether it was a king, a prime minister, a monarch or whatever gadhafi chose to call himself at the moment. the system was beyond the rule of law, totally unaccountable. anyone could be arrested, imprisoned. missing, killed without any redress. this system had grown over the years to massive size. the minister applies 1.5 million people of employees in a country of 80 million people and that's not counting the millions of informants working for the police state. in syria, there are at least 6
secret polices, all of them spying on each other as well as spying on the syrian people. various arab countries built elaborate guards to go with their mukhabarat states. the guard that guarded against each other in order to keep the rise in power. the development of the mukhabarat state and the military dispute was an early destroyer. and it led to the creation of the guards and to the creation of police states. the cold war was a further driver. inter-arab politics became a driver. and 9/11 became an enormous driver for the increase in the size of the mukhabarat states. and the united states, after 9/11 was an enthusiastic supporter of the rise and development and enrichment and deepening of the mukhabarat
state, ironically exactly at the same moment that we began talking about democracy in the middle east. some of the mukhabarat states are what they call hard mukhabarat states. saddam's iraq, syria, gadhafi's libya, some are soft mukhabarat states, king abdullah's jordan, the gulf states. but they all share the same feature of unaccountability. now the arabs collectively are demanding their freedom. the end of the mukhabarat state system. they want the rule of law. they want accountability. and egypt is very much in the forefront of this. egypt will be the leader as it has always been in the arab world. that is more true today than ever. if the revolution had stopped in tunis in january, we wouldn't be here. it was the egyptian revolution
that led to the spring of arab revolutions. the drama of tahir square, a televised revolution that you could watch around the world was one of the reasons giving egypt its special prominence today. but much more fundamental is egypt's role as the critical arab state. it is at the geographic center of the arab world and it has been at the cultural center of the arab world. and the university has been the religious and cultural center arab world for years. it's demographic weight in the world gives it more prominence of the world. for 30 years its prominence was ceded of the mubarak government. to take egypt off the center stage, that, i think, is coming to an end as well. and, of course, egypt is
important for another reason. it is at the very center of the global islamic jihad. egypt has produced many of the key ideological figures of the global islamic jihad. today egypt's revolution confronts numerous challenges. before we look at those challenges, though, it's worth pausing for a minute just to think about the last 100 days. with less than 1,000 people killed, egypt has been transformed from a country with a dictatorship of 30 years to a country where the dictator is now under hospital arrest and his sons are under formal arrest. if someone had stood at this platform, january 1st of 2011, and told you that would be the case by april, 2011, you would
have thought he was from mars. he would have been from mars. but that is what egypt has already accomplished. so as we look at the challenges ahead, we should not diminish the extent of what the egyptian people have already done. i think they face three or four major challenges ahead. challenge number one is to manage the transition to new political institutions and to new political process. they have to build an entirely new political culture, something which they have very little familiarity with. to help do this, though, egypt is also in a unique position because it's had a revolution this year and it's also had a military coup at the same time. one way to think about it is that one foot in egypt is on the gas and the other foot is on the
brake. and this shows in egypt's political development now -- we see a certain herky jerky movement. that -- while disparaging and discomforting to a certain extent, is also good for the long term because there's ballast in this system as well as momentum to change. it's clearly an uneasy partnership. the army is not enthusiastic about being the instrument of change. field marshall must be the most surprised person in the entire world. think of where he was in january and think where he is today and think of where he is taking his country. but to give him credit, so far, he seems to be doing a fairly decent job. so far compared to other revolutions egypt is surprisingly smooth. it's bumpy, there's no question. there's a lot of suspicion. there's a lot of dissent. there's some disorder but on the
whole i would argue this is a surprisingly smooth transition so far. egypt is on track to hold elections this fall. some think it's too soon. the egyptian people have had their voice heard. they want it. egypt is also deep into the process of dismantlingly the mukhabarat state. ripping apart police headquarters, searching through documents, arresting former members of the mukhabarat state. even omar suleiman, egypt's spymaster for the last 25 years is now being questioned by egyptian courts. it's a remarkable effort at trying to change the system. now, in the near term, this is obviously good news for bad people. tearing down prisons, letting prisoners go, dismantling the
security apparatus is a boon for al-qaeda and others. arresting field counter terrorists like omar suleiman is a boon for al-qaeda. it's no wonder al-qaeda's ideologues wrote that he has, quote, great expectations for the future. but i think one shouldn't be overwhelmed by focusing on the immediate. yes, this is a setback for counterterrorism. yes, this is an opportunity for al-qaeda to meddle but in the long run, and obviously not too far off, developing a security force that is responsible, that is accountable and which obeys the rules and laws of the country is a long-term threat to al-qaeda and i'll come back to that in a minute. the second challenge egypt faces
is managing the inclusion of islamists in the political process. egypt has the oldest and best organized islamist party in the arab world, the muslim brotherhood. many are fearful of what the muslim brotherhood intends to do in the future. some have suggested the muslim brotherhood is playing a very careful game of not really contesting the first election in order to secure the last election, the second time around. that may be the case. but i think it's far from clear that that is the case. the egyptian muslim brotherhood i would argue to you is a much smarter political party than that. it is one of the smartest political parties in the islamic order. it is careful to not overreach. it is careful to signal it does not intend to overreach. it has been careful to work with
the army behind the scenes. it is despised by al-qaeda for all these reasons. al-qaeda is terrified at the prospect the muslim brotherhood could play an effective and central role in governing egypt. the muslim brotherhood itself is not monolithic. it's clear divisions between young and old are beginning to rise. its successful conclusion in egyptian politics in a nonviolent way offers remarkable hope for the future of the arab world. the third challenge egypt face is, of course, the revival of its economy and expansion of its economy. i am not an economist. and i don't pretend to be able to understand how egypt's economy can expand dramatically. there are innumerable challenges facing the egyptian leadership
today. trying to get jobs for all those who wants them will be a herculean task. the near-term task is much simpler. trying to get torque back. 1 out of 7 jobs in egypt is in the tourism market. and tourism market today is shattered. one of the reasons it's shattered is the united states travel warning. when united states says don't travel somewhere, most people don't pay a lot of attention. insurance agents pay a lot of attention. they don't want to be caught in that situation. we need to early on revoke travel warning on egypt and encourage the return of tourism. egypt's problems couldn't come at a worst time. there's a lot of loose talk about a marshal plan for egypt and the arab world. well, i got bad news for you. we're black -- broke.
there are no marshall plan. there is one with you there isn't going to be any dollars behind it. united states and arab is in the midst of a global fiscal downturn. the tea party is not going to endorse spending billions in egypt. the challenge, therefore, is going to have to be in the realm of trade, not aid. and that challenge more than anything else will have to be done in europe not any place else. europeans need to see the trade enhancement with egypt and the rest of north africa as the area where they can really do the most to help. the fourth challenge egypt faces its difficult foreign policy environment. first, look at egypt's arab neighbors, libya, sudan and
palestine. all three are broken states right now. libya is in the midst of a civil war with foreign intervention. halfhearted foreign intervention. this civil war currently looks like it could go on for the indefinite future. sudan is a country literally breaking apart. after trying to be held together over the last 100 years, egypt, of course, was one of the most prominent supporters of the unified sudan. now it sees that dream is gone. and palestine is also divided. we wanted the two-state solution. we ended up with a three-state solution, hamas, gaza, fatah and the west bank and israel, of course. egypt now has on one border to the west a rebellion about which many of us know very little. and on the other side, a
jihadist mini state in gaza. egypt sympathies are clearly with gaza. second, egypt also confronts the problem of revolutions. egypt's old friends are changing dramatically. egypt's old enemies may be changing as well. third, of course, egypt has to deal with a very nervous east partner. a senior israeli diplomat said to me just a few weeks ago, we liked being the only democracy in the middle east. we understood where everyone else played. we could predict what mubarak's egypt would do. we can't predict what egypt is going to do today. israel is fearful of the unknown, fearful of unpredictability. it already faces tense situations with hamas and hezbollah.
the prospects of another war in the middle east this summer are always there. and now israel faces the prospect that palestine will be admitted to the united nations this september. and many israelis predict, i think, wrongly -- many israelis predict a third fa-at that tima will come from that. a challenging agenda but israel is clearly preoccupied primarily with its own domestic problems. the best case outcome is not impossible by any means. i think there is a reasonable possibility egypt will produce a new elected government this fall. my bet is egyptians will choose musa to be their new president. what passes for polling in egypt tends to support that argument. i think the muslim brotherhood will play by the rules, will be
part of the system. i think the army will with some enthusiasm give up the reins of power while it continues to hold on to many of its perks. we will begin the transition to the post-mukhabarat state. it will be enormously difficult. changing culture and ethos of a security system is very, very, very hard to do. it won't happen overnight but i think there is reason for confidence that it will happen. even in this best case scenario, of course, there will be difficulties, there will be bumps. if i'm right, and moussa wins, we may have the spectacle of his inauguration being played with the pop single, i love moussa and i hate israel.
it will make managing the ties even harder. an awful lot can go wrong. i'd be the first to admit that. revolutions tend to devour their own, bonapartism is always a danger. another war with israel between hamas and hezbollah could make the situation very difficult. there is, of course, the potential that al-qaeda and other jihadist extremists will try to play in these troubled waters. but there's also much potential for good here. a more vigorous egypt than mubarak's could assist in moving forward a real middle eastern peace process that could help stabilize libya. that could help resolve the problem of gaza. it would be an example of reform and change working in the arab and islamic world. above all, it would be a symbol that twitter, not terror, is the
way to transform the arab world. twitter, not terror transformed tahir square and that is extremely bad news for osama bin laden and al-qaeda. the challenge for the united states and egypt is to keep calm. don't overreact to change. don't overreact to the unpredictable. but do it with a low american footprint. we don't need to have hundreds of thousands of -- hundreds or thousands of american aid workers suddenly depending on egypt. we don't need to hijack this revolution. we need to support it and help it. of course, the one thing we could do more than any other to help egypt's new government is
to move forward on the middle east peace process ourselves. secretary of state clinton promised such a move at the last brookings u.s.-islamic world forum just a week ago. i hope the administration will live up to that. arab moderates have for years asked us to do more on this front as the single thing that we could do to help them more than any other. if you don't believe me, read king abdullah's new book "the last best chance for peace." let me just take two or three minutes to talk about one other revolution and that's the one that's brewing now in syria. syria may not be the hardest of the hard mukhabarat states but it's certainly pretty close. and change in syria, i think, is now beyond the tipping point. the demonstrations in homes this week demonstrate that the sunni
center of the country is now demanding fundamental change. there is talk of political compromise. i don't see how you can have political compromise with the mukhabarat state in syria. it is all-or-nothing. it is also a very, very brittle regime at the end of the day. because it's a regime that fundamentally depends on the support of about 13% of the population. and a few other supporters. it is a regime that has worked because it instills fears like any other mukhabarat instill fear. we all know that when it did that in hamma in 1982. once that fear is broken, as it seems to be breaking now, fractures in syrian society are likely to come to the top. this will have enormous effects
upon all of the levat, libya, iraq, turkey, and jordan. the biggest loser, if syria dissolves into full scale civil war is iran and hezbollah. the second biggest loser is everyone else as we try to manage what happens there. but let's not cry for the asats. they deeply deserve to be sent to the home for retired dictators. the sooner the better. if egypt is the revolution will show how reform can succeed in a peaceful way, i'm fearful that syria is the revolution that will show even more than libya how it can be done with violence. but at the end of the day, the spring of arab revolutions is not something controlled in washington, not even on massachusetts avenue. it's going to be dealt by the
arab peoples who have now decided it is time for the end of the mukhabarat state. thank you very much. [applause] >> i'd like to hold the questions until both speakers have finished and we'll have a free for all at that point. without any further ado, i would like to go to our speakers and you'll be speaking from your place so gary sick, please. >> i'm too old to stand up that long. [laughter] >> i was very interested to hear bruce's talk. and i'm glad that he's an optimist. i basically am too. but with some caveats and i think he had many caveats of his own. i've, you know, watched some revolutions take place, even very closely watched some of
them take place. and, you know, revolutions -- well, as one of my old colleagues have said, revolutions revolve 360 degrees. and that is, in fact, i think, what we're going to see in some of these cases. and certainly what happened in the iranian revolution which set out to get rid of the shah and has now created a new one. and is behaving almost exactly the same way that the shah's government did after all of this time. the events starting early this year, starting in december, really are unique. and, of course, they were way overdue in the arab world. i mean, there should have been changes going on for years but there weren't. and as a result when the dam broke, it really broke and now we're seeing a flood of activity that is really bewildering. i think to find any kind of a
parallel to the events that are going on right now, you certainly -- i would go back, for instance, to 1967 and the six-day war, which if you recall, actually the six-day war humiliated the arab leaders. israel won very quickly and very decisively. it also not humiliated but invalidated the whole idea of arab nationalism which had been the retailing cry and all of a sudden, it was seen that these arab nationalists and these leaders like nasr were incapable of defending their own people, defending their own land. and most of them got kicked out. in fact, if you go back and look, most of these dictators who are present in the middle east or were present in the
middle east until very recently actually followed along after the six-day war. they all came in at a different time after the war was over; got rid of the previous rulers and they stayed and stayed and stayed. the other thing that happened, of course, was that with arab nationalism gone, as a rallying cry, what do you look to? well, you look to islam. and the islamic, you know, movement, the islamic renaissance really began during that time, too. and that is, you know -- so it basically islamism replaced secularism. and arab nationalism which were perceived to have failed. the dictators that came and stayed for that long period of time are now sort of dropping one after the other. and i don't think we're at all clear as to what is going to take its place. what the reaction is, but just
as we might not have predicted that the six-day war would lead to the rise of the mukhabarat state in a form that it had ever been before and the rise to islamism i think we are not very good or we have no reason -- we should be very modest about our predictions about where things go from here. another place, of course, that you could look back to if you wanted to see the tectonic plates moving -- shifting in the middle east is basically back to 1916 and all the borders that were there. actually, in both of these cases if you look back in 1916 and the advent of the colonial period and then look at 1967 and the transfer -- or the shift in power that went on at that time, i guess the key thing is that neither of these worked out all that well. and that we should be aware of the fact that just because
something is changing doesn't necessarily mean that it's going to improve. but as i say, i do come down on the side that bruce took which is basically that we have a real prospects here of something that is different than it has been before. that could be very positive. and that's worth working for. in looking at this mess, basically, looking at a set of circumstances of chaotic situation in which we really can't tell what happens next or where it's going to go, it sometimes is helpful to keep your eye on sort of fundamentals. what can we look at? what kinds of things can we expect to see? what are some of the -- either the assumptions or the like likelihoods that we face, since everybody loves list, i made a list of the things we ought to
watch out for or keep our eye on along the way. i, however, am short in imagination so you're always supposed to have a 10-point list, you know, starting with no. 10 and down to number one which is the most important of the bunch. i only came up with 9. and so i apologize for that, but i figured in a crowd as smart and with this much background maybe somebody can suggest to me which one i'm overlooked and add to that and i could have a 10-point list like everybody else. so i'm going to give you my 9-point list and nothing else will tend to give you something else to think about and plenty of targets to shoot at if you want to shoot back. number 9, we have to start from the top and work down, and one that we don't talk about right now but which i think is actually worth keeping your eye
on, and that is the iraqi oil situation. that basically iraq has the prospect of actually doubling its production by the end of this decade. it's almost certainly going to pass iran as the second largest oil producer in opec. and according to what we're reading, if you can believe it from the geologists and others, iraq has unexplored resources in the oil reserves that are on the neighborhood of saudi arabia. i mean, really massive. and those haven't really been tapped. and the reason they haven't been tapped is because saddam was busy carrying out wars and there were other -- and they were -- and kept iraq under sanctions almost indefinitely. and they couldn't do the exploration. they couldn't do the drilling. they couldn't do all the things that were necessary to develop those fields.
if, in fact, the present government is able to maintain enough stability to actually carry out all of those tasks, iraq could become a bigger player than it has been in a very, very long time. this is not going to happen overnight. iraq isn't going to turn into a 10 million barrel a day producer by -- you know, in 10 years or anything like that. but it might in time. and it might turn into a, you know, 4, 4.5 million barrel a day producer by the end of this decade. and that's not bad given where things are and given the fact that it's one of the few places in the world where massive oil reserves still exist that are unexplored. that it seems to me is going to make iraq a very interesting country to watch in the near future. there's all the political side that goes with that, too and that, i think, is important to
watch. but they're going to have negotiating leverage that not every country has. and that will give them resources to do things if they can work out their -- it will give them an incentive to work out some of their internal problems so that they can proceed to develop what could be really the golden goose. okay, this is slow but it's important. item 8, i agree completely with bruce that islamism and particularly osama bin laden took a huge hit in this current set of events. no matter how hard you look on al-jazeera english which i hope one of these cable companies will pick up hopefully in new york. there's place you can watch them on computer and i would much rather watch it on the television set if that were
available, but one of the things that was true of that and i think many of us even given the fact that they didn't have a cable channel of their own spent a lot of time watching it. i think there is one -- you can watch it here in washington, can't you? which is you're privileged in a way. but the one thing that you didn't see on those videos coming out of those different places are people carrying signs saying "islam is the solution" or "hooray for osama bin laden." that was completely absent. no hint of that whatsoever. truly there are islamist parties. there's a major one in turkey and there's a major one in egypt. and they're going to try to make a comeback. clearly they're going to try to play. i would argue that in the past, much of the success of the islamist parties was due to the
fact that they owned a certain amount of political space, i.e., the mosque that wasn't available to anybody else. there was no political space for anybody else to operate in these states that were police fund. so the islamists had the place to themselves because they had a space that they more or less controlled and they could use that to actually organize and think about politics and the like. something that wasn't available. so they actually thrived on some respects on a repressive environment. the harder you made it for everybody else, the more advantage they had to some degree. and you don't want to overestimate that but it was necessarily true. if these revolutions go anything like what they appear to be doing and that is to open up a lot of political space that other people can come in, the
islamists have a bit of a head start. they've been there a little bit earlier. they've been organizing and so forth. but the other parties are going to catch up. i've joked that the -- what we need in a situation like this in states that have been repressed for a very, very long time where no politics was permitted at all is you needed freeze-dried politicians. [inaudible] >> i hit the wrong key. you need freeze-dried politicians and freeze-dried political parties that you could just sprinkle a little water on them, and boom, they pop up and could begin functioning as normal. that doesn't happen as normal. politics, parties develop over time and that has not been permitted. i do think, however, they'll make up for lost time very quickly. and the islamist parties, like the muslim brotherhood, if they do even -- whether they like it
or not, they'll probably at least at the beginning have to play by the rules. and those rules are not as helpful to them as the past was. that they could -- they could be the only game in town. in effect, if you wanted to be against the regime, that is where you had to go. so at least these parties will now have to compete on a more level playing field and i think that's something that they probably are just beginning to realize what that really means as far as their activities are concerned. item 7, syria and iran. bruce talked about this and i think he was absolutely right, again, it's really interesting to note that iran has trumpeted, you know, all of the uprisings and all of the countries of the middle east, all of one arab leader after another, enemies in
many cases of iran, the iranian media is not permitted to say a word about what's going on in syria. they're not only not trumpeting it but they don't want you to know about it, and they really don't want to think about it because this is in a way and i don't think we have to tell this crowd why that's important. syria and iran have been allied for a period of time after the iranian revolution and syria is the channel by which iran maintains contact with hezbollah and lebanon as well as the group inside syria itself. and the various -- the various groups like islamic jihad and others who that -- that's where they go to meet is in damascus. if damascus, no matter what
has not been the winner in this process. and that's my point 6 is that iran really despite its claims has been the big loser in the arab spring. again, if you look at the signs, iran didn't play a role in any of these. nobody was waving signs saying we want to be like iran. we want to have mahmoud ahmadinejad as our leader. that we like their economic system. that we think it's the way to run a government, really, no sign of it. and, you know, iran can stand up and make all the statements that it likes about the fact that these are all modeled after the iranian revolution, but there was no sign of it in actuality. and iran was not a model for any of them. moreover, these uprisings really provided a reverse model for iran, and i think have actually inspired the green movement in
iran which was certainly declining more rapidly and has given them new heart. that doesn't mean they're suddenly going to kick out the ayatollahs and take over, but i think they've seen that they shouldn't give up too easily because, in fact, things can happen that they didn't dream about and i think that's important and also iran right now is probably more divided than i have ever seen it since the revolution. fighting is going on internally. this most recent situation where the mahmoud ahmadinejad, the president basically fired the minister of intelligence and then the supreme leader says, no, no he has to stay in his job and he couldn't make up his mind and he finally went back and it turned out if you look carefully at what was being said, mahmoud
ahmadinejad wasn't talking about the ministry of intelligence. he was talking about the intelligence organization. he was actually getting ready to start his own intelligence organization under the presidency rather than having it being dominated by the supreme leader and the revolutionary guards. that rivalry pretty much out in the open is pretty new. we have not seen a lot of that and we're seeing more and more of it all the time. i have really serious problem with mahmoud ahmadinejad. i really, you know, publicly announced -- you know, he comes and gives this dog and pony show every year at the u.n. and a bunch of academics like me get invited to go and have dinner with him and sit around and talk. and last year i said, enough. i've been to three or four of these and the performance has been pretty bad and as much as i
appreciate the good iranian food, i really was not -- i was not going to go back the next time. and needless to say, i haven't had an invitation since that time. and a lot of this had to do with the crackdown after 2009 and the election and the way he behaved and so forth. but that being said, the guy is fascinating in his own way. the kind of politics he's playing of getting ready of the subsidies in iran -- that was a really gutsy move. and nobody in the past -- anybody else who tried it got their hands burned very, very quickly. and thus far he has succeeded where everybody else failed. he tried to start his own foreign ministry. he got slapped down and he did it on the side and he's got his own advisors. he's creating a separate government. and -- or trying to create a separate government. and the guy just won't quit.
he just keeps at it all the time. and his good buddy mashied he's obviously grooming for something and i'm not sure what it is, is playing a bigger role. and these guys are -- they're not intimidated easily. and they won't back down. and so it's fascinating to watch. so iran has this fractured environment in which things are going on, which again i wouldn't have predicted either. so i think in the next few years, it's very possible that we'll see some really significant political changes, but i have no idea what those are going to be. but it's hard to imagine this system with a lousy economy and all of these fractures that run all the way through it will continue to exist just as it is in this continuing state. we'll have to wait and see. the revolts in the rest of the middle east have not made it easier for them to do what they
were doing before. item 5 is egypt. and again, i have no qualms, in fact, i agree with bruce and his analysis. the key thing to me is egypt had been in the past a regional leader. it was an agenda-setter. it was the country that actually was responsible for determining the direction and the speed of politics in the region. and in the last -- at least the last decade and a half, that just hasn't been true. i mean, mubarak was sort of a walking corpse and he was really only interested in maintaining his own power. he wasn't doing anything imaginative. egypt just didn't exist in the foreign policy realm. i suspect that they're going to exist now. i'm not sure what they are going to be saying but it's probably -- well, it's not going to be the same thing that we've
taken for granted. the u.s. and israel in particular have taken for granted over the years. any egyptian government going to take the kind of pressure and opposition that it takes to maintain that wall on the southern end of gaza to prevent people from coming in. is the egyptian government really ready to do that, to cooperate with israel on, to keep gaza. without talking about, you know, giving up egypt's -- the -- you know, the things that egypt agreed to do, its commitments to the peace process -- even without -- even if they accept those completely, and i think they're very likely to accept those and continue those, there are going to be certain policies that you just won't be able to take for granted now and i think israel and the united states has been taking israel for granted for a very long time and we're not going to have them to take
for granted. if, in fact, egypt does emerge again and begins playing a major role in the middle east, we're going to have that old triangle of the three ancient states, egypt, turkey and iran sort of defining the outlines of the middle east, and that's a fascinating thing. and that doesn't mean that they'll all get along with each other or that they will form a phalanx or axis but i really do think it's possible that those three countries will be, in fact, the agenda-setters for the future and then there is the wildcard of iraq as i mentioned earlier because of its, you know, potential growth in power but that will be slower in coming along. my fourth point relates to saudi arabia. in a way the saudis have adopted in the course of this series of events an entirely new policy,
at least for them, as a sort of serial interventionist. they are now suddenly intervening everywhere. they intervened in yemen and now they've sent troops over to bahrain and they may go back into yemen again. and they're being very much -- their elbows are much sharper than they used to be and we're not accustomed to see the saudis behave that way and they have taken the gulf cooperation council into a kind of monarchial protection shoat it reminds me very much of the brezhnev doctrine for those of you who are old enough to remember. basically any country -- any country that adopted socialism was not prepared to go backwards. once you got there, you couldn't return to a different shape or form. in a way, the dcc is doing the same thing. or saudi arabia is trying to enforce the same thing that any
monarch -- any sunni monarch that exists in the gulf is not permitted to revert to any other form. and as a result, saudi arabia, i think, is trying to define the gulf as a safe place for monarchs and despots to some degree. and it's interesting to see saudi arabia playing that game openly. and i'll get to the point of why i think that's going on. but my third point and i'm supposedly increasing in the importance of these as they go along but anybody could argue about any of these. united states, today the united states -- you know, when i was a young naval officer, which i was once upon a time, my first real tour was in the persian gulf. and in bahrain. and at the time that i was there, the u.s. military had two destroyers that occasionally came in and out of the region.
and we had a flagship that couldn't fight its way out of a paper bag with a -- with an admiral who rode it around and we made port stop to remind people that there was a united states of america and don't forget that we actually exist. that's changed a bit. and today we have the largest military footprint of any country in the region. we are dominant in their economy and their diplomacy and everything that's going on. and we have a string, if nothing else, just look at the string of bases. we have, i think, 30 or more bases up and down the gulf starting in iraq and running down. some of them really enormous. i don't know how many of you have been to alludade but this is right outside of doha and nobody wants to talk about it and they try to keep it quiet but my god it's the biggest air base i've ever seen.
it's really miles and miles of airplanes parked and actually fighting two wars from there. my question is, on things to watch, we have very carefully -- nobody has asked how much that's costing us. and what's it buying for us? and that's -- that's been a subject that has been taboo sort of in washington. you just don't ask that question. i think that's not going to be taboo in the near future as the two wars wind down and i think they will one way or the other, iraq and afghanistan, we're going to have to ask what -- do we really need all of those facilities that we have now? in the indefinite future and are we prepared to pay for them and maintain and also the political costs that goes with it. i think for any of us who are thinking somewhat longer term, it is not a good idea to start
with the assumption that the u.s. presence never changes. i think we're likely to see some changes and i think those changes are likely to be headed down rather than up. how much security do you actually need to make sure that these oil-rich monarchs keep selling their oil? not very much actually. i remember the iran/iraq war when there was actually a tanker war going on. people were shooting at the tankers going through. what happened? we had a glut of oil. the price of oil was low. the insurance rates went up and it didn't make a bit of difference and people just came and kept taking the oil. well, it doesn't look so bad in retrospect and it does mean that that market is pretty robust. it is not going to just fade and go away because somebody, you know, sneezes. so i think that this is something that people are going to start thinking about. my number two point and one that
i will not talk about is israel-palestine. i think it's going through a transformation and i already made the point that i think that israel and the u.s. are no longer going to be able to pay -- just make certain assumptions or take certain things for granted. i think we don't realize how many things we've taken for granted from a political point of view in that part of the world and we've just assumed that will just go on forever. and it's not going to go on forever and we don't know necessarily where it's going to go but our diplomacy and our ability to think about this is going to be challenged in the very near future starting now and going on for really the indefinite future. this is not something that will be over in the next six months. the changes that are going on are going to be with us for a very long time and at the end of that, at the end of it in the sense of a short period or a long period, the assumptions are
going to be very different than they used to be in the past. my final point, number one, is that the sectarian card is being played. .. >> basically the saudis have indicated quite clearly that if you just scratch any shia a little bit, define and iranian sitting there underneath waiting. there it is. and so basically, she means iran means subversion. so anything that is shia is
unacceptable. you know, there's not really much evidence that the iranians had much to do even with the business, let alone any of the other things that have gone on in the world. but if we are, if we decide to look out all of these events, and certainly the events in the gulf through a purely sectarian lens, we're going to come out in a different place. and it's not so much that our intelligence leads us to say that's when it came from, but let's face it. if we are all accusing iran and doing all these terrible things, they may decide if they're being accused of it anyway they might as well go ahead and do it. i think at the possibly of a self-fulfilling prophecy here is that when we might not want to see. also, since it is so useful to have a universal enemy, you organize your foreign policy and security policy around one enemy, iran makes really this,
it's terrific for the. so the sectarian card plays out that way into the sense that we can explain everything by what iran does, and if we are just tough on iran will take care of all of our other problems, that's wrong. but it's a very seductive idea because it is simple, straightforward, and has a lot of political support in this country and elsewhere and with some of our friends and allies. i think i've got other things i get a, particularly on the sectarian side because i think this really is one of the big problems that we do have to face, but i think i've used up my time so i'll stop there and see if anything comes up in the discussion period. [applause] >> actually, i think we could listen to you for a long time and be quite happy with it. it's fascinating. i want to thank our two panels. i want to open it up for
questions. there's enough food for thought for a year, or two in these two presentations. i'd like to ask the first question of both panelists, and that is something in the spirit i think of gary six-point that things just don't stay the same your assumptions change. and one of the things that we've kind of grown to respect, to understand i guess is china and their activity in the middle east. but could both of you say a word about how you see china moving as it gets more muscular in terms of its military and it continues to need the resources of the region, and it will need even more, and that if you talked to any egyptians they're concerned about agricultural projects in sudan. they're concerned about this, concerned about that. but i suppose just in the sake
of order, either of you can go first, but bruce, you spoke first, can you address it? >> i'm afraid i'm not a china expert. what i know about china is mostly about ordering on the menu. [laughter] what i would say is simply this, the counterrevolutionaries whom kerry has i think correctly identified as the saudis have already made it clear that they are looking towards china. the prince, the famous saudi ambassador to the u.s. literally seems to fallen off the face of the globe for much of the last two or three years, reappeared last month going to beijing and to islamabad looking for support. in beijing he wasn't offering
sweetheart financial deals and investment deals in the kingdom. and looking for chinese political support for the brezhnev doctrine as transfixed so nightly put it, that saudi arabia intends to impose on the gulf. and pakistan he was looking basically for mercenaries to be used to suppress revolution in the arabian peninsula. and i think he was able to find that those would be available for the right price. plus 10% off the top. for the president of pakistan. [inaudible] >> so if prince bandar's travels are any indication that the chinese will be a player, they were probably be a player on the side of the counterrevolutionaries. but i think the chinese also have the same fundamental policy dilemma that the united states has, and that is we want to play
both sides of the revolution in the middle east and in the arab world. we want to be on the side of history when it succeeds in egypt, because egypt is very important. but we also need to be on the side of the counterrevolution because, after all, we do want to fill up our tanks and go home after this event today, and we know we need the saudis. this means american foreign policy, and i would suggest chinese foreign policy and european foreign policy, has to play an inconsistent game. many would say american foreign policy is good in playing an inconsistent game, but that's usually unintentionally. [laughter] it's a lot harder to do it intentionally, and i think for the problem the obama administration has right now, i'm sympathetic to this problem come is it knows it has to play both sides of the game here. and it knows that's a very difficult policy to articulate,
because it looks like your inconsistent and it looks like you are not putting your values ahead of your interests. but that's precisely what we, and i suspect every other player, will have to do. >> also not a china expert. let me make one quick comparison. i mentioned what the u.s. footprint looked like in the gulf, back as late as the mid '70s. i guess not much. we really had almost nothing there. during that period of time we were free riding on the british. they were in charge. they were doing the politics. they were doing the security work, and we were riding along on the back and we were quite comfortable with it. when i was on that flag ship sailing around the persian gulf, we came into our home port in bahrain and tied up to a doctor owned by the british. we were there guests during the time we were there.
i would argue -- and we really had no desire -- we had a really good deal, and we had no great desire to go in and do all of this ourselves. that was forced on us. the iranian revolution in particular made us do that but we did everything we could. after the revolution and we lost, you know, the shah of the persian gulf, we looked around for ways to solve that problem and came up with twin pillar policy which is basically to let iran and saudi arabia to the placing for us so we didn't have to go do it are so. we did everything we could to avoid getting involved in that process here but in the end we couldn't do it. at some point it came along and they wanted us to come income and we did with a vengeance. so this is all fairly new. i would say that the chinese are in very much the same situation
right now, that they are free riders. they enjoy the fact that we provide security for their lines of commute nation. what's not to like about that? and do they want to come in and compete with his head for head in the persian gulf? i find it very hard to believe that they are -- even if given the opportunity, they would want to do that. so basically circumstances may force him into those situations, but i don't think they are out looking for blood and will have to worry about them come in and taking our jobs away from us. >> open up for questions. [inaudible] much of the oil that you're speaking about in iraq is in the north, particularly in the near term. and i don't see the kurds who are actually the ones at the moment controlling how it's
being accessed, have any intention of sharing it with a full government in iraq, not to mention what else is happening in turkey and iran. so that's at least a candidate. i think it's a good candidate actually. >> and has things to watch, iraq all into one bag, but obviously that's probably not fair to do that. there's more to it than that. let me just say a word about how iraq and iran got to the point that they are in right now. some of you will remember 9/11, and what happened afterwards. the united states went directly into afghanistan and scattered the taliban, removing iran's worst enemy to the east. and then before that was over we turned around and marched up the valley to baghdad and got rid of
iran's worst enemy to the less, saddam hussein. they we presided over the installation of a shia government which had not, there have not been any such thing literally for centuries in baghdad. and then we discovered that iran was more powerful than they were before. and this was a gift from us, and i that iranians say we really appreciate, we're not quite sure why you did this, but anyway, we are glad. we do appreciate what you did for us. and believe me, there is a part of the middle east, and particularly in the gulf, and one of our problems right now with the saudis is that, well, i want to ask a very senior american official, he was ranting about how iran was up to all these terrible things and how their power was going and they were in, you know, inserting themselves elsewhere. and i said fine, i agree with you but i said, didn't we have something to do with that? that created a set of
circumstances. and he stopped for a second and said well, we didn't mean to. [laughter] >> yeah, right. and that's very likely true. but the saudis don't believe it. they do not think that this was just a fit of absentmindedness on our part. they have always suspected that we're going to go back and do a deal with iran the way we did with the shah. and they're very suspicious about that whole process. so we have created this set of circumstances, and that, of course, is what complicates if you talk about the goodies situation, that complicates things very much because you've got another player that is involved in the process. and i personally, we were on this wonderful trip a few years, a year and half ago i guess, two years ago, when we had a chance to talk to the iraqi ayatollahs and discovered that they were not to be enthusiastic about iran. and these were shia leaders,
religious leaders and their who really didn't want anything to do with that form of government, or anything like it. which left me feeling that the iranians will exercise some influence in iraq, but it's not going to be a calling and they are not going to take it over. and particularly if we are right about the fact that iraq begins to develop much larger oil resources than, say, iran has. i think iran has got its work cut out for to keep up with that. they will find it difficult to deal with iraq during that period. they would have something to say in terms of, or maybe even make the situation worse because their relations with the kurds are good. it's a political conundrum, but i agree, that's an interesting point. >> next down the aisle. >> quick question regarding the
next few years. if syria, egypt and other countries in the middle east do begin to transition to stable political sort of democracies, what are the implications for saudi arabia, in terms of will it be vulnerable to the long-term political effects of the arab spring? and then what are the implications of u.s. foreign policy moving forward over the next five to 10 years? >> well, we're going to have a problem. first of all, your original assumption or a surgeon that -- assertion that he's turned into democracy on the way may or may not be the case. in fact, we know that things could go very wrong and that things can happen that you didn't anticipate. so, you know, a friend of mine
said the other day, you know, be careful that the ever spring doesn't turn into an airport or. i think that's something worth really keeping in mind. but if, in fact, democracy is the new guide word in the arab world as it has been accepted not because we impose it on them but because they come to the idea themselves in the sense of finding more political space, more openness. indeed, i think if you look at the we saudi arabia is behaving right now, a lot of it is just sheer peak. they are really angry that their old buddy, mubarak, is gone. we didn't go in and rescue him. it isn't quite clear how we would have rescued him, but they think we should at least pay the higher price along the way before he collapsed. and you've got the situation in bahrain and the situation in syria, that they have certain relations there. so they have a whole set, as
does everybody else, a whole set of new political circumstances to have to contend with. and i don't think they know what they're going to do, and i don't think we know what we are going to do. this is -- it's very difficult. that's what i focused on sort of long-term things, things we really should look at, to think about them after the end of the day when you have gone through this list, what do you aim at? what is your objective at the end of -- what would you like the movies to look like 15 years from now? and then said that as a kind of model or target and then organize your diplomacy and your military and other things to try to facilitate coming to that kind of a conclusion. if anybody has that target defined, even in the own it, please let me know. i really am interested in this,
and i think that this is the kind of thing that we need to think about and it's a kind of think the saudis -- the saudis need to think about but i don't think that any answers. basically they are behaving, they are saying hold back the tide, turn it around, make a go the other way. and in the short term with the kind of money that they have got and the kind of support that they will have from various places, they can probably succeed. but there is going to be a panel i think on saudi this afternoon, which i'm sure can't answer all of these questions better than the two of us up here. >> yes, the lady right here. >> hello, mr. sick. i have a question about the list over there. why do you omit turkey from the list? or do you think it cannot have, like, the impact the regional impact over middle east? are a country, like what you
think about turkey's power? >> i guess it's probably because i'm not a turkey specialist, and i know a little bit about the gulf and although less about the rest of the arab middle east. i know relatively little about turkey. and i see turkey as an outside player, although i did point out that try and go where you have the egypt, turkey, iran could assert itself as a very important factor in the interplay between these three. but it's an extremely good point. and i was personally really disappointed when the obama administration rejected the intermediary help that turkey was offering to us on the whole nuclear thing. i really think that was an error on our part, and it's one that we'll end up paying for. i do think that turkey can play a role, and why don't you go
ahead? >> i agree with all the. i would just add one point. i suspect that when we look back five years from now and try to figure out why this happened in 2011, in addition to the factors of demography and the mukhabarat state, maybe the example of turkey. turkey returned to the middle east in 2009, 2010. most dramatically with the flotilla. and i think that that was a wakeup call for many in the arab world that you could have democracy with islamists in a government, and you could play a role on the world stage, and you could have a thriving, booming economy and islamist country. and i can't prove this, but i have a suspicion that there was a bit of turkey in the going on
in much of the arab world. there is pretty good polling that shows that turkey's leadership was far more popular in the arab world in the last year than any arab leader. and i think that says something about the impact, the turkish example, may have had. we will know better when the dust is settled. that's my suspicion. >> about turkey's leadership, like the indy going on in the middle east, i was in syria in 2010, and everybody was talking about the turkish prime minister, the syrian people and how they love the turkish prime mister. i live in iraq. people in turkish side were talking about our prime minister and the whole construction, 70% of the construction is going on by the turkish firms.
and right now, as far as i know there's disagreement that turkey had initiated between iran, iraq, syria and turkey, that's like totally an opposite way to the agreement. and the new forum wants to be graded with jordan, syria, turkey and iraq again. i think its impact in the middle east, it's impact that wants to have in the middle east should be something to be observed. thank you. >> i think actually you've given me another contender for my point that is missing out of my list. >> more questions? yes.
>> i want to offer a counter narrative and asked for comment on that. sorry. okay. i just want to offer a counter decade and ask for your response on the. both on syria and egypt your many very fine of service of the syrian scene has said that while there are certain sizable protest, and you may be right, we may have reached a tipping point there, there's a sizable portion of the syrian population that while they may hate the regime and see them for the thugs that they are, they feel that the alternative would be chaos and the kind of sectarian and ethnic breakdown that iraq experience, and that is worse than anything they are experiencing under the present regime. this will be a stabilizing factor pushing back against, going over the tipping point. i'm wondering if you'd comment on that. and also, many people feel the situation in egypt is not going well at all. you had said that they seem to be dismantled the security state, but the military is still
very much in control. the process of this so-called transition is lacking tremendously lacking in transparency. security bodies are being dismantled, but didn't seem to be put together under a different name. many people were unhappy that the elections were not postponed to give other parties longer time. there's a sense this thing is not going well at all in egypt, and i'm wondering if you can respond to those sentiments. and then quick question. many people -- [laughter] >> sorry. prospect for tunisia which many think is probably the best, the best hope for process. >> i will take a stab. you know, in the middle east you can almost always see whether the glass is half full or half and he did in it's easy to argue the case is half empty. i really think that's a lack in
perspective. that is looking to close day today. i think if you step back just a little bit and look at the six-month perspective, this is remarkably fast, remarkably nonviolent, remarkably orderly process. as i said, it's a military coup and a revolutionary simultaneously. and that helps to explain part of the herky-jerky nature of this. my take on field marshall tantawi as the military, they don't want to run egypt. they have accepted that there is profound change. they want to protect the equities of the egyptian officer corps, which is understandable, as long as they feel those equities are reasonably protected i think they are prepared to let the process of democratization go forward. now, clearly dismantling the mukhabarat state is not just a matter of opening the prisons. it's a matter of changing the
culture of how the security services work, and that is an enormous challenge. they may not succeed, but they have at least taken it on. on syria you are probably right. there is a huge fear of chaos. i thought i made it clear that i share that fear of chaos. the syrian state is very brittle. he impose order on it in the most ruthless draconian way, and people are happy for the peace that he brought. but i don't think it is a sustainable system. and once the martyrs began to arrive, and they are, it will be harder and harder to turn back the clock to where we were in january. the problem the regime faces now is that there is no way to have
political compromise, because once you begin to interject accountability into the system, then there has to be accountability. and the regime is accountable for mass murder, not once but several times. in egypt you could make the case that hosni mubarak was a relatively light handed dictator. i wouldn't make it to very many egyptians right now. they would get me off the stage. but in comparison, this was a fairly soft mukhabarat state. it's all comparisons. my guess, and it is just a guess, as we passed the tipping point in syria, but we will see. it may be kicked down the road six months, but i think we are past the point of no return for arab revolution reaching to
damascus. >> i will just say one word, and that is i think it's not a dichotomous choice. it's not between liberal democracy on one hand and mukhabarat state on the other. if anything, it seems to me that these revolts, uprisings, are creating new political space. and in many cases that space has not been explored for the last 40 years. and we don't really know what they will do with that, but there will be new players, people that were not accustomed to seeing. for instance, and how we may be there for a while. but new people are going to emerge if they are given space and grooms to do that. and that is, that's unpredictable. and it could go a variety of giveaways. you could go right back to another dictatorship.
that's happened before. or you could not. or you could find something in between weather is more accountability. and i think that's what they're playing with. to me, although it's very, very competent and difficult, and we are not always equipped to deal with it. back to the extent that we can have a role in this process, that should be our role, to try to moderate that process so that the amount of political space is left open as much as possible, to let things take their course, not to close it down. >> i take it we're going to leave tunisia for this afternoon, and i believe we have now come to the end of this panel. i want to thank the audience, thank the speakers. it was great. thank you very much. [applause]
thank you, mike, for those very kind introductions. i want to thank the jamestown foundation for inviting me. i want to plug the militant leadership monitor publication. i highly recommend it. >> one of the best publications for following terrorism available anywhere in the world today. i also want to say it's a great pleasure to be here with gary sick, one of the most foremost experts on the middle east and on american policy in the middle east. and as we think about how to deal with the winter of arab discontent and the spring of arab revolutions, his seminal works on the iran response to it are well worth taking another look at. we have seen remarkable events in the last 100 days in the arab world. first in tunisia and egypt and now yemen, bahrain, yemen and i
could go on and on. there's a full day's worth of discussions here. i'm going to focus, though, on the impact of egypt, on events in egypt and on what they mean for american foreign policy. i should begin by saying a word about the title. stability is, of course, an aneth ma. it's the "s" word to egyptian revolutionaries. stability has been the code word for repression for dictatorship for the last 30 years in egypt. they are quite right in saying that. but we also have an interest in trying to see how the change will impact on stability. so with apologies to the egyptian revolutionaries, i think we should proceed forward. there are many ways to explain what is happening in the arab world today. one is, of course, demography.
the enormous youth bulge, demanding jobs, demanding more than jobs, demanding the opportunity for a lifetime. the slogans in tahrir square, we want jobs, we want to get married. very poignant about how prospects on enjoying life in egypt have become so dim for so many. 60% of the arab world is under the age of 30. the median age is 26. but it's not just demographics and it's not just about jobs. i think the revolt in the arab world is even more about something more fundamental. it's a revolt against the police state system, which has dominated arab politics for the last half a century, if not more. the mukhabarat state, to use its arabic name, rules every arab country from morocco to amman. some with a gentler hand than
others but all with the mukhabarat state. it is a state within a state. a state in which the inner state is accountable only to one person, to one man. the boss, whether it was a king, a prime minister, a monarch, or whatever gadhafi chose to call himself at the moment. the system was beyond the rule of law. totally unaccountable. anyone could be arrested, imprisoned, missing, killed without any redress. this system, the mukhabarat state, had grown over the years to massive size. in egypt, for example, the ministry of the interior employees 1.5 million full-time employees in a country of 80 million people. and that's not counting the
million of informants working for the police state. in syria, there are at least six secret polices, all of them spying on each other as well as spying on the syrian people. various arab countries built elaborate guards to go with their mukhabarat states. the guards that guarded against each other in order to keep the rise in power. the driver behind the development behind the mukhabarat state were many and varied. the israeli dispute was an early driver. defeat in '48, '56 and '67 led to the creation of the guards, led to the creation of police states. the cold war was a further driver, inter-arab politics became a driver. and 9/11 became an enormous driver for the increase in the size of the mukhabarat states. and the united states after 9/11 was an enthusiastic supporter of
the rise and development and enrichment in deepening of the mukhabarat state, ironically exactly at the same moment that we began talking about democracy in the middle east. some of the mukhabarat states are what i call hard mukhabarat states. saddam's iraq, asat's syria, gadhafi's libya. some are soft mukhabarat states, king abdullah's jordan, the gulf states. but they all share the same feature of unaccountability. now the arabs collectively are demanding their freedom. the end of the mukhabarat state system. they want the rule of law. they want accountability. and egypt is very much in the forefront of this. egypt will be the leader as it has always been in the arab world. that is more true today than ever. if the revolution had stopped in
tunis in january, we wouldn't be here today. it was the egyptian revolution that led to the spring of arab revolutions. the drama of tahrir square, a televised revolution that you could watch around the world was one of the reasons giving egypt its special prominence today. but much more fundamental is egypt's role as the critical arab state. it is at the geographic center of the arab world. it has been at the cultural center of the arab world. the university has been the religious and cultural center of the arab world for over 1,000 years. its demographic weight alone gives it more prominence in the arab world. for 30 years, its prominence receded under hoseney mubarak, a
to take egypt center stage. and egypt is, of course, important for another reason. it is at the very center of the global islamic jihad. egypt has produced many of the key ideological figures of the global islamic jihad. today egypt's revolution confronts numerous challenges. before we look at those challenges, though, it's worth pausing for a minute just to think about the last 100 days. with less than 1,000 people killed, egypt has been transformed from a country with a dictatorship of 30 years to a country where the dictator is now under hospital arrest and his sons are under formal arrest.
if someone had stood at this platform january 1st of 2011, and told you that would be the case by april 2011, you would have thought he was from mars. he would have been from mars. but that is what egypt has already accomplished. so as we look at the challenges ahead, we should not diminish the extent of what the egyptian people have already done. i think they face three or four major challenges ahead. challenge number one is to manage the transition to new political institutions and to new political process. they have to build an entirely new political culture, something which they have very little familiarity with. to help do this, though, egypt is also in a unique position. because it's had a revolution this year, and it's also had a military coup at the same time.
one way to think about it is that one foot in egypt is on the gas and the other foot is on the brake. and this shows in egypt's political development now -- we see a certain herky jerky movement. that, i think, while disparaging and discomforting to a certain extent is also good for the long term because there's ballast in this system as well as momentum to change. it's clearly an uneasy partnership. the army is not enthusiastic about being the instrument of change. field marshall must be the most surprised person in the entire world. think of where he was in january, think where he is today and think where he is taking his country. but to give him credit, so far, he seems to be doing a fairly decent job. so far compared to other revolutions, egypt is surprisingly smooth.
it's bumpy. there's no question. there's a lot of suspicion. there's a lot of dissent. there's some disorder but on the whole, i would argue this is a surprisingly smooth transition so far. egypt is on track to hold elections this fall. some think it's too soon. the egyptian people have had their voice heard. egypt is also deep into the process of dismantling the mukhabarat state, literally, physically taking parts of it apart, ripping apart police headquarters, searching through documents, arresting former members of the mukhabarat state. even omar suleiman, egypt's spymaster for the last 25 years, is now being questioned by egyptian courts. it's a remarkable effort at trying to change the system. now, in the near term, this is
good news for bad people. tearing down prisons, letting prisoners go, dismantling the security apparatus is a boon for al-qaeda and others. arresting counter-terrorists like omar suleiman is a boon for al-qaeda. it's no wonder al-qaeda's ideologue in the arabian peninsula wrote that he has, quote, great expectations for the future. but i think one shouldn't be overwhelmed by focusing on the immediate. yes, this is a setback for counterterrorism, yes, this is an opportunity for al-qaeda to meddle. but in the long run, and hopefully not too far off, developing a security force that is responsible, that is accountable, and which obeys the
rules and laws of the country is a long-term threat to al-qaeda. and i'll come back to that in a minute. the second challenge egypt faces is managing the inclusion of islamists in the political process. egypt has the oldest and best-organized islamist party in the arab world, the muslim brotherhood. many are fearful of what the muslim brotherhood intends to do in the future. some have suggested the muslim brotherhood is playing a very careful game of not really contesting the first election in order to secure the last election, the second time around. that may be the case. but i think it's far from clear that that is the case. the egyptian muslim brotherhood i would argue to you is a much smarter political party than that. it is one of the smartest political parties in the islamic order. it is careful to not overreach.
it is careful to signal it does not intend to overreach. it has been careful to work with the army behind the scenes. it is to spy by al-qaeda for all these reasons. al-qaeda is terrified at the prospect the muslim brotherhood could play an effective and central role in governing egypt. the muslim brotherhood itself is not monolithic. its clear divisions between young and old are beginning to rise. its successful conclusion in egyptian politics in a nonviolent way offers remarkable hope for the future of the arab world. the third challenge egypt face is, of course, a revival of its economy and expansion of its economy. i'm not an economist and i don't pretend to be able to understand how egypt's economy can expand
dramatically. there are innumerable challenges facing the egyptian leadership today. trying to get jobs for all those who want them will be a herculean task. the near-term task is much simpler. trying to get tourists back. 1 out of 7 jobs in the egypt is in the tourism market and the tourism market today is shattered. one of the reasons it's shattered is the united states' travel warning. when the united states says, don't travel somewhere, most people don't pay a lot of attention. insurance agents pay a lot of attention. they don't want to be caught in that situation. we need to early on revoke travel warning on egypt and encourage the return of tourism. egypt's problems couldn't come at a worse time. there's a lot of loose talk
about a marshal plan for egypt and the arab world. well, i've got bad news for you. we're broke. there is no marshall plan in the works. we may have one but there isn't going to be any dollars behind it. united states and europe are both in the midst of a global fiscal downturn. the tea party is not is going to endorse spending billions in egypt. the challenge, therefore, is going to have to be in the realm of trade, not aid. and that challenge, more than anywhere else, will have to be met in europe, not in the united states. europeans need to see the trade enhancement with egypt and the rest of north africa as the area where they can really do the most to help. the fourth challenge egypt faces is its extraordinarily difficult
foreign policy environment. first, look at egypt's three arab neighbors: libya, sudan and palestine. all three are broken states right now. libya is in the midst of a civil war with foreign intervention. halfhearted intervention. this civil war looks like it could go on for the indefinite future. the sudan is a country literally breaking apart. after trying to be held together over the last 100 years, egypt, of course, was one of the most prominent supporters of the unified sudan. now it sees that dream is gone. and palestine is also divided. we wanted the two-state solution. we ended up with the three-state solution: hamas, gaza, fatah and the west bank and israel, of course. egypt now has on one border to the west a rebellion about which
many of us know very little. and on the other side, a jihadist mini state in gaza. egypt's sympathies are clearly with gaza. second, egypt also confronts the problem of arab revolutions. egypt's old friends are changing dramatically. egypt's old enemies may be changing as well. third, of course, egypt has to deal with a very nervous peace partner. a senior israeli diplomat said to me just a few weeks ago, we liked being the only democracy in the middle east. we understood where everyone else played. we could predict what hosni mubarak's egypt would do. we can't predict what egypt is going to do today. israel is fearful of the unknown, fearful of
unpredictability. it already faces tense situations with hamas and hezbollah. the prospects of another war in the middle east this summer are always there. and now israel faces the prospect that palestine will be admitted to the united nations this september. and many israelis predict, i think, wrongly -- many israelis predict a third indefada will flow from that. a challenging agenda. but egypt is clearly preoccupied primarily with its own domestic problems. the best case outcome is not impossible by any means. i think there is a reasonable possibility egypt will produce a new elected government this fall. my bet is egyptians will change moussa to be their new president. what passes for polling in egypt
tends to support that argument. i think the muslim brotherhood will play by the rules, will be part of the system. i think the army will with some enthusiasm give up the reins of power while it continues to hold on to many of its perks. we will begin the transition to the post-mukhabarat state. it will be enormously difficult. changing the culture and ethos of a security system is very, very, very hard to do. it won't happen overnight. but i think there is reason for confidence that it will happen. >> we're leaving these remarks at this point and returning live now to our day-long look at the recent unrest in the arab world. up next panelists will focus in on the impact of political unrest in north africa. it's hosted by the carnegie endowment for international peace. >> very excellent speakers who have wide knowledge of this area
and events going on there at the moment. we have first graeme bannerman who is going to be speaking on the future of egypt. graeme is a scholar at the middle east institute. he's formerly worked for the department of state and the senate foreign relations committee. he has a doctorate in modern middle eastern history from the university of wisconsin and has taught at several well-known institutions. so we're looking forward to hear what he has to say about egypt. after that we'll have camille tawil. many of you might be familiar with camille from his many articles he's written for jamestown. if you read arabic you'll certainly know him from his work with al-hayat newspaper.
he's an expert on libya. he's worked on this for many years. so he's fully prepared to analyze the events that are going on now. so we're looking forward to that. after that, we have derek henry flood who is with the jamestown foundation as the editor of the militant leadership monitor. if you haven't had a look at this publication yet, i would suggest that you do so. derek has been doing a great job over the last year. and we're very privileged to have him here today as he has just returned from a six-week stay in north africa. most of it spent in libya right on the front lines so derek is going to have a very interesting perspective on what went on there from a first-hand -- from first-hand knowledge of events there. lastly, and probably leastly,
i'll be speaking myself on security implications for north africa in the wake of the arab revolution. and my bio is in the material that was handed out if you care to have a look at it. so without further ado, maybe we can get started with graeme bannerman, who's speaking on egypt. you can take the podium if you'd like. whatever you feel comfortable with. >> okay. well, let me say that i don't have any sure view of where the egyptian revolution is going. we're in the middle of something and it's evolving every day. and any of us who look at the egyptian revolution had better be willing to readjust what we say on a daily basis and certainly on a monthly basis. but for me, this is the most important event in the middle east of what occurs in egypt. he has has the role of the middle east of being the fulcrum of events. it has in the last 60 years --
it's the only country that has been able to tip the balance of power in favor -- in one direction or another. what i mean by that is the 1952 revolution in the arab world, in egypt tipped the balance of power for the next almost two decades in favor of the soviet union and that direction because that is the direction egyptian revolution chose to go. and then president sadat decided to the interest of egypt was more working with the west and he tipped it back in the favor of west and we have been for the fortunate and we have been dominant in that region for the last period of time. we're now at another period of time where egypt may tip one direction or another and we just don't know what's going to happen there. they're in the middle of the revolution. it's an egyptian revolution and those of us on the outside will have minimum influence. the other thing is, for those of us who are historians and who have watched this for a long period of time. this is an exciting moment. it's an extraordinary moment. you know, i first went to cairo in 1963 and i went and watched the russians build the high dam.
it is a very different country today than it was in 1963. it's changing rapidly which for egypt is amazing. but because this is an extraordinary situation, we are sometimes cursed that we have ordinary analysis. all of us are going to have to relook at everything we thought about egypt and rethink about it on a daily basis. things are changing rapidly. first of all, the source of our information is limited. you know, we're fortunate there's lots of people there and clearly i'm one who believes having al-jazeera broadcasting from cairo bringing us more information than we have in the past when events are occurring. that doesn't mean, however, that we don't need our own analysis and realize that even the best reporting has a bias and a slant to it that is unrealistic and so each one of us has to figure out what the biases are and what the slant is and do our own analysis. now, the problem i have is we
universally describe here in washington the revolution in egypt as democratic. and i'm not sure what that means in egypt. and i'm not sure what democratic means for all of us. we are all enthralled with the way the young people in the square have managed to remove an autocrat. have managed to transform their society and have taken their country to a place where we never thought was possible. six months ago, let alone today. and it's continuing to change. the problem is, the problem for me is, i worked on the senate foreign relations committee for a long time and senator biden at that time always made a very important observation. the most important characteristic a politician can have is the ability to count. and my problem is, too many of us who view this as a democratic revolution have been inspired -- or blinded by the inspiration and have forgotten our ability
to count. and that's what worries me. i am concerned of where we go. and what i mean by that is, for the referendum on march 19th, the christians -- all of the youthful opposition democratic groups on the square, moussa and his following and other people, every business person i've spoken to and i've spent weeks for these guys in the last two months. they voted no. they all voted no. and together they couldn't get 23% of the population. so if i'm a democrat in a small sense i'm asking who are the other 77% of the population? first of all, the biggest group everybody talks about is the muslim brothers. but nobody i've seen believes that the muslim brotherhood can generate more than 25% of the vote. so all of a sudden we now have
the 23% that will fall in the reformist movement plus, the 25% that falls into the muslim brothers. and i'm saying, who's the 52%? where do those people come from? and where do they go? and none of us know. we have to speculate what their thinking is and that's what makes it so difficult as an analyst sitting here in washington. you get some idea of where these people come from if you look back and look at the 2005 parliamentary election. in those elections, mubarak tried to reform the ndp into being a more democratic, more western-oriented, more worldly party. and what he did is in the party convention he engineered the replacement of the traditional ndp candidates from rural areas with young, urban aggressive people with some roots in the
community but they were his people. they were western oriented. they went to school in english and they knew the world and they replaced the traditional leaders in those areas with those candidates. the traditional leaders did not accept that. they all ran as independents against the ndp candidates and they beat the ndp candidates across-the-board as independents and we're going to have our traditional leaders the people we have ties with. the people we care about. they know us and we'll vote for them. so i would expect -- by the way, in the parliament they all rejoined the ndp and that's how you ended up with 80% of the members of parliament being ndp is because all the independents and they wanted to be part of
the power structure but that said, that base of support particularly in the rural areas of egypt still exist. so, therefore, that's a very strong stable factor within egyptian society and they're not muslim brothers. the muslim brothers as are the democratic movements are almost all centered not exclusively but heavily centered in urban areas in cairo, alexandria, suez and some of the other towns. why? because those areas where people have lost their traditional village and family identities. the traditional leaders in the village don't have the influence in the cities where they come from. that's a problem we face because we don't know where these people are going to go. and so those people on the outside who are looking for ways to help the democratic people become more popular -- 23% of the population, please understand it was within that 23% of the population you have much -- many of the people who
supported the old regime. you have -- these ministers who are being -- who are being prosecuted today, the use of butress galis and the other economic ministers they would all fall within that 23% of the population who are reformists who cared. clearly people were skimming off profits and doing things bad but in the sense of egyptian society they were reformists and so what we see at this point is not a removal of the -- it's a removal of the regime but it's all within those people who would be called reformists because the government reformists became corrupt by taking too much money for themselves. they were not part of the reformist movement. so when people talk about wanting to change the democratic structure, they're trying to figure a way to get that 23% to be a majority. that's what we want. if you listen to the reforms. we want to break down the system, the things that are being discussed. potentially break down the
system and create lists. well, if you create lists, you then break the system of where the local leaders are influential but who do you open it up to? who will then replace them? will it be democratic reformers? will it be muslim brothers? or will it be people who make the muslim brotherhoods look like liberals? it's a problem we face. then you see within egyptian society the other pillar that's coming under attack, the army. the army in egypt is different than anything we know. it makes you uncomfortable as an american to see how they function. but they function in egypt their own way. they're an institution and they historically have been separate from society. they're not an institution that wants to interfere in the internal affairs of egypt. they want to be on the side and they believe their responsibility is to provide stability. that's why when they came into the square, those who knew the army, knew they would never fire
on the egyptian people because their job is to protect the egyptian people. their job is not to harm them. and when you had the pro-mubarak people counter-attack on the square and everybody who was for the democrats said the army should be firing on those people, no, they weren't going to fire on those people either because they were also egyptian people. their job is bring stability. they did not want this job. they do not want to be in power. they want to see a civilian government come back. now, 10 years ago i think the structure the army would have preferred a military officer to take over but there has been an evolution in their own thinking that they're perfectly satisfied with being there as the force that can come in for stability. but they do not want to control the country themselves. they know they need the civilian people. and the real people egypt faces today, the revolution for most egyptians was not a democratic revolution. that's not why they're in this race. it was an economic revolution.
and that revolution continues. the social economic problems of egypt are tremendous. you see the news reports about factories, strikes, things aren't working. the economy is going to downhill. the fear is that those people who have not participated in the economic growth over the last decade, they did not really participate that much in the revolution. this is the 77% but they expect their lives to get better. if this government cannot deliver on improving the lives of the massive people, this revolution is likely to take a second revolution. we may have the bolsheviks replacing others. the crucial thing for the government of egypt is to get goods and services to as many people as possible so it looks like the government is doing something on their behalf. worrying about the democratic revolution is fine but you need to address the underlying
economic problems. and at this point, neither the state of egypt is doing it because they've had their hands full just getting through the daily process nor is the outside help promoting it. the world is going to be very sorry if they do not help the government egypt address the economic issues in the future and we just have no idea where this is going. >> thanks very much, graeme. it's a very enlightening perspective on the egyptian revolution. we'll take some questions at the end of the panel session so we can move on now to camille tawil who is going to speak to us about libya. camille? >> let me start by saying thank you to jamestown foundation for inviting me. it's a pleasure to be here. i'd like to thank glen for inviting me. and i would also like to thank the rest here and thank you all
for coming. before i start, i'd like to say something. it hasn't been easy preparing this paper. it all depended on whether gadhafi folds or manages to cling to power. in the beginning, only a few people believed that colonel gadhafi can't stay for long. all the olds were against him in tunisia and egypt, the two countries voted in libya. the regime fell so quickly. the regime of president banali in tunisia fell in a month, 28 days. in egypt, the regime of president mubarak fell in a few weeks. so all were against colonel gadhafi staying in power. he was not only facing an internal rebellion. he was facing the whole world including the mighty armies of the u.s., britain and france,
among others. but in the third month now of the libyan crisis, gadhafi has managed to stay in power. he may fall indeed and very quickly as the american government and many people hope he will do. but, however, looking at the past gadhafi has managed to weather the storm and lasted for almost 42 years in power. can he now manage what he did in the 1980s and 1990s? we will see. in this paper i will try to point at some points of strength and weaknesses in the regime. i will also talk a little bit about the composition of the opposition parties, the rebellion, and i will also mention something -- the implications of what is going on in algeria especially -- sorry,
what's going on in libya one in algeria, a country that i believe is a very important country that should not be ignored in any efforts to resolve the libyan crisis. before i start, let me say something very briefly. libya now represents a golden opportunity for reconciliation between america and some of the jihadists who the american government only until recently considered them as part of al-qaeda. the end result could lead to a more weakened al-qaeda but there is also the possibility that your policy could backfire and we'll end up with a stronger al-qaeda in the whole of north africa and we'll talk about this a little bit later. let me start by saying about the gadhafi regime. gadhafi's regime looks very weak
from the outside. colonel gadhafi is the man who takes the important decisions in libya. not a single order can be issued without his approval. and he claims to be neither to be a president nor a prime minister. he is the leader of the revolution plus being king of a -- african countries. this is a very difficult matter as gadhafi has proved for the past 42 years of his rule. the 1969 military coup was for sure not a one-man show. the three officers behind the coup to topple the regime of the king came from all over the country and from all of its
tribes. they were mainly influenced by the pan-arab popular movement at that time. gradually, colonel gadhafi started to change and he wanted power all to himself. this led some of his supporters breaking away and even going as far as trying to topple him. in the 1980s and 1990s, gadhafi's regime defeated three major groups by one group called the nfls the national alliance for the salvation of libya. in 1984 the national fighters attacked the residence of colonel gadhafi's in tripoli. at the end of the 1990s -- the end of the 1980s. the national front moved its fighters to algeria from which it was hoping that it would
start a coup inside algeria and it failed in doing so. and the last major plot against gadhafi happened in 1993 when some officer from a very powerful tribe, the wasilla tribe, tried a coup against him as we talk about this a little bit later. and in the second half of the 1990s, also gadhafi defeated an insurgency led by the jihadists, the libyan islamist fighting group which is mainly formed by libyans who participated in the afghan jihad. so he defeated all of these coup attempts and insurgencies in the 1980s and 1990s. but his base was shrinking.
he's got so many enemies within the country. all these attempts, coup attempts and insurgencies, led gadhafi to change the way he organize his armed forces. he started to see the army as a threat. the army would one day produce an officer who may try his luck with a coup attempt. exactly what the colonel did in 1996 when he toppled the regime of the king. to prevent such a scenario, gadhafi created what can be described today as a parallel army. it is what is known today in libya as the gadhafi brigades. these brigades are first fighting the rebellion. when gadhafi created these brigades, his aim was that these units are able to defeat any coup attempt that could start inside libya.
the main task was not fighting an outside army. the main job was -- the mission was to topple any coup attempt against the regime from within the country. and, you know, one of the most famous brigades is the one headed by hamis, the friend of colonel gadhafi. in addition to these loyal brigades, gadhafi's regime depends on its survival on a complex map of tribal allegiance and pacts. i'll name only a few of these tribes because the survival of its regime or its demise depends to a great extent on these pacts with these tribes. i know that some people dispute the influence or the importance of these tribes within libya today. they point to the fact that the
insurgency or the rebellion has supporters from across the country, from all the major tribes within libya. and i concede that but at the same time -- and they also say even the tribes that this -- that are still backing gadhafi in the west of libya are doing so because of fear of the reprisal of his regime. i also accept this argument. however, i still believe that the survival of the regime or its demise depends to a great extent on what these major tribes do in the next few weeks or months. the first tribe on which gadhafi depends is his own. this tribe's main base is in the central libya on the mediterranean coast. it's very powerful. its members hold sensitive positions within the state and
the armed forces, which are currently fighting the insurgency. i'm told that in each fighting unit, there must be a gadhafi or two just to ensure the loyalty of that fighting unit. the second most important tribe for the regime is that of the mogadha. it's base is in the south of libya. and a great number of the fighters who are fighting in the fight of colonel gadhafi come from that region, from the south of libya. their loyalty for that regime should not be questioned. they have a pact with gadhafi's tribe. there is family relation between them. you know, it's cemented by family ties as you well know,
the head of the military intelligence in libya and the brother-in-law of colonel gadhafi comes from that tribe. the lockerbie bomber is obviously from his surname -- to highlight the influence of the importance of that tribe in libya. about two years ago, colonel gadhafi exerted so much pressure on britain to free the lockerbie bomber. he had enormous pressure from the tribe. they were making a lot of threats against british interests if their terminally ill bomber was to die in prison. they would say it was his own interest on colonel gadhafi's interests was to bring him back to libya in case he were to
spell the beans on the secrets of the lockerbie bombing. the third important tribe for the regime. it's considered the largest tribe in libya. more than 1 million out of a population of 6.5 million. and its members live all over the country. all over libya. even in the capital of the region. the people also control a vast chunk of the military and security institutions within libya. in 1993, as i mentioned before, there was a problem between this tribe and colonel gadhafi's regime. its relationship with gadhafi witnessed a setback after the 1993 failed coup in which some fellow officers were implicated.
gadhafi throw the officer's attempt of the trial not only to himself but for their own tribe, which, you know, he trusted and allowed to control the military and security institution. the leader of the tribe implicated the officers. some would say they did so -- they were forced to do this by pressure from gadhafi. whether this is true or not true, in the end of the day, he managed to keep the blood of these dead officers on the tribe. it became an internal issue. in some arab cultures, we still have this problem of taking revenge. if someone from a tribe is killed by someone from another tribe, the tribe's family has the right to go and take and kill someone from the tribe
which killed that person. and this tit for tat things can last for decades. by making the wasilla tribe execute its own officers, gadhafi managed to keep it an internal tribal issue. he has nothing to do with it. it was the tribe. it was the leaders of the tribe loyal to gadhafi who did kill their own officers which betrayed the regime. also, a very quick point here. at the beginning of the rebellion, the revolution and uprising in libya, it was said that the wasilla tribe which saw it and joined the rebellion -- many people said so? if the wasilla indeed joined the rebellion, the regime would have fallen by now.
they only live very short distance. and they could break the siege of the third -- the third biggest in libya and gadhafi's regime would fall very quickly but until this day, at least the base of the tribe are still with gadhafi for not rebellion. the fourth tribe is that of tahuna. they are loyal to gadhafi and his tribe. their role became more important after the 1993 because gadhafi felt that he was putting old distrust in the tribe but when these officers tried to echo against him, he wanted to diversify the -- make more
alliances in -- invited and became very powerful in the regime. and, you know, they are very important because they occupy a place just near tripoli where it has a lot of army barracks and, you know, the backbone of the regime if tripoli is to be defended comes from that region. and also a lot of the population within tripoli itself originally comes from terhuna if they want to do anything with the will i bean capital, maybe the terhuna tribe would be possible for that. the reasoning of these tribes for staying loyal to the regime may be related to their wish of honoring their historic back with colonel gadhafi's tribe but also they could be fearful of
losing the power they have held all the time if gadhafi falls. under his regime, members of these tribes have occupied important positions in the government. now, a new regime is emerging based in the east of the country. the rebel attacking gadhafi's forces are mainly from the east. so it may be normal that some tribes in the west of libya may feel threatened by the emergence of a new power in the east that may try to take away the power they have held for so long. this would lead me to talk about the formation of the rebel forces of the opposition. it seems that the american government still to this day debating who the rebels it backs are. to be quite frank, it's not easy to answer this question. because when the uprising started in february, it began as a popular movement before it quickly became an armed rebellion backed mainly by the french, the british and some
arab countries. this quick transformation of a peaceful movement into a struggle has not allowed time to identify properly who the leaders of this new rebellion are here. i'm here to identify some of the main players in the rebellion. but before i do that, i'd like to say a word about the absence of political parties culture inside libya. for almost 42 years of colonel gadhafi's rule there were the political parties that band. there were no political parties in libya according to the colonel's philosophy in the green book, the people were ruling themselves by themselves. and so political parties were banned. not only that even under the rule of the king, with independence to the coup in 1953 to 1969, political parties were also banned in libya.
so there is this vacuum that the libyans are not accustomed to having political parties. so when the regime -- colonel gadhafi's regime fell quickly after the start of the revolution, in february, in the eastern regions of the libya, there was this vacuum. no party existed to fill or take advantage of the fall of the regime. the people who went demonstrating against the regime in benghazi were normal people belonging to different backgrounds of the libyan society. there were no known names among these people to take charge of the uprising. so the responsibility fell on formal officials who were part of the regime and only defected after the start of the uprising. the most known among those was
shalil the former justice minister who switched size after the start of the revolution. he is well respected. he's seen as a decent man but there is a problem here. he doesn't seek power. he is very willing to relinquish any post he has. you know, he heads the national council in benghazi. he says his job would finish colonel gadhafi falls. many of the council members were part of the gadhafi regime before joining the revolution. the general, he was the interior minister. the ambassador, all of the known names within the opposition now have been part of gadhafi's regime.
so in the absence of proper elections, it seems impossible today to say if these members of the council have any apprehension of the masses who led the uprising especially the young. all the opposition groups that are based in exile have come back to libya now in order to reconnect with their supporters and also to reconnect with the people who led this uprising. the libyan national salvation sent some of its members to reconnect with the libyan people in benghazi. the muslim brotherhood also sent some people. but i think the quickest to act are the jihadists. they couldn't sit idle when they saw colonel gadhafi killing their people. they felt their job was to
participate in the military struggle and defend innocent civilians. some of these jihadists have returned from outside libya. but these people who came from outside were a faction of the jihadists who were operating within libya itself. as you know, the libyan regime freed around 1,000 jihadists when it was conducting these peace negotiations with the lfig in the past few two years. some of these people who were freed were indeed lfig people but many were young people who did not know anything about the lfig's struggle against the regime in the 1990s. these people were mostly young, influenced by the iraq and the al-qaeda philosophy. they wanted to join insurgency in iraq. and many managed to do this in
jordan but these people were freed by the regime and i believe many of them have joined the revolution. al-qaeda central and others also have made statements in support of the revolution but i believe that their role is very minimal in the things that have been within libya. a final point here before i move to the role of algeria. colonel gadhafi has been saying from the start that the armed rebels fighting his government are al-qaeda. he seems genuinely hurt that he once helped the west in its fight in the bin laden group and now the west is fighting to topple him in order to help what he sees as an insurgency led by the jihadists. who, you know -- he equates the jihadists of the al-qaeda people. by this degree, i believe, that the jihadists will play a role
in any new government that will come after the fall of the gadhafi regime. i believe that they will not try to highjack the uprisings now and they will work within the system of any system that comes after gadhafi. you'll be glad that i will finish. a few things to be mentioned about the position of algeria. i think it can play an important role. algeria genuinely feels that actions in libya is throwing the libyan regime -- have led to aqim, an al-qaeda branch in the north africa taking advantage of the situation. you've seen the recent briefings by the military intelligence about al-qaeda possessing weapons from libya. ..
having one side against another. not now at least. it encourages its people, the algerian people, who want change to act now. if libya ascends into a civil war, the algerian government could point to its own people, they say there's the example of libya. you want civil war. three points -- three points, sorry. algeria's point of view should be listened to resolve the crisis. they know how to negotiate. they have done it for so many years including the american hostages in iran in the 1980s. if algeria can play a role, they should be encouraged to do so. maybe it can offer gadhafi and
his family some kind of exile. second point, assurances of some kind should be given to the tribe in western libya still fighting with the regime. if you want them to switch sides, you have to offer them an incentive in doing so. this should not be seen as the trail to gadhafi's own tribe. it should be seen as a kind of deal where gadhafi's tribe itself that if he and his family go to exile, it's not betrayal to get back with the gadhafi regimement finally, your actions in libya may turn out to be a genius masterpiece of brilliant foreign policy. it could resolve your long running struggle with the jihaddists in the middle east, or at least most of them. it was you who saved them from gadhafi's tanks when approaching
their banks in benghazi. will they appreciate what you did? saving them? some will no doubt be grateful. others will surely disagree. they are mostly al-qaeda people. they are not strong now, but may benefit in the long run especially if libya goes into a civil war. most importantly, access to weapons, plenty of them. thank you very much for listening. [applause] >> thank you, camille tawil. it was interesting to hear about the role of the different tribes. that's something that's not well understood here in north america. next we have derek henry flood who is going to tell us about
his personal experiences in libya. >> hi, everybody, i'm derek henry flood, and i'm the editor of militant leadership monitor which is one of jamestown's publications that's included in your packets. i want to thank the colleagues who gave it a plug. i'm going to be showing a visual, a multimedia presentation. these are my photographs from libya from last week of february to mid-march, and these are from my own experiences, and i'll give a talk that accompanies the photos. these, i think, help to explain some of the points i'm going to be making. okay. the title of my talk is the mitts --
mitsubishi war. it was referring to sort of the first major use of technicals which a lot of americans know from the bradly film, "black hawk down" and outfitted with caliber begins and other weapons used in somalia in the early 1990s. okay, a little bit of background. before i arrived to libya -- i arrived to tabrook, libya on february 28th. the libyan conflict began as a small cluster of lawyers demonstrating on february 15 in downtown benghazi, and people who had been inspired by the revolutions to libya's eastern egypt and western tunisia. by february 17, a full scale armed revolt broke out in urban benghazi.
as libyan security forces gunned down an unnumbered amount of protesters told by me by the civilians to be in the hundreds called the day of rage which was on february 17th, and so with the nasty outcome, the libyan revolution began. what drew me into the libyan revolt was they were a deeply closed society saved for the technicians of the odd tour group that would come to visit its greek and roman ruins from time to time. as a lately populated oil state, they were unlike their neighbors, tunisia and egypt. they saw no need through four decades of gadhafi's rule to open the great social rule to mass tourism so libya has been a
lot -- been a largely closed society, it's a north korea reel live to the tourist trampled beaches of tunisia and so forth. there comes civil war, the people of libya cut off from the rest of the world clammor to make their voices heard. this was shown by the political sentiment and emotion and some of the older libyans were wanting to tell 40 years of stories how they suffered under the gadhafi regime since 1969. the effects of the libyan war. it threatens most of the mediterranean literal states. they have threatened to turn the southern tier quote-on-quote
"black" and would turn migrants and refugees into the e.u. southern tier with peninsula of italy the most vulnerable. what, in fact, happened with the collapse of the security state was different. waves of hundreds of thousands of migrant workers were flooding not necessarily italy or the canary islands and spain, but the egyptian and tunisian borders, very vulnerable destabilized still revolutionary states. a very weak egypt and eventually chad and now rupturing sudan, virtually every other african state minus the republic of south africa had a literally unknown number of migrant workers. at the egyptian border of salum, on the mediterranean border of libya, the organization of the international organization of
migration had charts at the border for all the people living there, and people from every single african state from new guinea, every obscure microstate had workers in libya, the scale which i personally admit, have no idea how vast this crisis was in that regard. when i crossed the border at the end of february, there were thousands upon thousands of bangladesh men between the ages of 18-35 camped out at the border and the bangladesh government would not or could not come to their rescue. on the flip side of that when i returned to egypt several weeks later, there was not one bangladesh man left and thousands and thousands of chaddians or sudans without
passports and many people were outside their native countries, and some were born in libya and had no identity documents of any kind. let's see -- gadhafi's resistance to the revolt is endirging to the tripoli's south and felt in bangladesh, vietnam, and the philippines. the imcompletion is much more than north african crisis but a imloabl crisis. many of the migrant workers who had been working in libya for many, many years actually don't have a place to go back to. i spoke with chaddians in france and the north sudans, and they said they didn't have homes back in the country where they were from because they had been in libya for an incredibly long
time. the rebels themselves, who are they? that's a question asked here in the united states and in the european union which i was able to read some of online when i was out of the very internet restricted libya. as you discern from the conflict are anything but monolithic. they claim to be fighting for what they call "a free libya". they were looking for a country to transform the gadhafi state that included a rotating presidency. many people said they wish that was four years consistent with the united states coupled with a democracy. yes, certainly there are islamists involved in the fighting, and some of the most hard core islamists are some of the dedicated front line fighters at what i call the tip of the speer, however, these fighters do not in any way make
up the demographic majority of the movement. if any, they are an outlieuer and some came here as opportunists after it had begun by a minority -- excuse me, a majority of libyan quote-on-quote fighters, and some were in flip-flops, a cliche you heard about the taliban in afghanistan. yes, the rebels are incredibly disorganized despite their core and display of bravado carried by on foreign journalists as you may have seen day after day. there's lots of ammunition was used in sort of these mass displays to bolster the rebel movement in front of the foreign press to show its purported
strength. despite gadhafi's ties with reports of flickers of al-qaeda activity in libya, i personally saw no evidence of this in my travels amongst this movement of where i spent over two weeks, and i appear here with my head attached to my body and this is not iraq of 2004 despite comparisons todd latter. the biggest danger today are, in fact, gadhafi's forces and now the style nihilists. in fact, a colleague of mine working for "usa today" is in captivity today, and one is not reported to be seen and others are in detention camps in tripoli.
i don't think they may not have the diplomatic clause of the "new york times" unfortunately for them. when i spoke to the fiters about their views, and as one front line spokesman said the lfg is ire reel irrelevant. most consider this is spent movement that had nothing to add to the current revolution. they considered it sort of something that was really more important in the 1990s and early 2000s and that they wanted this to be portrayed desperately as a civil society revolution with an arm wing that was trying to overthrow the gadhafist regime. they insisted there are pan libyan movement rather than ire
redentists fighting for eastern libya and the initial platform in the courthouse in benghazi saying it is the capitol of the united libya. they did not want to portray libya as a place that was about to fracture down the center dividing tripoli in the north and gadhafist stronghold in the sahara desert with benghazi in the east and the oil producing area south of ben ben. the rebels insisted the country not be cleveed in two. with the rebel's equipment alongside and with nato. the people of eastern libya and the people of the central coast that i spoke with had the bitter memory and collective memory of 30 years of italian fascist
colonialism that existed until 1941. older libyans involved in the rebel movement, there are senior men fighting in the movement say they foundly recall allies or the parents told them of the allies booting out fascist axis powers and you may have heard of the rats of tubrook who fought against the fascism in 1941. the older generation of people in libya instilled with the young people and the fighters a deemly antioccupation sentiment that exists within the current rebel movement. not only does this stem from the first pillar of this almost zen phobia, but stems from colonialism which is very bitter and the rebels with a resistance
fighter who was hung by musalini and we were issued press passes by the rebel fights, and they depict him on the bottom of the flag which is the red, green, and black flag from before gadhafi's green monotone flag. the other main factor with libyan hostility with any ground intervention is the libyan's observation through mass media through al jay -- jazeera. forgot about baghdad. if foreign troops enter libya, we'll make this look like a walk in the park.
the rebels although operating from a position of inherent weakness in terms of their arms, manpower, and training, also still believe they held the cards in that they came to demand heavy western air power, but said if one boot, one western boot be it french, brit ire, italian, or american was walking downtown benghazi said they would shoot them not because they are antiwestern in nature, but they are weary of neocolonial occupation. both of the sides in the fighting that i observed have what i call a bit of a cliche, their red lines. the rebels had the town of a once secure place that now many of you follow the conflict. it's west of benghazi and has a road that by passes a desert -- a desert road that bypasses
benghazi to the south and connects to tulbrook. it's possible the war would be lost without intervention. i need to mention i left libya just before western air strikes began. the gadhafists on the other hand we learned and to a colleague of mine who was actually shot in the calf realized they have their red line which is a very obscure small settlement called benjalad. they told the journalists their own propaganda mixed in with their bra -- bravado. there's been more than one that this acts as a geographic call buffer and reaching it was
absolutely unacceptable, and where they ended up putting up a very strong fight. some colleagues of mine were in a fire fight with pkm machine guns and gadhafist snipers and mother mercenaries, and they were treated to points further east. once the rebel movement realized that sirte was an insurmountable task, the calls for a no-fly zone increased and noncivil society actors in tobruk until the sites came to fruition. the libyan revolution issued a contest over the oil sirte
basin, and there is a pendulum swinging to and from the west of the gulf in sirte to the east which is where we are today fighting. i want to make a note about a point of the rebel's equipment and how they are fighting the war. the rebel equipment consistents of cheaply produced chinese and better prostitutioned japanese antiaircraft guns, and double and quad trailer mounted guns with 14.5 and 23.5 millimeter ammunition that are used when the gadhafi regime was firing at rebels trying to shoot down whoever was overhead.
the rebels are fighting among extremely difficult physical conditions. sand storms combined with poorly trained fighters are little more than cannon fighters and well trained components. the supply lines in central -- along the central libyan coast in sirte were constantly pressed as the front lines moved further and further left to the aforementioned town of ben jawad. they have a diminishing amount of military material lewded from stocks and depots in benghazi and other eastern cities without a resupply from the outside which ged -- gadhafi had access to himself. it was unclear at the time, mid
march, how this was going to keep going. the french government made a shipment of weapons and am -- am mew nices when was clear they wanted to consider the leader in this when it would become a pan-mediterranean conflict, and close to the end here, i want to talk a little bit about the civil society aspect of the war what i'll term the home front primarily referring to benghazi and al-qaeda. there would be often people chaptering la, la, la al-qaeda, and i was seen this being chaptered by thousands of thousands of people, and a lot of these were women actually, interesting for a north african and arab conflict.
those on the home front insist there's basically no political space for antidemocratic islamists within libya's civil society component of the revolution despite the fact there are islamists fighting on the war front. insistence there's no western footprint on the ground, not even the lightest intelligence one was evidenced to me of a politically immature mind set among the revolutionaries. if air and sea power were to be used in libya as we can now see there are, if there were not westerners working from these intelligent services and correlating armed services, i don't know how the nato destructions by rebel tanks would be unavoidable with the nato spokesperson saying he didn't know the rebels had tanks. something i find confounding and if you asked any journalists, myself, or my colleagues, yes,
the rebels have some tanks or armored personnel carriersment one of the things i found to a widely large swath of the libyan society and tolbruk, and i spent time in ajdabiya, and the people are in an unevenly globalized world, and the reasons for the beginning of the revolution beside mirroring their neighbors in egypt and libya were economic, social, and a massive grudge that many people had against the regime regarding the estimated 1200 men killed in the 1996 islam prison massacre which is a legacy that happened 15 years ago like a place like
libya that even young people have a very long memory. in conclusion, where do we or rather the libyan people go from here? the military pendulum continues to swing back and forth along the coast of sirte with no end in sight. reports of terminal towns, captured, lost, and recaptureed and may have indeed avoided a massacre in benghazi and the green mountains to the east, but nato intervention and gcc to a much lesser extent, gulf corporation counsel in libya has not been a decisive factor in the conflict, something the rebels hoped would happen. nato's limited air and sea engagement without thinking of rebel aims and tactics will unlikely topple the gadhafi family in the immediate or near
term. in my view from the probably hundreds of people i spoke to over several weeks, something has to give to alter the current course of the conflict as the status quo in coastal libya is unsustainable. the rebels must be better trained and equipped and willing to sustain mass casualties if they are going to try to take sirte and eventually mount a very difficult assault on tripoli that would be immensely violent and lead to a lot of deaths. nato or the united states may have to be willing to ultimately decapitate the regime depending on the western -- how much the western public is willing to take and the political will of the united states and its european union and golf cooperation partners there. they may have to be willing to
accept boots on the ground and an egogrewsing accept for antirebels themselves and ultimately have which seems to be coming to bear a self-recognition of their very limited military capabilities and the fact that gadhafi believes that he is in this conflict for the long haul. thank you very much. [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> thank you, derek, for a really interesting firsthand observations in libya. i'm going to try to gather up o
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