tv U.S. Senate CSPAN April 21, 2011 5:00pm-8:00pm EDT
described today as a parallel army. it is what is to know today in libya as the gadhafi brigade. they're fighting the rebellion. these unit are able to accuse any attempt that could start in libya. the main with frightening and outside army. the main job was the mission to topple any attempt against the regime from within the country. and you know, they are the one headed by hamas, the friend of colonel gadhafi. gadhafi is regime depends on the survival of a complex web of
allegiances who have tried especially in the west of the country. i think they depend to a great extent they dispute the influence or the importance within libya today. at the same time, they also say even that tribes that are still backing gadhafi in the west of libya for doing so because of fear of the reprisal of his regime. and they also accept this argument. however, i still believe that the survivor of the regime for
its demise depends to a great extent on what these major tribes do in the next few weeks or months. the first drive on which gadhafi depends is his own. this tribe essentially the mediterranean code. it is very powerful. it holds sensitive positions within the state and the armed forces, which are currently fighting the insurgency. i am told in each fighting unit there must be a gadhafi or two to ensure that fighting unit. the second, most important tribe for the regime is that of the moroccan who are fighting colonel gadhafi come from that region in the the sub six m.
missile -- sub mukhabarat and the south of the regime. they have relation between gadhafi and the mukhabarat. it is implemented by family types as you know, i'd be less than is in libya and colonel gadhafi comes from that tribe. the lockerbie albeit from is certainly just to highlight the influence or the importance of that tribe in libya. about three years ago, colonel gadhafi put so much pressure in britain to free the mukhabarat
tried, they were making a lot of threats if they were terminally ill. they would also say was its own interests because of gadhafi ventures to bring the karate back to libya. the third important tribe of the regime is considered the largest tribe in libya, more than 1 million tribe. and it's not very subtle over the country, oliver that be a come even barresi, but they live just this out at the libyans. the people also control a vast
chunk of the military and security institutions within libya. in 1993, as i mentioned before, there was property between this tribe and colonel gadhafi regime. the relationship had a setback after the 1993 fail in which some officers replicated. gadhafi saw the officers attempt against them is betrayal to their own tribe. which he trusted and allow to control the military and security institutions. in 1997, members of the tribe implicated and someone argued they did so -- they were forced to do this by pressure from gadhafi. whether this is true or not
true, at the end of the day, he managed to keep the blood of his officers on the tribe itself. it became an internal issue. in some arab cultures, we still have this problem of seeking 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 make the tried and tribe executed some officers and gadhafi managed to keep it internal. he has nothing to do with it. it was a tribe. millions to gadhafi who did kill their own officers, which betrayed the regime. also very quick point here, at
the beginning of the rebellion, the revolution in libya, it was said that the west philly tribe who joined the revolution. many people said so. it further indeed to join the revolution, they only live a very short difference from the fatah. they could march in the siege of the third biggest in libya and gadhafi's regime would fall very quickly. until this day, at least the base of the west fatah tribes are still with gadhafi or at least not joining. i will say a few words by. the fourth is that of kona.
they occupy important positions within the security agent. their role became more important after 1993 because gadhafi felt that he was putting his trust in the la scala, but when they went against him, he wanted to diversify -- make more alliances with other tribes they were invited and became powerful regime. they have a lot of army barracks and also a lot of the population originally came from children. if the imposition wants to do anything in the libyan capital,
maybe the tribe could play a role in that. i only named a few of these tribes see nestlé or to the regime or at least not citing. the reason for these tribes were maybe related to their wish of honoring the colleague, colonel gadhafi stride. also they could be fearful of losing the power they have held all the time if gadhafi follows. members of these tribes have occupied important positions in the government. now, a new regime is emerging based on the east of the country. the rebels attacking gadhafi forces are mainly from the east. so it may be normal that some tribes in the west libya may feel threatened by the emergence of a new rival power in the east. let me try to take away the power they have held for so
long. they talk about the formation. this seems they still today debate with the rebel fire. to be quite frank because then the appraisals started, it began as a popular movement before quickly became an armed movement backed by the french and british and other countries. this transformation has not allowed time to allow properly who leaders at the rebellion are. i've identified some of the main players. before i do that, i'd like to say a word about the absence of political party culture inside libya. for all the 42 years of colonel gadhafi's will, there was a political party began. there was nothing of political
parties in libya according to the philosophy in the green book, the people who are ruling themselves by themselves and so political parties are banned. not only to deepen under the rules in the independence to the coup in 1952 mac 1969, political parties were 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 revolution in february, in the eastern regions of libya, there was exactly who would fill it. no party existed to fill or take advantage of the regime. the people went to the streets demonstrating against the regime
in benghazi were people who were different backgrounds of the libyan society. there were no new names among these people to take charge of the uprising. so the responsibility fell on former officials who are part of the regime and attack after the start of the appraisal. the most known among those was owlish allele, the former minister who switched after the start of the revolution. he is then seen as a decent man, but there is a problem here. he doesn't see power. he is very willing to relinquish the national council in benghazi. he thinks his job would finish the minute gadhafi's regime falls. so he doesn't seek power.
many of the council members before joining the resolution mr. abdeljalil, all the new names within the opposition now has been born of gadhafi's -- regime. it seems impossible to say if these members of the council, apart from abdeljalil have any true representation of the massive uprising from especially the young. of the opposition -- albeit opposition groups have come back to libya now in order to reconnect with their supporters and also to reconnect with the people who let this uprising. the libyan salvation sense of
its members to reconnect with the libyan people in benghazi. the muslim government sent some people, but i think the quickest to act where the jihadist. they couldn't sit idle when they saw gadhafi's regime killing their own people. in any case, the jihadists were part of the military and participate in the struggle. some of the jihadists have returned from outside, but these people came from outside were a faction of the jihadists were operating within libya. as you know, the libyan regime freed around 1000 jihadists when it was connecting peace negotiations with the sub for
people who did not know anything about the struggle against the regime in the 1990s. these people were mostly young, influenced by the iraq and al qaeda philosophy. they wanted to join the insurgency. some people manage to do this and others were arrested before they went. these people were freed by the regime and i believe many of them have joined the revolution. that's how we i believe that their role is very minimal and the things that have happened within libya. a final point here before a move to the rule of abdeljalil, the
armed rebels fighting the government are al qaeda. he seems genuinely hurt that he wants to hope the west side the group and not the west is fighting to topple him in order to help what he feels is an insurgency led by the jihadists, who he equates the jihadists with al qaeda. i disagree. 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 hijack the uprising now and they will work within the system of anything that comes after gadhafi. you'll be glad that i will finish. if you think should be mentioned about the position of al-jazeera generally feels that few actions
in libya destroying the libyan regime have led to some six aqim taking advantage of possessing from al qaeda. it seems the italian president, bruce david has managed to gain weapons from libyan arms. al-jazeera also does not feel comfortable but filled with art enemy from the affairs of workers. you also have to take into account that the algerians are defensive to see the french bimini killing libyans, even if these people were gadhafi supporters. the algerian members for his
independence. they are sensitive to the moroccan policy. it seems normal that algeria -- algerian government wants to take a totally different policy. a final point, algeria may not feel comfortable saying the end of the conflict in libya, with a victory for one side against the other. not at least, a victory for rebels in libya would encourage the algerian people who want to see change to act now. so if libya descends into a civil war, the algerian government could kill its own people and say if you want to start a revolution within algeria, you have an example of libya. do you want to reward? three points. algeria's point of view should be listened to in any serious
effort to resolve. the algerians are very -- they know how to negotiate. they've done it for so many years, including the american hostages in iran in the 1980s. so with algeria can play a role, i think they should be encouraged to do so. maybe you can offer gadhafi and his family some kind of exile. the second point, assurances of some kind in western libya, still fighting with the regime. they think if you want these tribes to switch sides, you have to offer them an incentive. and this incentive should not be seen as the trail to gadhafi's own tribe. it should be seen as a kind of deed, within gadhafi strait
itself that if he goes to exile, you should not be seen as a betrayal to the historic pact with the gadhafi regime. finally, your actions in libya may turn out to be a genius masterpiece of foreign policy. it could resolve your long-running jihad is in the middle east. it was you who save them when gadhafi's pieces were approached will they appreciate what you did saving them? someone no doubt be grateful and would work peacefully within any new administration that emerges in libya after the fall of gadhafi. others will surely disagree. they are mostly al qaeda people. they are not very strong now, but they benefit in the long run, especially if libya is in a civil war. they will have plenty of time, the proper place and most
importantly access to weapons, plenty of them. thank you very much for coming. [applause] >> thank you, camille. it's interesting to hear the role of different sides that is not very well understood your north america. next we have derek henry flood. >> i am the editor of militant leadership monitor, which is one of jamestown's publications, which is included in everybody's back as you heard from a couple of further speakers. i want to thank any of my colleagues who have given it a blood. i am going to be showing in a visual multimedia presentation some of my photographs from a couple of weeks i spent in libya
from the last in february to mid marriage. and these are from my own experiences and i'm going to be giving a talk that sort of accompanies the photos of these that will help explain some of the points i'm going to be making. okay, the title of my talk is the mitsubishi war and i chose that title that is slightly tongue-in-cheek, in a mosh to what was the toyota war, which was the last phase of the libya chadian war which was referring to sort of the first major use of technical, which a lot of americans will know from black hawk down, which were toyota pickup trucks with 50 caliber guns and antiaircraft weapons that were used again american and pakistani and somalia in the early 1990s. a little bit of background before i arrive to libya, i write to brooke libya on
february 28. the libyan conflict began as a small cluster of lawyers demonstrating on february 15 in downtown benghazi. people who have been inspired by the revolutions to libya's east egypt and weston tunisia. in less than 48 hours, by february 17, a full-scale armed revolt had broken out in urban benghazi. the libyans security forces gunned down an unknown number of protesters told by libyan civilians to be in the hundreds during what is called a day of rage, which was again on february 17. and so, with a nasty outcome of the day of rage, the libyan revolution began. but personally journey into the libyan revolt was libya was a deeply ossified closed society saved for the bangladeshi
migrant workers and british patriot technicians and the odd italian tort that would come to visit greek ruins from time to time. at the lightly populated oil-producing state, libya was much unlike its neighbors, tunisia to the western egypt to its east. it saw no need throughout over four decades of gadhafi strolled to open the great socialist imagery to mast tourism, so libya has been a lot -- it's been a largely close society to a turkmenistan or north korea, relative to the tourist trampled beaches that tunisia and giza in egypt and so forth. in libya since the revolution comes civil war. the people of eastern libya, for most of the world clamor to make their voices heard in this is that they didn't buy western journalist who were bombarded with every type of political and emotional sentiment, people -- all but libyans were wanting to
tell 30 to 40 years of panic to the stories about how they suffered under the gadhafi asked regimes in 1969. the peripheral effects of the libyan border. the implosion thread most of the military and straights for the lavon. gadhafi threatened to turn the e.u.'s frontier black and he would unleash a seemingly unlimited number of sub-saharan economic migrants into the e.u. southern tier with demint the italy being the most vulnerable. when in fact happened was with the collapse of the libyan security state was something in fact very different. waves of hundreds of thousands of micro-workers were flooding not necessarily italy or the canary islands in spain, but the egyptian and tunisian borders, the very vulnerable destabilized the revolutionary states.
a very weak egypt along with eventually chad and they now sudan, a very niche a virtually every other african states minus the republic of south africa had an unknown -- literally unknown number of nigra workers. at the egyptian border of saloon, the organization -- the international organization of migration had charged that the border for all the people living there and people from every single african state from guinea, gambia, equatorial guinea, every obscure west african microstate had foreign workers in libya. the scale which i'll personally admit i have no idea how fast this crisis was in that regard. when i crossed the border at the end of february, there were thousands upon thousands of
bangladeshi man who were between the ages of 18 to 35, who were camped out at the border of the bangladeshi government could not or would not come to their rescue. on the flipside of that, when i returned to egypt several weeks later, there was not one single bangladeshi man left in their thousands upon thousands again but mostly chadian and sudanese, a lot of them families who were without papers, without passports and that many people had been outside of their native country. some were in fact born in libya and had no identity documents of any kind. let's see. gadhifist resistance to do revolt in the sub-saharan revolt and its ripple effects will be felt as far as places like bangladesh, vietnam and philippines. the implosion of libya is in fact actually much more than north african presence.
it's actually a global crisis. many of the migrant workers who are working in libya for many, many years actually don't have a place to go back to. i spoke with chadians and the french and some sudanese, south vietnamese and north sudanese and many of them told us they didn't have homes back in the countries they were from because they been in libya for an incredibly long time. the rebels themselves, who are they? this is a question that has constantly been asked in the media here in the united states in the european union, which i was able to read some online when i got a very very internet restricted libya. libya's rebels are coming to likely to start media accounts of the conflict are anything but monolithic. every fighter he spoke with throughout the conflict in both arabic and english claim to be fighting for what they called a free libya. most of them said they were looking for a country to
transform the gadhifist state and a representative government that has a rotating presidency. many people said they wished i was four years, consistent with the united states, coupled with some form of an open civil democracy. yes, certainly if there are islamists involved in the fighting and some of the most hard-core islamists are some of the dedicated front line fighters of what i would call the tip of sphere. however committee spiders do not in any way make up the democratic majority. if anything, they are outlier in some of them came into the conflict as opportunist after the verdict had begun similar suit launched by a minority of detecting soldiers and a minority -- excuse me, a majority of libyan, quote unquote volunteers, regular fighters who had come to the front lines. some of them wear flip laps, something i'm sure you've heard about the taliban and afghanistan. yes, the rebels are an incredibly disorganized despite
their esprit de corps and wasteful provider that was carried on for foreign journalists as you may have seen day after day. i've been a nation, since i made ammunition from benghazi and not by dan told ricks booted but the stories were used to kind of these mass displays of machismo to bolster rebel movement in front of the foreign press and show its reported string. despite colonel gadhafi's insistence that the rebels had al qaeda ties and reports of quote flippers, unquote, about panda activity here in washington, i personally thought the leave no evidence of this during my travels amongst this movement of where he spent over two weeks and i appear here today with my head still attached my body. libya in 2011 is certainly not iraq in 2004, despite any comparisons to the latter. the biggest danger to foreign journalists and other westerners are in fact treat 11 forces, not
any g chavez forces or any sort of zarqawi's. a colleague of mine who is searching for u.s.a. today is currently in captivity from the regime along with three other journalists, one who has not been reported and the other are reportedly in a detention camp in tripoli and u.s.a. today and other outlets are working for the release. i don't think they have the diplomatic clout of "the new york times" unfortunately. many of the rebels i spoke to when i asked pacific front line fighters about their fighting group. and as one front-line spokesman said to me, the lng is irrelevant. most considered the sub for a spent movement that is nothing to add to the revolution. they considered it something
that was really more important in the 1990s and early 2000 they wanted this to be portrayed desperately as a civil society revolution with an armed wing that was trying to overthrow the gadhifist regime. the rebels were often insisting that they were a cosmopolitan and libyan movement rather than ceramic and irredentist, those fighting for eastern libya, which is why they are very thinly drawn out in the initial platform in the courthouse in been ghazi. it's as tripoli is our capital of the united libya. it was essential to the rebels that they did not want to portray libya as a place that was about to fracture down the center, dividing tripoli in the north and gadhifist sub-saharan desert with benghazi in the east and out crew for a, and oil-producing area.
the rebels were insisting the country not be cleaved into -- onto the rebels equipment alongside and with nato. eastern libya and also the people of the central josé spoke with had a very bitter memory comic collective memory of 30 years of italian fascist colonialism that existed from 1911 to 1941. older libyans, some of where the rebel movement have some very senior man who are fighting in this movement, told me they fondly recall allies or their parents had told them of the allies putting out fascist acts of powers out of ceramic, you may have heard of the rats of toubro, which would be a us join forces were fighting against german and italian fascism in north africa in 1941.
the older generation of people in libya have instilled with young people and fighters a deeply anti-occupation sentiment that it says within the current rebel movement. not only does this stem from the first pillar of the almost xenophobia stems are the legacy of italian colonialism, which is very bitter and my colleague wrote about omar mugar, with the rebels was a resistance fighter who was hung by mussolini's proxy in libya and he is an ultimate symbol of the rebel movement by my colleagues and i issued press passes by the rebel movement and they depict omar boxcar, which is the red, green and black monarchical flag before gadhafi regime flag. the other main chat to her with
the libyan hostility to any potential western around intervention is the libyans observation for mass media through al-jazeera and the internet of the hears of heavily destructive war in iraq. the one rebel said the conclusion of the initial battle which eyewitnesses forget about baghdad or bozrah. we will make mogadishu look like a walk in the part. so the rebels, although operating from a position of inherent weakness in terms of their arms and manpower and training also still believe they held the card and not they were demanding heavy western area power but said if one boot, one westerberg via french british italian or american was walking down downtown benghazi they would shoot them, not because they were anti-western and nature, but they were very wary of any type of neocolonial for
retro colonial occupation. both of the sides in the fighting i observed how what i call a bit of a cliché. they both have the redline. the rebels had the talent of upper job he, who many of you follow the conflict have likely heard of. ajdabiya has about the bypasses -- a desert road bypasses benghazi to the south and connects to tobruk and onto the egyptian border at the saloon. the rebels insisted that if tranter was generally preached as possible the word be lost without western intervention. i need to mention that i left libya just before western airstrikes began. the gadhifist on the other hand, we learned into a colleague of mine who was shot in the cat realize that they have their redline, which is the.
stir small settlement east of the gadhifist stronghold. the rebels were telling journalists a bit of their own propaganda and mixed in with their provider that they were going to storm surge any day. foreign journalists in libya like myself learned with the battle of a binge of live acts as a geographical buffer to the east of cert and reaching it for the capacitors was absolutely unacceptable and ended up putting a very strong fight. some colleagues of mine were penned in a firefight with pkm's for hours and western journalists retreated to greg at them but ghazi and that further east. once the rebel movement realized
start was essentially an insurmountable task, the calls for a no-fly zone increased among both were fighters and civil society actors in been ghazi and tobruk until the western airstrikes came to fruition. the libyan revolution has reduced itself to a contest over the heavy oil-producing basin, the most valuable of libya's oil-producing areas and there seems to be a pendulum swinging to and fro between the oil terminal towns in the west of the goals of cert nl breakout in the east, which is where we are today back-and-forth fighting. i'd like to make a note about -- a point about some of the rebels equipment and other actually fighting the war. the rebel equipment consists of an army of chinese and cheaply produce chinese and better produced japanese has been a
mitsubishi and toyota technicals outfitted with antiaircraft guns. the soviet era double and 14.5 and 23.5-millimeter ammunition, which are used when the gadhifist regime was launching airstrikes to the rebels they would fire wildly into the air trying to shoot down the mirages, whoever was overhead. the rebels are fighting against -- amongst extremely difficult physical conditions. sandstorms combined with poorly trained fighters were often a little more than cannon fire to well-trained and equipped gadhifist components. the supply lines in long the central libyan coast were constantly being stressed as the front line started moving further and further west towards the aforementioned town.
one weakness they had was inherently diminishing amount of looted material looted from stocks and depots in benghazi and other eastern cities in ceramic without resupply from the outside, which gadhafi had reportedly had access to himself. the rebels didn't have the way -- it was really unclear at the time. i'm talking about mid-march, hamas is going to keep going. i was made privy to information that the french government had actually sent a shipment of weapons and ammunition to the rebels and the port of benghazi on the night of march 11th and 12th when it was clear the sarkozy government wanted to consider itself the leader it would become a mediterranean conflict. in close to the end talk a little bit about the civil society aspect of the war, the
home front, primarily to benghazi and al qaeda. outside of the courthouse in benghazi, which is called root, and every day, there would often be people chanting, law law law al qaeda. i was seen as being chanted by thousands upon thousands of people in a lot of these were women actually, interesting for in north africa arab conflict. those on the home front and says that there's basically no political space for antidemocratic islamists within libya civil society of the revolution, despite the fact our islamists fighting on the kinetic warfarin. insistence that there be no western footprint on the ground, not even the lightest intelligence was evidence to me of a politically immature mindset amongst the revolutionaries. if air power and sea power were going to be used in libya as we
can now see there are, if there are westerners working from the intelligence services correlating our forces, i'm not sure how libyans thought that incidents like a native destruction of rebel tanks were going to be unavoidable. but the nato spokesperson recently saying he did know the rebels had tanks, something i find a little confounding that any of my colleagues could've told you rebels have something in some soviet armor personnel carriers. one of the things i found in talking to a fairly wide swath of the libyan society and i visited tobruk, benghazi, ajdabiya is that the libyan people are essentially exhausted from not being active participants in an increasingly a family with a globalizing
world and the reasons for the beginning of the proliferation besides marrying each of the revolution over economic, social and a massive bridge many people have against the regime regarding the estimated 1200 men killed in the 1996% massacre, which was actually a lot of the legacy from some team that had been 15 years a place like libya, with a history of the italian occupation, even young people have a very long memory. so in conclusion, where do we are rather to the libyan people go from here? the military pendulum continues to swing back and forth along the coast of cert with no end in sight. reports of oil terminals being captured, lost, recaptured, seem to continue. bombardment against libya's penetrating coast may have indeed imported a massacre in benghazi and the actor mountain
range to its use. but nato intervention and gcc to a much lesser extent go for operation counsel has not been a decisive your, something that the rebels hoped would happen. nato is rather a very limited sea engagement come without thinking of relative antitype pics will unlikely topple the gadhafi family and 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 force of the conflict and 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 to try and take cert to get this rodda in rebel hands and amount a revolt on tripoli which should be immensely
violent can lead to a lot of deaths. were nato or the united states may be willing to ultimately decapitate the regime, depending on the western publics, how much the western public is willing to take in the political will of the united states and its european union and go for operation counsel partners in the conflict. ultimately the somewhat xenophobic rebel movement may be forced to accept western boots on the ground come a policy conundrum for the western eco-brazen acceptance for the anti-interventionist rebels in libya itself. and they may ultimately have to have what seems to be coming to bear a self recognition of the very limited military capabilities in the fact that gadhafi believes he's in this conflict for the long haul. thank you frame match. [applause]
>> thank you, derek for really interesting first-hand observation in libya. i'm going to try to gather up some of the more specific things that we've heard here this morning partly by having trouble editions in general and what they might tell us about a process we're witnessing right now. i think really did nostradamus himself could not afford told to either political change has been unleashed on the airport road, all sparked by self annihilation to the sidewalk vendor who could not find any other way of
expressing this in the nation that of a corrupt and authoritarian system. revolutions are dangerous creatures that can unleash all kinds of unpredictable social forces that can take a revolution along way from where it started. the french revolution of 1789, which both inspired and terrified europe began with the days of mass action, much to the days of anger that we have been seen to date in the arab world. but the king and queen were way to their death, it was not long before leaving revolutionaries such as rogue spear had meetings with madam guillotine. liberty, fraternity and equality became mere slogans as the leading general restored authority and a son to france and began directing flutter of a generation of young men in pursuit of imperial conquest.
now, one of the eras of revolution i think they really any parallels with what is going on today with the european revolution of 1848. in its size, development and transnational terror, the arab revolution most closely resembles a european revolution that showed that time. there's many similarities including the rapid spread from country to country despite the nations resolution of a different character and circumstances. the results cross social boundaries, even attractive enough and we look at middle-class. governments appear to cave-in at first. too many graduates are pursuing too few jobs in north africa right now. and making up the revolutionary forces within 1848 and in
today's north africa. and no charismatic leader commercial on castro or even a george washington. so bearing this in mind, what was the result of this revolution. small concessions led to a dwindling revolution with the casual revolutionaries gave up, the revolution was doomed. the revolutions came to be dominated by a single political perspective, in this case the left. by the summer of 1840, the forces and counterrevolution had time to reorganize and began clearing barricades at the loss of thousands of lives. in two places, the revolts became larger liberation, hungry
and italy. both had been solidly defeated. in the end, all of the national revolts filled, but they laid the foundation and provided the inspiration for later revolts such as the parish community team 71 and the russian revolution of 1917. most importantly, they signaled the end of absolute monarchy with insight. in this sense, you until revolutions can have an enormous impact on political develop its decades later. now it's been suggested in some quarters but military we miss oblivious rebels can be overcome with the birth of modern weapons. it must be noted that every influx of arms into the state region in the last century has been followed by years of violence. for example, it was an influx of our that contributed to the breakdown of order and are for
that eventually resulted in the death of tens of thousands of people. now darfur used to use a revolution system involving competition in cash or animals to do with incidents of violence such as murder. however, the system broke down with the introduction of automatic weapons allowed to slaughter dozens of people have time. traditional methods of conflict resolution were simply overwhelmed by advances in killing technology. now arms may be the solution to gadhafi, but they will not bring stability to north africa. those advocating shipment of modern arms to libya's doublespeak of controls over whose hands they might wind up in. i think this however is wishful thinking. once introduced arms are sold, abandoned, lost, surrendered or even given away, reports antiaircraft missiles taken from the armies of eastern libya
authority found their ways into the hands of al qaeda should give pause to those back in arms that the. the halfhearted endorsement was taken by nato as the greenway for attacks on gadhafi forces. in reality with the exception of wealthy but distance qatar, most of the leak has committed distance from the conflict. egypt, with its own internal crisis but that has appeared for the news lately appears unable or unwilling to exert influence over the events in libya. to the west, their unverified rumors that algeria's military base regime is providing arms and aid to gadhafi. algeria has no desire to see the arab revolution wash up on the shores of tripoli and giving that would be discouraging resistance in algeria.
two other political survivors, generally field marshal omar al-bashir will not be tasty and counting out gadhafi. both nations have ties with libya, which is in the meantime, both are keeping the distance, but if gadhafi falls they will attempt to exert on the new regime. the libyan leader would have the option of retiring with access to the fighters in neighboring countries, gadhafi our successors should continue debilitating attacks on libya's oil infrastructure. they would effectively prevent
any libya and america do not plan to substantial foreign aid. would not be difficult to resist tribal force within i see is see as a benghazi-based government on the western and southern kinds of power, influence and funds. such a conflict could go on for years, with effects on oil prices in the global economy. the rebels do not have the means and possibly not even the inclination to distribute oil revenues throughout the libyan society. should gadhafi feelies losing his grip on libya, if possible he can turn to asymmetrical warfare by once again sponsoring international terrorism, especially strikes against western nations begin the attack on his regime. we also have no reasons to suppose a rough government can benghazi would prefer us to
region. the rebels security force of any client as well as administration and the common goal other than removal of moammar gadhafi. now the question here is not whether al qaeda will take advantage of instability in africa, but whether it can operate there in any meaningful way. egypt is the historical crossroads of the world and that such an appealing theater of operations for al qaeda, which has ideological roots they are through the work set in the not to be a period al qaeda could certainly penetrate egypt and resume operations there. of course it would definitely appeal to talk to her also where he and other egyptians for al qaeda. however, al qaeda does not appear to have any act in egypt or even many sympathizers there. there is little appetite for returning the check to the dirty
back streetwear between islamists and extremists and a regime that dominated in the 1990s. more importantly, most egyptians recognize the instability equals poverty and the terrorism isolates each up from international community, depriving them of markets, tourism and important sources of foreign currency. al qaeda still does not present a political alternative beyond slogans promising the establishment of the implementation of sharia law. with insufficient agricultural production as well as threat -- sorry, with insufficient agricultural production a rapidly increasing population, massive unemployment and underemployment with water supply egypt is in need of a more thoughtful strategies and supplied by the extremists. there are many muslims who
desire sharia, but they would also be the first to question the wisdom of leaving this in the hands of the band of kidnappers, murderers and drug traffickers of al qaeda in north africa. opportunities -- opportunities will nevertheless be presented for al qaeda from the conflicts that will inevitably follow revolution. for an attention and resources will be diverted from their activities while arms and alliances in their position. let me just turn to sudan for a moment. cobbled together from scores of ethnic and tribal groups speaking hundreds of different languages, sudan unsurprisingly has been a center of dissent, rebellion and out of a civil war for the first day of independent
while popular revolts may be something along the mediterranean coast, sudan people's have already overthrown to dictators. but the conflict in darfur continuing despite foreign media interest in unresolved issues with separations of the south and north, sudan is now faced with the possibility to security arising from northern neighbors have egypt and libya. ..
it is an integral part of the economy of the state's both for financial donations and the employment of hundreds of thousands of migrant workers who regards the region as the libyan hinterland and has played an important and sometimes destabilizing role in the area particularly through his recruitment and sponsorship whose and gentleman has been divided between half a dozen agents and the postcolonial era. having acted as a kind of sponsor for the fighters battling regimes the record the presence has put in convenient and undesirable he's now arming the war years rallying to his
cause. regardless whether he wins or loses, there is immense concern in these nations that the fighters will return to their home states to initiate a new round of rebellions and secured and the wheel and geranium and rich regions to the egyptian revolution is not yet history. in fact we may have only witnessed the first phase of the process that could continue for years, decades or generations. it isn't likely egypt officer corps unquestionably part of egypt's elite is willing to oversee the transfer of power from the same elite. indeed it would be unreasonable to think that this would be the first instinct. in egypt the political revolution is also a social revolution and these types of things don't usually happen
overnight. egypt's internal security service collapse in the wake of the egyptian revolution. the difficult process of being rebuilt and restructured with a new mandate that promises to pursue a genuine security threats rather than repress political opposition. while there were many cases of government violence against demonstrators there were remarkably few instants of retaliatory violence against members of the security services during the revolution. egypt doesn't have a case for violent revolution and such matters have always traditionally been handled by the nation's elite which is now largely formed from the military leadership. the question here is how effective will we restructure the security service lotus promised the internal threats will be in control in the domestic extremists. the managed to destroy the radical islamist movements by
deploying an interior ministry forces three times the size of the military aided by the regions of informers both aided and coerced securing egypt from the islamist extremism has come at a considerable cost to the liberty of the egyptian people, the cost no longer considered acceptable to read the question remains, however, whether the lighter and less intrusive security presence will still be as effective in eliminating the islamist extremism. libya has always been one of the major financial backers of the african union. eastern nations have stopped now with significant consequences for the african union mission in somalia pottery at which already suffer from underfunding. there is no guarantee that the new libyan regime would renew such support nor is it likely another african state would be able to step in the shortfall. sub-saharan countries are being
effectively excluded from partaking in the resolution of the libyan conflict even though they have close ties and influence with libya and will inevitably be affected by what happens there. the african union negotiations, i don't know if anyone heard they were going on, it got very little attention. they were basically treated as an unimportant slideshow by the same nation's busy taking out the air defenses. now at some point the west will have to shrug off a white man's burden that has become a expensive deeply destabilizing. while it's true the african union diplomatic and peacekeeping missions have an uneven record it's also true african troops aren't going to get any better at this kind of thing by sitting in their barracks. more cooperative efforts between the west and africa that the, which the interest of those actually living in the continent and the limitations of external parties dealing with political
crises there with bombs and rockets. in short revolution is not an easy thing. most failed. and would be presumptuous to assume we vote in egypt and libya or elsewhere in the middle east will lead to inevitable success regardless how the success might be interpreted. however whether successful or not, the repercussions of the revolution can rarely be tamed making them recipes for insecurity. at best they can be managed with a bit of a lot and at worst efforts to contain or reverse social and political transformation are only copying the volcano. if it doesn't erupt there it will somewhere else to time of its own choosing. thank you. [applause]
>> back to my role as moderator. >> we will take ten minutes for questions and if anybody has one, yes, please. you, sir. >> my name is anthony i'm a consultant on economic the element. you sketched the possibility that gadhafi could survive even the fall of tripoli by recruiting them, and i'm wondering how he would then -- i'm just looking at your own map in your own paper which tells me all of the infrastructure goes out through. had you raised the money if you don't control the person? >> he's been planning for this a long time. we call him a madman sometimes,
but he isn't as crazy as that. what he's been doing when ollie was sold and brings in revenues and he's been caught by in gold for years and years and libya has enormous gold reserves now to store the gold reserves in places like switzerland i think even fort knox excepts certain foreign gold reserves here he's kept it in tripoli and has it will secured and this is a mobile source of funds he could take with him of course you can't spend a gold as with cash and it might be necessary to sell it at a bit of a loss but he certainly has enough to keep the war going for years so he is not short of the funds and he could endure the loss of the oil
production for some time to keep the war going. any questions? yes. >> thank you very much. >> i was wondering, comes speculated a little about algeria with a couple of ones that it was always which country is next, and i don't think a lot of experts really thought egypt or libya was about to fall and so i was wondering if you could elaborate a little bit on what is next for a cheerio for the next year or so does it have the same potential to see an uprising the other north african not-for-profit countries have seen? >> algeria doesn't i don't think it would wish that a quick end in the civil war met in libya today if the libyan regime falls
quickly i think there be a bigger demand for the change inside algeria. the start of a process of change reform and the government but i think the whole regime needs changing as some of the speakers said before. people in the middle east are not content with superficial changes. they want deep-rooted reform that would change the country from being a dictatorship into a democracy i think in the fall of gadhafi's regime inside libya devotee the bigger demand for change inside algeria. but if it continues into a civil war, long civil war within libya, i think the algerian government may manage to convince its own population that change could happen otherwise
algeria would fall into a civil war, too. >> i just want to comment about algeria. speaking with the rebel leadership at the courthouse decided gadhafi as having the two core eda allies which are al asad and syria, a lot of the people in eastern and central libya that i spoke to viewed algeria as a quote belligerent in the conflict in devotee believe that the government didn't want to see gadhafi fall because it would threaten their own regime in algiers and we've seen as was talking about earlier that syria appears to be teetering and i'm not sure if that is isolated algeria at all in this tiny little alliance and the aforementioned is alexandre
belarus militarily. >> och >> yes. right here. >> i wondered about the chemical that libya has. i made a quick search about three weeks ago. the media doesn't give that much importance to the chemical weapons. in 1994 it signed an agreement that it's going to reduce its weapons, chemical weapons, but it's asked for extension until may, 2011, and i think like 23,000 tons of cluster bombs right now is in libya, and i wonder where are they and in the no-fly zone it's really hard for gadhafi to use it but what is
the prospect of the weapon >> cluster bombs are not the same as chemical weapons. >> as far as i know, the only chemical weapons reserves that he still has as a certain amount of mustard gas that was in the process of being destroyed and there's only a small quantity of this left and basically the forces do not have the means of deploying this. so i think that's why you're not seeing a lot of potential being paid to chemical weapons. most of these were eliminated back in 2003 and in the following years in order for libya to restore relations with the west. >> would you like to take that?
>> i think the regime in morocco knows that it needs to change. the whole arab regime in the middle east are feeling the heat with the arab uprising. the need to change otherwise the ones we saw in egypt and other places. however, if gadhafi manages to withstand the current uprising against all the odds, and it will give an encouragement to the rest of the dictatorship regime in the middle east that they can also do the same and prevent change. i'm not saying larocco is another dictatorship. i think the country started the process of reform but it's able
to please its own citizens with a kind of reform trying to reduce is the question i think the monarchy needs major reform in the way that the rules the country. many sectors within the society are not happy with the process of change coming now. but i believe the king of morocco understood the message that he needs to change. we will see in the next few weeks and months what kind of change he's willing to offer his own people. there's the very deep penetration of the patronage system right through the egyptian society and the
importance of keeping people loyal to the regime. this is something which came inevitably to be disrupted at the moment. but i wonder if just how hot the reformers might be able to replace the system with more equitable means of distribution of wealth or the funds of egypt that may not be designed to simply further the existence of a single regime. the question is a very equitable distribution of wealth. that has been the greatest problem of the reform movement in the last 15 years the reformists in egypt who were supported by the united states and supported by the world bank and the imf and they've been the macroeconomics kill a masterful cause. they were getting high marks by changing the egyptians economy
away from the socialist state to be free and more open markets and this was done through a series of prospects they took all these things that have been nationalized and they made them economical and sold them off. there was a very important step which they did to the problem of the system was to make them economical and fire thousands of people and put them without work but the economic incorporation. but the problem is then there were sold to the crony regime and those people took the benefits from the modernization program development at the same time in order to meet the needs of having the over subsidized society the egyptian government response to pressure from the international monetary fund and world bank and the united states reduced extensively the subsidy system to the poor. so we've created a tool problem in this society where you are
making a certain group of people very wealthy and making the mass of society have a declining standard of living this is why the way you never so much support in the armed forces with the economic reforms and we saw the social the provision of the lower class is as fundamentally unstable, destabilizing. they got removed from the regime and was all those economic reformers because they were seen as having destabilized society in the crony capitalists. but the patriot system goes through -- the patrons system goes through egyptian society and every village was the guy that sort of took care of the problems he's all, issues, and in bad times and good he provided funds to the people in the towns. that system is still very much in place in the countryside but not in the urban areas. that's when you see the space reform in the urban areas and
the muslim brotherhood filling the gap that you don't have from the rural areas. if you break up down at consistent because system you have lost a major source of stability within the country will have to like the urban mass is no longer have their identities. that is the problem we are moving now if you set up a system that comes in that undermines the traditional relationship for example today they suggested that anybody who was in parliament would be banned for five years from being in parliament, which we did. when you end up doing this disenfranchise all local leaders who have local support and who the question then comes replaces them. thank you very much. >> we will take one more question.
there was the mention of the african union and i wonder if you could comment on the potential role for the african unit of living conflict and also recently there's been more importance on the possible in the game being finding a safe space for gadhafi either domestically or internationally. >> i'm sorry what was the last part? >> i wonder whether the probable in the game is finding a safe space for gadhafi. >> at the conclusion of my talk there i really do feel that the african union should be encouraged to play a greater role not just in the libyan conflict, but in the many recurring conflicts we see going on in africa. foreign western intervention is not the solution to every problem in africa.
there is a tendency quite often for the leaders of african states to be more interested in the opinions or advice of their neighbors from the former colonial powers sometimes this advice is better taken. now it's not to say there's no role for the last but certainly better training for the forces, peacekeeping and even intervention forces, better funding for the activities to go a long way to improving the ability of the africans to take care of their own concerns. regarding the fate of gadhafi there's a number of possibilities if he was to go into which i think is what you're asking about ugonda in fact already offered a week ago and i did a little article about this that he's already offer a
refuge for gadhafi and ugonda they have a long history going back between ugonda and lydia connaughton with history it's even seen will be in force is being sent to fight in ugonda at one point in the defense, but took gadhafi as a bit of a model and this is something that isn't well understood here. it's how many african countries really have leaders that have admiration or respect for gadhafi and that is a kind of perspective we don't have here just i know from my personal experience in 30 years of life ever heard is he's crazy. he wants to kill everybody. that's not the perspective that africans have of gadhafi. the look at him very differently. and even south africa is another potential place he might take refuge.
you have to remember who is the person who broke the sanctions and embargoes against libya is nelson mandela that is the first person to fly directly into tripoli to express his gratitude to mark khaddafi for his support in the apartheid. we don't have, so there is a possibility that he might find another nation in africa that's willing to take him. >> just really quickly i actually visited the african union headquarters out of ethiopia last week, and i didn't know much about the inner workings until i sort of showed up at their offices, and it's a very thin sourced, finley stretch organization that's currently in a momentous transition. i'm actually working on an article for the publication on the terms of hunter and stumbled on to another topic which is the
chinese government is actually funding and constructing the new african union headquarters. so brussels is definitely not, but if the chinese have their way they are actually trying -- the chinese are hoping to transform the african union into a stronger body. but i visited both the a you and the amazon office which is the african mission in somalia weigel doing some research, and i could say that the communication of my even the two offices was a discordant and it's not a completely to get the organization that's very powerful were strong at least from the a new function that i met last week. islamic okay we will take a one hour break for lunch. 30 minutes. 30 minute break for lunch. and fast and we will see you back here. [laughter]
most smart people i know are not listening to nancy pelosi for the world view nor john boehner and most people i know don't go home at night and talk about continuing resolutions to fund the united states government. maybe it's just different in the room, but -- we forget that. most -- don't you -- the people you know, let's be honest. we want the tax is to be low, but if a couple of guys want to get married what do you care, right? is in that the way most people are today, and why is it that in the media we still have to be red team or blue team.
two-thirds depend on the network news we are back now at the jamestown foundation conference for a discussion on political unrest in the arab world. we will hear about the intentions in iran in a number of the gulf region countries including saudi arabia. this panel is an hour and a half. >> okay. good afternoon everyone and welcome back. i'm glad to see we didn't lose too many people after lunch. it's been a great three sessions in the morning. two sessions, three sessions. and glad to be part of the third
one. i'd like to thank glenn hubbard and the jamestown foundation for inviting me to be here today. it's a pleasure because i think i have a great panel and also a very important topic as we all look at what's happening in egypt, tunisia, syria, libya and other places. i think one of the key questions on all of our minds are what about the issue, the people in the region, the new power players, we heard earlier maybe it was bruce gusev is it iran, egypt and iraq will they be the three big power players so today the topic is iran as we look at the gcc and we have a lot of expertise next to me on iran and saudi arabia and also i hope they will touch on the issue of the sectarian divide because we can't really think about the region and the specific week in the gcc as we've seen from iran without also paying some attention to the shia divide.
so with that, i will ask why really to think for being here he took the red flight from san diego so thanks for making the extra effort to be here and i will turn it over. >> having three hours of sleep on the plan. okay, thanks very much to plan and every one that is here to listen to the panel and based on the department of literature's i want to start with the story, and the story goes something like this a few months ago i am listening to the iranian satellite tv based in los angeles, and we happen to have one in our house, and this guy comes on tv, and during his different interviews he does and ranting he's really the bill reilly of the opposition
movement in southern california. just, you know, very famous, very charismatic, and in the middle of his interview, this guy from iran calls and happens to be a member of the besieged, the iranian militia groups and he calls and calls them a servant of the imperial come in. list pay, the u.s. and he fights back. there's an interesting verbal debate going on and i'm just watching like this is fascinating. and in the middle of this debate, this by suddenly says something interesting like we will defend the harmony until the last blood in the body. i just remember the that term imam was only used for hunting the guy that originally as publishers the islamic republic. this guy was charismatic, he was called a imam in order to bring the sunni and shia sides
rhetoric. well, 2009 that also happened when there was a mass up raising of mostly middle-class iranians, also the recasting lenience raising a in charge of the islamic republic on different levels. which is not about elections. later on after 2009, all the way to a 2090 became a question about whether we want to actually have an islamic republic. because of the crisis of legitimacy, conceives the various druse decided to reinvent the state. one of the first attempts to reinvent the state was to reinvent the figure of ayatollah home any and make it into a charismatic figure. you see that picture right there is mr. homeini in his car in iran. unless you're unable to see this, there are a bunch of life hitting his face in his life there in the car. of course the idea is to glorify
and make them locally. there's a constant association between him and the way the rhetorical discourse have gone. so therefore you can't turn on them khamenei. i just mention that the islamic republic underwent a reinvention of state authority khamenei who was the key figure in mr. bring charisma back to khamenei is a difficult task, but nevertheless you're beginning to see them in khamenei in the political discourse of the people involved in the reading government at various levels. you no longer hear the term ayatollah khamenei. now here it been called imam khamenei. what does this have to do with a powerful uprising? let me just briefly go three short history. after elections of course everyone knows the massive uprising and cnn was there,
actually wasn't there, but somehow was wonderful coverage of the election. but there is going to be a major revolution in iran. the islamic republic was to creative for that and they eventually came up with the idea of an assault were in order not necessarily to simply do away stifle dissent with the iranian society, but also challenge what they perceive to be the u.s. led revolution in the country. and much of that really revolved around somehow making the great movements look as though they are of the west. the green tree and four really challenge the islamic republic seen the green movement was there, the challenging the government. eventually in february, 2010, famously the intelligence agency and islamic republic were able to do away with the green movement on so many different
levels. it really went away after the major event and police forces were able to dominate the public species. the government was able to, by the way, i took the picture from the hardliner's website on facebook, i thought it was a really cute picture. they were able to once an ideological level two makes the green movement look as not only ashura, but paid agents of the west. of course the rhetoric really played well against many iranians who do not believe it, but nevertheless the republic was there. they thought the green movement is out of the picture. but that came down operation. and in many ways to surprise the heck out of the islamic republic, just like anyone here in washington they were surprised at what happened in
tunisia later egypt, the islamic republic was surprised. and especially was surprised when the green movement decided to revive itself to come back and reinvent it both and when they came out with a new demonstration event on february 14, valentine day, the government really got excited. they cannot believe so many people showed up to that event. the authority taken care of the green movement, but not necessarily because on february 14 were not only sell massive presence of opposition actors in the streets of tehran in major cities, but we also saw the government in many, you know, rational ways reacting oppressively crashing the movements on the street level. now, one thing we learned on february 14 was read.
or inspect what happened in asia in tunisia. much of that was reaction to what happened in arab street. the regime was very surprised. the second most important thing was the use of reactive measures in order to stifle dissent and a great example of that of course was the first time they decided to arrest the so-called leaders of the green movement and mr. moussaoui. they recently released and still have them on house arrest by the way. but at the same time and all of this was going on, all these different uprisings are happening in popular. there in different arab countries in the latest one of course in syria, the iranian regime come despite the fact they did know how to at do with going on, the reading machine realized two important things. one, they are of opposition movements first and foremost are not the same as the green movement and are not for two
reasons. one is that the green movement made a modest tactical mistakes make focusing on daily protests. the something obvious with one of the successes of the egyptian uprising was that went into the night and that really scare the egyptian government. the iranian government made the green movement really wanted to go home at night and really took the protest on the rooftop of the houses enter them as a sign a sign of weakness. the second thing is the aspect. after february 2010, the islamic republic, especially intelligence agencies of the regime realize there is a major organizational weakness and they could manipulate and intervene and eyesight and eventually they could disintegrate the movements on so many levels that he could simply become a virtual movement. a virtual community line. that happened. of course if they didn't predict is the virtual community could eventually come back and organize the street protest on
february 14. the islamic republic also knew that the. states who were either unable to prevent these revolutions happening or uprisings happening in their country were different or continuing to be very much different from the republic. first and foremost, you either have states that have recently military at prices, military officers who originally to our end mubarak who was eventually overthrown. the islamic republic is very different. former revolutionaries who know how to do their job, infiltrate, green revolutionaries. so they had that it finished. they also knew they were not accountable to a number of different muslim countries like the week tunisia and bahrain and egypt where they still are. there is an advantage. nevertheless they realized and still to this day there is uncertainty elements.
they do not know how the heck this thing is unfolding in different arab countries and how this thing is developing in ways they cannot predict, just the way washington is not able to predict what's happening in the various arab countries. so two steps the iranian regime, different factions, very much took on a domestic level to use react to measures, mostly out of fear quite frankly because they simply thought the inspiration and the green movement could have from various muslims would be very problematic for their status and stability, so they decided to go hard-core. even putting in prison and the leaders of the green movement and also the hyped up ideological rhetoric of course. they're also trying to frame the movement, eric movements as an islamic awakening, islamic movement, even though many
committed people to follow the regime did not buy their argument for obvious reasons. these are mostly -- i mean, there's a large secular tendency with eric movements in the regime also realize they did not talk about it. on a regional level, the iranian government approach really did not have a clear policy obviously like the u.s. decided a clear policy was going on with regards to the movements in various arab countries. i would say it took first and foremost a cautious start. it did not take too many risks, especially in countries like iran or saudi arabia and also in a country like yemen were also the u.s. has presence in the same way with iran as well. it did also go with another purge of being very absurd it in approach and schnitzel make arab allies, syria, and preventing it all in response to the popular
uprising in which continues to this day. in general on a domestic foreign policy level, the post-mubarak iran continues to multifaceted policy, but things have changed. look at the first one with regards to arab states, especially my colleague is going to talk more in detail about it. i feel, and if you carefully read the pro-government newspapers and agencies in iran, you kind of get the feeling there is an interesting new cold war happening in saudi arabia and iran. iran is fully aware that saudi arabia is actually more power at various levels, especially militarily and what happened in bahrain for the last few weeks. but i rgc commanders when on a number of different news report and completely contend the saudi arabian military's presence in bahrain.
that didn't happen a few years ago. that was that of mutual respect. but things are changing and i believe this new arab uprising is the fact teen iranian domestic policy with regard to saudi arabia most and i think we are seen probably a rise of a new cold war between iran and saudi arabia. in just a guess, something will resemble the 1980s. libya, same policy as before. they do not want to transcend the picture. at the same time they do no point u.s. interference. pathology at the simply stay neutral, not necessarily show too much hostility when at the same time they won't be friends with algeria either. syria supports not much changed the famous 2000 pigs renewal of the syrian iranian nexus that. funny with iraq, to say the same policy approach. with the ship taking some interesting things are going to happen. we are going to seed new
normalization and new ties between the countries. i would not see them as new emerging allies like the way we area have been for the past years but nevertheless egypt will be interesting in the country will establish new ties with iran. some final remarks i think iran does not have a coherent he, does not know exactly what's going on and as the result is testing the water that seems kind of unfold on the ground. but make sure that you make a note that this protractor oil could provide an opening for increasing iranian influence, especially in countries perhaps in lebanon and iraq. but this is at this stage just a guess. sqa goes, i would argue that if you're much echoing that if syria goes, expect a possible revival of opposition movements in iran because iran has fostered great allied in the arab countries and arab world. in many cases, the reigning
reaction to opposition will be guided according to factual politics within the conservative politics the camp, which will become clear imposed 2012 parliamentary elections. keep an eye on the 2012 parliamentary elections because we are going to see how this arab uprising in the green movement away it was inspired by the arab uprising at going to change the iranian domestic politics and making it either go perhaps hardliner, pragmatic conservative and eyed the faces of some people up there. we do not know how he is going to react to developing politics. but nevertheless, i would not rule out mr. ahmadinejad and for all the years to come he is almost created a personality, which is fascinating. we are seen that happen in the
conservative camp in iran, but of course ahmadinejad and populism in a band right now has his enemies, military, the hard-core hardliner islamists who says we shouldn't emphasize too much nationalism. he got another character and the current mayor of nepal who is very much a part in the conservative. maybe he's going to go with larry johnny, the current speaker of the house of the iranian parliament. i do not know. but what i do know is that whatever happens within factional conflicts within the conservative camp, they need to consider how they can influence the fascinating relationship between this ringleader of the fatah and the military intelligence. on the question is that khamenei passes away, if he does and if there's a serious division and
the irgc, especially the green movement and there will particular conservative faction come to power and dominate like will there be senses of compromise within the conservative elite? these are things i would ask everyone to keep an eye on because 2012, 2013, the presidential elections will be fascinating. thanks very much. [applause] >> thank you very much. i was taken by your comments about the saudi arabia iran cold war so i look forward to hearing more. now to alex vatanka. >> and trying to multitask and see if i have the skills it takes for -- where's my computer? i'm sorry. there it is.
okay, is that coming up? >> it's like the guy in the geico ad. technical difficulties. >> thank you for your patience and things for the very kind invitation. delighted to be here today. i'm going to follow up on what babak rahimi keypoint on the end was to suggest there is no coherent iranian strategy. that's really the argument today and i want to dwell on why that is what it means for iran strategy, which is looking at the reason around itself above the upheaval in states particularly in places like iran, where he ran into the saudi intervention to surveilled the rivalry iran has always had to saudi arabia. it's important to bear in mind this iranian saudi rivalry is
not something the islamic created. it's always been there. the same can be said about what iran had with iraq after saddam hussein. really the point i'm trying to get to is the impact of the herb revolutions on the iranian strategy. the key question is what strategy could iran have? i look at the golf corporation counsel states collectively because i think is right now we're hearing the word gcc angry about a renewed intervention. my point is therein is never had to have one strategy for the gcc states. iran has always had to follow on a bilateral level vis-à-vis members of the gcc states. and it's always worked for them. it seems to me the iranians at the same ballgame can be played out of the next few months depending how one of the uprising continues. the question is, will that work? parasites already to gc states coming together. we are so afraid of what's
happening at their coming together. when i hear gcc states talking about creating a confederation, pulling the foreign defense policies together, that's not hunting here every day. the question is whether the iranian position our lack of strategy is actually going to be good enough for them. so with that, i apologize in advance for one of the most land powerpoint presentations you will see that shrub is good pictures you have a lovely sheep. nice touch. [laughter] i have three key points to make. the first event that that is no sign of a korean iranian plan to do with the gcc states. the second point out that you make without getting into each of these points as they go through the presentation is that there is one consistency that you can detect from iran vis-à-vis these uprising is the rhetoric. and you can say this is the kind of rhetoric you can expect.
the iran republic has bested you can see the iranians are retaliating against what's coming their way. there's nothing unusual about it. as i said before, the question is, is this enough for the iranian policy in the region? is rhetoric alone could not? you are being charged as meddling in the affairs of by rain. even american officials say iran is not the key driver behind what is going on in bahrain. and yet you go about with your church talking about bringing down its various regimes and so forth. i just wonder if that kind of the line just happened in both ways can be sustained in the face of the regional upheaval. i'd like to talk a bit about the roost in tehran because i am for sure he wasn't here this morning to hear kerry's remarks, but i was told that this division that is actually happening right now in tehran about what's going on in the region.
there is no consistency in the conclusions the main factions in the iranian regime have a public going on. the supreme leaders believe apparently from what i can gather it in the first immediate belief in one set of things with ahmadinejad, the president if people have a tape or the final point is this notion that, can you post support regional change cannot be the champion of revolutions across the border at the same time simultaneously maintain you have nothing to do with anything going on in nearby states? okay, with that said, let me go through the iranian strategy here or if a setback. look at those members of the gcc states on the gcc individually. if you look back at the last 10 years or so, you can see every an offense stipulations of countries like oman and qatar alike. i ran inside okay working
relations with and married, but the good emirate of dubai. iran has correlations throughout this time. my point is this bilateralism happen because of one simple reason, the inability of the gcc states to get together. not because of anything i ranted, the gcc states are divided. some do not want saudi leadership. others in this moment in time are happy to have saudi leadership. they preferred that obviously seems maddalena perhaps iranian domination. important to remember there hasn't been one strategy coming from thailand. iran is at six different strategies to six independent neighboring states facing to the south. i don't really want to repeat much whether the babak rahimi said. there is one i'm coming from caveman on these revolutions. it's easy for us to talk about the iranians meddling, iranians
involved come instigating, but the reality is if you look at each arab revolution specifically, taken a position based on its immediate material interest. so iran said nothing about the early protests in algeria, nothing. iran has to this day really said almost nothing about what's going on. in the case of the judge, iran was one of the most enthusiastic and early supporters of mubarak are reflecting the fact they have had a tough relationship going back to 1980. so the idea there is an ideological driver behind the winning attitudes towards it's going on is a misty. if there is any ideologycome you come paste the rhetoric. it's a cheap anti-american anti-saudi writer, but it's not a very well thought ideological blueprint to survey ran a renewed interest in the face of the area of peoples. that is the only consistency frankly if you look at the
middle of january in what happened in tunisia and so forth. in the debate and terri and about who is behind the forth. in the debate and terri and about who is behind the rebellions and how iran should respond is actually very interesting because you can draw a lesson from the debate and say for doha and washington unlike the iranian regime and say this is an economic entity. these are lunatics waiting to start world war iii. if you look at iran like that, then the debate inside tehran will tell you something else. i will show you deliberations among a group of hard-liners, sane people united when they are facing the green opposition movement. academician of people have trained to supreme leader. listen to that debate right now about what is going on in the arab world. on the one hand, it seems that
mr. medina ahmadinejad thing in this whole thing was staged. america is doing this to secure american interests and above all strengthened israel's pigeon shooting. if you listen to the rhetoric of ayatollah khamenei who believes this is an islamic awakening muslim people are rising up, found their roots, islam and so forth and by the way again and began throughout the propaganda, they are inspired by the 1979 iranian revolution. in many ways there's a strong domestic issue here. trying to legitimize on rule for the audiences saying which you good people of iran to 32 years ago is only happening today, but she did it early. don't get upset with these populations. they have finally caught up in her joining us. that is the message.
i mean, if you for a second put yourself in the shoes of one of those small gcc states, half a million population of bahrain or 250,000 qatar, if you listen to the rhetoric and the iranian regime doesn't come you've got to ask yourself, which he blamed the gcc states about being worried about what your intentions are quite can anybody really, regardless of the nature of these regimes, can you blame the gcc states when they react the way they do? i don't think the iranian regime appreciate the volume of his anti-gcc rhetoric. it's very heavy, coming steadily. i think the last point there was interesting. and you can find -- you can find so many examples of that kind of doubletalk coming from iranian officials as saying on the one hand they are supporting in the same paragraph, sometimes things
than is supporting arab revolutions. they welcomed arab revolutions. i.e. the toppling of the current regimes at the same time saying we have nothing to do with it. if you are a gcc audience or if you are really one of the gcc states, you're not going to be convinced by that message. you're going to put a lot more emphasis on iran being a champion of revolutions and that alone i think is what is driving the gcc states towards where it's going right now. two majors strongly worded community gcc states the last week. we haven't seen that in history in 30 years. within 10 days the issue to very strong communicates. that tells you something about the mentality of what the threat perceptions of the gcc. when you get qatar of all places to back you up, that tells you again they have very good ties with the islamic republic. okay, let me finally going to
the site here and take you to -- actually, i don't know if this is last one. but jordan and the gcc, what i mean by that? want to take each of the debate have been few months ago. and mistakes due to the dispute and iran. a man called masha recommit the right-hand man of president ahmadinejad was going around the world and talking about the school of iran comes first before islam. a lot of people in iran angry at the same as this about? want is people pushing iranian nationalism, why you said might islam and the clergy is. that's a whole separate debate and i believe ahmadinejad is looking to prolong the satisfaction of power in a recent society no islamism the force. they need to find some new ways of galvanizing as clarinda
supposed to be one of the things they hope will galvanize. these figures. they go from albanian to the persian heritage. forget islam for a second. one of the countries that visits his jordan. king abdullah the second of jordan discusses invitation to come to tehran. remember in the islamic republic narrative, jordan is a cia asset, right? this is the perception. the cia runs jordan. and you go up to amman and invite the king of the country to come to iraq for one purpose. ahmadinejad peep as they always do don't budge and maintain they've come for the persian celebrations of march. but at some point, and this probably happened as a direct consequence of what the arab world has experienced in the uprising, particularly after the arab support, pro-u.s.-arab
touted by the gcc state because jordan will bring 7 million citizens, labor, trained military force against the islamic republic. >> and i would like to sort of round up by her under scoring is the same point which is to say the iranians don't really of a blueprint and there's a lot of rhetoric and my reading the underestimate the impact of their own health. the notion that you can say anything you want, and called the ruling elites in the states as lacking of the west and the same time tell them don't worry we didn't mean it. it's not working for them. it's obvious from the states are doing right now is a man again, talk about the confederation bringing jordan into the group.
there's extraordinary time we are witnessing. and if that happens in the lesson for us i guess is probably iran played all this because the gcc states because the fact iraq didn't face one block before small arab states iran could play against each other at times and it did playing off saudi arabia and so forth. if the gcc states are forced into one another's arms and they have more unity than they had before this represents a major geopolitical loss for the islamic republic. if you look at the value of the collected states would have an for instance bringing about more isolation from the regime of on the nuclear issue for instance
the united states was looking for more better effective cooperation and willingness on the part of the states to play their part containing iran so far the gcc states haven't really played the role accept the usual suspects of saudi arabia but that isn't a country that has had much dealing with iran in the trade front how do you get them on board and as i said if this continues and if the state's remaining three were nervous about iran the outcome could well be that iran at least in the short term is we could on a sudden flag, so that is just one scenario and with that i would stop. thanks very much for listening. [applause] thank you very much. for years we've been waiting to see the gcc become a real body. so maybe this helps. done not for the country we are all looking at, saudi arabia. >> thank you command as your and the jamestown foundation for or
gunning organize in this event and allowing me to participate. this time last week i was having very similar conversations to the ones we are having today. and i think there are two parallel lines of discussion here about saudi arabia, and at the end we can make the parallel lines come together. one is the domestic situation in saudi arabia, and the other -- >> is that okay? the other is the iran bought grain situation. their only related but come together at the and the presentation. you may have read analyses, there's a long one in "the wall street journal" and all kinds saying that saudi arabia is going to be the next big domino of the air of spring. after all it is a sort of
autocratic country and geriatric leadership, youth employment, it has all those characteristics, and a society that has no way to make its manifest its political will and make the government responsive to its desire. but in fact nothing happened in saudi arabia and was unlikely anything what happened. the days of rage fizzled. there were a lot of reasons for this and i want to run through them quickly. saudi arabia is not like egypt or tunisia. i was into nisha briefly last fall and was infuriating the end of the government and the depression and the political inertia was palpable in to nisha. saudi arabia isn't like that it is a very dynamic environment. so it can't be compared to what was going on under these autocratic who had seized power
bill legitimately or can to force in the so-called republics. first of all, the king of saudi arabia is personally popular. people like him. unlike the reviled rulers were ousted egypt and tunisia. the family of which the king of course is a senior member are not perceived as usurpers unlike the shock let's say, the family have been laboring since the middle of the 18th-century to forge a unified country on the arabian peninsula and finally succeeded at the beginning of the 25th and they are perceived as the people that put saudi arabia together and the glue that holds them together in an environment where use of certain elements of geographic and tribal differences they're the ones who will the together. they have the support of the religious establishment which is
very powerful influence of forces in saudi arabia. now you can say but of course they have the support of the religious establishment not because of the partnership of mohammed and that was responsible for the creation of modern but because they are employees of the government work for the state of saudi arabia and they make a good living. they're very comfortable doing it. they do with your told so they can to a certain extent discount the pronouncements of the most notable one of course being the one the issued from the leading desert storm everyone knows knows they themselves didn't approve of that massive invasion of the foreign troops into saudi arabia. with the king wants the keen debts, so you can discount the value of the proclamation by the saudis singing the demonstrations are on islamic and therefore prohibited. but in fact a lot of people
believe that because they are taught from their earliest days in school islam requires obedience and the enforcers and the upholders of that. furthermore the saudi people just live through like only yesterday a three year period of violence come up people and shootouts in the street. during the al qaeda uprising that began in 2003. they lived through that security barriers went up. cars were stopped and searched and policemen took to the streets in the modern history and they didn't like it. they didn't like a people in the streets that disrupted life in the kingdom of saudi arabia. it is in the way of doing things and they certainly didn't want to see a repetition of that came with demonstrations and protests in the street. there is in addition of course don't discount the confidence
now and the determination of the saudi security forces. the government reissued proclamation saying the demonstrations and strikes are a legal and security forces were prepared to enforce it and if there's one benefit to the saudi state from the uprising by al qaeda in the arabian peninsula it's that the soviet media are much more efficient and competent now that they were ten years ago. they are good at what they do and they were not tolerating any kind of disorder in the street and they made that clear. it's true that saudi arabia has an impoverished underclass but it's a relatively small slice of the population and they are far outnumbered by the citizens who have benefited from the existing system and benefit from it every day through government jobs, state funded ventures, business ventures with the ruling family, scholarships, to the extent that people have succeeded in saudi arabia in education, business,
professional life and that is a lot of people. unlike egypt and tunisia. they succeeded because the system and not in spite of it and therefore they have no incentive to overthrow it. furthermore, unlike egypt, tunisia and yemen saudi arabia has put loads of cash which is a powerful lubricant when you're trying to keep things turning over smoothly as the king and demonstrated to the tune of more than $100 billion in those packages of goodies that he handed out a thing to give demonstrations in the streets you understand this was the king bestowing the benefits of the country's wealth on the deserving citizenry and one of? you could say this was essentially bribe money. that's the single way of looking at it but in fact that's the way
the saudi state operated since 1938. the central government, the king collects money and gives it out. that's why you a trustee and water are free although they are short of both. it's why gasoline is like 40 cents a gallon in saudi arabia. why health care and education are such a way they are are free. that's the way the system works. when you just saw was one big fat manifestation of the way the country has worked, and by the way, largely to the material well-being of the population for 70 years. that's what they do their. and in fact of course the worldwide increase in the oil prices prompted by other troubles enabled the saudis to handle all these goodies without busting the budget. i believe this year they
balanced the budget that the dollar will even with the new expenditures. as 110-dollar oil they are in fat city. they can get out as much as the need. so, i don't mean to make light of it. these are serious issues but i can tell you that the people are not in an insurrectionary moved come and to the extent you talk to the people in saudi arabia, they are actually quite ambivalent about what we call the term we use collectively for lack of a better -- what we call democracy. you talk to the saudis about opening up the government and allowing greater citizen participation and elected parliaments and all that other stuff and they talk about iraq. you say elections, they say lebanon. to talk about an elected
parliament with real power and they say kuwait. they don't like it. they don't see the wellbeing of the body politic of the state benefits from replacing the islamic system that they have and the marquee which is generally good to them with a system that produces only on a certainty, disorder and state paralysis. why would you want to do that? if you add all these things up, plus of course the complete disenfranchisement of women who are real troublemakers and these other countries you don't have anything approaching critical mass for the kind of a people in saudi arabia that you saw elsewhere. but if you read the petitions, there were some petitions to circulate. a petition spasms' every free you years in saudi arabia in which the petitions are being sent around. the petition, the latest round
of petitions were uniform in their collective call for modifications and improvements of the existing system, not replacing it with a different system. so perhaps he liked the ashura. i think i found widespread sentiment for separating the job of the king from the job of the prime minister. since the time of king faisal he's been the prime minister. saudi arabia is a big complicated country now. nobody can do both jobs especially at the age of 87. and certainly people think that the next king shouldn't also to be the next prime minister. there may be three or four in the next ten years but this issue will remain because it goes with the territory. so finally, i might say i had a
long conversation last week with a friend of mine who is a well-known in these circles, he was the third man on the long list of signatories in the petitions and he's been laboring in this venue for years, and he confirmed what i'd been told by other people that by circulating these petitions the relatively small handful of particulate dissenters in the kingdom are not under any illusion that tomorrow morning the king will wake up and read them and say you know what that's a good idea let's do that. let's of the constitutional monarchy. what they're doing is educating, they are laying down markers for a politically unsophisticated populace. this is what you should want. this is what you ought to aspire to in a modern state that's more responsive to the citizenry and where there is some accountability. they don't believe it's going to
happen tomorrow, but there is no sense of what the conservative political action would look like in saudi arabia because it's been prohibited for so long and in that sense it is similar to libya. and the reason there were furious arguments in saudi arabia all the time intense debates about really obscure matters of religion this is the how long should your beard be argument. the government encourages those arguments because the substitute for politics. so you don't have even with all the people that educated outside saudi arabia a politically sophisticated citizen. now, all of this is what happened or didn't happen inside saudi arabia. it's related to what happened in bahrain only in the sense that the shia minority in saudi
arabia misread the situation that overplayed their hand, and i think there's pretty good evidence that the saudi shia who always insist they are not to dish the two stooges, they just want to be treated fairly, i think they were perceived as having gotten out in front of the movement in saudi arabia that the anticipated but which didn't happen and because it came to be associated with the shia who did have some demonstrations, it immediately alienated everybody else who didn't want anything to do with a potential movement that could be traced to the shia or be perceived as part of an iranian fifth column. in the midst of all of this, was the it was before 10:00 i got my
first call from someone in the media wanted to know what i think what was going on with the saudis sending troops in bahrain under the banner of the gcc and i wouldn't talk about it because i refused to believe it. i was literally unable to believe that the gcc which for reasons we heard alex explain couldn't tie using shoes on strategic issues for years actually took a collective decision to intervene in bahrain. it turned out i was right as an entity they didn't do this. the saudis did and then they got other people to support beginning with a uae but alex's completely right deutsch and the rivalries which have prevented it from becoming -- they don't have a unified currency after committing themselves years ago led alone in a unified security strategy because they were
dominated by saudi arabia, when qatar endorsed with the saudis had done to the extent of the collective alarm about bought rain which means collective alarm about iran. i thought from qatar's perspective for saudi arabia did set a very dangerous precedent. the would walk into any of these countries if they wanted to and that is part of what they were afraid of. you may recall during his last six months of the centcom commander david petraeus if public speeches in which he essentially said that this is so white here in the gcc that they are never going to have a unified coherent strategy so we stopped trying. we are going to create what we want to call bilateral multinational laws and by dealing with these countries one on one. this is the only way to do it, and now this wasn't actually i'm
told it peninsula shield force. this is a saudi force with a contingent masquerading as a peninsula shield forced to give it the cloak of the gcc. it's rather an omelet is calling the war in afghanistan a nato war. come on, who's fighting the war in afghanistan? we are, right? and that's the same thing that's true in saudi arabia. so south ury be i talked to a lot of people about this. some of them directly involved in foreign affairs and some of them and not. for all of their differences about the direction of the country they were unanimous that bahrain was going to fall to the iranians whether officially or not and that is the red line and that is not going to happen. to the extent iran wants to come across the gulf that cannot be permitted. i didn't hear one word of dissent the saudis should have
sent more troops or had done differently nobody objected to that. so in that sense, the issue was really did because the perceived involvement of the shia in trying to stir up trouble inside saudi arabia was part of what kept the citizens pacified. i don't want to leave the impression that all is well in saudi arabia cut of your buddies happy with the present situation. i've been going there for 35 years. most recent visit our people are more willing and even eager to criticize and speak out about what's wrong. than i ever have in the past. a friend of mine actually said to me we are the tea party. we are fed up. i was astonished. and what was he talking about? he was talking about not that the monarchy has to go, but that
government offices and agencies, schools, systems, hospitals are incompetent and inefficient. there is no accountability, there's no way to make the system respond to you. and that's what they want to change. and so they do think it's possible to achieve that improvement within the existing system or they think that so far. i don't know what they're going to think in 15 years. we used to have a saying i don't know where we got it but when i was an active duty journalism we talked about the idea if only those are new. conditions for the peasants to run russia are terrible but if he's a good man he would do something to help us. this is a certain element if only the king knew about this attitude in saudi arabia that the king is a good guy just so busy he can't do it all himself
is why the prime minister shouldn't be the king. i don't know how long they can maintain that but i don't see any immediate domestic threat to the saudi system no matter what happens in the countries all around. thanks very much. [applause] >> thank you. let me take advantage of my position appeared for the first question to tom on saudi arabia given that king abdullah i agree is quite popular and the closest thing to the reformer and saudi arabia, what do you think the succession will look like and will any of the potential successors have the capacity of making the kind of change that you're talking about and that i think the saudis are asking for not enough people but certainly more accountability and efficiency in government?
>> remondi going to answer that because i have a five-year multiple entry visa. [laughter] speculation about this was a sure way to alienate people in saudi arabia who can make life difficult for you which i don't want to do. look, there are only a dozen people in the world who know what kind of deliberations are going on inside the family's and i'm not one of them and anybody in this country who tells me he knows is making it up or lying to you. the secession is imminent. some people think that those packages of the king handed out for a farewell present to the people of saudi arabia. but there's more uncertainty than certainty about this because the state of health of the next people in line. i think it is a safe bet now that he will not become king
because he's not capable of exercising the power to the kingship. the second deputy prime minister is one of the so-called seven group of brothers who have shown certain solidarity in the past, as a matter of law he will become king if the 2i had of him or to die in the leading candidate under the so-called allegiance system that the king adopted three or four years ago after the king abdullah and sold -- sultan the subsequent sessions would be determined by the so-called allegiance council and the best way to think of that is the week that its seven the law it's analogous to which the cardinals will go into the
vatican and you don't know anything about the deliberations but eventually there will be a puff of smoke. theoretically any of those cardinals could emerge as the pope. but what happens of course is the pope in the media and elsewhere designates certain cardinals before they go in. one of them is going to emerge as the pope. i would add one more thing that i think it's human nature we can assume the senior princes and members of the legion's council 35 of them before engaging in a family. i know i'm not king to be king. it's human nature, their fathers, rivalries within the clan and anywhere else. in the short run by which i mean the next 15 to 20 years from the
american perspective i don't think it matters much. because any potential king it's going to be a 7:00 on the so-called left to right spectrum. there's no constituency within the family for the taliban style rule or radical space reform >> what's open up for questions. >> i have a question concerning against his premise that the state is based on rhetoric and there's not really a policy there and he provided a lot of evidence to support the case about the rhetoric, but i am just wondering if you have any evidence to support your point about the lack of policy. especially when you mention things like that on a measure of
inviting the jordanian king to come to visit or as a moderate this morning, as a moderator this morning mentioned that ahmadinejad had tried to get rid of the agency to set up his own intel agency. with the minister of intelligence who was resignation was accepted and then suddenly back in the cab that but the essential mouthpiece for the regime kept the story that said he did resign was gone. the fact he had to get 290 members to write a letter saying president, take a step back from the brink, stop the fight with the supreme leader. this is a plot. to go back to the question about foreign policy, why did i mention jordan?
you can look at what is going on in terms of the debate in iran as the faction looking at its own interest and saying where can we move forward and keep the real shame and some would appeal to the population? particularly after what happened in 2009. this is a faction looking at the motives that might work for it. if you look back to 2005 elections, was the basic message he got elected? back to basics, wealth distribution and such things as social reform. the government of iran should have no business in dealing with what people wear, how long their beards are and so forth he didn't deliver in the first term, 2009 he didn't get the vote and we know what happened in 2009 but they are making a comeback looking for ways to
sort of set the stage for the faction to continue and in the field of the foreign policy, may be what's happening right now is mahmoud ahmadinejad is thinking okay i'm talking about the holocaust never happened, didn't really deliver anything for me. the still don't love me the way they do the other after just once with israel and of more than me. maybe i should change my foreign policy. the school of iran is something that appeals to my population who had enough of this long after 32 years might also resume in the regions of that is what you are seeing their experimenting. you have to remember how his hands were tied. he's playing the situation where he takes one step too far, too quickly and get a letter from the supreme leader saying put your minister of intelligence backend, please because the leader doesn't need to have constitutional restraint. we can just decide the policy. so that's what i was trying to say.
jordan, reaching out to jordan symbolically to say perhaps we want to break away from that sort of pull rejectionist cap or at least we don't want to limit ourselves to the hamas and hezbollah regime any more. we can see that in the domestic policy and lots of issues and we can see that in foreign policy. how many others -- hamid karzai doesn't like that and he feels the same with the dialogue of civilization this could come at his expense, but haitians of his powers. >> can also say something about that quickly? adding to alex's comment which is agreed, i think there is a possibility of two interesting things developing. one is a new development, the possibility we are seeing now in iran in the post-election iran the emergence of the nationalistic or a nationalistic discourse, one of the
ahmadinejad type which is the populist regime we should focus on iran for the various ways of trying to legitimize the state that lost a lot of legitimacy after the elections and another one of course the old islamist discourse that we are also islamic and of course the supreme leader is supposed to kind of lead that image or that discourse on so many different levels. that is possibly happening right now and coming out from the factional division within the hard line or the conservative faction by iranian politics. there's another possibility which i think probably dates back to 1980, and it is an institutional one. the tension between presidents and elective office and the supreme leader and we saw this happening in 1980 where the tension was so much eventually the president was kicked out and he left the country and now lives in paris or the tensions that we saw in the reformists with the supreme leader and now
we're just seeing that all institutional tensions are emerging in different ways in the post-election with the president as a nonclerical of the supreme leader. so either we would ever did is i think it just shows that our major shifts and changes are happening within the islamic republic at this moment. >> our speakers seem to agree >> our speakers seem to agree one salient development has been a more coherent approach to the challenge in bahrain albeit one led by saudi arabia. my question is we see reports in the media of the gcc role in negotiating a solution to the situation in yemen, and i would like your assessment of that. is that also a meaningful gcc
activity or is it a saudi activity under the guide of the gcc, and what does it say about the development of coherent gcc policy and the future relations between yemen and the gcc? >> just quickly, my understanding i tried to stay out of yemen you know, really, but i do think the gcc states including the ones the border yemen really have come to see the potential danger to them of the state dillinger in yemen it would inevitably have the spillover effect if nothing else because when yemen runs out of water in a few years you're going to have a huge flood of refugees coming across the border to be unmanageable and
this may be an example in which there really is a collective recognition of an imminent threat it doesn't cost them anything to try to talk to people and to negotiate and it doesn't threaten the sovereignty of the individual members the way that bahrain did so this may be an example where the gcc actually might perform a unified command function is and is editor general that seems more inclined to go down those lines. >> and if i could follow up on what tom said likely than two yen in once and i made a mistake of flying into yemen from dubai and that gave me the wrong impression about him in because i was really literally going back in time. but the point of the demographic explosion, substance abuse, dropping oil production, you name it, they are from different fronts and you are one of those tiny gcc states that about all one's investment confidence and so forth, you've got this wild card at of the arabian peninsula
to deal with it. clearly something saudi arabia took the lead and it's about money at the question because the first deal was to spin on the table from the the opposition rejected one wonders the opposition wasn't enough for them and another thing i say about this is look at the gcc involvement this year i mention the saudis would have been involved. when i was in yemen i was told huge sums of money over $100 million annually shot in yemen to various parties, that's how they play in yemen. can i prove this? no but it is a chapter in yemen saudi arabia must have played a role in that and i think the other states probably didn't have a distinct view and went along but look at the way they played their role in libya
verses of the other states? if you have some sort of a common foreign policy how come it's not playing itself of an air of cases like libya but it plays of william and? i think it is in the case of human is relatively low for the other and we have this common thread perception and the saudi arabia leadership to put off most notably elsewhere in libya. >> we will go to the back. >> this question is one of the things that is interesting to us is with the impact on tehran's domestic situation there is a large minority populations with iran, arab, kurdish, so on and so forth. there has been no mention of the reporting of how the grassroots movement could impact these minority groups, and what they
can do politically to mobilize against, you know, the regime they feel marginalizes them. most of the political groups it is discussed from the persian perspective can anybody speak on how the minority groups within iran mobilize to the uprising throughout the muslim world and especially sunni muslims and how they respond to this. >> first we have to be aware of the problem sources. i've worked on the arab iranians for years and i still dare not make any major judgments about arab by iranians as one particular ethnic minority group in iran both in terms of politics society and economy, and we have to be careful. also, we have to be very careful with regards to the ethnic politics in iran. also the religious minority politics in iran because extremely complicated. i guess in washington we have a tendency to look at politics in the region with terms of trials
and ethnic politics. in the case of iran especially after experience, we know that the i iranian nationalism continues to play a major role. so even at times and arab of iranian sees himself or herself as an iranian first and perhaps an arab. with regards to that knowledge, if you look from that prism, then the question of minority, ethnic minority issues is not the major theme especially in the post-election iran. most of it revolves around either the term of reform are making the government more accountable or making the government more efficient especially in the province. especially with these baluchi minorities. now, at the same time we have to be very careful because the baluchis have been we more discriminated than the air above iranians or the other minor ethnic groups, then i would probably say that the baluchi
minorities took the more ethnic public with regard to the post election politics and the irony in government used that f. too politic that was led in order to justify itself as this benevolent government who is there to protect the unity of iran as a nation state whereas with regards to a very small political faction among militant political faction, the corps is the same thing with eda by iranians, a very tiny political militant movement in exile the iranian government is not really that much worried. it is worried about the baluchi case and still is and remember there is a saudi role and this is the argument about cold war with saudi arabia we shouldn't forget that aspect, the complexity of the regional politics. but the only thing that i would ask everyone here to be very careful with the ethnic politics especially when it comes to like iran. unlike iraq, iran has had a very powerful experiment with rationalism and that is good
news for the iranian government. they don't need to worry much about it. i don't know if that answers your question but i just kind of try to shake up the premise of the question you brought up. >> if i could follow up slightly on that. one way when i release sort of compare i say when you look at iraq to look at the country put together a list than 100 years ago. you look at the iranian committee like mechem have persian, do i ever consider the two different components? no and it's a reflection of these people live 2.5 million years and for the u.s. policy-making whenever there is a sign that foreigners are trying to put one group iranians against the other it backfires. human-rights, there's a very receptive audience. they want to hear about the methods at the hands of the islamic republic. they don't want to hear about, you know, some by creating a new map of the middle east all divided into various countries, but i also say there is an element right now that is very timely to bear in mind.
what was one of the charges if you'll remember recently kuwait expelled a number of iranian diplomats on the charges did they were involved in spying on the armed forces in the american military in kuwait. the emotions were running high and one of the things that the newspapers came out and said on one occasion and actually quoting the official was to say if iran metals and in our affairs and bought rain we will meddle in your affairs specifically pointed out to the province which the arabs were the shia about 2 million of them or so left. that is where 65% of the oil fields are. they aren't going to see that region go away because that would be leaving it behind. my point is at times of heightened regional political rivalries you see these issues come up, so iran is suddenly said to be involved in the province where saudi arabia have been to live in the world where
oil is and the retaliate, so we have to be very careful with this. the dimension doesn't have to be that big, nor does the ethnic and mengin have to be big and if you're not careful it gets big and out of control all parties, and i believe including the west would be losing out. but actually just a reminder, historical footnote, remember saddam hussein also relied on the ethnic argument that the minute he would walk into the area by iranians would join hands and that backfired. most of them fought hand-in-hand with the irg sea members and many of them became members and fought against the iraqi air of this. despite the fact that family members. so just let us be careful because i know he is a cool guy but to focus to much of the ethnic and sectarianism is really just simplistic. i loved biden.
[laughter] >> other questions. >> i have a question for mr. wittman. u.s. saudi relations stance on mubarak and bahrain. how do you see that panning out? and also whether you see the saudis in the long run being more assertive to keep up with the assertiveness. >> this does appear to be one of those relatively down times in the relationship between the united states and saudi air arabia. i've heard various explanations for it. unbeknownst to me i wasn't aware that apparently the saudis were extremely unhappy at a speech that secretary clinton gave an doha up the corrective leadership they thought pointed at them. we got down deep in the weeds of this. apparently in his last days at
the state department spokesman, peter jay crowley was making a statement about the region in which he said the united states believes that governments in the region have to respond to and accommodate sentiments of the people including saudi arabia. i mean, a gratuitous addendum to the sentence as the saudis saw. the mubarak thing i don't think the saudis believe that the united states could or should have saved the mubarak presidency. what did they want us to do any more than we could have saved sharnak? but there is this sense that we contributed to the humiliation or should we say the unseemly haste with which we jettisoned somebody who had been perceived as being to the saudi view one of the good guys for a long time. you add up all of these things on top of the very lean during
deep-rooted sentiment that we, the united states basically delivered iraq to the iranians, and people are pretty disenchanted. but that's not to say that there is going to be any permanent or sustained breach in the relationship. neither country wants it or can afford it and bad times in the past. the arms deal will go ahead. >> what about that expression scratch a shia and he will find an arabian underneath. something in one of the other places i recently visited is bahrain it reminded me of things i'd seen in the southern iraq and southern lebanon where you
could actually find they may have a picture of khomeini in their home it doesn't mean their pro-iranian all. and the same thing in southern iraq and the iran iraq war fought against the ayatollah in forces and the of no sympathy for the iranian state the have admiration for the ayatollah khomeini as a revolutionary shia leader. and the people have essentially been silenced in this conflict in bahrain they seem to be speaking. sophie shia have basically been silenced and i want to know if anyone wants to comment on that. >> for what it's worth, i personally think, and i think i've seen people in the u.s. government sort of reflect the sentiment is a mistake on the
part of these pro erev u.s. governments to come out so quickly as they have done and label their citizens who happen to be shia first as shia and then as arabs because what they are doing in my view is they are repeating the same mistake that they did in iraq. will the effectively push maliki and all of the sunni shia elite into the arms of the iranians, and you can bet if there is a vacuum the iranians will fill it particularly when it involves the shia. this is a mistake. call them as arabs first and then refer to their religious identity, not the other way around because you give the game to the armenians. we have seen them i feel playing a very dangerous awful game in my view and i think that it is expressed by certain u.s. the grumet officials to say don't look at all of them in the region as agents of iraq. in the case of bahrain there is one-third of the population
happens to be of the iranian descent. people who left iran back in the 1920's under the rule, so you do actually have one item in bahrain as soon as they know where i was born they would play some persian music just to sort of -- is a strong cultural affinity in many ways of the arabian dissent by a skeptic about the idea of seeing pictures of ayatollah khomeini everywhere. i agree to a i don't think that the cultural influence is far greater than the political message of the islamic republic which you have to go into sort of isolated pockets like hamas and the charity work they did and they bring money to the table. >> to comment on that, the whole
aspect, in 2005 when i went to visit southern iraq i saw ayatollah khomeini's pictures all over the place and i would go and ask the iraqi is what's the deal are you going to follow and no, we do not want the islamic republic but we just love ayatollah khomeini, he was a cool by and looked like sean connery, all those different things we hear but of course that's a different story, they are actually followed as the supreme leader and religious spiritual leader, so unfortunately you see or we hear from the u.s. reporters and journalists we simply read into that and they're going to establish the republican iraq. the famous guy, the so-called revolution never even advocated that notion. they disagree strongly with khomeini. so we are talking about complexity and diversity, and that is very much the case with the different factions
throughout the middle east and it is very sad i agree with you for the king of jordan to come and talk about the present which in itself is a self-fulfilling prophecy but also could be a big mess for them in the demise of the own rules. >> the center of the saudi shia they would tell you the same thing. yes, we are shia and discrimination as awful and prohibited from this and that we are not stooges, we are proud of the arabs so this is a subject on which all of the arab regimes will compromise on the subject of israel and the iranians are not and there's the deep-seeded opposition to and loathing of israel among people all religious persuasions in the arab world and they are doing more about that than any of the sunni arab regime.
>> we've all talked about the whole question and the one thing that hasn't come up is why has the ball reena leadership cracked down so harshly we all know the paranoia about the irony in hand behind shia and bahrain and there were divisions within the sunni family in bahrain. there were factions within the sunni family in bahrain on the conference and some of his supporters who wanted to have a dialogue and mechem to the more reasonable approach and the other side of primarily insist on the crackdown and it's a red line as you say. >> we've got five more minutes i think. >> one of the big strategic questions brought up this morning i would like you to address and i'm going to put in a plug because you have a piece coming out with james on iran
and syria. the reaction development in syria, so that seems to be the big question what would be the strategic impact on iran sugar regime fall and you can talk about it but also alex because the strategic dimension address what it would mean really and if you could just address how the saudis might react because that seems like that might be the equivalent of the berlin wall if one could make an analogy to what happened in 1989 >> i read this piece a few days ago and this man argues of syria goes iran is going to have a major problem with the region especially in the case of the hezbollah which is iran has been supported for many years of course syria is the bridge for iran to have contact with hezbollah and that goes
especially as a sunni lead islamist government replaces that is going to be a major problem for iran because my understanding is that the sunni islamist factions syria is to a certain extent not antiiranian or sympathetic iranian even so they admire hezbollah for the deutsch and the so-called 33 war with israel that in 2006. still, they're very suspicious of iran i don't think iran would lose syria and even probably helping syria to stifle this. that's one thing and they will take care of the descent. so not too much worried about that they will stay in power at least the same government will stay in power. but if seeley goes, i would absolutely agree with that point they would have a major problem in the eastern mediterranean and
will be a major loss, major loss. >> my only comment is to sort of follow-up yes, you know, syria has been a great practical channel ha to hezbollah in lebanon. we take syria out its charter to deliver whatever it is you have to deliver to hezbollah but i think that the iranians have always had a pretty healthy in my view held the view on where we stand with syria. this has never been an ideological issue with the regime nothing in common and turnips of ideology. it's obvious whenever these israelis started talking and they're making headway is you'll hear the debate say this is where our syrian friends, that's the price and then we can kiss this relationship goodbye. so this isn't going to taken as
a surprise, but i agree it's printed with the strategic disadvantage. the saudi money and the coordination is what brings the new syrian regime to power that is a big geopolitical loss we are around because you always have to see the saudi -- >> remember what happened in an effort to sort of pull the space between syria come to price them loose the king did quite a lot in the saudi view. first, he essentially took the investigation of the table. even though he was there the saudis say one word about that anymore. and then he invited brochard to the opening of the king abdullah's university, the project, great fanfare and then he went to seeley on a publicized visit in which he took all the saudi media with him. to invite ramadan and a shot to
come from syria and stand with him in a news conference and talk about solidarity forever. can't to go back to meddling in lebanon. they've had it. so the idea would place botcharov al asad with the sunni regime of almost any sort of political structure is not unpalatable to the saudis. >> or the rest of the gcc. >> other questions? okay last question at the very end. >> the microphone is coming your way. >> he mentioned oilers lubricant that keeps saudi arabia running smoothly. could estonia, could the society and government just as just back to the 50-dollar per barrel oil price if that were to happen over an extended period of time peacefully? >> how much time are we talking about? in ten years, sure.
you used to hear saudi people expostulating so there's no oil and away to the old way of life, right back to votes and heard them across the iraqi border. today's saudis have grown up in air-conditioned bewick's and apartments they wouldn't know how to live. remember what happened in the 1980's when the price of oil really went below $10 a barrel what happened is the president george h. w. bush went to saudi arabia and urged them to drive the price back up because west texas was going down the drain. [laughter] but that was then. they've got enough money in the bank that they can absorb budgetary deficits much better than certainly other countries to talk about for quite some
time and they have the ability to control to a certain extent the way the woodwork. the saudis wish to maintain solidarity with sinopec for their own reasons. but it would take quite a sustained price depression to cause them any real pain. >> with that i would like to thank are excellent panel and the audience for listening and participating. [applause] [inaudible conversations]