tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN February 24, 2015 5:00am-7:01am EST
national dialogue with 33 members, and they also were able to secure an entire committee in this dialogue just to discuss their concerns. so while they were engaging in the dialogue, they were engaging in warfare outside of the dialogue. they were fighting which is a group in yemen that belongs to the sunni sect. what happens happened were portraying it as if it was sectarian war. in reality it's all about power and politics. and i think we need to keep that in mind. so they came to power by protesting a subsidy lift that the president decided to do to save the economy. it was an essential movement that yemen had to make in order to keep its economy from collapsing. so when the people took to the streets, they decided to capitalize on that. they demanded that the subsidy lift would be removed, so to
re-instate the subsidies and then they pretty much held protests. and within six days, they took control of the capital. on september 21st they took charge of everything there. having said that, since they have demanded the creation of a new government, there was a new prime minister appointed and new government selected. but the new government they created in november of 2014 actually consisted of technocrats and tribal leaders refused to participate in this government, which is probably why the government resigned. they had no actual effect on the ground. and so the government was created in november. they got approval from the parliament in december and they resigned in january. that was a very short-lived government. and now yemen has no government. everything's in control of the revolutionary committees that are composed.
the revolutionary committees as a fancy name for militant and political branch on the ground that is stationed -- and they actually report directly to the leader of the movement. they don't actually deal with the political office of the hothis. why did they take over yemen? what happened? what went wrong? first of all we get the usual critiques that was led by the u.n. it was too big. it took too long. there was, the members were 500 members members. the government that was created so in 2011, we decided to have a national unity government that was going to be composed of different political parties. that government because it was composed of different political parties, they refused to work with each other.
and i think each political branch was trying to secure their position on the ground. and the government didn't work for him because he was a new president put in place just for a transitional period of two years. and so previous to 2011 we had a yemeni government that acted as a mediator or a middle man between the international community and the west and the local power holders on the ground. yemen always had tribes, they always had movements. and even in some cases, you can you know, if you're successful, you can be -- the government was always able to create a flow of communication between, you know the west and what's going on the ground. the government kind of broke that tie. they didn't have ties to society. they couldn't communicate anymore. it seems that led to the weakening of state institutions
the government wasn't able to deliver services. political parties took advantage of discourses that weakened national identity. people on the ground were for the first time asking, oh, are you sunni? what's your politics? and then they started pointing fingers at each other. and that's all because of a strong political vacuum that was left. so what was also another problem is yemen had no checks and balances in place. the military restructuring that took place weakened the military. the law was ineffective. and we also had a parliament that was in place since 2003. there was a huge and dire need for parliamentary elections, but that didn't take place. the worst thing that happened during the transition period was that in february 2014 we were supposed to have presidential elections. that didn't happen. the period was extended and the biggest problem was that the international community and the players on the ground did not find a legal way of extending
this transition. which made it very easy for people to come and point out with the flaws and take advantage of what's happening on the ground. the only thing that happened to explain the extension of the transition period is that the u.n. special envoy to yemen he stated that the gcc deal which had a time limit of two years is only end inging. that's what brought us here. what are the mistakes that the international community committed in yemen they wanted to keep a key ally because they were able to combat terrorism on the ground. and, of course, they didn't extend an official process. and then they also had no plan "b." so in yemen they had the national dialogue conference and that was the only kind of tribal negotiations or on the ground work didn't take place. everything was interested in the u.n.'s hands and everything
poured in that direction. that's a very big mistake. the realities on the ground were very separate from what was taken on from behind closed doors in a very elite hotel. so looking at yemen, what now, what can we do? first of all what's happening now, the u.s., uk france and a bunch of other governments decided to shut down their diplomatic missions on the ground and pull them out. saudi is very upset there's a shia mission in their borders. it would also probably strengthen al qaeda and the arabian peninsula. at the moment with the government out of sight they are the strongest power on the
ground. and their enemy is al qaeda in the arabian peninsula. and so to fight the hothis, any kind of funds and weapons going to go into strengthening the opponents is probably going to fall into the hands of al qaeda or any kind of militant branch that's similar to that. in my opinion, the countries that evacuated yemen should probably return in negotiations. the immediate reality on the ground is that they are here to stay. they have control of the majority of the military. i would say at least 60% of the military is in their hands. they have control over the national security bureau and the security association of yemen. and we're going to have to deal with them. and i think while i strongly condemn their behavior to arrest protesters and torture them and to keep former government officials under house arrest, they have control.
if yemen stays in isolation, war is probably going to be the only business in town and everything is going to pour into that. that's the last thing anyone would want in the middle east, given the circumstances in syria, iraq and libya. can we save yemen? that's a question i always hear. i think that yes, we can save yemen. because there are always options. never one way. we have to be flexible in our approach. we also have to put pressure, not just on the rebel movement, but also on political, other political parties to engage to come up with a transition. the only option out of this is to kind of create a force right now on the ground composed all the different parties and kind of hope to hold presidential elections. and so we need to stabilize yemen, we need to save yemen from a massive economic
disaster. i think 62% of yemen is dependent on humanitarian aid. and in dire need of clean water. looking at the circumstances there, we need to kind of assess these people and we need to kind of advise the u.n. special envoy to yemen. he's holding negotiations between political parties and the hothies. i think maybe it's in our best interest to ask him to change his strategy and to hold negotiations that are open and transparent before everyone. the yemeni people need to know everything. and i think on the ground yemenis don't know probably as much as you guys know. they don't know what's going on behind closed doors. and i think it's essential to keep negotiations open and transparent and engage people in transition moving forward. the only thing is i want to say it's a shame if we lose yemen to the scenario that we're going to
see in the future. because yemen displayed one of the few unique democratic experiences in the arabian peninsula. there was real hope for democracy. and it was one of the few countries where a woman's participation was actually going somewhere. and i think that the u.s. has invested too much to kind of let yemen go by isolating them or by abandoning all the work they have there. >> thank you. i'm going to go to ambassador bodine next and hopefully our technical issues can be resolved. >> well, thank you. thank you all for coming. battling the remnants of what passes for a blizzard in washington. and i notice a number of people in the audience who could do just as well sitting up here as sitting out there. look forward to the question and answer. thank you for your overview of where we are on yemen and bringing us up to date on yemen
and libya. i have to say that sometimes when i hear people talk about libya, i kind of envy you. because it seems as if you've got a nice neat, east versus the west. >> made it too simple. >> yeah i know. and i took your point on fragmentation and everything. you get to what i describe as a kaleidoscopic political structure. a finite pieces in an infinite number of peppers. i'm sometimes concerned in washington we try to find mosaics, which are static as opposed to kaleidoscopes which are in constant motion when we're trying to do policy. i think one of the first questions on the policy side that the u.s. and others need to
ask is do we judge whatever we have as a yemeni government solely through the prism or by a standard of compliance to serve as a proxy ground for our war on terrorism, and particularly on al qaeda? with the financial focus primarily on issues like working with local partners. and a rhetoric that's almost solely focused on counterterrorism. and even the other day when i was speaking about yemen, somebody from usaid noted how much we have increased our economic assistance to yemen over the years. but described it as fully integrated in supporting our counterterrorism effort. so our development work, our
governance work was all put within the context of counterterrorism. so are we looking at yemen as a compliant partner in a proxy war? or are we willing to go back to as was described looking at the various stresses on the state and on the society that over the last couple of years really have undermined the legitimacy and efficacy of the government and allowed the extremist narrative to become the operative one. we used to be very much engaged in governance and development projects in yemen. we are never the largest donor, but we were an active donor. and yemen was at one point an emerging but indigenous democratic experiment. in fact, the first community of
democracy summit held. i think what washington has been doing over the last several years as we opted for the first, the first alternative that we have seen yemen solely within the context of our counterterrorism fight. which is highly narcissistic way to be structuring your policy. your national interest needs to be first and foremost, but it may not be narcissistic. and, in fact, a couple of months ago, after the september takeover, but before the january whatever we're calling that, there was some talk about washington starting to open a dialogue. will they let us continue our counterterrorism policy? we were defaulting right back to where we had always been. the other problem with this is that it's very shortsighted.
and i would also make the contention that it has not been successful. we have been so focused on aqap that a constant stream of reports going back at least a decade on the southern secession movement, on all the various security and political stressors within the country were not really fully realized or addressed. in fact, i've recently heard someone, a senior policy person describe what is going on in yemen as an intelligence failure. and i was very surprised. it was not an intelligence failure. anybody who has been following yemen knows yemen knew what was coming perhaps not the exact date, but certainly was not surprised. i think what we have had is a policy failure.
persistent efforts to squeeze yemen into pre-existing templates have proved to be of nominal effectiveness. an example is the current effort to try to squeeze yemen into this sectarian battle. that it's between sunni and shia. the fact gets completely lost. and to, by putting it in this sectarian vocabulary. we also, again walk away from having to face what are the real stressors in the society and the state? which are, again, governance and development. we start to see the problems as externally generated. if it wasn't for the iranians, everything would be fine. well, everything was not fine the iranians are actually fairly late arrivals to this. and we have been raising the profile and the status. therefore of aqap as the
defenders of sunnism, against shiaism. -- their tactics have been very wrong. but to think that they can somehow step down the recent u.n. resolution which asks them to basically walk away was naive at best. they are a political force they are a security force they are there, and they're not going to step down. ironically, if they were to step down, let's say they went oh they told us we have to step down, i guess we're going to have to do it. there would be a total vacuum. there is no party. there is no coalition, which is currently capable of running the
country. even with the constantly shifting coalitions. so this is one where a u.n. intervention force would be about as counterproductive as anything i can imagine. it would not work. i don't know what side they would be on. i don't know what they would be doing. except perhaps unifying all the yemenis against them. but with the political dialogue with these ever shifting coalitions is frustrating no guarantee of success but is the only step forward. what we have to do in terms of policy is think what happens the day after. this is what we did not do with a national dialogue which was an amazing experiment in re-writing the social contract. but the international community was not set to step in the day after the national dialogue and provide to the yemeni people the
economic employment governance changes that had been behind the 2011 revolution to begin with. we p kind of went national dialogue over we have constitution, you know, put it in the success column go home. well, we can't do that. so we need to learn from our most immediate failures and, i think, our failures going over a number of years. to start thinking about you know, we don't want the shame of losing yemen. we're not at that point yet. but we have got to change our approach and our commitment to yemen to be one of something other than a proxy war, seeing it as somebody else's proxy war and actually get at what are the stressors within yemen. this is a saveable country. thank you. >> thank you. i think we still have some technical difficulties.
are you on the other end? >> i think the -- it's solved now. can you hear me? >> yes, we can. so as we originally planned, our last speaker will be -- please go ahead. >> hello? >> hello. >> yes, well, thank you everyone, thank you in washington and thank you for starting this very important discussion early in the morning. it's almost 6:00 p.m. here. and i'm glad to finally overcome this technical issue and share with you my thoughts and join the discussion. thank you everyone and thanks also to my colleagues and for their great insights. well, i'm trying after these great presentations on libya and yemen, i'm trying to recognize some patterns and do some bridging between libya and yemen and do some, run some comparison
and recognize some patterns over here, trying to understand civil wars that are taking place now in the region. and it is sad, let me begin with this, that only simply talking about change nonviolent resistance and national dialogue and now the debate has shifted from change and peaceful means that we were talking about civil wars in the region. looking at the two countries, two cases, libya and yemen, there are a number of patterns that can be identified here. the very first one is that in my view of the process of a transition itself, in my view, this is you know, levels of instability and the violence that we're seeing that's taking
place in both countries, actually is not completely out of norm for transitions looking at how other countries dealt with this transitional period. transitions are known to be complicated, messy, difficult, very challenging. and, yes, can be violent. and many cases actually looking at a number of cases, there is an estimate of approximately only transitional conflicts that make it peacefully successfully peacefully without experiencing levels of violence. but transitional conflicts after negotiated agreements, they usually suffer some aspects of instability. especially in the first five years of transition. and after a regime change or civil war and all of that.
so what is happening now, four years or five years after -- i think we're still looking at it from a global perspective. it's still within the norm. but we shouldn't, of course, take that for you know, for granted and recognize especially because and this takes me to the second pattern. these conflicts or civil wars, whatever you want to call them, can still be contained. looking at civil wars in general, also globally. this gives us hope. probably why we haven't, i see the point why some are hesitant
so it's still debatable. i think in my view this gives hope. it can still be contained and prevented from entering more of a vicious civil war probably as we see in syria or other places. the number the pattern that i'm seeing, which is quite alarming. and we should be careful and notice it now, in fact, which is this conflicts or civil wars are becoming more of self-sustaining conflicts.
meaning that this experience of instability that the two countries are experiencing actually issues that -- that do not exist in the past. for example in libya, only as a result of the recent fighting, the number of displaced people has reached almost 394,000 people. this, of course adds to approximately 500,000 from the regime. so this takes the number to now approximately 800,000 or possibly even to a million. this large number or influx of refugees as a result of the current fighting is pushing the conflict in libya to more becoming self-sustaining here because we have no issues that are making it stronger or more
resistant to a resolution. an example, actually, as the number of militias in the past number, we were talking about probably a handful, a few number of militias in libya. today, we're talking about dozens, some estimates put it to 23 active militias working in in libya. which is regardless of the exact number. this actually is alarming in a way that this is emerging. we have emerging war lords here that are benefitting from the status quo. it is in their own interest for this conflict to continue. and that is, again, the self-sustaining measured from the continuation of the conflict becomes more alarming. another pattern that the two countries also have shared which is the spillover effect. we are seeing it's obvious now
that egypt or that conflict in libya has aspects of the spillover in egypt. and we are clearly and publicly seeing egypt becoming or taking an active part in the conflict in libya. when we talk about the instability there. the immediate thing that comes to our mind is saudi arabia and how this is going to spill over in saudi arabia. and, of course 2009, is still present in our minds when saudi was pulled into the conflict between the government and the north and made the conflict or the situation even more complex or more complicated. beyond the spillover actually in the neighboring countries, another pattern also that is
emerging here is the regional, or even the global aspect of a spillover of the conflict in the two cases. and i'll give you an example here of the oil supplies. oil markets and how this is -- and with the oil markets going to be impacted as a result of this civil laws of the two countries. in libya, for example, oil production has dropped in libya to today almost 400,000 barrels a day. from 1.6 in the past. so it's almost now libya is producing less than 1/3 of its capacity in oil production. and this is going to have of course continues impact to the world market. in the case of yemen also, as you know they're getting
closer. and now we're hearing mandate more often in the debate in yemen. and failed state or civil war in yemen, protracted civil war, of course, is going to have a serious impact on the states where we have almost 4 million barrels of oil go through daily. so that is also another impact that we're going to see more beyond the region and how it's going to impact others. the spoilers we're seeing that you know, parties emerging as a result or taking more active, actually, against the transition, against the political process and working against everyone, basically. we know of al qaeda and peninsula long time in yemen
and now we are seeing isis, isil, whatever you want to call it also becoming more active in libya, which is the two countries share. another alarming aspect here or pattern is that we started to face an issue of legitimacy in the two countries. where in the case of yemen we know they are representative of themselves. they have representation. but on the other side actually, who represent who, the south, the north the joint meeting partners that used to be more functional in the past, it's no longer the case. now, the youth, or who exactly is representative of the other side. and also within libya itself. we were talking about operations. on the side who actually represents this party. we have a number of parties
actually coalition of different parties that we're not really certain. who, for example, represents -- and though they're fighting after, but that's actually leaders of -- this makes the situation more complex. now, after talking about these patterns that the two countries have demonstrated, some solutions or where do we go from here? the solution in both countries in my view will have to come from within. it will have to come from the two countries themselves. and, of course, they should be supported from the outside world. but, in case you're wondering whether there's an military intervention or bombing or drones that is not the solution to yemen or to libya. because already the debate has
of italy declaring its willingness to fight or to bomb or to -- or that this is not going to solve libya's problem. drones in the u.s. and i share my views with ambassador. also that we have a policy failures in the past, drones policy in yemen failed miserably and exacerbated the situations. and part of one reason why we are where we are today in any event is because of the shortsighted security approach of drones attacks thinking that this is going to solve yemen problems. in fact, actually we missed an opportunity for a political transition through national dialogue to succeed that was magnificent and achieved magnificent results in the past
two, three years in yemen. but in fact actually, the past two or three years in yemen show that we have the international community ignored yemen, neglected yemen, avoided dealing with yemen. and of course, this finally led to where we are today. and unfortunately, the transition or the solution from within has been disrupted. i think the solution again in yemen will have to come from within. probably the nonviolent resolution, the nonviolent resistance or uprising might need to continue at this time. and i agree with also that probably, you know, striking against or isolating, this is not going to solve the problem is going to make it, i think, more difficult.
again, i think we need to emphasize that local solution from within, in terms of nonviolent citizens, national dialogue and with the hope in libya for the peace negotiations that are taking place and here is a very important lesson to learn from yemen where, actually the u.n. became too much involved in managing the schedule and then the dialogue of yemenis. during the time, leading the national dialogue that actually lost the concept of ownership of the yemenis. i think this is a lesson important for libya to learn today is that the ownership of the peace negotiations in libya will have to complete will have to be libyans and the regions will have to solve it.
and i think moving the negotiations from outside to libya was a step in the right directions. and i can't resist, actually to say one final word because i see this -- i'm sorry about that, taking more time. because this is always that has become central to the debate about, especially in yemen with a sectarian conflict in yemen it has never been a sectarian conflict. always live together in peace and harmony and on many levels. political, tribal, you name it. civil society organizations. however, i am particularly concerned with the way that the crisis is being managed that one day that sectarian aspect is becoming more vicious and start
to cause more rather than benefit. so with that, i will stop here and thank you, again, for this discussion. >> thank you, and thank you also for your patience in the audience, as well as we dealt with technical issues. before we go into audience q & a, i'd like to ask a few of my own. let's start with you just taking advantage of the fact that the video system works. and feeling it might stop at some point. my question for you is, your solution of dialogue from within of change from within to me sounds very compelling. there's another possibility which is simply the violence from within gets worse. and that five years from now, we're talking about a much more bloody conflict. what is your sense of the trajectory of violence? do you feel that we're going to be looking at resolution? or it's actually going to a more dangerous stage?
>> well, thank you. this really, really important question. what i would like to see is the following, is that because the rest of the political parties in yemen are still overwhelmed with the movement. although they started, started in my view, back in september. they're still overwhelmed. and they haven't really been able to put their thoughts and their strength together and form a balance of power. i think there's strength in the solution, and i hope -- and i wrote about this also in arabic form for the yemenis for the political parties to come together and a nonviolent continuation of the uprising we
saw in the past and to balance the power in with them there in yemen. i'm hoping that the other parties or the rest of the political parties in yemen will realize that and be able to form to come together and balance and engage more on a solution. but i am -- i am actually concerned that and this is a good question. i'm concerned, it's not taking that direction yet. i haven't seen -- i'm seeing more signs of civil war or violence. the tribes, they already formed a power together a coalition together the secessionist in the south that they're also forming their own power. i'm afraid it's not taking the direction of the solution that i
would like to see, but more of exacerbated the crisis, the civil war. so more on that, this is the responsibility of the political parties of yemen. and for the international community to support that direction. >> thank you. if i could ask you, really since they the killing in benghazi of ambassador stevens and other u.s. officials, it seems that the united states has been in retreat from libya both in a policy sense but also in an institutional sense. there's been a reluctance to have people at risk which is quite understandable. but the result is that as a situation becomes more and more complex, u.s. knowledge on the ground, ability to work with people on the ground diminishes. first, i'd like your sense of is that actually right? but more importantly, if that is the logic how and why should the u.s. be more engaged in
libya, right? is it reasonable to say it's a tough situation, okay, moving on, we have other priorities? >> well, i mean, again, the attack in benghazi. it did force this retreat. and you know, i went to libya five times since the resolution. each visit i saw the u.s. you know, presidents and, you know talking to libyans. said we never get visited by the americans anymore. go to the embassy and say, look we have these programs to help civil society, train media and do advice on the constitutional level. but we can't execute these programs because we don't have the staff, it was a skeleton crew and they couldn't get out in the country. the same thing with helping the security sector. i mean, we make a lot about should we have helped early on? there were plans on the books to do that. you know, i think part of it was some u.s. reluctance to get involved. we were waiting for the libyans to pay up front to write the
check, and they never did that. we can get into that. the question also was where would this training occur? it would have to occur you know, overseas. so again, i think the question was probably -- the problem was one of distraction, no doubt. obviously, syria, iraq, ukraine libya started sinking lower and lower on the priority list. there was a sense in washington that this is a european problem. they're the ones that are you know, 200 miles off the coast from this problem. they need to step up to the plate and do that. perhaps there was an overreliance on the u.n. and the u.n. mission in libya. there's been a lot of after action thinking about its mandate, the capacity early on. the u.n. was quite frank in acknowledging they focused too much on the elections early on. they were so geared on having the elections. they neglected the security sector. while they were happening, you had the rise of militias.
you had the deterioration of security in benghazi, the rise of extremism. you know i think moving forward, when i talked to people in senior level policy positions now, there's this sense that if there is some sort of peace deal. if there's a unity government in libya, the u.s. approach going forward is going to be more forceful. they're not going to be waiting for the libyans to ask. there's going to be -- you get the sense that washington is taking this problem very seriously. unfortunately, and this goes back to barber's point, it's the isis thing. so my danger is we're going to view this problem again through a counterterrorism lens. there was an effort early on to try to train a small army. what we were essentially doing was training a factional militia. not a counterterrorism force. so, again inserting ourselves
into this very kaleidoscopic mosaic situation multiple factions asserting ourselves into that, trying to train factions to go against, quote, terrorists, could be more destabilizing in the long run. >> thank you. if i can ask you if there's anything that will catch u.s. attention as much as terrorism, it's iran. and as you know there have been press reports of a great iranian role in yemen especially -- can i get your sense of simply, first of all how extensive this is. is this kind of one iranian showed up and all of a sudden became an iranian division in yemen? but also what your sense is that iran wants to accomplish by having a presence in yemen? >> i think it's clear that they don't like saudi arabia and their presence in yemen is to weaken and undermine saudi arabia first and foremost. but also to create allies in the arabian peninsula. they don't have a lot of friends there right now, but they are a growing force. i think to answer this question
with a certainty or with a clear answer would be very hard. first of all, the movement itself is kind of a mysterious movement. we don't know if they're still practicing as it used to be. you know, there are new holidays that they're celebrating that are not part of the traditional sect that was practiced in yemen. what i call them is a neozati movement. so they're not like hezbollah in lebanon that are similar. how much support they're getting from iran would be really hard. i know at the start of the revolution, the iranians did provide support, also to some civil organizations on the ground. the kind of support they provide provided yemenis. they are tray training them to be organized, how to present themselves, probably presenting strategies. it's very obvious from the
speeches, who is the leader of the group, that he is mimicking the attitude of giving speeches. also, the uniform and some of the strategies are -- the views on the ground are very similar to what hezbollah's done in the past. however, what's not like it. hezbollah has come into beirut before twice, which is the capital of lebanon. but they withdrew after their demands were met. we have them coming into the capital and refusing to leave and take over the entire area. i don't know if this is an iranian strategy because it seems like a very yemeni one to come in and take control of everything. and so it's very vague. i think the only way to find answers is you know the situation has never happened before in yemen and to kind of say anything with certainty would be a mistake. >> barbara, if i could ask you to conclude at least my part of the q & a, you've been thinking about counterterrorism more than the vast majority of americans.
you've done this for quite some time in professional capacity. and also in the yemeni context. with that in mind, how do we think about al qaeda and the rib arabian peninsula. if drones are not the answer, what is? >> yeah. >> especially in the context of lack of government. >> yes, thank you. i will say that i do think i agree with a lot of observers that the drone policy when drones went from being a technical tool to the full strategy we began to lose and lose very badly. interestingly, when we first -- i won't count the first drones we used. but when it became more the focus of our approach. what we've actually done is spread al qaeda, aqap.
its supporters have grown its territory has grown. they also did see the vacuum that was created by the 2011 revolution and used that to expand their territory. what we should be doing is not so much an instead of but an in addition to. and this goes back to what i was saying. our ct strategy in yemen has been too narrow and too short focused. as fred noted, you know, you end up training what you think is a ct unit and you've really just sort of trained a militia. we didn't work on the yemeni government on what you do after 2013 when he came in, he was very focused on aqap.
aqap was primarily -- and in the south where he's from, and the aqap presence and problem became much more personal. even though the military on the ground was effective and the drones were being used. where we failed is going in afterwards and rebuilding. and so you know it's one thing to take out tiny village and scatter the aqap people but if you don't go back in and provide the homes and services you haven't moved it forward. we used to have what was a clear build and something. we never got around to the build part. aqap has a limited reach in yemen because it is such a sunni
organization. and a large part of the country is not. and we've never capitalized on that. we never kind of used that as a way to build. and so what i would say is and this is to borrow something from what a yemeni official once said to me it's not so much that we need to take our focus off of security, but we need to broaden our focus. broaden our and be seen as involved in those as we are in what i think a lot of yemenis see is our proxy fight against al qaeda that is completely divorced from them. >> thank you. i'd like to open it up to the audience. a few notes. please, a microphone will be coming around please speak into the microphone. short questions and they actually have to have a
question. and also please identify yourself. i'm going to take them in groups of three. so, yes, please. yes? >> good morning. thank you. pam dawkins with voice of america. a question for fred actually a couple of questions. you mentioned that you were recently in libya. what's your insight concerning the recent beheadings of the egyptians? is it your sense that this was carried out by the core islamic state group? captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2008