tv U.S. Policy in the Middle East CSPAN April 20, 2018 6:36am-9:01am EDT
the failed attack was one sobering example of this behavior. america is and in and is part two joyous spirals. we had brokered and maintained those channels to prevent collisions. communication between the coalition and the russians helped minimize the risk of mix calculation. we do not see a confrontation but our forces well not hesitate to use necessary and prepares proportionate force to defend themselves as they are engaged in these.
in the days and weeks ahead of the united states and our allies will degrade in defeat isis support a stable syria and limit the spread of influence. we will work with nato -- allies. thank you and i look forward to your questions. our delegations were met in many of the capitals. they raise the same concern. up to lebanon and theirs question.
will it mean the end to the allies in the region. what can be done to prevent the consolidation where you see the transfer now of the heavy weapons and missiles. if they were called into question. with the independent state. i want to ask about that strategy. given those as the primary terrace proxy. why had we not see more designations.
with respect to syria. the plumber see in policy in terms of an effort. how are going to perhaps bring an essay for zones and expand those zones to protect those on the ground. there needs to be a comprehensive strategy. in terms of the options to pursue the fact that some of the initiatives that we've taken here that would impose
rural cost. i do is ask another question. does the administration support imposing costs. for their role in the sod regimes. they've taken steps with respect to those iranian proxy forces. in actions both in syria and outside. we will continue to act aggressively to that end. one area that i think if i can disclose here.
i hope that the senate with a lot of pressure from the administration and us will move quickly. to the civilian protection act in order to put this into law and i think this will help protect. thank you and i go to mister ago. i just want to say when a secretary tillerson outlined the administration's intentions and syria as the chairman mentioned. he laid out a whole list of goals i just hope that those
goals remain goals that we are trying to move forward with and the problem is while isis is obviously the worst of the worst the way i looked at syria and still do is that our goal should not had been only the defeat of isis. i really think the defeat of asad was a parallel goal. unfortunately i think under the two administrations it really hasn't been. it just breaks my heart that we didn't offer support to the syrian people when they needed it the most. the wall street journal reported this week the administration was looking to
set up an arab force let me ask either of you some questions who would contribute and how it would take place. to what extent is this feasible. considering how the region as. not controlled by a sod. how effective with these fighters be. we have we've not seen them be effective. those are just some questions about this. how much of this have we thought out. the president has made clear he wishes to see the u.s. continue and complete the campaign against isis and northeast.
-- syria. he believes regional and local parties and they need to take on this struggle as they themselves are directly exposed. therefore we are reaching out. two partners across the region to see what form of contribution and not just financial they may make to sustaining this fight beyond the destruction of isis. while i agree with everything you said ambassador to me i really think to read syria or to be as important as our isis concerns. a theory in which they remain as leaders.
et cetera syria which we would predict to be meaningful secure. or not a source of generation threat. is why we have strongly supported the political process led by the un unfortunately that political process has been blocked and the parties responsible for blocking it are quite clear as the regime itself and the russians who through their absence of pressure on the regime and damascus. it virtually have the entire international community and they support it. are they satisfied with the current communication channels in place with russia since russia became engaged in syria they've relied extensively on
this. many of our partners including georgia in iraq what discussions have the u.s. have about closing the respected airspace to such flights. >> ranking member. is quite robust with russia had focused on the functions on the ground thank you mister chairman. i'm hoping to get some clarification on the current status of the plo office. as we know it is unlawful for that plo to maintain it in the united states. the executive had has had
waiver authority to remain open this waiver must be renewed every six months and last november the administration allowed that waiver to lapse. they then had 90 days to issue a secondary waiver. that deadline passed in february and no waiver of any kind has been issued since. interestingly however the issue the plo commitments compliance report stating as it always does that the plo has not lived up to its commitment. in the interests of national interest of national security which is used so often. my questions are under what authority is the plo office
currently remain open why has it not been closed in accordance with the law. it starts the clock as not the deadline. in other words this waiver exists in perpetuity. it will never had to issue the secondary waiver in and office well never had to close despite the underlying law. is that your interpretation. i think it be quite useful to provide to you a detailed written response on the different aspects but i can give you a broad overall summary. in interpreting the consequences to wave originally.
we've allowed the office to remain not open in a formal status. it's been downgraded but to remain able to communicate in support of peace negotiations. we believe the continued purposes of the office meet that requirement. i like to provide you with a detailed response to the different aspects that you ask. i'm really interested about the authority in which it remains open. there are elections in just a few weeks. in which they will manage to maintain their position probably strengthen it. we have to recognize the reality that hezbollah as part
of the political process in lebanon. do we have the same position in room cards to has below what the armed forces. thank you. we both designate members of those associated as well as entities that are involved. that hasn't changed that remains in his vigorously pursued. with respect to the outcome. those outcomes but i would say broadly speaking we do not see the likelihood of a dramatic change in the political constellations with regard to
the armed forces i do want to be clear. the united states has provided exceptional support in recent years we have a personal working with and in the lebanese armed forces. and how those forces function that we never had in the past. we do not believe that the armed forces are anything other than a legitimate institution of the lebanese state. and strengthening that legitimate institution you effectively counter the illegitimate security structures which pose a challenge to the statements authority.
i echo the chairman's desire to see more designation. take a breather i head about three minutes where i will preview questions at the time. first when you fill all of the important positions at the state department. they have diplomatic contacts and the taliban. some people accuse the media been terrorist. the real question as does it doesn't currently give money to terrorist organizations or allow its citizens to do so. saudi arabia once a nuclear program just because saudi arabia is anti- iran does not mean that they have embraced
the values. i don't think a nuclear weapon brings us closer to peace. many were impressed by iran in 1979 and by 1980 all the weapons he had acquired were in the hands of the islamic republic. japan benefits from the u.s. defense umbrella. it seeks a veto over the terms of any deal that we make with north korea. should it i continue to enjoy the faster review for armed exports that we give to other countries given the ideas at best the least a pro- american.
we three objectives there. the fee isis and force the chemical warfare convention those are two objectives that we seem to have a reasonable strategy for. our third objective is to help the syrian people is to live with good governance they have proposed a strategy here. we had bills to pass it to this committee. does administration have a strategy or as a something we simply can't achieve. assuming is in power even two or three years from now why shouldn't we allow them to have sovereignty.
here i will actually had it. we should renounce the jcp away because obama negotiated it it should cease to exist now. the question as it really what is a legal effect of avoiding that jcp away. they are now entitled to start officiating. with the many bombs worth of material that iran turned over when they got their money at the beginning of the jcp away and they could say if the deal was booked void i'm returning to iran. at the jcp away fails to exist than the united states and its allies are free to start new sanctions on iran. is that good part a luger a.
john carey set exactly where your city now. they can adopt harsh sanctions. to the outside the nuclear arena. they help has below and those are just the terrorist organizations that start with the letter h. the question is does avoiding the jcp away or take taking an action there. just play into their hands giving them legal rights or should we just sanction them.
they will respond him on detail with all of us. with respect to the last question is intent of the administration at this moment the diplomatic efforts are underway quite actively with our key european partners. we hope they produce a successful result. we go to mister chris smith of new jersey. thank you for creating this very important hearing. thank you for your extraordinary service in leadership. the former member of congress is here with us. great to see him again. let me just ask a few questions on monday the american pastor on the
terrorist charges he faces with our ambassador at large at the end of the hearing he was remanded in custody until the court date in may. the opinion of the department somehow they will effectuate the release. it was taken together with all of the other religious oppression. to look at this particular country. a lot to establish a special envoy. they just did that. appealing to the administration and income secretary of state. we could not get to first base with secretary tillerson. we could not get him to say let's do it. it is congressionally mandated. i do hope that the very critical condition will be filled quickly.
hr 390 the iraq and syria genocide held ten congressional hearings. i went over there and met with a number of the christians. i note that they had been as well as that u.s. a idaho. those people need help. it wasn't for the knights of columbus and others providing upwards of $60 million of private aid. so that we can be bring charges.
in the anti- americanism. we are going to do a hearing on that. joint with iliad. been very focused on that as well. it's not getting better. it's our view --dash bank arguably getting worse. the cash payments that were made to iran. it was flawed on a number of fronts anytime anywhere. how has it been spent. are we through the sanctions relief. has loblaw's getting is getting money from iran. as a part of the sanctions if you could answer those questions i would greatly appreciate it. let me quickly give that. this is a matter of
considerable focus in concern for the state department. i visited with pastor brunson's wife not long ago. we are in close in continuing touch with pastor brunson there was a hearing on monday. so was ambassador brown. i would to say this. they claim to have a very high standard of justice the indictment suggests otherwise. the claims in the indictment were laughable. it's clearly an innocent man. we are watching to see if they adhere to their stated standards of justice. if that does not happen we are considering options for consequences we are in close coronation in touch with the senate and house and talking to some of those possible measures anti- semitism is a
growing problem the office of holocaust issues is house in our era. i established for our team when i came into my job that this would be a very high priority for us. i don't have any comments to make at this time about the roles that you had mentioned. i will simply say that matter is under consideration. this is indeed as you noted an object of a special focus for the ministration the vice president has led on the effort. we have provided extraordinary assistance beyond that previously or generally allocated for communities of iraq specifically for the purpose of assisting these communities. we see this as very positive direction. the president has made very clear that we are examining quite closely every dollar of
taxpayer money that has been or may be expended for the purposes of support. and at present the administration does not had plans for any additional funding we will review the issue based upon that careful consideration of where the monies are going what other support exists among regional parties and the purposes for which it goes. finally on the jcp away and that's pacific question you posed on monday. i like to be able to respond to your question in a different format not here in an open session. but we can get you responses to your question. let me just follow up on that. in your last response to mister sherman.
we talked a lot of the e3. our allies et cetera. they all come back and said to me. the jcp away for the limited purpose of which it was agreed upon is working they have extreme concerns about us moving out. there are three critical decisions. we identify those in the joa. j away. and the frame behind it.
it was addressed to the icbm that is long range and a continental range. the second is the manner matter of inspection of authority for the iaea. they are logically -- radically laid out. the so-called sudden set clauses. and enrichment cycle. through a frame or follow-on agreement to the jcp away and elimination of those sunsets. those discussions are ongoing. we very much hope they come to a positive resolution. if they don't we will address
the situation with the level of the president but we are focused now on achieving the success. i think there is a recognition in europe that the problem is growing. and scale. with that influence across the region. the scale on which i ran is exerting its influence across the region has increased considerably i think there's also a rectal mission that this is a set of problems. it's a message i hear on the regular basis.
we're also talking about part of that agreement. it's china and russia. so they are virtually dividing. the signatories of the jcp away. you say will take it up at that time. but this was a multilateral agreement from i'm getting they have not violated and at the same time just in about the process of negotiating an agreement with north korea. about our word and whether we see and buy it or not. i can only regenerate the administration. we are focused on obtaining support from her critical allies to cure what we regard as significant failures.
as i said. the dialogue with it. has been up paul positive one. i don't know what the policies are. other than what you said. the things he's willing to pull out. the message we've got from the president. and change what the agreement was. that's what the concerns of our allies are. we will see how it goes. and where we end up.
secretary mitchell. last month in kosovo six turkish nationals were kidnapped and sent back against their will to turkey where they are imprisoned. in some of a scandal. not only to oppress its own people as we know. is not projecting itself into your in conducting itself quite frankly the tone your
testimony today was certainly not someone who seem to be alarmed about the misdirection of turkey and are we going to be giving them those f35's and do you believe we should could continue treating turkey there. let me start with the issue of kosovo and just say we followed that development very closely. as a very concerning development and we had been in touch and underscored the importance of the rule of law as it relates to matters of extradition. we are an ongoing conversations with the turkish
authorities about the number of matters. are we now confronting the turks on this. we are concerned about the track. it's very concerning. is repeatedly articulated with closer engagement and the russians and we take this seriously. and we have prioritize that. we've been very clear that if the transaction occurs there
will be consequences that we will abide by the law. we've also been very clear with the written consequences i would hope that we also are paying attention to the fact that turkey is involved with radical islamic organizations now i don't know how deeply. we don't know how extensive that is. has turned that corner and heading in that direction. what is the purpose. will be accept anything less that. that would keep aside in power at least in part of syria.
or do they totally eliminate the government. the purpose of our diplomacy of our international engagement with respect to syria is to support a political process which edits and has a revised constitution and our belief is among all syrian communities would not produce as a survival. it wasn't just syria. if we made those demands up. why is it that syria we have
to make those demands against syria and not against all of these other countries in the middle east. with the extraordinary deprivations of this regime in this country against its citizens because of the extraordinary and historically unprecedented in modern times. you don't think they have a similar track record you're trying to tell me that while we heard the same thing about saddam hussein and we end up creating total chaos in that part of the world. no regime many of its own citizens. on the scale of the asad regime. now it's unique sadly.
you read history differently than i do. it's an area that is filled with dictators is a bad guy and a dictator he's everything you said but he is not that different from these other regimes. and vice versa. i'm very disturbed by the fact that we are sliding into a war and not having an out that will not lead us to major military commitments to that region and that would be a disaster. they are somewhat different than everybody else. we go now to do new jersey.
one of the concerns that i have is the build up of the iranians they now had 7,000 fighters this encouragement how are we going to respond to this. it seems like it's getting bigger and bigger. there is no question that the aggressive projection of the influence the revolutionary guard court directly and aggressive proliferation of the advanced systems into syria.
they're taking their own actions to address this challenge. the u.s. and israel are deeply last up and i i mean that in every sense of the world. they pose them posed them not to do any other strakes i guess the syrian backed group. i then injected myself in the middle of this again. i will comment on that assertion. i will say this. we've made very clear in our dialogue with russia and we've have an extensive dialogue
with russia on issue we made the basic question to moscow how do you see it as in moscow's interests. we see nothing good that we've seen russia. i know the north koreans have their embassy there. i think through the do a lot of the strout part of the world. what kind of pressure reasserting to make the egyptians stop this effort. >> exercise authority granted him by the congress to suspend or withhold.
for each of the suspension that continues. there are several conditions which we have discussed with the egyptian government. for consideration of release of those funds. one of those conditions is that downgrading and in some cases more than a downgrading of the egyptian diplomatic presence the north korean diplomatic presence in cairo. in the general character of that relationship. it's absolutely part of a very material discussion with the egyptians. i have written a number of letters regarding the situation in terms of making sure that they are able to express their religion. i was wondering what kind of pressure are we putting in egypt.
to help with the situation. we had have a dialogue with all elements of the egyptian governments. with respect to the need for full exercise of christian rates in egypt. and i have to tell anyone on this committee a sensitive issue. it's one we continue to pursue. i'm more concerned about the security in the country. the president has repeatedly and publicly expressed as his concern. he is taken steps to address that particular issue. the threat by radical islamic movements. we go to joe wilson of south carolina. thank you very much.
the kurdish and arab group in the northeast have fought along the side as this campaign. we have made it very clear the issue of regime change is not a purpose of our military deployment it is the defeat of isis. the purpose of the international process is to see the people all of them able to make a choice to choose the kind of governance we want. we do not believe that choice would in the end part deuce a continued organization. that's about the best description we've had over the years of being here. and for both of you the revolutionary guard as one of the main elements with the influence in the middle east.
what specific steps do they take across the middle east what is the strategy to prevent iran from the instability of the region. with the revolutionary guards outside of the middle east where they acted and then another point why are they not been identified as terrorist organizations. they have aggressively pursued the sources of ir gc support from a financial standpoint has designated members that is set by this has been unprecedented. an entity of a government in a state is extremely unusual to sanction it. we have done for their involvement in terrorist acts they are a multifaceted multi-
present organization not just in syrian and lebanon. we are dealing with all of these challenges. now how do we do that. of course there are sanctions to get to the heart of the arteries of support. but more broadly speaking by strengthening that you push back against vacuum by the reticular case here. to bring an end to the conflict in yemen you try to heal or close over that they have. they will look like the seas going down the corridor in the night. and an unlocked door we want to close that as much as possible. so it's a broad approach to a broad and multifaceted problem.
i appreciate that you are recognizing it as is separate from the iranian military. indeed acting independently but achieving sadly it has not yet reinforced sanctions. under the iranian nuclear deal. what steps are they taking to address the activities was support for terrorism. i think the key sector that you question strakes the two is in the aviation industry. what steps would be appropriate. this is the extent of involvement of many corporate
entities in broad support for aviation we had reached no decisions. we appreciate your service each of you. thank you very much. thank you mister chairman and thanks to you. for ensuring that this has an opportunity to engage with the administration in a timely manner. i would like to echo my colleagues voice it may concern in the key leadership positions of the apartment. i hope they move quickly to fill those roles we know and we firmly believe that you are more than capable. this is in no way a criticism of your abilities. there is still no confirmed assistant secretary for the middle east.
we are deeply grateful to our civil and foreign service to commit themselves to doing work that is sometimes dangerous. that doesn't get a lot of credit from the american people. but diplomacy and foreign aid is immeasurably critical to the national security. it's not something they can be x -- exercised. before i asked my questions i would also employer both of you to make the return of americans held in iran particularly with my constituent. a serious priority even that the president dish -- disengages from iran. i would ask for the commitment of both of you to make that a priority and to engage as much
as possible with the family. and finally, before returning to my questions i would just like to respond to my colleague who suggested that he is doing whatever that leader would do. we must be horrified and furious about a butcher who drops barrel bombs. the slaughter of over half a million people shocks our conscience in syria as it would and must shock our conscience in any other country in the region or in any place on this planet. i have many concerns about the administration's lack of foreign policy in the region. bolstering our relationships with israel.
leaving them to fend for itself. by taking real action when it comes to the iranian president in syria. in a range of areas particularly for its turning a blind eye to his actions in syria. and just when it seems like it might actually take meaningful steps to sanction russia for its actions they pull back only after they have made the announcement and to put the blame on her for being confused about the policy decision with the mixed message foreign policy. it has been sending to our allies from day one. i don't get confused. i've ask you if the president is talking tough on iran he doesn't appear to be acting tough on iran and syria. in the very real and dangerous
they threatened to seriously destabilize and specifically i will try to make this as clear as possible. are they reliant on russia to influence iran. let's start with that question. speemac let me affirm our efforts and support in all of the americans who have been detained and held hostage missing in iran it will continue. we take these concerns very seriously we are in touch with all of the families and we will do all that we can to deal with is very difficult and very painful issue. with respect to iran and syria we identify the threat and the challenge not just israel but the region as a whole. and we've identified those concerns not only in our exceptional dialogue with israel and the and the have a
few questions the first one is do they rely on russia in the region. we've certainly made clear that we see no reason in them and ably what iran is doing in syria or elsewhere in the region. if they are unwilling to provide us syrian regime. we will see some in the area. what is the next option for the united states policy. with respect to russia. i will defer to my colleague to try to bring about the kinds of mitigation of harm and risk that we are all
seeking and syria. those decisions well in many cases with the president himself. in addition to that. i would add that there are measures under consideration including measures that stem those are under ongoing consideration and we will take additional steps why should we believe that. it was announced that we were going to impose sanctions only to have the president are those close to the president essentially throw the un ambassador under the bus saying she did not know what she was doing. why should we believe you when
you come in and say that we are serious about the possibility of imposing sanctions. this administration has implement it sanctions implemented sanctions against hundred 89 individuals and entities in russia. i would say we have credibility with regard to toughness on russia. we are over by a couple of minutes. thank you gentlemen. i just want to respond a little bit to my friend and colleague. .. ..
violent theological extremist group who stated goal is to destroy israel. >> in no way do we intend to legitimize hezbollah. in no way do we distinguish between hezbollah was terrorist activities, its so-called military wing from its so-called political wing. as a distinction many in the world make, it is one we reject completely and have done historically. it's the same. >> on what to make sure there's a right line there and i appreciate that. let me ask you this and maybe this for you, dr. mitchell, i'm sorry if i got that wrong but the eu seems to resist designating hezbollah and its entirety as a terrorist organization. even though they are wreaking havoc in syria and europe as well. what are we doing to persuade
the eu to designate, to make this designation? what are we doing? >> thank you for that question. we engage with a european partners on a regular basis on this matter. i would say it's fair to say from this perspective will have a lot of frustration with the europeans on this particular question of hezbollah. i've been part of conversations where we've talked to the french, the germans, the british and others. those are ongoing conversation. i think it's part of a broader mosaic -- >> what could there a version being? >> i would refer you to the capitals of those countries for the specifics of their concerns. >> do you have any inclination? i can understand -- i understand i can question them but we are paying you to find these things out for us. >> i'm going to resist the temptation to speak on behalf of those governments. i would you say from our perspective we make it clear all the way up to the level of the president, not only on hezbollah it on the broader iran problem
that they can't only be an american solution to this long-term. that we have to have greater european participation, whether it's plugging the gap -- >> so other than that kind rhetoric and hoping to come to the people on this, is it anything the united states is doing from a a diplomatic standpoint to urge them out so to speak? i get the kindred spirit where is the stick? is there a stick? >> discovered has been in contact continues it with our european partners in paris and elsewhere. i have participated in number of these talks. we had a more extensive focused dialogue on the issue of iran and hezbollah, the irgc, that at any point in memory and -- >> i appreciate it. >> i'm sure you do. now, what if we done? despite continued resistance at a political level from making the same bright line company identification of political and military parts of hezbollah, that the eu maintains, we have
achieved much more in a way of actual designation and sanctioning by critical european partners then we've done in the course of the last many years. is it enough? no. it's a progress? yes, it is. >> i will just tell you that a lease from this point on the day is here there's not enough progress, asked enough. i know it's hard but you just must have success in this regard. we cannot, and please know that this is a point of concern and when you come back we'll continue -- >> we agreed. >> let me ask one more question with the germans indulgence. it's my understanding in 2015 for iraq, 1.5 billion, 2016, 715 million. i asked this question in the context of i feel like the american taxpayer is no left in the position to train and equip the irgc and the quds force operating individually as units and individuals that have infiltrated the iraqi army,
local municipal elections are living, and i'm wondering what the number is that we are currently spending on train and equip funding and iraq and what's going to be done about that? do you disagree we are not training and equipping irgc elements and individuals that are operating in uniform in iraq? >> i strongly disagree with the premise that our support for the iraqi armed forces is support for the irgc or that she had pmf, the popular mobilization forces, some which are affiliated with iran. we have supported legitimate institution of the iraqi state that has performed exceptionally well in the fight against isis and then the reclaiming and holding of a iraqi territory. issue of whether are individuals who are present within the iraqi security forces as allegiance may apply to the pmf undoubtedly there are but there is a
confabulation between that reality and saying we are facilitating the irgc or the pmf. absolutely not. >> i don't want to be hyper critical and a concert not only for our national security but for the taxpayers and the fidelity and the future of iraq. are you willing to say that there are no irgc forces using any united states provided military equipment in iraq right now? >> i will review the record, but to my knowledge there is no provision of u.s. military equipment or funding to the irgc speech i know it's not the irgc -- >> here's a strategy. how about having ambassador, ambassador, if you will review the record and get back to general scott perry on the issue? >> happy to do it, mr. , tracti. >> thank you, gentlemen. >> we go to david cicilline of rhode island. >> thank you, mr. chairman. like many of my colleagues i am
extremely concerned about the implications of turkish incursions in syria. i requested a classified member level briefing from your offices on the situation on february 6. that was ten weeks ago. and so in everything still is not happen, it's been canceled again. i know there's a breaking after this hearing on the entire region but a want to start missing at this point i am it's taken ten weeks and i still don't have hearing such like a commitment from both of you you schedule a classified briefing for members on the situation in the very near future. that's a yes, thank you. could you speak to the turkish incursion has affected the u.s. coalition fight against isis? turkey and the u.s. coalition have different priorities in syria and how is the you support our partners on the ground which include both the kurdish ypg and are nato ally turkey? i'm hearing a lot of concern from the kurdish community that they feel that the u.s. has
abandoned them after they played such an important role in a fight against isis. >> thank you for the question. i can assure you we will follow up on that request and i apologize a bit of our beer that hasn't happened yet. it's a crucial matter. i'll take your question and defer to my -- i'll just keep it simple and say operation olive branch as very much complicated the defeat isis campaign by creating a demand signal that draws fighters from the euphrates valley towards afran. our focus is been to call on the turks to show restraint and addressee mention crisis. i had led the u.s. delegation in most of those recent conversations but also to create a sequenced approach to some of the areas that the turkish government has concerned about and to try were possible to balance the turkish and kurdish equities. david can say word about the
kurdish element. >> the situation in north and northeast syria has over recent weeks stabilized. we've seen no for the movement of turkish forces beyond afran. our dialogue with the syrian democratic forces, it is deep comic story. and it's and that dialogue is continuing at senior level literally as we do today. we believe that it is possible to continue the fight against isis with the support and help of the sdf. that of course requires not just their commitment to us but our commitment to continue to work within the we understand that very well. >> thank you at a look forward to the hearing. are you with any evidence of and has finally the terms of the jcpoa? >> it is the assessment of the iaea that iran remains and essential compliance of the
provision. >> thank you. you talk about ongoing discussions with our european partners. is there a plan for that moment when the sanctions waiver is required to be addressed by the president that if that doesn't happen, is there a plan in place? in other words, is the president willing to sign the waiver so that this process can play out, or is it the may deadline, is there a contingency? >> the administration is prepared for a number of options, depending on the circumstances including outcome of discussions with the e3 and whatever decision the president may at the time take, yes, sir. >> so if negotiations are not complete there's no assurance that the president is going to issue the waiver and i could be the end of the agreement? >> under no circumstances would i prejudge the the presidents option. >> i want to turn to egypt. in your view does egypt's new
ngo law violate the amendment by giving the egyptian government veto power over u.s. funded democracy programs? are built to operate many assistance programs in egypt has been severely limited since the change incumbent of 2011 with this new law in place. what kind of economic development or democracy program is even possible for the united states assistances for egypt? he believed the repeal of this ngo law should be a prerequisite for the united states providing continued economic aid to egypt? >> there are provisions of that law, which if executed, would indeed violate u.s. statute. no question about that. with respect to our demands of the coming of egypt, have been very clear. our strong recommendation and one of the bases for secretary tillerson's withholding of the 195 million was exactly the issue of a pledge to not implement these offending provisions of that law. >> my final question for both of you really, do you think that it
is inconsistent, or i'm sorry, do you think it is consistent policy that we said we must intervene militarily in syria as we said to the world because of our grave concerns over the humanity and situation for syrians facing chemical tax by their own government, and at the same time to severely restrict refugee from the region that we have only allowed 11 syrian refugees into the united states in 2018? do you see that as a consistent position and doesn't it present a challenge to the world to take us seriously? >> the issue of the administrations position with respect to national security in relation to refugee admission is one that were happy to take back for response to you. >> so you agree, it's inexplicable and difficult speeders i'm soliciting this falls outside my area of responsibility. >> you would say it's not consistent, to say we are so worried about the children and women in syria that we have to
intervene militarily, but by the way the administration has severely restricted the admission of those racing women and children to the united states and effect only 11 syrian refugees have come to the united states? >> i understand your question. >> i i look for to the answer. >> our focus in syria is a cw use and isis. >> we go to ann wagner of missouri. >> i thank you, mr. chairman for organizing this hearing and i thank you to our witnesses for their service. the violent assad regime in syria continues to perpetuate crimes against humanity, aided and abetted by a revisionist iran, a mid-regional instability hezbollah, hamas, al-qaeda, the islamic state and other terrorist groups operate with impunity. the united states must continue to exercise leadership in holding that actors accountable for committing human rights abuses and for the terrorist
activities. dr. mitchell, you have been outspoken injure support for nato. widget advocate for similar arrangement in the middle east? >> thank you for the question. i consider it beyond the remit of my duties to speculate much on security arrangements among allies in the middle east on the model of nato. i will say that there are a number of states in the region who are threatened by iran in particular, and i think with both an opportunity and of responsibility in u.s. diplomacy to strengthen our security arrangements with those states. >> you have argued for deterrence by denial rather than deterrence by punishment. as i understand it this means shoring up defensive forces to discourage adversaries rather than relying on threats. i agree that we may need to
tweak our strategic calculus, bad actors like syria and iran have unquestionable, unquestionably undermined the united states traditional modes of deterrence. can you explain what deterrence by denial would look like in the middle east? >> i am so flattered that you read my past work. i will point out that this was written in a previous life before i was in this job and was written with regard to the baltic states specifically. i will say probably from this position that a whole nother think a strong american deterrence in many parts of the world is really the essential fabric of stability. i think strengthening that deterrence in europe and in nato, in northeastern europe has a particular set of requirements at present. i think it's very different situation in middle east and i would defer to ambassador satterfield on the specific of deterrence and there. >> ambassador. >> we are looking at what more
can be done by individual states and in the collective sense bipartisan the middle east including those parties who have considerable military resources and capabilities of their own. the president has made very clear that while we are shouldering the responsibility for the destruction of the remnants of the so-called caliphate of isis, that in the time beyond the maintenance of that destruction needs to fall squarely on the shoulders of those in the region. and we are exploring right now reactively whether and how a construct can be made. what we've termed in past years of region security architecture that has a real ability to step in and take one responsibilities which we do not believe the u.s. should have to have indefinitely. >> i appreciate that, and to that point i know that, ambassador, the united states relies on regional partners to
counter iran's malign influence. traditionally, the united states has worked closely with members of the gulf cooperation council, or gcc. however, gcc member states iran, saudi arabia and the united arab emirates have cut ties with qatar, which they maintain secretly supports iran. the united states postponed a planned summer with gold leaders until september, i believe, of 2018. do u.s. officials anticipate a resolution to the qatar diplomatic crisis before the summit? are we doing anything as the united states to try and deal with this rift? >> the president of the united states and every official in government has been focused on the issue of closing this rift since it occurred. the president has directly engaged with the heads of state in government, of all of the countries involved, on both
sides of this divide. his message has been exceedingly clear from the beginning and it has been reiterated in his recent personal and phone contacts with that leadership, which it is, it is high time this gets resolved. we face a common challenge from iran. we face a common challenge from other foes in the region and beyond. this rift source of their interests, not ours. it needs to be mended and we hope very much that the state act on this. >> i think the witness for the testimony and yes, , dr. mitche, i do my homework. i think the chairman again for his timeliness of putting this hearing together. i think the witnesses for their tremendous service, and i yield back. >> we go to lois frankel of florida. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you to our witnesses for your service and i know we all probably agree that the syrian civil war has been one of the
greatest humanitarian crisis of our time. over 500 million dead at the hands of assad. millions fleeing their homes trying to escape to other countries that are, with great impact to those countries. i think it's fair to say that there's been a lot of dereliction on, i would say on the world. not knowing really what to do. so you can point fingers at a lot of, in a lot of different places, but since we are here and now, i'm going to talk about this administration because i think mr. trump has sort of a lack of do behavior how he goes about -- whack-a-doo behavior.
the president acts, i don't know whether it's impulsively or emotionally or correctly, but i think all of us when we see the chemical warfare on assad, unhuman beings, it's horrendous. i'm not critical of the president feeling this is horrendous action, but what i don't understand is this president only allowed 11 syrian refugees into this country last year, compared to 15,000 in 2016. so my question is, you know, where is the humanity in that? then he can't decide whether he's polling, he's staying in syria, out syria. one week he is pulling out of syria and the next week he's dropping, we have these airstrikes. so i think this inconsistency is not very helpful.
one night of airstrikes as a figment of my colleagues headset is not a substitute for comprehensive strategy which should include robust political and automatic engagement. one of my questions i also have is was the state department consultant at all and consulted in this decision on the airstrikes? i am the mother of united states war veteran who went to two wars. i came to this congress purposely because i i wanted to weigh in on decisions of war and peace. and so i can tell you that in my humble opinion i think this president should have come to this congress for a military authorization before these airstrikes. because, you know, it's not like it was a surprise. the president tweeted this out days before, so i mean it wasn't exactly, he surprised anybody
with these airstrikes. and i think it's a dangerous precedent that he is setting. back on question number one is, was the state department consulted on these attacks? why are we not allowing refugees? are we going to allow some more refugees? and if you know, to determine what the cost of these airstrikes were? >> yes. the state department was involved throughout the deliberative process that led to this decision, as we were and all prior considerations of use of military force in -- >> was there any recommendation from the state department or any member of the administration that you know that congress, that the president come to congress for an authorization before the strikes? >> i can comment on the authorities that were used, not
on the deliberative process. and he was article two of the constitution that the president relied upon. with respect to the refugee question which you and your colic appraised, that's outside my area of authority, but we will provide you with a response from the state department on that. >> do you know the cost of the airstrikes why any chance? >> that question has been posed to the department of defense. we will refer that question to osd, the office of the secretary. >> dr. mitchell, you want to respond to any of those questions? >> i would only add that appreciate the questions and were happy to take a closer look and get back to you in written form. >> and one more quick question. why did the president change his mind on these sanctions against russian? >> there has been and continues to be a discussion about future steps with regards to sanctions on russia. that's an ongoing process and i refer you to the white house for any more recent development.
>> okay, well, i guess were not going to get an answer on that, but anyway thank you very much for being here. i just back. >> thank you. we go to adam kissinger of illinois. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you both for being here. very much appreciated. you guys have a lot of tough work to do, and you're done a lot of great work. i've always say what comes to stay related issues you never know what you are able to mitigate, the conflict you were able to stop the never happen and it's hard to put a price on that so we appreciate all the hard work. syria has been a failed policy since the last administration. in fact, the failure to follow through on the 2013 redline had massive implications, not just in the middle east but all over the world. i think there's no doubt about it. you look at the foreign-policy challenges we had before 2013 3 and the foreign policies we have post 2013 and there's a direct correlation to an bad actors felt like they could challenge the united states of america. and, frankly, we said a lot of good words for a long time but follow through with no action.
now it's nice to see a president that's willing to follow through with action. i think the strikes in syria were correct. the american people according to a poll today agreed they were the correct thing to do. i also don't think the president needed to come to congress for every military move does not, there's not 535 commanders in five commanders in chief. there's one. our job is to declare a state of war exist and to put the fund in to do that, to follow through on that war. the president has a lot of authority as envisioned and written by the constitution. but having served in the air force and still continue to serve, syria has been one of my big concerns i've gotten -- as i've got to congress. what i worry but as a lack of long-term strategy in to you. holding strong the chemical weapons have no place is really good thing to do but i think on the broader level the question is what is going to the future of syria? when we talk about the destruction of isis in the middle east i don't think he's to exist in a backing. part of the reason isis has been
able to grow and thrive is because the existence of the terrible dictator that basically creates an environment where somebody feels the only option they have to turn to is to a terrorist good because nobody else is coming to help them and the assad family has been the biggest enemy of all time. you find yourself in the process radicalize. when we fight this generational war on terror we have to keep in mind it's the seven and eight year olds in his refugee camps that will either be the people who reject isis within islam what they would be the people that frankly propagate isis. so you cannot look at syria and the challenges in syria in a vacuum, and isolation of the fight against isis. i think there together. ambassador, the administration enabled those displaced by the competent return to their homes, which is exactly what i think is the opposite of what needs to happen to create a better
vibrator earlier recovery efforts in the restoration of basic services and security are critical elements to establishing inclusive local governments outside of assad's control. what are the specific accounts that been frozen, economic support fund or nonproliferation, antiterrorism, or any related programs? >> representative, we can get back to you with the specifics in response to the last part of your question. what else they in general over the funding that were suspended, we are reviewing now carefully how best to move forward with respect to expenditure of taxpayer monies in syria. >> if you could get back to do with the first part that would be great. what evidence yet seen on partner nations making assurances that no stabilization and reconstruction assistance will benefit the assad regime? >> in september of last year the united states then secretary tillerson chaired a meeting of the so-called like-minded countries on syria, broad
representative group of arab and non-arab countries, all of whom supported one fundamental principle. there should be no reconstruction assistance provided to the assad regime or areas controlled by the assad regime, mine is significant progress on the u.n. led geneva medical process. that progress has not taken place. >> right. let me ask about iraq specifically. i'm a veteran of the war, a lot of american blood, treasurer until when into a free iraq. as president obama said we did leave behind a free and for iraq. unfortunately we left them behind and now we are the challenges we have as were back there again. one of my concerns is we have an election in a few weeks in iraq. can either you talk about what we've seen in terms of iranian influence and had to push back against that? because of someone who was part of frankly fighting iranian influence in iraq it is of concern. >> we can better address that question in another setting.
suffice it to say we believe there is a vigorous and truly democratic debate and process underway in iraq, but the specifics of your question and another close setting can be best addressed. >> understood. do you have anything to add to that, dr. mitchell? >> no. unfortunately i agree with much of what you said. most of what you'd ask falls under beer. >> you get away with that one. i appreciate it. i just back. >> norma torres of california. >> thank you, mr. chairman. ambassador, i, too, what to associate myself with some of the comments that my colleagues on the side has stated regarding that we need specific actions that you plan to take and specific outcomes that you expect to see in regards to the forces in syria. i would really hope that you can
follow up. like many of my colleagues i'm very concerned iran is provoking israel into conflict in syria. iran is intent on building a permanent presence inside syria. it's shocking that the trump administration has failed to articulate that strategy to deal with iran's growing presence in syria. while the most recent missile attacks on syrian area where they have chemical weapons has been applauded, you know, by many, i'm very concerned at our lack of care for the children that have been injured. i i understand that you stated already that it's not within your jurisdiction to deal with refugees, but hunters to know if you have an opinion to that
cause? since to date, this year, it is my understanding that we only received or allowed 11 syrian refugees into this country. >> the best resolution to the suffering of the syrian people, whether we speaking about those who have been displaced internally and externally, or speedy i'm sorry, i'm talking about the injured children that need medical assistance and have been orphaned. >> or with respect to individual cases of suffering and hardship, is to in this war, to in the brutality of the assad regime. that requires a political process. and while we may like to believe that the u.s. simply saying something or deploying u.s. soldiers will fix it, the issue is far more complex than that. it requires a cobranded international approach, and that is what we've been very active
in trying to generate. but we've been frustrated. we have been frustrated by russian efforts which have blocked every move to place assad and his regime before their responsibilities. >> so what is our strategy to do with that? >> we can tend to engage. we continue to hope that through our engagement, through messages both positive and negative, moscow recognizes it ought to be in the interest to move this forward. i know the images are extraordinarily painful. they are. we are trying to address them, but at the end they are best addressed to changing the character of syria itself, allowing these people to move forward with lives in peace, security, and stability. >> so what is our strategy as it relates to russia? the white house from day to day, from tweet to tweak, you know, they seem to have a different opinion. i'm concern as to what does that
do for your long-term planning strategy? >> russia's behavior internationally is very concerning. i agree with the premise of your question. i would say this administration takes that seriously and all of its forms, in multiple regions. our strategy broadly has consisted of two planks. the first is cost imposition. so to raise the of an aggressive foreign-policy, until the russian government decides that the cost-benefit analysis does not support further aggression. and we've done that to a variety of tools from the executive branch, tools that were provided to us by congress. and the second plank has been to keep channels of dialogue open were possible. the russians very often did not want to use those channels. we have diplomatic channels and military channels on syria, on ukraine, and a number of fields related to strategic stability. the strategy is then to increase
the pressure and . the way to a door for dialogue. at the end of the day the responsibility rests with the russian government for whether not they choose to embrace those opportunities for dialogue. they have not embraced those and so we will continue to impose costs until they do. >> so how have we increased the pressure on russia lately? >> well, in the time since january of last year this administration has brought forward sanctions against 189 individuals and entities and russia. we russia. we presided over -- >> my time has expired. it's my understanding felt that most recently the president has removed some of the sanctions. so i'm going to have to give back. my time has expired. >> thank the gentleman before yielding back. we go to lee zeldin of new york. >> thank you, mr. chairman. ambassador satterfield, it's been asked of you but just i
don't want to make any bad assumptions such as just ask a. has iran violated the letter of the jcpoa? >> the iaea has not done significant violation of the speedy i'm not asking the iaea. asking you. >> that's what we rely upon. the iaea has not that significant speakers so the state of our best decision that aratus of ireland the letter of the jcpoa? >> that is the judgment of the iaea. upon speeders i'm not asking the iaea. i'm asking you. >> i responded. >> does progressives when of the just feel state quote iran will engage in production at centrifuges to meet the enrichment r&d requirements? >> i would have to respond informal fashion for that. >> formally, that is what that and that's one paragraph 61 states, is it true that iran has acquired more than in the certain amount of iron eight assemblies for r&d purposes with 16 times more capacity than the
one to enrich uranium? >> again, i would have to respond any form of speedy you can respond right now, sir. >> i would have to consult. i'm not a technical expert. >> i thought you were the acting secretary. [speaking in native tongue] i am but this question to highly technical and the demand a very technical and specific response which we will provide. >> part of the jcpoa enrichment research and development plan which submitted to ie that permitted roughly ten centrifuges. >> are you aware that iran has assembled 13 to 15 irc 600 futures which should've been limited or destroyed under this plan? >> representative, all question of this character can be responded to in an appropriate level of classification in writing. >> but you're stating that iran has not violated the letter of the deal so what i'm going to do is go through all the giveaways iran is violating the letter of the deal. is it your position that you're
not going to respond with regards to any of the ways adarand has violated the letter of the deal? >> these technical russians were required a sufficiently classified written response. >> under annex one paragraph 76 of the jcpoa the iaea can request access to military locations such as parts to verify compliance, is that right? >> representative, my response is the same to all questions of this character. >> it's a technical question. it your position can tell whether not the jcpoa grants access to advance noted sites for inspection for verification? >> it does come sir. >> it does state that? >> that is part of the jcpoa. >> correct, okay. you're able to answer that. has it not been crucial clue that it's iran's position both before, during, and after the jcpoa was finalized that they will not grant any access to the military sites? >> i respond to the question in writing. >> you can't respond to that now?
>> no, i cannot. >> i mean, rouhani hasn't had aa problem saying this over video. i don't know why that requires a classification. it is well-known open-source information iran has made it crystal clear that we do not have access to the military sites. >> there is much well known open-source material that is also not correct, or is nuanced. i will provide a detailed response from appropriate u.s. government agencies to all of these questions. >> has iran acquired more heavywater and they're allowed to under the jcpoa? >> same response. >> what's the response? >> we will provide a detailed response in appropriate action. >> here's the problem to give no problem coming of congress and others will come before congress sang in no uncertain terms iran has not violated the lid of the jcpoa. i then when you ask questions about all the different ways iran if i laid the of the jcpoa you have to respond in writing or it's a technical question that someone else's expertise. you don't have the expertise to
engage in any answers with regard to ways iran defiling the letter of the jcpoa, yet you do the expertise to come to congress as a care not violating the letter of the jcpoa and you do have the expertise to come before congress and explain the justification for your position. yet when asked about all the different ways, iran collecting more rotor assemblies, to deny access to the military sites, to collect more heavywater than they are permitted to. that list goes on. when we went to parchin and with a nuclear particles that we want to follow up on, i rants the position was you can't visit parchin so we're not able to inspect those particles that were discovered. so if you do not have the technical capabilities to energy any questions with regards to all the no specifics for rent in filing the level of the deal, then we should not have one witness after another coming before this committee and others
making the flat-out statement that iran is stop violating the letter of the jcpoa because it is consequential. >> for the sake of the record, my comment was the iaea has in its most recent reporting not found significant violations of the provision. >> and until the iaea comes before this committee, if they do come before the committee i be happy to ask them the same exact questions but junior representing the united states state department and of asking you about different specific questions -- >> and i answered will provide you detailed answers to all of those questions. >> i yield i yield back. >> we go now to brad schneider of illinois. >> thank you. i want to thank the chairman and the ranking member for having this hearing and what you think the witnesses for your service to our country and your patience today. staying until the end. tonight in israel in fact, with the time change as were speaking this moment, israelis are celebrating independence day marking the 70 anniversary of the work of state.
70 years ago when israel declared its independence the united states was a first nation in entire world to recognize the new state but there were five armies from five nations, states, we meet he attacked. arab states of egypt, jordan, lebanon, syria and iraq. today israel's peace treaties with egypt and jordan. today iran controls effectively lebanon, syria and iraq. yesterday the israel government released a map locating five iranian airbases in syria, to in the south near damascus, one in the north east, one in east -- wes and one innocent of the country. in february t4 was of a somewhat iran launched a drone to attack israel. israel responded by destroying some of the base of lost a jet and a to go in and take up much of the syrian air defenses. over the past weekend, or april 8 rather, israel again
struck at t4 taking out iranian weapons. it was announced yesterday that they believe iran was installing advanced sophisticated air defense systems. some of my concern, quoting a couple article headlines, business insider yesterday noted that the new israeli intelligence reporter said trump's syria strike failed, didn't take much of anything. that's a quote from the headline. times of visual on april 14 said israel fears trump may see job is done in syria, leaked israel alone to face iran. so my question for you today as we sit here, and i've asked this question of others every chance i get, what specifically is the united states strategy ensuring that iran does not get a permanent presence in syria to threaten our allies, israel and others? what are we doing? what more can we be doing? >> we certainly are concerned with the threat which iran presents in syria and through
syria to lebanon, to issue and/or other allies and partners in the region and beyond. our strategy in working with israel, with jordan, with the gulf states, with all the countries of the region and a broader international community is to deny to iran and the ability to proliferate in the fashion that it does into and through syria. it's a work with the iraqi armed forces and iraqi government on the border. it is a work in the northeast with her own forces and our work more broadly with the international community to deny the resources and support which iran and the revolutionary guard depend upon for this very threatening activity. but i have to challenge the assertion in the opening part of your remarks that iraq and lebanon are controlled by iran. they are not. they are both independent states. >> but it's hard to say that lebanon is independent when it
includes and its government hezbollah. hezbollah has one and 50,000 rockets, increasing the more accurate and more powerful delivered by iran. iran is developing indigenous weapons manufacturing capability notches and lebanon but in syria. it has five permanent airbases and see. it's hard to say that what we're doing is working at the rate is increasing its malign influence in the region, and i'm having hard time understanding what specifically were doing to push back against iran's progress. >> we are working on iran's proliferation, the sources of that proliferation, its ability to conduct the physical movement of matériel about the region and not just in syria or in lebanon. and and in all this we are partd very close with the government of israel as we are with other governments. >> but when the president of the united states says a couple weeks ago within six months u.s. troops are going to be out of iran, or at a a syria rather, e are washing our hands. what signal does that send to all of our allies in the region? as i noted in some of headlines,
israel is increasingly concerned they would be left alone to push back against iran on its borders. >> the president has made clear, secretary mattis and chairman dunford at make clear the primary purpose of our military presence in syria is to defeat isis and the caliphate. we look to other diplomatic, economic and cooperative measures with visual, with other state in the region to achieve these broader goals. >> i'm running at out of time. a quick question requesting a quick response but the strike on the three syrian chemical weapons sites. what they a part of her greater strategy or merely a putative strike for series chemical weapons? >> the president has made clear, the department of defense and other spokesmen have made clear they were aimed at both responded to and deterring the use of chemical weapons, both in syria more broadly. >> but is that part of a broader strategy in the region?
>> it is an international strategy. >> we have a moral responsibility to do all we can to make sure that not just to rebut the world understands. >> it's a global approach. >> that's distinct from the strategy of pushing back against iran's malign influence in the region and so that's why have my concern. i'm over time. i think the chairman for the indulgence. i do want to associate myself with the remarks of the chairman and ranking member with respect to the syria, syrian silly protection act, russian sanctions, it is unacceptable 15 months into this administration how many open positions remain and in particular the importance of the robust investment of resources, energy and money, and focus into diplomacy and development. without those, our defense requirements only grow. thank you very much. we now go to john curtis of utah. >> thank you, mr. chairman. my appreciation to these two witnesses for their endurance, the staff, for yourself and ranking member. i just a few brief questions,
thank you. there was an article in reuters last week that russia was supporting assad through civilian aircraft. the house passed the seizure bill, which would impose sanctions for this type of action i question is, realizing the bill is not made it to the senate, are sanctions been considered for this? and could you speak to the port of getting this bill through the senate and a helpful that would be to the administration? >> with respect to any assistance becoming -- being provided to iran or the assad regime, we are quite keen to use all existing authorities to address any states, and entities that may be involved and it certainly includes russia. with respect to the seizure bill we would have to get back with you consider position on this, tickle with respect to the question you just post. >> thank you. let me ask you for a moment to
consider a different audience. consider my constituents back home, who will hopefully be watching this and are struggling to understand war powers, and perhaps, if you could just take a minute and explain the difference between article to and the aumf and what was applied here in a way that they might be able to digest that. >> i'll try to take it on. volumes have been written on this topic. >> right. >> over the course of the last 200 200 years. the article to authority granted to the president by the constitution as commander in chief is quite broad. there are requirements which follow up on use of that authority. that is, the white house must report use of forces to the congress when thin a specified time limit but the authority itself is constitutional and is quite sweeping. in the case of syria, iraq, we typically do with aumfs, one
from 2001, one from 2002. our focus on substance, they do with certain specified in today's our types, categories of threat. they are sometimes limited in time, these two are not. but they could be. so and aumf is specific to purpose, often to the time they remain valid. the article to authorities are not constrained by either of those two considerations. >> with claudication, but they make clear the strikes were based on article article ii, g? >> that's correct. >> help me in my constituents understand what point we go past article to, we talked about if this happens again we will be back with some type of action. how do we know where that fine line is? >> i'm going to give you a nonlawyer response to your question for the constituents back home, which is every
president, every administration in every instance where the is contemplation of the use of military force or forces, must consider what's the appropriate authority, article ii, and extend and aumf, solicit from congress a new authorization should best be used depending on the circumstances. it is very much circumstance, condition dependent. >> i'm sure i don't need to define this but let me just for my own sake say that there's obviously balancing very carefully with this concept of 535 generals, and appreciating any involvement in this as we pass the line, right, and understanding that congress is anxious to be supportive but also to be involved. >> well understood. >> let me also ask some questions about our allies.
i was pleased to hear that we were joined by two of our allies, the united kingdom and france. i was pleased that others spoke up to support that but kind of question in my mind, why they weren't there to be part of the strikes. can you help me understand the process and how they are in or out? >> thank you for that question. we have had ongoing consultations certainly with european allies and with turkey very long time on syria broadly. there were consultations in the lead up to the strikes,, particularly with france and britain. and the french and british, for geopolitical and historical reasons and reasons of national interest chose to support us. there are certain constraints in the german system on legal constraints, political constraints on the ability to participate directly in a strike. i was in berlin in the lead up to the strikes unknown though
there were a lot of consultations internally. the germans came out in their own system with highest and most also love of support they could provide. the italians were supportive. turkey was supportive. but i want to say that from our perspective at state department we were pleased with the level of engagement and material, not of support but in the case of france and great britain this was leadership in showing the way towards the need for the strikes and then taking action and engaging with this when we work through that. >> i apologize i'm out of time. thank you, mr. . thank you, mr. chairman. i yield. >> thank you. we now go to new york. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i wanted to come in like -- perhaps close of the game, right? yes, it remains an essential axion of u.s. interest to have iran not obtain a nuclear weapon. the the president continues to suggest terminating the iran
nuclear deal. it is necessary to maintain and strengthen it so that we can prevent iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon so that we can further build upon the dramatic efforts to combat iran's nuclear program and aggressive actions. iran's malicious actions are not just confined to nuclear weapons. it supports the houthi revels in yemen and poses a threat to the stability of that region and the continuation of this war has led to one of the largest humanitarian crisis in the world the u.s. has continued to aid saudi arabia in this conflict despite the heavy civilian casualties contributed by all sides on the conflict. once ask the first question regarding the jcpoa and issues with the sunset provision. i know that the ballistic missile program and the human rights abuse issues are critical. but what do you see, do you see
this agreement surviving past may of 2018, ambassador? where you see the jcpoa? do you see it surviving? do you feel that the sunset provision is sort of like a line in the sand that will derail the entire agreement? >> as the president has made very clear, there are critical areas of the jcpoa and areas surrounding the jcpoa, this'll and ballistic missile technology, that require a dressel we are working actively to succeed in that addressing of those defects. we hope very much we've achieved a success but with respect to what happens on or around may 12, that is the decision for the present which will be shaped by what impact is the outcome of the discussions underway now. >> and what you see allies? do they feel confident that, in
fact, press tackling the ballistic missile any human rights issue without having a concrete agreement on the sunset, is that enough? >> we are midstream in our conversation with european allies about this, and a sense that have from our engagement at least with european allies is that they are a greater awareness of the extent of the iranian challenge than it was in the past and there is a greater political willingness in the uk, france and germany to take actions to address the shortcomings of jcpoa. >> the second issue of yemen, ambassador, the obama administration reduced the number of u.s. servicemen there helping the coalition, due to the concerns that i statement earlier, the humanitarian crisis that this coalition and others have created.
has this assessment changed under the current administration? and if so what is the justification for such change? >> the administration is quite concerned with different aspects of the human crisis. first is cementing. this is an extraordinarily large humanitarian disaster, one of the greatest man-made disasters in modern history. and while the coalition campaign is not the exclusive cause or sustainer of that crisis, the houthis themselves they're very significant responsibility. the fact is we are associated with the saudi led campaign, not with the houthis here we have engaged the highest level of the government including the president repeatedly to impress upon the governments involved in this campaign led by saudi arabia that there must be every possible action taken, first, to maintain fretful access for humanitarian and commercial boots including fuel into human.
secondly, that the campaign directed with the purpose of bringing the houthis to the negotiating table is not in our view a campaign that can succeed. saudi arabia has legitimate self-defense needs and requirements which do require military action. we work with them to help shape and support those actions in the way that mitigates or diminishes civilian casualties. but the campaign to force a political resolution is not one that we believe has a military calculus to it. it's political. it should live in enabling the united nations to move forward. we have the new representative of the united nations for yemen in washington today, and we hope very much that his efforts can achieve success. >> answer why is the administration so far away from reaching the 45,000 person cap on refugees? if we have this issue of not just in yemen but across the region with so many refugees, why have we not carried our own
load as some of the european countries have done? >> that is an issue which involves the various departments of the u.s. government, beyond the department of state, and broader security and policy concerns, congressman. >> thank you. thank you, ambassador. thank you, chairman. >> thank you. what are my committee members of the classified briefing we are holding on these issues immediately following the hearing and invite them to join us. and with that i want to thank the witnesses forever and before our committee today. we very much appreciate your work on these critical issues. we look for to greater consultation between the committee and the department in the weeks ahead on these issues, and we stand adjourned. [inaudible conversations]