tv U.S.- Arab Relations CSPAN October 20, 2017 4:11am-4:39am EDT
>> on wednesday the head of u.s. central command, general joseph votel talked about the military campaign by isis. this is a half-hour. thank you. i'm conscious that i am the second introducer and the final act before the main event, so i promise i'll be brief. but let me start with bill, and thank you for that lufblly grukz. but i want to give a special thank you to dr. john duke anthony. he's been one of the most active prow ponents for people who care about this region together. not just in this conference but all the time. and the leadership that he and
the counsel have displayed have really helped bring together the u.s. and the arab world, particularly the araben gulf. the programs brought together really help build very important bridges between the united states and the arab world. when we talk about the middle east it's too tempting and too easy to focus on the challenges and the problems. so i generally appreciate the efforts to highlight the best of their world and expose countries ask americans to the best of our culture, people and our leaders. it's important to show how we are building a positive path forward for your future. and dr. anthony, i want to say this on behalf of everyone here, thank you. we are grateful to everything you and the council does to
build these bridges every day. [ applause ] another very big thank you goes to our guest of honor, general votel, who i have the honor of introducing today. general votel is very much in the present taking on some of the biggest challenges. from syria, iraq to afghanistan hezbollah, he certainly has a lot on his plate. and as you can see there are no threats of shortage across the region. a partnership that is deeply rooted in common interest and shared priorities. it was formed by political leaders, but it's our two militaries that carry this relationship forward.
working, training, fighting side by side and day by day. over the past 25 years the uae has participated in six coalition forces with the u.s. we were there on day one in disguise against isis, and we're together now in yemen fighting al-qaeda together. this partnership goes back a long way. as far back as the late '80s and early '90s they developed a friendship, and here we are many decades later where i have the privilege of introducing general votel today. this partnership has made the uae safer. it's made the region safer. but the point that gets overlooked far toorch is that
partnership also made the u.s. safe. now, of course, there's much more to do. and we still have to make much more progress even despite our best efforts against alidkida and isis. ask as we do another extremist threat has been gaining all this time. and that threat is iran. we welcome president trump's new strategy to address the full range of iranian interference and the use of destabilization. this includes its growing ballistic terrorist program, cyber attacks, interference in each other's domestic affairs and threats to freedom of negativeigation. the nuclear deal offered iran an opportunity to engage responsibleably with the international community. in this latest challenge the
u.s. and -- knowing that u.s. forces under general votel's command are helping to keep the region more secure. and americans can also sleep my comfortably, too, knowing that general votel has the full commitment from the uae in helping to keep the people safe. please welcome general votel. >> it's great to be here. you're highnesses, excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, thank you for inviting me to speak with you this afternoon.
that included a warm salad, bred with butter covered with mushroom sauce on a bed of warm mashed potatoes and a chocolate cake that has no less than six layers to it, so i know my work is cut out for me. in any case i'm very, very glad to be here. and i sincerely appreciate the opportunity to come mere. your excellency, thank you very much for the very, very kind introduction. and more importantly thank you for your personal and your country's great partnership with me and the with the united states central command and more importantly with the united states of america. dr. john duke anthony, sir, thank you very much. appreciate it. dr. john pratt, others here, appreciate the opportunity to participate in this conference here today.
especially our young people that had a chance to share their experiences with us. and i'm encouraged by the opportunity at events like this give us to discuss these issues and learn from each other. i've been in kmabd at the united states central command for about 19 months now. as all of you know this is about a 20 country area that spans from egypt to pakistan and from yemen to kazakhstan. as you know this has been an extraordinary important region for us. i would share up front here three key things i learned in my experience. first and foremost, the middle east, central and south isha, make up the central command area, remains an area of extraordinary importance to the united states. we have -- we have had in the past and we continue to have
vital national interests that intersect in this particular area. so just as this has been an important area for us in the past, it remains an important area for us today, in the present. and it will remain an important area for us in the future. and i want to ensure you that as a central command commander here that this is point that i emphasize to everybody that i speak with. the second thing i would just share with you that i've learned 19 months in this particular position is that partners across the region want strong and progressive partnerships with the united states. without fail, and i've been to virtually everywhere, multiple times there are extraordinary strong relationships and a strong desire to work closely between bilaterally between our countries and multilaterally in a number of case. and while we may have differences political kalically,
and we take the ups and downs of that, i'm very proud to tell you our military to military relationships across the region have remained extraordinarily strong even through those ups and downs. and i'm very proud of the role our military plays in sustaining these relationships. my third key point to you here about what i've learned in this position is that there are more opportunities in this region than there are obstacles. and i think this is a very important thing for people to recognize. ask i think it highlights the value of the council and the work that you do that is so important to us of exposing people to this region and allowing them to come in and experience arab culture, experience the country, learn the lang wrj, get an appreciation of what is happening there and be able to share that with other americans and others around the world. and i think this is an extraordinarily important aspect. and i do feel as a military commander here as i look around, it's very easy.
there's no shortage of things to talk about in the central command region. you can pick iraq or afghanistan or syria or yemen or any other areas that generally we have conflict in. but the fact of the matter is it is extraordinarily important to recognize that in all of this are great opportunities to move forward. and that's the key thing that i've learned about this. i really like the theme that has been introduced today. how best to navigate an uncertain present and future. and i think this is a very pertinent question here as we look at this particular region. as the united states central command commander i've often talked about this with my military leadership. and we've devised a very simple approach we've used in talk about this region. and it can be talked about in three simple ways.
prepare -- we also ensure we develop strong partnerships across the region and we develop a level of understanding with granilarity about the region, about the culture, the challenges and the opportunities that exist for us. so first and foremost our principle focus is on preparing. second of all we desire to pursue opportunities. we look for places where there are opportunities to move forward in supporting our national interests and the interests of our valued partners in the region. so we look actively for opportunities to pursue teegs damove forward and move forward in areas we have common objectives. and finally we look for ways to prevail. we recognize that conflicts today don't normally end the way they did in world war ii with a parade down new york city. one of the most prom minute
pictures i've seen is a picture taken in mosul and showing prime minister abadi in downtown mosul surrounded by the people. and as i looked at that, that's what prevailing looks like in cent com. in 1789 george washington wrote a letter to at the time the sultan of morocco. in his letter he wrote within our territories there are no min mines whether of gold or silver. and this young nation just recovering from a long war has not yet had time to acquire riches by agriculture or commerce. but our soil is bountiful and
our people industerous. and we have reason to flatter ourselves that we should gradually become useful to our friends. the united states has come a long way over the last 230 years but the value of the united states, to be of importance and value to our partners in the arab world has not changed. this incidence clearly shows we have treasured our relationships not omin africa but specific for me in the united states central command in the middle east. it also underscores that now more than ever we will need each other to face the many challenges and opportunities in front of all of us. what i'd like to talk with you about today is the the perspective of a military leader and how he is approaching and how we are approaching the partnership area in central command and more broadly across the globe.
as many of you know, central command is leading a 62-member international coalition in conducting a campaign to defeat the so-called islamic state of iraq or syria or isis. in both iraq and syria we have largely used an approach we call by, with and through to achieve our military, humanitarian and political objectives within the confines of our national policies. this means conducting military campaigns by employing and using and enabling partner maneuver forces with the support of u.s. capabilities through a coordinated legal and diplomatic framework. and we employ this approach differently in both iraq and syria. in arachwe are conducting the campaign by supporting the iraqi security forces with coalition intelligence, logistics and
lethal fire support through legal and diplomatic agreements with the governor of iraq and all our coalition partners. the number of coalition forces in the theaters is relatively low and tailored to support the iraqi security forces. the iraqi security forces themselves have improved through this approach through 2014. operations in mosul as i talked about just a moment ago, have freed millions of people from the chains of isis and life has begun to return to the city. recently the iraqi security forces for the first time in their history conducted simultaneous operations in more than one location. recent projects all projected to take weeks and months were concluded enless than two weeks. coalition resources did support them. but make no mistake that the security forces in iraq were leading the entire time.
in syria we face a more complicated and military environment in fighting isis. the united states does not have a policy of supporting large scale involvement in the syrian war. therefore, it must deal with isis along the way. russia and iran both have large scale presence in syria and are operating at the assad regime's invitation. and inflaming an already complex political situation. to defeat isis campaign in this environment has a much different character although russia, iran and to an extent the syrian regime all want to remove isis, each actor has varying degrees and different objectives in the
long-term. the coalition, on the other hand, has had the sole objective of the military defeat of isis. since we could not partner with the syrian regime's armed forces, we chose to support an organization called the syrian democratic forces. again, in a by, with and through construct. in this case it means employing syrian democratic fighting forces with coalition assistance through a coordinated framework. they're an injijinous syrian organization each represented by foreign kurds and foreign arabs who have created a framework of operating cooperatively with the coalition. the counsels made of syrian civil leaders from the local area. once that an area has been
cleared of isis was aided by cooperation. by and large this approach has worked well and helped in the return of displaced persons to their homes. another partner of which we are conducting a by through and which approach has operated through yemen. in this case, terrorism at the hands of al-qaeda and isis. and we have adapted our approach here so that the u.s. advisers and in some cases enabling capabilities work with the emratty forces. this hybrid approach works well, supporting our counter terrorism objectives but reinforcing a local approach and more importantly local ownership over
the solution. and that is the goal. local solutions to local problems and u.s. assistance where and when our national security interests are affected. as i briefly touched upon while discussing syria, countering the of outside state actors as we work by, with and through our local partners compicates issues. iran's express desire to build larger influence both literally in developing the teheran bay route access and figuratively by increasing military and political influence in places like syria, yemen, iraq and other places around the region causes concern with our partners around the region. in this light we are keen to use a bi, with and through approach
to address iran's manifest behaviors both in and outside of the region. so why does this approach work? why does the by, with and through work? as i mentioned it allows the u.s. to assist with allies and partners through the region without using an approach that requires a large scale. this approach also allows local actors to encourage local ownership of the solutions and capitalize and much deeper understand the regional dynamics that only our local partners can have. there are, however, numerous challenges associate said with this approach. it's not free. on occasion a legal partner cannot conduct their operations in the same manner a local coalition or u.s. partner might. we have to let our partners know our thoughts on other ways to
accomplish our same objectives. but in our analysis those doing the fighting, those local forces are calling the shots. we are are getting better at realizing the operations will go at the pace of our partners, sometimes fast and sometimes slower. whether it is a slower or quicker than anticipated, our partners always have the lead. for example, just over the last weekend in the city of raqqah, the syrian democratic forces on their own halted co-operations to allow more of the civilian population and more of the local isis fighters to surrender and evacuate the city. they because of their cultural understanding, their deep relationships, realize the importance of protecting the local population with whom they wanted to work once isis is defeated. and as i previously mentioned where there have been operations
that the iraqi security forces have conducted that were completed much faster than the coalition forces would have anticipated. as these two examples highlight in many, many other cases i can cite to you, those of us who look to work closely with our regional partners must be prepar prepared -- and flexible. working by, with and through our regional partners is key. in fact, we internally to the u.s. department of defense are working to see what aspects of this approach should be included into our doctrineal, training and of course management systems. and many of our services, my service, the united states arm ein particular are taking measures now to develop services specifically designed for this type of warfare.
one of the tasks at hand is to define the overall concept of by, with and through. in more refined language that lends itself to further development and discussion. and it's not just a military problem. by, with and through applies to our economic, diplomat recollect, our law enforcement partners as well. and so it is a comprehensive approach. key to any definition of by, with and through is any understanding we give to pattern forces must be through a legal and diplomatic framework. it is this framework that will form the legal basis for any action and employ the guidelines of not only department forces but our capabilities. additionally we have to define the term partner carefully and continuously. it can spell the difference between success and failure at the strategic level thereby directly supporting or potentially undermining any
diplomatic efforts. there are also other numerous unsettled definitions we will be working to define and several changes of policy we'll need to explore in order to fuis sillitate more effective this execution approach of by, with and through. and while much of the analysis is going on, we have had discussion of this approach at the highest levels at the department of defense and certainly with all our partners. now it's time to codify this approach. partners to be as clear as possible in what we mean when we say by, with, and through. i would like to leave you with one final thought. at the time of george washington's letter to the sultan of morocco, neither could have possibly for seen our current strategic environment. the letter was a statement of commitment to become useful to our friends. the united states is now more powerful than it was back then,
and able to make good on some of its promises. and to the extent that i, the united states central command, am able to help, we will. as i look -- as we look forward to greater development of u.s.-arab relationships in the future, we would do well to remember that a simple commitment between friends can be more powerful than violence, extremism, and oppression. thank you once again for the invitation to speak with you this afternoon and sharing my thoughts with you. i trust that our partnership and friendship will continue to strengthen over time with all of our partners in this important region, as we look together under these and other important issues. thank you very much. [ applause ] >> c-span's washington journal, live every day with news and policy issues that impact you,
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