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tv   National Council on U.S.- Arab Relations Policymakers Conference  CSPAN  November 1, 2018 1:38pm-5:27pm EDT

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outgoing speech reiterated obama's words. he based the two states for two people's formula on u.n. general assembly resolution, the partition plan, which recommended the creation of a jewish and arab state. secretary kerry claimed that, quote, recognition of israel as a jewish state has been a u.s. position for years. though that had only been true for the last five years of president obama's administration. now despite what secretary kerry outlined in his speech, the partition plan never demanded that palestinian arabs recognized israel as a jewish state. palestinian arabs would have been equal in number to the jewish population inside the territory allotted for a jewish state. >> my name is sydney jones. i'm the student programs coordinator. and i would like to echo his sentiments and thank you all for being here. welcome you all. i hope your lunch is good so far. it looks good from up here. i hope you're enjoying it.
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so just like we did yesterday, we are going to hear from a couple of individuals that have participated in either one or more of our programs that we offer at the national council. so without further adieu, i'd like to introduce yazmine ali. >> etc. tooemed guests and to the staff here at the national council, i would first like to express my gratitude to the staff here at the national council for this rare opportunity to be able to address a room filled with role models. i would also like to thank sydney, who has become not only a friend, but also a mentor for me. sydney, alongside the staff here at the council, have opened countless doors for me. the pinnacle being my current internship at the usa pavilion for the world expo 2020 in dubai.
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at my first day at the national council, dr. john anthony embedded in me one of the most important frames of reference for conducting and analyzing policy in the middle east. that being empathy. it is with empathy he emphasizes that us as both students and future leaders have the rare opportunity to transcend beyond governments, personalities, misconceived popular rhetoric and geopolitics and uncovered underneath these layers lie people. my summer experience continuously empowered its interns with what dr. john anthony refers to as two of the most instrumental means in achieving success. knowledge and experiences, whether it be powerful guest speakers such as david or dr. herman or sight visits to the embassy of saudi arabia, the
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council empowered me with the knowledge and experiences necessary to be able to conduct diplomacy at its lowest levels. each experience warranted us to ask questions, to ask the tough questions, to check our own country, to understand its faults and to most importantly be better than the missteps. it is not simply a country of oil and conflict as this country emp pa sizes, but the heart of culture, philosophy, sociology, or scientific and technological advancements. it ignited in us as interns a spark. to share our mutual understanding with our friends, families and colleagues and with that forge our future paths ahead. at my summer placement with the middle east policy council, i
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had the unique experience to bring together a working group of d.c. professionals, teachers and interns to confront a rather pressing issue. islamophobia and its effects on students such as myself. had it not been for my stomacher internship or unparalleled experience with the policy counc council, i would have never had my first real taste of people to people diplomacy. the most powerful tool, therefore, that the national council has endowed me with is knowledge. knowledge of an unbiassed history and reframing of the middle east. i look forward to the next chapter ahead as we will be continuing my spring semester studies in morocco. i will take with me the knowledge, experiences and most importantly the power to be better and to promote morality in face of ideology. thank you so very much. [ applause ]
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>> thank you. next we're going to hear from dr. ed lynch. >> good afternoon, everyone. your majesties, general, military officers, esteemed guests, and benefactors and those who have benefitted from the many activities of the national council. i believe they asked me to speak here because i'm relatively new to the arab league. i got involved with the arab league at my university, which is hollands university in in ro virginia. i got involved in this through professor joe dunn from converse. our president at francois hollande lands was a formers.
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and sent an e-mail saying we do model arab league here. i know you have model u.n. program. i'd love to get you involved and our college president sent that to me with the request that i put together a team and take them to converse college for the southeast regional. us i found the other purpose for inviting me. which was that virginia tech wasn't going to be doing the appalachian region and they needed another university to pick that up. as i told one of sydney's pred sets s sets sorts if you had lead with since i went to the university of virginia, if you had led with you can take something away from virginia tech, that would have been all you needed. next time you might want to lead with that. so i'm very pleased to be involved with the model arab league. i have done model u.n.
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conferences are huge. you're in a room like this one with a couple hundred people. for the students at a small college like mine, that is a setting and an audience that is very intimidating. by contrast, you're in a league that's nor similar to what you're used to. the groups are maybe 20 or 30 people rather than 200 or 300 and closer to what my students are used to doing and something at which they really excel. i'm thrilled to be getting ready to do the fourth conference at hollands university the weekend after next. we invite d a middle school to participate along with high school students and believe me you have haven't lived until you have seen a 10-year-old boy in the uniform at a formal event,
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which is a sport coat that didn't fit and his shirt tail out, letting a college student literally twice his age know exactly what turkey's position is on this particular issue. that is empowerment and something the national council provides at every model arab league they do for students of various ages. so how do i pitch this to colleges and universities to try to get them to come to hollands university or to students who might like to participate as well. to a certain degree, model arab league sells itself because it's an extracurricular that doesn't involve o sports, doesn't involve swetting. so that's sometimes enough. but more seriously we talk about the life skills that participation bring to students or improve in those students who
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already have these skills. these include being able to do rapid fire research, being able to get an assignment on tuesday and by wednesday being able to speak about that with some confidence and with some knowledge. being able sometimes having minute s s to prepare a major speech on an issue that you had not thought deeply about previously. model arab league builds teamwork among students. students learn to work together. they learn to work together not only with their partner on their council, but with people whom they have never met before, w k worked with before, whom they have never seen before. this is a voluntary sort of teamwork. not the forced teamwork that animates some people who teach college. third and perhaps most significantly for my students, public speaking. public speaking is something that we encourage and this permits them to learn the difference between give iing a
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speech and conversation. to learn the difference between writing a speech and writing a term paper because those are two very different sorts of writing. to read a term paper is to put that aud yens to sleep. to present an oral argument, to construct that argument, to be able to do it in a way that is compelling and commands attention and as we often say at hollands university, it's a way for young people to find their voice. of chance they have in a very unique set of circumstances and a set of circumstances which they don't have to worry about a grade. we have a saying at hollands university. what happens at model arab league stays at model arab league. they learn parliamentary procedure. they learn how to discuss and debate and argue passionately but at the same time according to the rules.
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a set of skills that is rare. and finally, they learn how to present themselves as an expert. when they know perfectly well they aren't an expert. as i often tell my students, grown up life, real life, a depressingly large percentage of that life is having to present yourself as an expert when you know perfectly well you aren't an expert. you may as well get used to doing that now and may get used to doing it in a friendly and stress-free sort of environment. the bottom line is that there are skills, life skills that are useful forever that can be picked up at a model arab league in a way that cannot be learned or internalized in any other way. i know that there are many benefactors of the national council here this afternoon and i wish to assure you from my point of view as a college professor that your efforts on behalf of the national council
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and your ways you sported the national council have not been wasted. your efforts have changed lives. i have seen it happen. i have seen my students go to t arabic. i will be joining one of my students on a trip to the gulf region a little bit later on this month. this does occur. and i want to conclude this afternoon, by just saying a word about the national council staff. i have had the pleasure of working with some remarkable young people from the national council staff over the three or four years that i've been involved with it. sidney is only the latest example of such a remarkable young person who does remarkable work, and they become, sidney, you and some of your predecessors, have become role models for the students at hollands university, and in just in supporting them, and dr. anthony, for finding them and for hiring them, you are doing your part to improve a world
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that desperately needs young ideas, fresh ideas, and remarkable young people. thank you for your efforts. thank you for your attention. enjoy the rest of the conference. >> i promise we didn't pay them to say nice things about our staff. so i just want to conclude by saying thank you all for listening and thank you to our two speakers. once again, if you or anyone you know may be interested in participating in any of our programs, please let me know. i will be here at the registration table throughout the remainder of the day and i'm happy to connect with you, or any student that you might know that would be interested in participating in a model arab league, or a study visit, or any of the other various programs that we offer. thank you. and i hope you enjoy the rest of your lunch. >> thank you all. ladies and gentlemen, let's give them another big round of applause. thank you so much. just a housekeeping matter, we're going to start in about 10
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minutes with our program. so please enjoy the rest of your food. again, we will start in about 10 minutes. thank you, ladies and gentlemen.
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and today is the second day of the annual arab/u.s. policy makers conference in washington, d.c., a 10-minute break, expecting to be hearing from retired general david pe trats. and again, the second day of this arab-u.s. policy makers conference. you can also find some of yesterday's discussions online. and we have those available in our video library at
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>> again, a break here in the discussion of the annual arab-u.s. policy makers conference being held in washington, d.c. coming up live, we will be hearing from retired general david petraeus, expecting the discussion to restart in about 10 minutes or. so while we wait for it to re-begin, here is some of the conference from yesterday. talking about israel and palestine. thank you very much. next is elizabeth campbell. dr. zogby is here. he will tie up the loose ends after these two have spoken.
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and may i say, anyone who has questions, that's what those little cards are for, so come forward. >> thank you very much, dr. anthony. thank you. it is really a deep pleasure to be on this esteemed panel. it has been quite a year for enra, the u.n. relief and works agency for refugees in the near east. this year, we have experienced what it means to have upended 70 years of bipartisan agreement on the approach to unra, by which i mean the united states, as i'm sure most of you are well aware, decided formally, on august 31, to no longer fund unra. having long been our largest most prominent donor. constituting 30% of our total budget. in the statement that the u.s.
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drafted publicly announcing its decision, among other things, it noted that unra is irredeemably flawed. beyond that, we have not yet received clarification about what exactly the u.s. means by that. i think most of you know a lot about unra, or have heard the acronym over the years. but few people realize the scale and scope of our operations. unra today is responsible for educating more than 525,000 students across gaza, west bank, syria, lebanon and jordan. if you took that school system and put it in the united states, it would be the third largest after new york and los angeles. indeed, it is a very sizable public institution. we also provide primary health care for about 3.5 million refugees who rely on our
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services. we run 142 health clinics. and the third pillar of our work is the provision of humanitarian assistance for the most vulnerable families in these five areas. today, we provide almost 2 million families emergency food and cash relief. that includes half of the population in gaza. today, two-thirds of the total population living in gaza rely on unra for education, health care, and increasingly also a source of livelihood. so the scale and scope of what we do is quite extraordinary. and let me be very clear. there is absolutely no alternative in the united nations system, in the international nongovernmental organization community, or at present by any government to unra. there is no alternative.
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if the idea is that unra has run its course, and there needs to be a new paradigm in the middle east, that's fine, we're willing to figure out whatever political solution may be advanced. but to our knowledge, there is currently no solution that would allow for the sustainable transfer of these essential public services that have proven to provide excellent quality services over several decades. and that is a very dangerous situation. at risk is quite a lot. and if we're not able to secure the funding that we need to continue, we are looking at what i would argue is going to be a very unknown, or almost sort of, it will be catastrophic, obviously, to the families, but
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the long-term security implications of all of this will be extraordinary. indeed, really, what we would be facing is a de-development across the middle east. one of the things that in my view is extraordinary about unra is that it has somehow miraculously been able to contribute to the development of a people who as we all know are without estate. that is actually, i believe, unmatched in modern recent history. it is rare to find an example like that. in our education system, maybe some of you may have benefitted from unra education, from unra schools. according to the world bank, our students are outperforming their national counterparts by one year of learning. so we don't just run schools, but they're truly centers of excellence. same with our health clinics. we have long achieved 100% vaccination rate.
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so when i ask senior officials in washington what's the plan, just let's be very concrete. if unra doesn't exist tomorrow, as is the intention by many senior members of the current administration, very concretely, who will vaccinate the children? it is in the interest of everybody living in our region to continue a program like that. we are also very proud of our achievement that since the 1960s, 50% of all of the children in our schools are girls. that's very important. and despite many different kinds of challenges. very concretely, if tomorrow, unra is not providing civilian secular education to more than half a million children in these five area, very concretely, who will be doing that? who will be doing that? it is really important to remember, and i appreciate listening to zaha's history, that unra's headquarters were once located in vienna. we moved them at the beginning
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of the oslo peace process to jerusalem and amman. with the aim, very clearly, of being part of that ongoing process that would lead to eventually the elimination of unra. the idea that there would be some type of just and lasting solution to the refugee question, and that unra would dissolve and that there would be a way for of course the palestinian authority but others to take over responsibility. we obviously are still sitting in the region, very much looking for a political solution. unra's job, has always been and will continue to be to maintain the political space necessary for a just and lasting solution. we are providing education and health care and emergency relief services, and keeping that space open until that time comes. so we are obviously deeply, deeply concerned. not only about the lack of funding, which has created a
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tremendous amount of instability and general insecurity in our institutions and for the colleagues with whom we work, and our various fields of operation, but also, more broadly, on the growing political attacks against our mandate, and our existence. >> thank you very much, to dr. jean luk anthony for trusting me with this very important mission of making sure that you have an hour of total brilliance. because i'm sitting here with general david petraeus, whom i would not introduce because it would be silly of me to go through your bio. i would just want to say that i have met a lot of smart men in my life, and i think you are really one of the smartest men i've met. and i think it is very, very important to combine that with your wisdom, and your strategic view. this is what we are going to try to do today, because petraeus
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likes to look at the strategic angle first before we go into details. we sort of tried to negotiate that. so i think since that attention, everybody's attention now a days is on iran and the iran sanctions, it is appropriate to start with these iran sanctions that the administration says it will be imposing. will they be serious, general? and what impact might they have? >> well, they will be serious. and they will have a very substantial impact. but first of all, let me say it is a pleasure to be back with the national council. it is a great organization. and the turnout for this is absolutely wonderful. as always. regita, thank you for doing my interrogation here today. no enhanced interrogation techniques allowed. and congratulations on the recognition that you received yesterday. >> thank you. >> very well deserved honer. >> thank you. >> yes, indeed. >> thank you.
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>> and i want to single out jasmine for her very impressive words and remarks and also her very kind reference to the cia. not an organization always referred to in this particular grouping. look, let's back up and look at what has transpired in recent years. the previous administration, and of course, i was part of that administration, and the one before that, first as a central command commander and then the commander in afghanistan, all this after doing the surge in iraq, and then as the director of the cia. and there was a huge effort put in to reach a nuclear agreement with iran, the so-called jcpoa, the joint comprehensive plan of action. and to be truthful, i think there was a hope that this would not just set back to a considerable degree the nuclear program of iran, and also, end the plea tone yum path to a bomb and bring in inspectors and
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everything else, i think there was a hope that this would also lead to iran curbing their very maligned activities in the region. their support for shia militia in iraq. in lebanon. in syria. in yemen. et cetera. and their effort to essentially lebanon-ize iraq and syria, as well as lebanon. in other words, to have enormous power on the street through very well trained and equipped militia forces. but also to have some of the leaders of those forces, or connected with those forces actually in the parliament, so that you have the kind of legislative clout that hezbollah has in lebanon. sadly, none of this actually transpired. the maligned activity continued. if anything, it may have actually increased. helped because of the threat of isis in iraq and to a degree
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elsewhere. the missile program, the other big concern, continued with the testing and ever-more dangerous and more accurate missile systems and longer range. and ultimately, i think that led this administration, to conclude that even though technically, iran had not violated the jcpoa, that these other activities again were of such concern that they had to reimpose the sanctions that had been put on iran largely by congress, keep in mind, in the, during the previous administration. and so the final set of sanctions being reimposed will take force on the 4th of november. this will be sanctions on oil exports, on financial transactions, on the operations of ports, of insurance, and some other areas. and these are going to be very significant. to be sure, dmagts will be careful in how it -- the
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administration will be careful in how it allows these to come into force, probably doing some negotiating with china, with india, perhaps with some of the other oil countries that import oil from iran to be careful not to spike oil prices. and our friends from saudi arabia of course are going to increase their production to the maximum extent possible. as was done by the way back, the last time we had sanctions on iran, when i was the cia director and in fact, went to the saudis and asked them to do just that. so this is going to have a very serious effect though. and again, i think it will be a greater effect, than was the case in the past, where the sanctions were really seen as a vehicle to get agreement on the nuclear program, and here they are seen as a vehicle to get agreement, or to get iran to meet these demands that were established by the secretary of state, in his speech, to the heritage foundation, back in may, and then his subsequent
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additional condition that he established as well. this is going to play out for a while. i don't expect that we're going to see a rush to the negotiating table. there may be some initial back-channel communications. but i would suspect that we will be well into next year before you're going to see the iranians so convinced that this is really going to bite in the way that i believe will be the case, that they will actually be willing to come to the table. >> let me dissect a couple of the points you made. do you think india and china would rescue iran from being hurt, badly hurt, because that's what the iranians are saying. they are saying we have been used to sanctions. we've got india committed to stay the course with us no matter what. china is probably going to take a little bit of a break. but what happens if these sanctions don't bite? because we have people like, quun tris like india -- >> well, the sanctions are going
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to bite. trust me on this. they really will. let's keep in mind that what these sanctions do now is they tell a business in the world somewhere, you have a choice. you can do business with iran, or you can do business with the number one economy in the world. but you're not going to do business with both. and that choice is very straightforward. now, there are going to be efforts to circumvent the sanctions. the eu is actually trying to provide a pathway to do that to a degree, to try to keep the jcpoa in force and to keep iran having some incentives to continue to observe it, and to be in adherence with the agreement. china could actually use some other entity that doesn't really care about having to do business with the united states, to do business, but again, what currency are you going to use? are you going to be able to use a, how many additional currencies can you actually trade? how much can you push across the
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caspian sea to actually go up through russia? how much can you push through iraq, let's say? there will be all kinds of efforts. but these efforts are not serious quantities akin to the million or more barrels that are ultimately going to come off the market from iran, as a result of the sanctions. and it could even be more this time. but again, there is going to be care as well, on how this is imposed, to ensure that the reduction in supply is compensated by additional production and export, by the saudi, by the united states, and for what it is worth by the way, it is very important to note, that the united states is now the number one natural gas produce ner the entire world, and it is also now very recently the number one crude oil producer as well. that is quite a substantial achievement for a country that was supposedly at peak oil production less than seven or eight years ago.
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>> that's correct. general, let's try to forecast what would be, might be the iranian reaction. now, are they going to lie low and say we are going to stick around, buy time, and you know until there is a new administration, or when there is whatever, whatever that calculation may be. will they lie low? or will they escalate in places like lebanon, for example? do we think that they might cooperate for let's say in yemen, with the hossis? what are the forecasts? and do you think the administration has put a scenario for each of the potential repercussions of the decision of sanctions? >> i'm very confident that my former colleagues in the intelligence community and the department of defense, and also our partners at state have sat down and said, done all the what-ifs. i mean will the proxy militia in
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iraq start to shoot at our embassy? as they did, as you may recall, during the battle of bassra when prime minister malliki on short notice ordered two iraqi deductions in what became known as the battle of basra, the charge of knights and we had to really scramble to get all of the enablers over the top of them so they didn't get defeated and ultimately, of course, we defeated the shia militia. but the response was not in basra as much as it was in sadr city, and we were hammered 12 to 15 volleys of again 10 to 15 rounds per volley throughout the day on the u.s. embassy. i don't think that will happen. >> what happens if it happens? >> you could have some, you could see some re-emergence of explosively foreign pen traitors, very lethal iranian-made improvised explosive devices that can actually slight through an m-1 tank. you could see some action against our forces on the ground in other places, other parts of iraq, parts of syria, other
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places in the middle east, but having said that, while these are all possibilities, and we may see some of these, i think iran has to realize that there's will, is a united states president who, when syria used chemical weapons did respond, and has done it twice, and is not i don't think going to shrink from using force in response. again, we're not looking for a fight. you heard secretary mattis, we were together at the menona dialogue in bahrain this past weekend, secretary mattis was very clear, but what he was, was firm, not provocative. and i don't think that we are out to provoke a fight with iran. i think we are out to encourage iran and to really pressure iran to start taking seriously the concerns not just of the united states, and our coalition partners, but of our partners in
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the gulf and so forth, at this very alarming development of activity by iran, in terms of these proxy forces and the missile program, in addition to, of course, the nuclear aspect of their effort. >> so what about the revolutionary guards, the iranian revolutionary guards, died, you know what, if we cooperate, it is the end of the regime as we see it, so they do not want to reform, because that would be suicide, and they decided, you know, better yet, to take my chances, go through lebanon, make the problem, hezbollah, provoke israel? is this something that one writes off, that it is not going to be the scenario at all? >> no, i think you have to be very prepared for this. and i think, i know that our israe israeli lies are prepared for this. -- allies are prepared for this. i know u.s. elements have thought a great deal about this and again have made a great deal
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of preparations for some of this. but let's remember that one of the take-aways by the way from the continued after-action reviews of the war in southern lebanon in 2006 is that hezbollah and southern lebanon in general suffered much more damage than we originally estimated. they are still rebuilding infrastructure in some of these areas. and yes, they could do enormous damage to israel. they could overwhelm the iron dome, david sling, patriot-integrated air defense system. when you're talking about over 100,000 missile, rockets and other projectile, clearly, some of those are going to get through. but let me tell you that they are going to sustain horrendous damage. and there is actually, in public press, you're seeing accounts that are leaking out of the preparations what the israeli ground and air forces would do if this begins.
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because they cannot just sit and defend. they're going to have to take very rapid offensive action. >> the u.s. will support the israeli action -- >> well again, i'm not in a position obviously, five years after leaving government, to affirm or whatever, what the u.s. is intending to do. but again, that is another, and then there is one other variable here that we haven't actually touched on yet and that is the iranian people. the iranian people had their hopes raised by the jcpoa, they thought this was going to get iran back into the global economy. it really didn't. the big business firms always had reservations. they always had worries that the u.s. might reimpose sanctions. they didn't make the big financial investments again that the iranian people hope wood transform the quality of their lives. again, this is an educated work force. it is an ambitious work force. very entrepreneurial. and they are very frustrated right now.
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and we are seeing this because, you remember, the green movement, so forth, if you will, the demonstrations that followed the unsuccessful election, we knew who was behind that, and it was all largely concentrated in tehran, the revolution nare girard, and roll out the be siege militia and the pipe slingers and clear the streets over time, this is now happening spontaneously in many, many dozens of cities throughout iran. it is not even clear who is actually organizing it. it appears that it is just the people themselves who are so disappointed, so frustrated, that they are coming out. and again, the regime -- there may be an implosion -- >> the regime has to consider this as well. i'm very hesitant to say that there could be some regime change or implosion or something like that. given the power of that regime. again, keeping in mind that it is not just the revolutionary
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guards corps. it is not just the kutz force, it is not just the conventional forces that may or may not be willing to turn their weapons on their own people. it is the be sieged militia as well. and really, the critical question is, at what time would they ever reach a point that we saw in tahrir square, where all of a sudden the egyptian military would not turn their weapons on their own people. and i don't know, no one could foresee when that would be, i don't think, but again, i can guarantee you that this is a nightmare for those who are in the leadership positions, in the regime, and again, one's hope is that this pressure and those worries could lead to an iran that is a responsible citizen in the middle east, rather than one that is undermining, trying to create the shia crescent and ul of the rest of this. >> so that brings me to iraq. >> okay. >> so now, iraq, we have a new government, and it may be a
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very, well, many of you in this room know both the president and the prime minister who are bringing hope, but hashabby which is the para-military for those, what it is called in english, but it is called the ha hash-habby, it is still very central in blocking the formation of the government, the full formation of the government. i suppose, the question is, iran would continue to support it, but what to do about them? i mean what is it from your point of view, you're an expert on iraq -- >> sure. >> let us know -- >> well, first of all, i share your positive assessment, very positive assessment of the three principal members of the new government of iraq. dr. bar hansal, the president is known to many in this room. and by the way, he is one who has managed to navigate meetings
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with sal mani, and those in tehran, and meetings with petraeus, of the cia, or the general, or what have you and american ambassador, shia political figure, sunni political figures, and also kurdish political figures, because he is an iraqi kurd. and was in fact, the prime minister of iraqi kurdistan at one time and the deputy prime minister of iraq when i was commanding the surge privilege to do that. and by the way, he is an extraordinary figure. beyond the great education in the u.k., and all of his other accomplishments, over the years, he is the figure who, during the battle of basra, again, this very, truthfully, it was an impulsive move by the prime minister to launch these divisions on short notice, with gives us very little time to react, and the prime minister then himself went down to basra and actually occupied one of saddam's old palaces down there and he was quickly surrounded by
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militia. it is so serious that his own brigadier general, the commander of his own security force was actually killed during the fighting. so this is a very serious situation. there was already a great deal of discontent with the prime minister at that time. i remember a meeting where we escorted vice president cheney to meet with the president of iraq at that time. and we realized all of a sudden it wasn't just the president, it was both vice presidents, so you had kurd, sunni, and shia, and then both deputy prime ministers, but not the prime minister. and the message actually was, this is a couple of months before the battle of basra, the message was we have to start looking at options here, relative to the prime minister. so here we are, a few months later, the prime minister has ordered this operation, and bartram sala calls all of the iraqi leaders to his house there in the green zone, and before any of them can start criticizing the vice president or voicing their concerns, or frustrations, and this starting going, he stands up, gets
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everyone's attention, the room is silent, and he said this is a time to stand with our prime minister. so this is the kind of leader that he is. and he is truly extraordinary. noting obviously the presidency in iraq is a bit more -- >> ceremonial. >> ceremonial. it is a convener in chief rather than a commander in chief. but it is not without power. and we saw that when ja lal talibani was the president of course. the prime minister el domadi, another hugely impressive individual. he was, we always used to describe him as the best prime minister that iraq never had. a seriously impressive figure. and then the speaker of course, a youngish former governor of anbar province, the sunni member of this three-person group, also seriously impressive. the problem is that for the first two in particular, as impress ive as they are, and as effective as they are as
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leaders, they do not have a huge party base. bar hansala broke off from his original party, the puk party, which is the second, not the largest party in iraqi kurdistan. got only a few seats in parliament but yet matters just because he is so highly respected to end up in the presidency. dr. abdul hamadi, he was from this party iski, the supreme council, and so forth, but really has become more of an independent. he certainly gained the support of various of the shia groups that did not align with the former prime minister, including that of maqtadal-sadr but one wonders without that base how difficult it would be to govern. how difficult it would be for these individuals lution k c ai
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cals zawi who is against the apartment and against the law by the way, they are not allowed to be in the apartment if they're a militia leader and i might also add that we provided our hospitality to him for about four years, after we captured him, in the wake of the a brutal kidnapping and murder of i think it was five american soldiers. these kinds of figures are going to put a lot of stress and strain on what goes on. and this is a time when iraq's government has to perform. the people had been rioting, intentionally. demonstrating in the southern part of iraq in particular. basra provides the bulk of the oil for export, and its basic services are very substandard, and so forth, so that will be the challenge. so again, i shared the assessment. but now, the hash tashabi is going to be a huge challenge. we have to start by acknowledging that they did come to the aid of iraq when grand
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eye taa sistani issued a fatwa saying we came to the aid of country because isis is knocking on the doors of baghdad. they did fight. they were very tough. they took a lot of casualties. we did not support them obviously because they were iranian funded, trained, equipped and even directed. i mean this is the kind of groups, the group, the head of the kurds force was doing selfies, in the front lines. and noting that he never dared set foot in iraq when i was the commander during the surge. but now, the defeated isis at least isis the army, there will still be isis insurgent groups, isis terrorist cells that will have to be pursue and pressure kept on them. there is always a latent possibility. but you've got to get the hash tashabi either into the iraqi security forces officially and under that chain of command and responsive to them, or you are
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going to have to get them into other positions, job training, or what have you, the same way we did with the, those who reconciled during the anbar awakening. the sons of iraq program that we had. and so they might want to dust that off. it worked seriously well for the first three and a half years after the surge. until unfortunately it was undone by prime minister malaki in a series of sectarian actions that once again alienated the sunni arabs and once again tore apart the fabric of society that we had tried to put back together. so this is going to be a challenge. and it will be one of the top challenges but by no means the only. again, if they can't drive down corruption and if they can't improve basic service, the iraqi people will be very upset indeed. >> i have so many different subjects, i am going to have to go with iraq, and then move on to syria. i want to say one thing about iraq being essential in the
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so-called persian crescent or shiite crescent that we are always talking about. i would like to you address that point. >> sure. >> and we will do syria in a bit. i would also like to say that we are at beirut institute are very proud that dr. baram sadr has been a member of the board with us for six years. >> very good. >> syria. >> yes. >> i have a lot of detailed questions, and i would ask the general to be short ner this question -- >> it it is totally impossible. >> i don't want to interrupt you because you get upset and i don't want you to get upset. how do you see it? how do you see syria am. >> i see syria as a geopolitical chernobyl, a meltdown of a company, that has spewed, violence, extremism, instability in a tsunami of refugees not only neighbors questions but all of the way into countries of the
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western ally, causing the biggest pressures there since the end of the cold war. i see it as this incredible place where the enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend. and the alliances where you have, take the relationship with turkey, we have some common interests with turkey, when it comes to syria, and we have some interests where we diverge, when it comes to supporting the syrian kurd, not the pkk, the syrian kurds, who are in northeastern and eastern syria, and whom we have enabled, not just helped, but literally enabled, with our precision air power, our intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance assets, our advisers, to defeat the isis elements in all but about 1% of that country down around abu kamal, very near to one of the crossings around the euphrates river valley into
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iraq. look, we have, i find it very reassuring that ambassador jim jeffery has agreed to come back into government, former ambassador to iraq, turkey, deputy national security adviser, harvard, i think, and a vietnam veteran. i mean a really extraordinary individual. he is very ablebly assisted by deputy assistant secretary joel rayburn, a retired colonel who is very much one of my guys over the years in various positions, a truly brilliant individual, and a great thinker and writer. and they have established, with the president's support, three very clear objectives. however challenging attaining some of these will be. the first is of course the enduring defeat of isis. keep that first word, enduring. this is established very intelligently by the previous secretary of defense, ash carter. so you just don't want to defeat them. you want to ensure that it is enduring. and that has a lot of implications for how you carry out your strategy and how
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determined and sustained your commitment has to be. second is the removal of all iranian and iranian commanded forces in syria. another very important objective. one that maybe very difficult to achieve. but i think very valid. and then the third is a political resolution under the auspices of the united nations process that is ongoing. >> so let me take those one by one. >> okay. >> but let me start by saying, asking you, actually, did the russians win, the russians and the iranians, did they win the syria war, because bashar al assad is still in power, he is refusing to change, or to speak the language of the constitution? some argue that the russians would like to pull out and therefore they need the u.s. others say well, the u.s. sitting, the area of syria, where there is oil, so let the russians sort of suffer and stay
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longer, and maybe it becomes their own quagmire. where are we -- the immediate demand of the administration is for the iranians to pull out. would the russians come along with us on this? >> it is very curious again, because the russians and the iranians of course have been historic enemy, although they're now working tactical partners. not just in syria, but also perhaps in trying to kir couple vent oil sanctions using the caspian. again it is a limited amount to do that but they will probably try that. but you're right, that russia on the one hand loves to stride the world stage, vladimir putin has brought russia back on the back of, for a period of time, high oil and natural gas prices, and it was at one time the largest natural gas producer in the world, and usually the number one or two, depending on how the saudis were producing, crude oil producer, and ex porter.
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but in truth, it has enormous challenges. and i think it is, you know, accurate to describe sometimes, russia as a gas station with guns. or maybe a gas station with nukes. but it has very, it was the critical element that sustained bashar al assad when he was most recently teetering on the throne in damascus. the iranians having done it previously, with the kutz force advisers, with other shia militia, from around the region, and obviously with lebanese hezbollah. have they won? well, it is not over yet. for starters. they have certainly shored up the shore al assad, a murderous dictator who is responsible for killing of 500 thousand or more of his own people and for the displacement of half of the entire pre-civil war population, half of that which is outside
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the country. so he has presided over the worst humanitarian disaster in recent decades. again, how much can we get the iranians out? time will tell. and we are going to have to show again a sustained commitment. and we cannot -- >> sustained commitment. >> we cannot, allow that to be called into question by occasionally saying that we, you know, we sure wish we could get out of here. again, we have to have sustained commitments, by the way, not just there, but also in iraq, also in afghanistan, also in the horn of africa, north africa, and a variety of other places, because one of the big lessons of the last 17 or 18 years of war is that ungoverned spaces in the muslim world will be exploited by extremists. and number two is that what happens there doesn't stay there. it tends to spew this violence extremism and instability and refugees into way beyond neighboring countries. and therefore, you actually have
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to do something about it. >> i was in sochi about 10 days ago at the vadi clin, and the language, and the tone of what i heard, of the military level, and on the political level, was very tough, because they were very disappointed that president trump had said i want to get out of syria as soon as possible, and then came the team, and made lear that no, the u.s. is staying in syria. >> this is why i have highlighted very much the importance of the policy that has been stated now, and the team that is going to implement it with secretary, or national security adviser bolton and secretary pompeo, very heavily sported. and also obviously secretary mattis. >> indeed. and so they're saying now, the language they're using in russia, they are saying, you know what? you want us to help you get iranians out of syria, you get out first. you're the ones who are
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illegitimately here, and you know, we're not going to help you with getting the iranians out if you don't collaborate, or operate with us. and then i think they are really sticking by bashar and they have a feeling that the u.s. doesn't mind much, because it is not a priority to tackle whatever bashar al assad exits or stays. >> well, again, i think our priorities are really in the order that i stated the object tives. number one is enduring the defeat of isis. by the way, there is still an element of that that has not been defeated down by the crossing near the euphrates river valley between syria and iraq. second, again, is to reduce the iranian influence really, get out, get them out of syria, and their proxy forces under their command, and then get this political resolution. but again, this is the importance therefore of a sustained commitment. we are going to have to show
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that we are willing to do this. we have a modest number of forces engaged. it is not costing us unsustainable amounts in terms of blood or treasure. we can help them now. we have more state department people on the ground helping to re-establish, helping them re-establish local governance and grievance mechanisms and basic services, and all the rest of that. and so again, they are going to be watching. and see, does the united states have the will to continue this, and i think again, picking ambassador jeffery, moving from the nsc staff to state, colonel rayburn, and of course, having bolton as the national security adviser, pompeo and mattis, that is a pretty tough team. >> general petraeus, in may, dr. john duke was with us at the bay lore institute summit in abu dhabi and we heard the russians
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say, if you will recall, one of the russian, clearly, very close to the government, that they want out, not out of their bases, that the russians don't want to leave their bases, nobody is talking about -- >> this is costing them a fair amount of money. again, the sharla is in no position to pay for what it is that they're providing to him, and again, that is a country that for all of the energy wealth has some serious economic deficiencies and problems. in fact, vladimir putin is under real pressure to reduce some of the social expenditures that he has. his approval levels, you know, it would be great in any democratic country, but when you get down to the 60 percentage range in russia, you've got problems on your hands. and the russians are no longer satisfied. remember, this has gone through sort of three different episodes. first, he was going to, when he first took over, he was going to re-establish order, and stability, security, in the
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country. then, he was going to restore their prestige. and now, in theory, he is going to restore their economic well-being. that's tough to do if you have an economy that suffers from the structural deficiencies that you see in russia, and where, as you take action, say in crimea, and the donebass, and ukraine and elsewhere, you have sanctions imposed on tom of all of that, he's got to figure out how he gets out from under the sanctions, how he reduces the cost of these overseas adventures, and all the rest of that. >> but last question on syria. is there a political solution? is it feasible, is it possible, sooner or later, just a very quick answer to that, because i know it is a complicated one but i want to -- >> it is a complicated one, but i think it is -- again, you're going to have to ask bashar al assad essentially to commit political suicide at some point in time. and that's always been the
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challenge. because from very early on, there was no real alternative for what do you do with bashar. no country in the world was going to take him. maybe russia would. but do you really want to go spend the rest of your life in russia if you've been living in damascus all your life? so no, i think this is very, very difficult. but that's why it may take considerable amount of time to play out. but that doesn't mean we should make it easy. >> general petraeus again when we were back at the manila dialogue and listening to secretary mattis, and i think secretary pompeo said the same thing yesterday or the day before, i think it was yesterday, they were speaking about a formula, at least mattis was speaking, secretary mattis, of a formula for yemen. you've heard what he is saying. basically we need at least to stop, no more, we need to find a political solution, we need out of the yemen war, and sacrifices
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or priorities have got to shift a little bit. and as you know, he spoke of securing the borders, number one. then he also spoke of a formula for the hussis to stay where they are, sort of almost an autonomy. can you shed some light on how you heard this administration's new position on yemen? >> sure. >> and where do we go from here? >> look, i think it is accurate to describe it as still somewhat evolving. secretary mattis has said, of course, compromise, not combat must be entered in the negotiations in november. secretary pompeo has asked that there be no more bombing of urban areas. and so forth. and so this does continue to evolve. and look, i'm all for seeing this in another humanitarian
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catastrophe, but let's remember how this started. because i was around for that. and then think about what the implications are of that on what it is that we're trying to do now, to get everyone to the negotiating table. this began when the huthis did not get the, the iranian supported, did not get at the ballot box that they wanted and it started when they did not get the results they wanted at the negotiating tablt so they brought out the ak-47s and the rpgs and they used the force, caught the government, the elected government, of yemen, by surprise, and sadly, they had the previous president sort of in their orbit as well, aly abdullah sullah, and all of a sudden you have the elected president and most of the gp literally run right out of of the country and the emrales and
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saudis and others sat down and said you know what, this is not one time where we are going to turn to the americans and say we need you to do this, we are going to do this on our own. we are going to support our partners and allies in that country who have just been, again, run out of the country by huthis with considerable weapons and then they also captured more from the legitimate security forces. they have shown no willingness to negotiate so far. they have in fact, pursued very provocative actions. shooting missile after missile. it is now many dozens and dozens of missiles into saudi arabia, trying to hit populated areas. around riyadh. airports. and so forth. clearly, this has been supported to varying degrees by iran. and again, how are you going to get them to the negotiating table? what is the pressure that it is going to take? and again, for what -- >> so what --
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>> let's me say one other thing here. a lot of people used to criticize the saudis for having a best policy that was best described as fighting to the last american. think about that. and then you know, they decided, okay, we are going to do this, we are going to pursue this on our own, with the emirates and the others that we can gather for this purpose. there has been a lot of tough learning. the saudis have been the first to acknowledge at various times tragic cases of civilian casualties. i personally believe that the campaign should have been much more accurate, muchb more much more precise, perhaps we should have helped with targeting from early on, rather than providing maybe refuelling 20% of the aircraft or whatever it is. but we are in a situation now where clearly, the humanitarian aspect of this particular war is again, as i described,
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catastrophic. i agree with the initiatives to try to get everyone to the negotiating table. but what do you do if the huthis don't come to the table? and that is the challenge. >> did you hear, because i don't recall that i heard in secretary mattis' presentation on yemen, i didn't hear a big push against iran and their support of the huthis, did i miss it or is it put on the side by the time being? >> i don't know. you may have been talking to your seat mate or something. >> something like that. and who was seated next to you. >> the lat in life of the press. -- the lot in life of the press. >> let me ask you. havala, would havadata have to be secured if there are negotiations, is that an important aspect? how do you come back, how do you put this, in what matters?
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>> the port of hordata is of course the most important entry point for the huthis that remains. and for some of the other part of the country as well adjacent to that. for all of everything, goods, services, humanitarian assistance, and so forth. it is under imminent pressure, by again, emirates, and other forces. the effort again is to try to convince the huthis to come to the table so we don't have to go into this urban, very, very large urban area, very densely populated, where the enemy can hide among the people, and have all of the unintended consequences if everything is not perfectly precise, which certainly has not been the way you would characterize this campaign so far. although i've been to the saudi combined air operations center in riyadh and other place, and they are very much working to improve on some of the, with
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some of the issues that they've experienced. i would love to see the u.n. take over hodata. there are schemes for that. but the huthis have to vend ter to them if it is -- surrender it to them if it is to be effective. and again, you don't see sooim signs of this. so certainly, the saudi, the emirates and others should be very prepared to go to the negotiating table if that is possible, but i don't know if there has been sufficient pressure, given the actions that they have continued to take, and indeed the support that they continue to get to varying degrees from iran. >> so let us talk about the saudis. let us talk about the current state of american saudi relations and whether the long-term relationship nation to nation can survive the crisis that is happening now. you know, it is called sometime, people are speaking about values and interests.
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where does general petraeus see this going? >> i think over time, that the interests will outweigh the concerns over values. but this is a serious crisis. make no mistake about it. former secretary of state jim baker, i think, captured this perhaps best of all, in a piece that he wrote, i believe, in the "washington post," in "the new york times," where he talked about precisely what you just raised. this is, this is a huge collision between our values and a belief in human rights, and so forth, and this is a brutal murderer, a crime and a colossal mistake that obviously has trampled those values, but on the other hand, you have decades of interests, stating back to the meeting of king abdul aziz and president roosevelt, and we've been through all kinds of
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crises during this time. i mean we've had the oil embargo of 1973. we've had the iran/iraq war and the ramifications it had. we obviously had the invasion of iraq. we actually have the invasion of kuwait first, and then the decades later, our invasion of iraq in 2003. again, there have been lots and lots of points of serious friction in this relationship. but at the end of the day, again, interests tend to prevail, and right now, until this incident, the principal interest in the entire region seemed to be converging around opposition to maligned activities by iran. and that is doing something that no other dynamic could ever do, which is not only to bring the countries of the gulf together,
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but actually to promote a certain degree of relationship between israel and the gulf states. because again, the most significant enemy in the region for many of those pressure is on in order to do yemen, if you will and pressure the saudis on yemen, this is what we're reading these days and also we hear the issue of qatar is coming in in the equation at least from the point of view from the administration and others. >> yeah. >> that you have to fix that relationship. right now it's time to get it back -- >> obviously, i would love to see that. i mean, you're talking to someone whose forward headquarters when i was commander of the central command was at alud base outside doha, qatar and you are also talking to someone who does understand the frustrations of some of qatar's neighborhoods and i have expressed this, too, to the
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current sheikh amim, and i've recounted to you where i went in to see him one time and i said, prime minister, you know, this morning you gave us a check for $100 million for our new central command headquarters and we are deeply grateful and et cetera, et cetera, this morning al jazeera supported by qatar, beat the daylights out of the united states on television, so which are we? are we your defense policy or are we your whipping boy? and so these are the kinds of frustrations that we have all felt. >> but if it is the policy of contradiction, how do you -- how do you face it? >> well, you have to have dialogue and let's keep in mind that some of it is passed and i think sheikh tamim very much because i've talked to the amir about these issue, personally, one-on-one, a couple of his advisers and i've done the same with muhammad bin zaid and muhammad bin salman, the crown
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prince of saudi arabia. i think these are resolvable. the problem is that these have become quite emotional rather than just sort of irrational discussion and that's very difficult. so i do hope that out of a terrible crisis and a terrible situation can come some good that this can be a catalyst for some positive developments. let me mention one issue, though, that has not been raised in many of the analyses which have tended to focus on the relationship between the u.s. and the kingdom or what have you. there are other relationships and those have to do, obviously, with the business community, and i think a real challenge now is going to be will foreign, direct investment go down further? because, of course, it had already been reduced because of some other concerns and issues
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or can it start climbing back up which is what is desperately needed by the kingdom to realize the vision 2030 that i know was described earlier in this conference, and i've always said that we want vision 2030 to be realized. i mean, the kingdom is so central. it is the keystone in certainly the gulf region of the middle east, if not the entire region of the middle east when you look at how important the relationship with egypt and jordan and some other countries that are not in the gcc are as well. so, again, we want to see further social and religious moderation and reform. we want to see diversification of the economy beyond just the export of hydrocarbons. we want to see a continued saudi involvement in education around the world taking advantage of that and then bringing it back and being able to build
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different industries from those that are just dependent on oil and gas and related liquids. that is a concern, and i think that it, frankly, is incumbent on the kingdom to demonstrate that there is the rule of law is ultimately what it comes down to, the governance and the consistency and the kind of investment climate that will attract lots of outside investment or if there will be further concerns in the wake of this terrible incident that will cause them to pause and to look elsewhere for opportunities for investment because again, keep in mind that the whole reason for vision 2030 is a recognition that saudi arabia's running out of money. in fact, when the oil was still priced well below 60 our calculation was that saudi arabia had about six or seven
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years of all of the different sovereign wealth funds before they literally ran out because of the deficit spending and now, of course, you can go to credit markets and the rating has gone down a little bit, so these are the -- beyond these headline issues, these are the kinds of dynamics that i am concerned about as one who has spent a lot of time out there and has historic relationships and those have been obviously really shaken by this incident and we should be very clear about that, and i thought general mattis, again, was quite forthright in what he said during his remarks. >> they, aramco ipo, is this happening at all? is this off for now? temporarily? >> i tend to think, certainly not coming soon to a theater near us. i'm sitting here and i should be looking at prince faisal and asking for his insights and our
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sense has been and maybe it was from early on that there would be such a requirement of transparency which has not been a characteristic of aramco that there would be a shrinking back from that as they really contemplated the details of what would have to take place to attract $100 billion or $200 billion for a 10% or 20% investment in the world's biggest oil company. >> back to that situation, the istanbul situation and the embassy or the consulate. turkey seems to be having its own policy, dripping, if you will, information and trying to get back in. some of us believe that the muslim brotherhood and their relationship with qatar from the point of view of many also into that. >> but of course, the rift with
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qatar to some degree pushes qatar into the arms of the turks. again, there's always a chicken and an egg and which came first and so forth here, to some degree perhaps with iran, as well and so again, another reason to try to solve that particular dispute, but turkey has -- it certainly appears as if president erdogan now, after several years of enormous effort been able to consolidate the power of turkey in the presidency because, of course, he could no longer be the prime minister so it had to gravitate where he is. >> putin is an example. >> yes. >> and he always, used to enjoy again against straddling the world stage as the embodiment of political islam at its finest and of course, he was supportive of the muslim brotherhood in
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egypt and political islam, as well. let's be very clear and i'm afraid i've been a little bit blunt today. >> we like it. we like it. >> soldiers have no alternative, but to be direct and blunt. let's recognize that the biggest fear of many of the leaders in the gulf and again, i'll see if prince turkey nods it, i hope, is not al qaeda. it's not isis. it's political islam. they say it's not even iran. they did say they can see iran and they can see isis. they cannot see the creep of political islam until it has them by their political neck and when it takes over it is very difficult to dislodge. so that is the root of a lot of these concerns, but again, the president erdogan wants to be seen as the leader certainly of political islam and maybe of the islamic world and he's quite enjoying this moment in the sun
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and as you say drip, drip, drip, dribbling out what it is that they have and causing, frankly, the kingdom to twist a bit in the wind as a result given their opposition to that form of political islam and muslim brotherhood kinds of governance. >> yesterday i was out to dinner and someone mentioned turkey's rule which i didn't really think about it until after the person said it in libya, that there was -- there was, again, this is another one of those roots of the dispute with qatar. both qatar and turkey have actually provided some support, but that was under the previous amir is my recollection. remember when libya just blew apart in the wake of the killing of gadhafi and the toppling of his regime and there were all kinds of different factions and they ran the gamut of sectarian gamut, if you will, from quite
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secular probably general haftar in the east and all of the way through political islam and quite ultra conservative extremist and there was an isis, and nobody has been able to clear and hold the areas in which they have found sanctuaries. >> yeah, but it's another problem and it's the competition of italy and france in libya which is -- >> there are again, a number of cross cutting currents in libya and again, one can sketch out different options or courses of action for how this may play out including one in which general haftar supported by some so-called states reportedly might actually control, take control of a very large part of libya, if not all of it and there are others, the quote, legitimate and meaning
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legitimate in the eyes of the european and u.n. elements that are trying to promote this inclusive government which has found such difficulty taking road, needless to say. >> they each have a special rule in libya? >> well, it certainly has a unique amount of influence in libya and has sought to use that influence from time to time, given the proximity, as you would imagine. i cannot end before we discuss the issue of palestine and israel. the so-called or the called, i don't know if it's so-called, deal of the century, and i don't know who coined that expression whether it is the american, the palestinians or the israelis -- >> i think it's the current occupant of the white house. >> you think so? >> i heard otherwise. >> am i right or -- you know -- >> i have heard otherwise. >> and people said amen. >> yes. >> probably you're right, but it was -- >> no, i think he literally said that.
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he said this would be the greatest deal of all and of course, if you are someone who wrote "the art of the deal" and believes that you are a dealmaker that's certainly one that you will try to consummate. >> is it born dead? is the deal of the century born dead? so let me respond first to how i typically answer yes about how do we do the situation between israel and the palestinians and what i have generally said is that given the politics both in the west bank and in jerusalem that set the capital and the israeli government, if you will, and given the politics and the leaders, prime minister netanyahu and abu mazen, i just don't think that this is a particularly propicious time to
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reach that kind of agreement. this is not the time to hit the grand slam home run and this is when you should be going for singles and doubles and what you should be asking is how can we further the conditions, promote the establishment of conditions that some time down the road will facilitate the deal of the century or the ultimate deal, and so what would that be? well, it would be to avoid creating additional obstacles to such a deal, and it would involve promoting economic, vibrant activity in the west bank for the palestinians, helping them shore up their governance and a terrible loss that the prime minister who gave us so much hope departed, but again, can we find other individuals like that to help even as we are going after the palestinians to no longer promote violence and essentially
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rewarding criminal activity, murder, wounding of israelis and as you well know of a west point graduate, an american who was killed, taylor force and my very good friend in new york sandra gerber has been a key figure on capitol hill and elsewhere in getting the tailor force act approved which penalizes the palestinians in terms of aid if they do not stop what's called pay for slay. so again, these are the kinds of initiatives i think that you should be pursuing. now there are some novel ideas that are being talked about, and i think you were there when i asked the former secretary-general of the arab league. what about some of these ideas where you take some unoccupied land in the sinai, and you
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extend it out from gaza. you create an airport, a seaport and an industrial area. empower it with lots of money and you create the sinai riviera and try to attract palestinians and give them opportunities there and give gaza an outlet to the world there, controlled by the egyptians, presumably in some fashion. so, and you know, you get different answers, candidly, and i'm keenly interested as are many here, if not all here as to what the contours of this potential deal might be, and you know, i can't confirm or deny that i might be at the west wing this afternoon to hear something about that. >> would you come back and tell us? >> certainly not. certainly not. general petraeus, i want to give
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you a chance to conclude exactly how you would like me to handle this, not to say with a specifics, but to go back to strategic view. this administration, even previous administration, there's always been this worry about the united states not staying the course. people say, you know, they get in and they get out, and they don't have lasting friends and you can't trust the americans, everything is terrible -- in a way and i hate to use it in the way it's said, but they call it the legacy of betrayal. they've been friends and they suddenly drop friends. tell me, first of all, tell me your reaction to this, of course, but tell me, general petraeus, what do you see coming from the trump administration's
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policies in the region or together, we've had the obama administration saying we lead from behind and we know that there's been a lot of dismay in the arab region with the previous administration and now we, you know, now there is a crisis that probably as you correctly said might hopefully be overcome with transparency and accountability, but -- >> everyone hopes with some changes, as well, by the way. this is a very, very serious incident. >> indeed. >> there's this quote attributed to telerand, when he heard that napoleon had executed a particular prince and they said, you know what a terrible crime. he said it's worse than a crime. it's a mistake. by the way, telerand didn't actually say that, but it is attributable to him, and it applies in this case and by the way, a real tragedy and someone
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who spoke at this conference. >> and a friend. and absolutely a friend of ours and a friend of mine. >> but, look, the question you had was really the root of the question is american inconstancy or lack of dependability or unwillingness to stay the course, and i think that is a hugely important point. the fact is there are reasons for this questioning of american will that at various times and, of course, the united states again goes back and forth for its realist and idealistic impulses, as well. we've had periods when we've had a long period of war in iraq, afghanistan, and say it's understandable that an administration will come into office and want to emphasize nation building at home rather than abroad. so i think all of these empulses here are understandable, but i do think that you are right to
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highlight the fact that we have to be keenly aware of the message that it sends to our partners and our allies around the world, and that if you have a red line and you do not act when it is crossed, obviously that calls into question again the national credibility and i think this is crucial because maybe if i end i go back to what i started a bit of which is these lessons that we should have taken from the last 17 years of war which start with, number one, and ungoverned spaces in the middle east will be exploited by extremist. number two, you have to do something about it because what happens there doesn't stay there, it tends to cause problems in the region and even elsewhere and number three is the u.s. generally has to lead because we have the capabilities, and the capacity, militarily, but in other respects, as well that is many times all of our possible partners and allies put
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together. let's keep in mind that the u.s. defense budget is far more than three times china's and it's far more than all of china and the next ten or 11 countries put together. it's more than double what all of our nato allies spend and they should be spending more, and i agree very much with the administration before that. in any event, we have to lead, and it should be a coalition and churchill was right when he said that the only thing worse than fighting with allies is fighting without them, and we especially want not just our tradition nato and in other in a sense western allies and we want muslim countries. this is an existential struggle for the heart of islam and nowhere is that more pronounced than in the kingdom, who is the keeper of the two holy mosques in addition to two other titles. the fourth lesson is that you
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have to understand that you cannot counter terrorists, extremists like isis and al qaeda with just counter terrorists for separations and you have to have a comprehensive campaign. all of the elements of the comprehensive civil military campaign that ambassador crocker and i were privileged to lead during the surge in iraq, but it's a huge, but, but not with us doing it the way you had to do back then rather than doing it in support of host nation forces enabling them and assisting, advising, training, equipping and not doing. they need to be doing the fighting on the front lines and the political reconciliation and the restoration of basic services and reconstruction and so forth to the extent that they can, and that is crucial because lesson number five is that this is a fight of a generation and not of a decade, much less a few years, and you, therefore, have
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to have a sustained commitment and you can only sustain a commitment, though, if you can limit the amount that you expend in blood and treasure, and i think bee figured out how to do that by and large. we've demonstrated that in iraq and in syria to a lesser degree in some other countries including afghanistan where to be sure the situation has deteriorated, but these are crucial lessons and again, it comes back to having the will to keep at it and so that people can -- and other countries can depend on you, that you can make it through thick and then together, albeit with adjustments and lessons and accommodations and so forth, but you can sustain it and you figured out how to carry out these different activities in ways that are sustainable so that we can indeed look at other challenges around the world that have emerged as you've seen the
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resurgence of great power rivalries that is the single more strategic context in the world today with the extraordinary rise of china which is not just our biggest geostrategic competitor and it's our number one training partner and i think of that dynamic and the revival to some degree of russia and its activism around the globe, as well. so again, sustaining our policies and demonstrating the will be absolutely crucial. you started it this way and i'm privileged to finish it that way, as well. >> i am privileged to have had this opportunity today to conduct this conversation with obviously a brilliant leader and loyal friend and one of the smartest people we have in this country. i want to thank you, for this honor and privilege to conduct this conversation and i want to thank the national council on
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u.s.-arab relations for the good work it's doing, hopefully in cementing this relationship that would, like you said, through thick or thin, we should go on forward for it. please join me in thanking general petraeus. >> thank you. thank you. [ applause ] >> thank you very much.
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and on c-span3, this is the second day of the u.s. policymakers conference being held in washington, d.c., we heard earlier from retired general david petraeus and you can find other panels from earlier today and yesterday online at just taking a break here in the discussion, expecting it to start again shortly and while they are in this break, we'll take a look at yesterday's panel that focused on energy. >> this is the energy session on u.s.-arab relation which is given the situation today is more than a little bit complicated and unusual. first off, my traveling buddy to
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windsor castle in march. herman france, head of the energy intelligence group and former chief economist at the international energy agency. i'll be brief with the intros. ken katzman, one of the premier experts on sanctions in iran from the library of congress and mr. kent longston, u.s. department of state, bureau of energy resources, principle deputy assistant secretary and it was the affair in germany, a nice place to be, somebody likes you. anyway. i will take chair privilege and begin with my talk. i'll put my watch up here so i'm on time which for me sometimes can be difficult because i liked talking and this is a fascinating issue. okay. first of all, my opinions and my opinions alone do not represent
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those of the united states government, the department of defense, national defense university or any other organization i might be a part of, and you probably realize through my speech that they certainly do not represent some people in the government. it is not morning in america. it is not morning in america. it is not spring time in the arab world. however, energy could be seen as an enabler to move things forward between our two parts of the world and also within each part of our world. energy development can add to human development in education, health, communication, transportation, water systems,
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security and more. energy is the source of betterment for people all over the world. historically it's added much to the people of the united states and the arab world. for instance, consider the united states in 1860, before electricity was set up in even a small grid, then 1920, 1950 and now. energy has moved this country forward. now consider saudi arabia in 1920, before the discovery of oil. the king of saudi arabia's treasury could have been fit into a camel bag and his palace was a mud hut or a rather large mud hut. now consider the uae of the 1950s compared to now. consider egypt or 1900 compared
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to now and how energy development has moved them forward. now consider syria now consider yemen. now consider libya. so energy is not a panacea. these are essentially non-countries with no energy systems that are functioning properly for many people. energy needs to be used equally and equitably. it also needs to be protected and i'll be focusing on infrastructure. it needs to be developed in a way that focuses on the human development and human security of the people of these countries, not just for those at the top of the hill which has often been the case. particularly with regard to energy revenues which has been a cause for some instability.
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energy systems is systems within systems, connected with other systems and it is a far more complex set of infrastructure that often is greatly centralized causing insecurity. many know about the energy and water, food, land nexus, but there's much more and such as the government national security nexus. i teach about energy and bring my students traveling around the world at national defense university and teach also at georgetown and what i've seen over the last few years in the energy systems of the middle east is a mixed bag, to say the least. now think of militaries and first responders, hospitals and clinics without electricity and now you're thinking yemen, syria, and parts of libya.
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without energy, where are a people to be and where are they going? energy security is a requirement for the economic security and even for the national security to be sustainable over the long run. and energy security is not just for oil as so many of our partially educated politicians take us to task on. it's all about importing oil from the saudis and they keep on forgetting what people like me have been telling them for years. our biggest source of oil is the canadians aside from us, the big, bad canadians. what a threat, and by the way, our deal with saudi and oil has to do with the refinery in texas that i take to my students. energy security includes oil, gas, elect rhys the from many
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different fuels and nuclear and so forth and i didn't put it in my speech, but there are five gop senators trying to stop the u.s.-saudi nuclear deal if you haven't read that yet. my sense is this is probably floating above water barely from the beginning. nuclear energy has certain insecurities attached to it and infrastructure attached to it that makes many people nervous. my guess is either the cornians or the chinese will get this one. so once again, the united states will hand big hand to energy process to the chinese and the chinese are toasting us in infrastructure worldwide. this is a great power as competition in energy as well, not just in politics and diplomacy, and the chinese are
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pouring money and they don't have the same restrictions our people have, and they're not doing this out of the goodness of their hearts, my friends from the arab world. they will want something in return. as some of the people i spoke with yesterday, senior generals from various parts of the world were telling me, we're worried about the chinese investment in our country. but every country needs solid, secure, viable and protected infrastructure in order for the country to work. the arab world in the united states may be distanced geographically, but with regard to these sorts of threats we are very close. think about the physical threat of terrorism to our energy and infrastructure. the cyber threats to our energy infrastructure are severe. most cyber attack industry in
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our country, the united states, is energy by far and the energy companies are not keeping up with this. saudi aramco was cyber attacked. the iranians were cyber attacked, but right now i'm not going to shed a lot of tears on that one because there were other reasons behind that. cyber has no boundaries, so this is one thing that we can work together on. most people when they learn about the world, the arab world and the american world they see a map with borders and this is all gone. this is all gone. what's happening now is someone in a basement in tehran or p yoshgs ya pyongyang can attack anywhere in the world and be completely anonymous and we can't go after them, the united states, at various levels because of our legal restrictions and our
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energy system has sleeper viruses in it placed by the chinese and the russians and those of you from the arab world, i would do a quick checking around to fine out whether that's happened to you. the statement in the cyber energy field is if you think you haven't been hacked you haven't looked. then there are the physical threats from terrorists and the insider threats and politically driven threats, ideological threats and military threats. then there are natural threats like earthquake, not a good place to put a nuclear power plant right near a fault line as bashir is placed. if anyone in the world are thinking about nuclear plants make sure it's in a seismic, very, very quiet, sleepy area, otherwise you'll be facing a fukushima issue.
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there are diplomatic threats because of ignorance. the biggest threats both of our parts of the world face with regard to energy and just about everything else is massive ignorance. massive lack of critical thinking and fake news. i usually don't quote donald trump, but when he said fake news i was fascinated by that. i met with those officers yesterday from different parts of the world and different continents and different cultures and every single one of them said fake news. so tell me, is this spreading? and also there are people who want to score points for themselves politically because of upcoming elections, not just here, but elsewhere, and then they're disruptive technological
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threats that could get rid of life-affirming and incomes for many people. oil will be with us for some time, but look out, folks, if the oil price goes way up and the electric cars are coming along the bend very rapidly, very rapidly and that could change the entire situation, but then again, saudi arabia could be a major solar power exporter, as well. there are financial and economic threats which many people in the region are facing right now. egypt, with all of its public statements about how much stronger its economy is getting, there are people in that country that are living lives so harsh i just shake my head. every time i visit. gdp is a bad measure of doing well. what you need to do is go down deep and dig into the microdata in the arab world, what you find is a lot of people under stress.
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there are geographic choke points to remove the suez, bosphorus and so forth, and then there is the tyranny of geography. the oil is one place and it's needed somewhere else and then there is the tyranny of nature and politics and then there is the tyranny of too few facilities. this is an interesting one. too few facilities in small looks. if anyone wants to have a building of high blood pressure take a boat to around houston ship channel, that's where 26% of our gaes lean and diesel is made and 60% of the jet fuel in our tiny location and this is rastanura in saudi arabia, in qatar or the port of tock why. and everything is in a small place and the tyranny of smaug
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geography and even that ter me exists and also the tyranny of open information when that natural gas facility was attacked in algeria i put up google earth on the screen in my classroom, and i focused in on that natural gas facility and i showed my students an open gate. if i can do that, anyone can do that. and the military people in this rm know full well that this is exactly what the bad guys are doing. i can go and see a nuclear power plant anywhere in the world through certain software while sitting and having a coffee at a coffee shop on my smartphone. hint, hint. angry young men. okay, let's see where that nuclear power plant is. all it takes is an event and that event, ladies and gentlemen, i will tell you right now is inevitable.
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because we are complacent. in order to help solve this, john duke asked me to give some solutions and there were so many of them i could speak about this for the next three hours and maybe some of you would want to listen to that. maybe herman would, but we'll have a cup of coffee and talk about it that way, but certainly we have to coordinate things better. weigh have to have more coalition so infrastructure protection and information protection, information is so free wheeling in the world right now and why is this pfsht for energy? because information is informationally intensive and they're run by the super advisory control systems which are hackable. zee to understand the threat asks the differences of the
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threat a our our nation. i know some of you who think we should have all data possible. my georgetown colleagues would say yes, and i think you've got something here, sullivan. right after 9/11 i went to set up a class on the pipeline systems at the united states, and i went to the eia website which is where you will find most of the stuff and the maps were gone. so i spent the class miming the maps on a blackboard. and they're back up again. if you go to the eia website, google energy maps and you will find every single facility in the united states, and i could do the same thing for just about every other country in the world, this is not good considering the fraktous politics and also across
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countries. okay. i think i've met my time limit and i have a whole lot more to talk about. it's an interesting subject. my teaching on this has changed to the great powers competition which is in power right now. this is taking over everything, but terrorism still exists, i tell my colleagues in the military. terrorism still exists, but everyone in the military knows when the big guys give you orders, you just go like this and move forward. yes it's a great powers competition. over to the chair of the session titled arab-u.s. relations and where are we going? mrs. ragita dagram. >> good afternoon. one more time, and i hope you are not tired of me yet. i'm ragita dagram and i'm the chairman of the beirut institute and it's a think tank for the arab region with a global reach and whose idea is to continue a very constructive conversation
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among of the us so that we can fix it rather than only complain about it and everything we do is to see how do we reach solutions and how do we go for the next step. i am honored today to chair this very important session. i am very happy to have three women, we have a minority, finally we have one man on the session rather than normally one woman, so i am glad to welcome you. i will conduct this conversation, each person alone for about four or five minutes and then i would engage everyone together so we have experts on only i want and tunisia, libya and iraq and syria and iraq, and i would assume that i would -- it would fall on me to see if there is anything on lebanon simply because i come from this
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beautiful country and it is in my heart and i would also like to keep it on your radar. i would like to first welcome the honorable -- from the arab university and lecturer on political science and the al shura council. she is is on the committee of human rights and the head and also former egyptian people's assembly member and that is a parliament member. welcome. >> thank you. [ applause ] >> can we start out with egypt being a necessary balancing country in the future of the region. there is the -- there can be no balance of powers without egypt being at the center of it.
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are there hurdles that are stopping egypt from dating in that way or shall we look at the relationship between egypt, saudi arabia and the united arab emirates as a very essential gathering in order to restore the arab power in the regional powers? >> right. thank you for this question. egypt, yes, is the bellwether in the region, absolutely. it's not for -- it's not senseless to say ahmeduna which is the mother of the world when you speak about egypt and however, egypt has not had the same clout to have in arab or the region. that's why today the idea of restoring the regional importance that its had is one of the objectives, but it is
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mainly lingered to stem investment in egypt to get us out of its economic hardships that it's facing now. so, of course, you know, as general petraeus said, you have china and it's in conflict with the u.s. and the u.s. is transforming policy and it's facing real hard choices and it's not following the status quo that it's had during the mubarak time. so, but as i said, all of this is -- if it has a new approach also to syria and to iran and the russian and turkish roles in these countries it is with the idea of developing an integrated
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strategy because egypt is against military conflict. it wants to have political resolution of conflicts and whether it is in syria, libya, even with iran. iran, it is called de-escalation of the tension and not, you know, an outward provocation as the main threat to the middle east. >> thank you. >> while i was in sochi about ten days ago, president sisi was meeting with vladimir putin because they were talking about their strategic relationship. can you address this point that the value of building the strategic relationship with russia while egypt is a strategic ally of the united states and can you address this angle and then i will ask you to reflect on how this new relationship or this enhanced relationship is affecting that
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regional conflict and collaboration and operational on regional conflicts such as syria? >> well, there is a warming up between relations between egypt and russia since 2015 or '16, and lately it has been very visible, particularly over the last visit of president sis ii russia and the promise of more arms and the nuclear plant and in many way, you know, trying to take advantage of the tensions between egypt and the united states where they feel that it's been let down a bit. as for the regional issues, egypt is very much on the side of moscow whether it is on syria
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or libya. >> very interesting. i really want to talk about the syrian later and why would syria be on the side of moscow in syria and that is fascinating. please keep that in your head, but i want to ask you about libya, however. where are you on the side of libya? i think that is not on the side of libia, am i wrong? >> in libya, they are supporting the general and egypt always supports national armies or militias no matter how good they are. it is against conflict. it is for the further safeguarding and the security and entity of these different countries and not for division and not their, you know, this person between ethnicities and tribalism and sectarianists. >> thank you. i'll get back to you in a bit,
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but i will move on to the doctor -- i'm sorry, i think i have the wrong person here. actually, to emily estel, american enterprise institute, the critical threats, projects, senior analyst and head of the team. welcome. so let's take it from where -- left it. this, you know -- this u.s. position on one hand versus the russian position in libya and the regional players and also one is on the side of haftar and one is not. explain to us how is this going to affect the future of libya. explain us to if this is a good thing to defer or a dangerous thing to do so. >> thank you for the question and it gets to the point you brought up in your earlier conversation about france and italy, as well and the picture regionally and internationally on libya is not there and many
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different camps. you can't split it into two and this is a very dangerous dynamic because we have multiple competing initiatives trying to put together a political resolution in libya and bring together security cooperation, et cetera and many of these, forts are working at cross purposes and the problem is that while there is so much discord between different external players on libya it severely decreases the likelihood that we would see in any internal cohesion in the country, as well. >> so you think the united states should be playing a particular active role? describe the level of the u.s. role in libya now because i know the russians are very active. so is there less of an interest by the u.s. in libra? is the u.s. leaving it to the europeans? should they leave it to the europeans and should they come in a stronger way to say, you know what this something happened and something went so wrong in libya and it's
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everybody's fault, even as the europeans are at fault more than the u.s., it doesn't matter. we have a state that is now suffering not only of the neglect it phased and it received after this whole happiness about bringing down omar gadhafi and also by driving a lot of the fighters, isis fighters out of syria and they're going to libya. can you address what the u.s. should do at this point? >> absolutely. to characterize the current level of u.s. involvement right now, i do think that there has been interest in having other countries take the lead on libya files and we see different european countries trying to take the lead at different points as an example and the u.s. policy is to support the
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u.n. mission towards political reconciliation in libya and also maintaining a limited counter terrorism issue and focused on isis in particular in the aftermath of the campaign. i think that the problem there is that i don't see the u.n.-led process leading toward the desired results at this time. we are coming up on a conference in palermo, and there is a lot of motion to come and move forward progress on that front. there have been, not since last night, but two of the legislative bodies came to an agreement about reukt str you aring the presidential council, but i remain skeptical because we've seen different iterations of the steps forward that don't actually reflect real progress and past of that is because there isn't unity in the international community and the role that i think the u.s. could take could be as a convener trying to bring together unity among u.s. allies and partners so that we actually have a libya
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strategy that is not only correct on paper, but that all of these different regional international partners are adhering to. >> why are you hesitant about endorsing the u.n.-led process? >> because we've had several of them already at this point. i don't want to be pessimistic. i feel that the structure that, for example, the current u.n. envoy is the one that was laid out most recently is a good structure and the problem is that the steps have not been met according to plan and i think the implementation is the problem and not the framework that was initially set. >> william lawrence, the school of international affair, part-time professor of political science in international affairs and former north africa associate director and for the study offis lame, it doesn't make sense. forgive me, you are someone that
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was quite knowledge about libya. let us continue the conversation with lib wra, and i have a good friend in the audience and she is a wonderful friend and she would take me to task if i intruted the fred of the consideration. continue with lib why, if you don't mind. what is this palermo project? do you trust it? do you not? where were you? what are you bringing back? >> i'm having coffee with her on sunday to continue that conversation, but let me start by saying that as you mentioned in your previous session the italian -- the italian-french competition over libya is not helping the situation. the effort by the italians to convene the palermo meeting started m started pretty much the day after the meeting and there was
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resentment in libya about the decisions that came out of the paris meeting and none of the libyans spoke to each other at the paris meeting and an announcement was made about elections nobody wanted and the elections won't be happening, but the announcement has been made yet and in the meantime the italians have been organizing a meeting that the purposes of which seem to be changing every day and while i was in tune for the libya meetings sometimes hour to hour we would get different pictures of what was happening with the palermo meeting and i was making a joke. i won't make it about italians and i will make it about italian-americans and sometimes you will go over to someone's house in the kitchen and maybe you will get the best pasta of your life or no pasta, and the foreign interior minister don't agree on palermo, and they came out of the meetings i had in
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tunis and the way he sees it is there are three options. the first option is a new constitution or the constitutional declaration followed by election, but that seems to be going nowhere. the second option is amendments to the political agreement and that seems to be going nowhere although the announcement last night suggests that we may have another agreement that may go somewhere between the two houses of parliament and that again, may go nowhere and the third option is a national conference and that would include 500 libyans, and this is what salome will announce if the other two options fail and he's looking for inputs on not who should attend, but the mechanism on who should attend, but i see a lot of this as salome throwing up his hands. he's very unpopular in libya. >> why? >> why is he unpopular in libya? >> i think because he didn't
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follow his own really good plan. to give you a small example of what's going on, the french convened their meeting without the u.n. blessing and convened without his blessing and he was there seeming to bless it, but not really and undermined it after the fact. his agenda for palermo seems to be different than the italian agenda. >> you are saying he is acting very french and not un? >> certainly not italian. there seems to be a lot of efforts at cross purposes to get back to what emily correctly said. i agree with all of the comments he made. >> the libyans who hold the united states in higher esteem are desperate for american inputs and they are not getting it. the americans like the un seem to be focused on economics and
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sanctions and the security arrangements and dropping the ball on politics. >> thank you very much. i want to continue down the line here. we are coming back to this conversation in a bit more detail. we have right now the u.s. institute of peace adviser for syria, the middle east and north africa. she was formerly with u.s. aid among other things. i don't have very good notes here. you can introduce yourself a little better, please. when you speak. i will give you an extra minute. syria? >> can i start with idlib? this is the next big battle that is coming to syria.
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this is a place where president donald trump told the russians to hold it. don't go so fast. so idlib is a postponed battle that will still be very bloody, very costly, and when do you expect it to take place? do you think the russians need to do idlib fast? the military, at least. >> i think idlib is a battle. my sense is though, that the russians are looking to create some breathing room. some breathing space perhaps till the end of the year. i think the idea would be to undertake operations, should they decide this is necessary. it depends on what happens in
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the intervening two or three months. that would be more limited than what was initially feared. with that said, we are seeing an uptick in tensions. we have the syrian regime accusing turkey of not upholding its end of the bargain with respect to moving militants, extremists and particularly those a failiated with al qaeda out of the demilitarized zone. frankly they are caught in the middle in terms of the russians are not interested in a massive incursion at this time in idlib. >> they are being pressured by syria. >> exactly right. who has the upper hand in that relationship when it comes to these questions? >> how costly? is it true that it's going to be a very bloody battle with loads of lives and -- tell me, what do
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you know? >> it's a terrific question. what we have to understand about idlib is the large number of civil zians displaced from othe parts of syria through the reconciliations, so-called reconciliation agreements. really surrender agreements. it is estimated there there are more than three million civilians in idlib now. the fear is were there to be the sort of massive military operation that we have seen undertaken in other parts of syria that you would see massive displacement on the order of 800,000 and upwards of civilians moving. by the way, many of those, at least half are children. this comes at a time when turkey in particular has noted they already host 3.5 million syrian refugees, the largest number of any country in the world of syrian refugees. turkey said they are not willing to take on more refugees.
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it raises this humanitarian question. un has turned the greatest humanitarian catastrophe of the century. >> do you think the trump administration will continue to oppose it or do you think at some point the military in russia is going to overrule and say i can't win this war and idlib is necessary to win it? >> i think the trump administration took a strong position against this and in particular, warned against the use of chemical weapons which the regime used elsewhere. i think it's the trump administration and the international community at large. europeans as well who said that kind of humanitarian ka tacatase is untenable. what leverage does the international community have and what can you u.s., turkey, and others do in the event this sort of incursion is undertaken.
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>> let me take you to a larger question. what is it the u.s. should do as a policy towards syria? i know there is a good team in place where everybody is talking about it and know that the u.s. is staying and they have about nine bases, maybe more. it doesn't seem that the u.s. is going to say goodbye, especially this area. maybe the russians will sort of dry out of money before in their areas that are controlling. the areas in syria controlled by the united states. what should be the -- what is it from your point of view that has not been done yet by the administration other than appointing a new team. think of yourself as an adviser.
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what must you not lose sight of. >> you must not lose sight of holding primarily the enduring defeat of isis as a key policy goal. >> explain. >> we are already in a better position than we were before because as you point out, there is a new team in place. there is guarantees that are being made that the relatively smallus force on the ground will stay for the foreseeable future. those are two very important shifts over the last several months. what needs to happen, i would argue, is in addition that, there needs to be a restoration of the funding. the stabilization funding that was to go into eastern syria in order to support the kinds of activities that are critical once areas are liberated from
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isis. it's not the kinetic action and the military action on the ground. it's what comes after that. it's engaging local populations and ensuring that you are addressing the grievances that gave rise to extremist groups like isis in the first place. >> thank you. hello, how are you today? i'm going to talk to you about iraq. >> absolutely. >> as you have heard, there is also a good team in iraq. at the level of the president and the prime minister and the speaker of the house. still people are holding their breath and saying is this going to work? do you think it's going to work? >> that's such a wonderful question. so awful so little seems to have worked in iraq. maybe we are seeing an unusual moment or maybe we are seeing a
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change. a transformation. a stable form of. >> 'tis patorrey politics. i think that's true. there is a greater caution in what is happening and how they are behavioring. i think there are reasons to hope for a better outlook certainly than the instability we have seen in the past both internal and external relations. >> what are lessons have we learned from the past? what lessons should we learn from the past in iraq in particular? i am focused on iraq. there has been mistakes after the invasion of iraq and occupation. what lessons have we learned? >> we learned that we have much more cautious in what we do in iraq. we are not welcome in terms of forces. the nonmilitary are diplomatic and more important, civilian
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interchange is critical. and developing those ties, the iraqis want to learn a lot more about us and our education and all the advantages here. they want us to learn more about them. i am positive about all of this. i think we are seeing what may be a unique moment. i think may not be. >> i hope so. we need something positive in that part of the world. so what makes you positive? is it the new team or the shift in the trump administration's focus with iran? >> it's a different kind of team there. more managerial focus and success-oriented. they are much more interested in getting along both internally as well as externally. you see a greater cooperation inside. you see greater reciprocity in the kurdish industry.
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we are a part of iraq. you didn't hear that before. there is a much more -- you are hearing more positive or an indication of a willingness. this is a part of where we are and where we have to survive. that's encouraging. >> i want to come back to william. you have been very well versed in the iraq file. tell me again about this. who will help me translate that in english? >> popular vote position. >> it's stuck in arabic in my head. what about them? what's going to become of them. what do you know about the conversation that is taking place and how problematic are they going to be in the way, finishing the formulation of the government. >> let me say that the
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popularity is maintained and to some degree we expect the election result to have maybe an even bigger outcome in their favor, but that did not come to pass. the realignment away from iran has been very interesting over the past year and the various realignments in the formation of the government and the rerea linements. all of that plays into this interesting dynamic situation. i would say going forward that three things are sure. number one, the grievances of iraqi youth which we vngz mentioned yet are dominating iraqi politics and has the credibility of the recent military operations they were involved in that is not going to go away. number three, the political class like the political class
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in tunisia is so busy making its own arrangements and own deals to maintain power, they are often missing the larger picture. in many ways it's outside of those political deals and i think they will maintain their popularity. >> about the youth, the youth has been mentioned now. egypt has a very substantial population. you were giving me the figures. some of those younger generations are the ones who went out and they want to change. they went down to ask for change and you would correct me if this is wrong to object to the status quo. then they were inflated by the muslim brotherhood.
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the rest is history. this does not put away the anger of the younger generation. this does not deal with their aspirations and disappointment. give us the picture of egypt. how are they feeling? are they disappointed or scared or scared? >> what do you think? >> scared. >> i want to say it's not only the youth that participated, but all the regions. so what i want to say is that the euphoria was very big. the expectations were ov overexpectatio overexpectations. the delusion is big also. that doesn't mean the youth is not there or that the nuth has giv given up. we have young people who are
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setting aside a lot of these former ideologies and sectari sectariani sectarianism, etc. they are looking forward. they think they have everything to compete with abroad in the west. that's what they want and want to get at and they win, i think. the win is there. of course the gender is not particularly there to support them and to encourage young leaders to be in leading positions. they are there and they are pushing forward and i think they will arrive. >> i used the word fear to provoke you. i knew you would get back at me. when i was in egypt about a year ago, i think, i sensed there was a good amount of euphoria about the potential of egypt. and i at that point, any of the
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italian discoveries, the biggest. tell what it is. >> the gas which we discovered today will make egypt self-sufficient and maybe exporters. it's giving a lot of hope because first of all, it will need manpower and manpower is there. we need to provide jobs. not only mr. trump provides jobs. we too can provide jobs. there is hope that at the end of the time, there is hope. >> the level of poverty and the level of disappointment, the life of the poor man or the poor woman, for that matter, is very painful in egypt. still. is this because there is no
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long-term plan or is this a natural consequence to a plan that is to be implemented later? >> what's interesting is this frustration has given rice to a rise in fertility. we didn't need that. at one point it's 2.5 and it's now reaching 3.5. most of the women are out of a job in the public sector. this is very, very serious. the private sector don't take them because they ask for maternal leave. this is how they have fallen back on that. the fertility rise. i don't think the government is taking this seriously enough as a ticking bomb.
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absolutely. in the meeting, what women need today is a voice and a job. that's it. >> this is referring to my last meeting. they are very proud of doing that. i give women one minute each and say in one minute, what's the bottom line. what is it they should hear us saying? she is on the advisory board and the messages are really potent because it is one minute and people remember it. egypt's in libya. how essential is it? is it only egypt and libya or is this going to be reflecting on the whole of north africa?
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does egypt have a leading on libya in north africa together or is this bilateral? >> sure. i think egypt does have a special set of interests in libya based on historical relationships and very obvious interests because of proximity and so when i look at the egyptian involvement in libya, i see a lot of reasons for it. economic concerns, political concerns related to what kind of leadership the egyptian government would like to see in libya. there are obvious security concerns because of the quite real terrorist threat inside libya that has impacted egypt as well. i agree that there is a regional picture and maybe egypt and algeria and who is the dominant power. egypt has been far more involve and more visibly in libya than algeria. there is the larger picture of
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regional dynamics and the closer relationship between egypt and the uae has played out and the closer egyptian russian relationship has been strengthened by cooperation inside of libya as well. libya for egypt is a priority on some things, but also a way to kind of build on some of these other relationships that are independent priorities. >> let's go back to the fact that egypt chose, if i am not mistaken, i'm paraphrasing, to take the side of russia in libya. plus alongside the traditional rivalries between egypt and algeria. of course we always have to think egypt and turkey. this is the one thing the muslim brotherhood divides. if you put all of this together, do you think egypt is on the right track in the way it is
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handling the libyan regime? >> that's a complicated question. >> that's our job here. >> i actually think that -- one of my concerns with the egyptian involvement initially is that there are some libyan groups, particularly those identified with political islam who were going to be excluded from political processes that they needed to be a part of. these are groups that are completely nonviolent who need to be part of the process that were excluded by hearing the rhetoric from that kind of wing, but i do think that the egyptian handling of the situation has been increasingly pragmatic so looking at the security and the army unification talks that cairo has hosted of the many processes happening in libya, that has been an example of some coming together from different libyan groups that are not usually on the same side. so i'm heartened by that as i
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think of a positive example of progress. >> what are you on libya? >> together. >> together? >> on libya, we are not on the same track. >> okay, tell us. >> but the trilateral relationship between egypt, the uae and saudi is working. but with differences in opinion and differences in factions. who are you supporting? egypt as as its many objective, political reconciliation between the differently factions, keeping the entity of the state and not dividing the state into different statelets as is the
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plan for syria and for libya, i don't know. that is really avoiding military conflicts and avoiding boots on the ground. this is it. >> syria, do you think this is the plan to divide it into three sections like you heard right now? >> the plan by the international community or the arab world? >> she is saying she is projecting that the plan, the ghost, the casper's plan is so that egypt -- excuse me, so that syria becomes de facto divided into three different areas. one controlled by the russians and one controlled by the u.s. and one by turkey as the center. >> again, i wouldn't want to differ too much with the doctor. my understanding first of all, let's step back one moment.
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egypt's engagement in syria relative to others has been minimal and far less than clearly turkey, israel, and others on the border. egypt is also playing an important role in terms of hosting the opposition and trying to help pull together syrian opposition in order to be better. my understanding of egypt is more of a status quo power that is not interested in seeing states like syria fragment into many different pieces and certainly not see the resurgence in syria or the strengthening in syria of the muslim brotherhood or islamist factions, etc. i would see egypt as looking to the extent that it can and i can't underscore enough that they are far less influential. >> it's not going to stay like this. apparently from what i follow the news of the meeting between
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the president and president putin and president putin at the meeting when he came to meet us and i asked him the question about egypt and he went on for quite a long time, speaking about how strengthened this relationship is going to be. in fact they had military exercises together. he said something that they were essential on syria. from what i understood later on, egypt will try to live there and his regime there, for example, in syria. that's not small. that's a big step that egypt is expecting. plus, of course, the opposition. there is an egyptian opposition. >> what you just said actually would underscore the notion of egypt as looking to restore the status quo in the region. looking to see a stable syria, all be it under assad and
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militias are neutralizes and islamists are neutralized. >> is that doable at all? >> we are a long way from that. rehabilitating al-assad is not something they would be supportive of. if the arab league decides to do that, that's okay, but that's not international. >> where is the syrian civil war at right now? is it an end game or the end of the game or protracted? >> in my view, we are nearly eight years into the civil war. i think we are at the most dangerous stage of the conflict. >> why? >> i say that for two reasons. the syrian civil war and the initial conflict that kicked all of this off between assad and those who sought to unseat him. that is entering an end game
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stage, unfortunately like it or not. the regime will prevail. we are entering a very protracted and messy end game. assad will prevail, but it's because of the help and the significant support of russia and also iran. that is really in some ways, iran's military entrenchment in syria is unprecedented and i think thrown up in the air the rules of the game that had pertained prior to the uprising taking place. >> you are not talking at all about the european union, which is really the main supporter of syria today. the only last resort supporter of syria. what do you say to that? >> depends on how you define support. the u.s. has played a huge role. the u.s. is on the ground in
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syria playing an important role and led the counter isis coalition. the problem with syria is they are so complex. there are so many layers. the eu wants to in particular play a strong role in supporting the geneva peace process. unfortunately that stagnated. we will see what happens with a special envoy just announced. >> he will be able to. is there going to be a political solution in syria? i don't really know what's the road map to that. you have already a problem with the continued presence of iranian troops and in syria. the rugssians are not willing t say let's help the u.s. to get them out.
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>> willing or able. it's two things. we are in a very dangerous moment. again, iran is entrenched in ways it's never been before right on israel's border. we have seen the israelis responding to this threat. they have by their own admission undertaken 200 attacks against the targets in syria over the past two years. what is worrisome is to the extend to which this escalation spirals out of control. >> it seems that israel got it for their own interests in russia. for israel and a huge chunk of land. the israelis think that you are not going to talk about that again. this is mine. that they have been given.
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>> until the plane was shot down which is an important event because the russians -- it wasn't the israelis that shot the plane down, but the syrians who accidentally shot the plane down. the russians accused israel of being more reckless in their incursions into syria and syrian airspace. as a result, provided now more sophisticated air defense systems to syria. and also my understanding from russians is that they are concerned about israeli conduct in syria. now, where does this go, i think is another question. we are at a moment where there is ambiguity and in some cases dangerous ambiguity. >> do you think they will pull out? >> no. >> what happens then? >> good question. the iranians have made quite an
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investment in syria and the other question is how intertwined are the iranians into the syrian military and apparat apparatus? to what extent is this going to be extremely difficult? my sense is it will be very, very difficult to eject iran from syria. >> even after the sanctions weakened and even after the sanctions have their impact after the trump administration hopes they would. >> some say the iranians are overstretch and will it be forced to pull back, but there is another argument that said the extend to which iran feels threatened and threatened iran in terms of an existential way, that may compel them to dig their heels in deeper into places like syria and others in the region. >> i will go to an area that we were told it was the good story,
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the good place. let's change the subject of depressing things in syria. tunisia. how is it going? >> if you ask most tunesians, badly. if you ask most close watchers of tunisia, they are hanging in there. it was amazing. i was in tunisia the past six days and flew in early this morning. the bomb went off down the street and i didn't see any tunesians other than those literally within the bomb blast area who changed their routine. it was a resilience there. but the way they just brushed off the attack and moved on with their lives means here's a population that has weathered a lot of turbulence and for all
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the complaining we have heart about the lack of progress, they are resilient and will hang on. when you push them, yes, we will defend this democracy. what does that mean? what do they point out? >> there are many layers of complains here. the largest complain is most tunesian youth who do not vote in elections and supported the revolution got no dividends. that is causing, for example, a huge protest in riots encouraged by the imf and a general malaise-anger-willingness to mobilize and migrations reporting more tunesians going
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north and numbers we haven't seen in a couple of years now. there is angst and frustration among youth. in terms of the marginal areas, there is a new report out in 2018 on increased recruiting for isis domestically. they were returning foreign fighters. a lot of them returned to libya and didn't end upcoming back and those who came back, they were not large numbers and they were handled relatively well and we have much larger numbers. much larger numbers and they are still with the government. a lot of this was just post revolutionary and wanting to go topple dictators as they have
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gone in their own country. some, most of them not. increasingly overtime, we have seen that a lot of radical extremists are economically motivated. >> so the jasmine revolution, you think this was inspired in syria and iraq with isis? >> absolutely. a lot of tunesians went and there was the famous case covered of the e jihadist in a wheelchair. and he got there and isis decided he was going took a suicide bomber. they wheeled him back to tunisia and his family was frustrated because he couldn't find a job and he was looking if are a jihad to join. they were complaining that he
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hasn't found his new jihad. it's a desire among young people to have valuable lives and meaningful lives and making revolutions and whatever. this is what they are looking for. just to fast forward to a solution, it's starting to catch on of a revolutionary national service in tunisia. putting the million or so graduates who are major players in revolution to work doing projects sort of like peace core volunteers. they would be willing and the tunesian government hasn't come to that level of understanding of the solutions for their own economic and socioeconomic problems. >> that's a good project to take. >> i want to point out these problems are not unique to that region. there are fighters returning to iraq. what do you do with them?
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people who have experienced all these activities abroad and now they are coming back and the iraqis don't know what to do. what will they do? what will they have learned? what are they going to bring back with them? there is problems across borders that we have not talked about. turkish incursions. there is problems on that side. the instabilities that we have talked about in syria. all of these things are things that have to be watch and worried about. these are not isolated to one area. they are all streaming in from all sides. iraq is experiencing all of that. >> so you think they were talking about that's a good program? >> a kind of national service to give young people things to do. women have been able to find
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jobs in iraq. it's not like a lot of them are women that have had trouble getting positions. that say bit different. >> it seems to me that libya got a bad deal. >> i think libyans would agree. >> i think yes. libyans would agree. if you look at polling, there is increasing nostalgia for the gadhafi days. that's not nostalgia for gadhafi himself, but certainly it makes sense that people are looking backwards. they are not happy with how it turned out. >> so i want to engage both of you. we have the situations in syria unfolding and we don't know
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where the fighters are going to go. they are not going to come to me. i had enough of them. we don't need them. they never make their way there. they are gathering in libya. what on earth? who is helping the libyans? me what do you know about true engagement by the international community on this priority. it's a matter of priority. what do you mean? libya is going to be the place and the nation for all these have been fighters and isis and et cetera? >> i share the same concern. to return back to what petraeus said, it's an opportunity for all sorts of bad actors. we are talking about extremists, but in the case of southern
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libya, isis and al qaeda and the trafficking and all of these other things in one big interconnected nexus. i don't think the international community has addressed this sufficiently. we talked about the political process is supposed to establish a central authority that can then govern the territory. we are a long way off from solving that problem. there have been more stand alone measures designed to deal with the problem of libya's south. for example, un sanctions targeting human traffickers in june. they were an interesting step that got this reaction and there was a problem set in tripoli and benghazi, the south is where a lot of this is happening. we don't have a solution. >> it's not like they warned us. that's going to happen. >> yeah. >> is he right? >> i think it was already happening to a certain extent.
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the end of the regime took the lit off of it. i think that area, southern libya and looking at the north is a critical place that is going to take us out of the arab world. as far as this criminality and extremism, a lot of these problems are together. and to tie back into the issue of foreign fighters, fighters returning from iraq and syria, but what's interesting is isis and libya sparked a mobilization of subsaharan africa leaving their home countries in an unprecedented way. if they return to the places they came from and start additional problems, that's also a secondary problem to consider. >> one more complication, in
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iraq, the kurds are going south, but they don't have arabic. that adds a complicated picture and lacking the skills that allow them to integrate. >> i will take advantage of where we are and conclude in the following way. i will go to each of you to give me, what does iraq look like for the next 10 years from your point of view. what iraq do you see coming? i will go down the line to think, what do you foresee in a realistic way. not in a dreamy way and what we wish for them, but what does it look like in 10 years? >> i think it wants to look or the goal is integration. but the problem is, economic resources are not spread out equally. the oil and energy are in one area, but the populations are in other areas. how you get that population to
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integrate and mix and move back and forth is a problem. i think it needs to work on that. i think at least what you see for the moment is populations want to work on that int go immigratio -- integration. >> thank you, judith. what does syria electric like? . >> i'm glad i'm not last. i think syria is a generation-long conflict that is still evolving. i think we are going to see while the regime may have won, it's a victory at best. this is a country that remains fractured and violent and run with war lords running around and mafias with spheres of influence that are directed by
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regional powers. the suffering of syrian civilians and the massive levels of displacement. unfortunately a lost generation of syrian children who have suffered through unspeakable violence and trauma. >> about the spill over of the syrian situation, can you address the refugees? what does lebanon look like for the few years? >> lebanon hosts the highest number of refugees per capita in the world. we worked on this intensely. they have born an enormous burden in terms of the number of refugees there in the country. at the same time unfortunately lebanon has, as you know, preexisting issues. whether poor governance and corruption at unprecedented
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levels and an eamoconomy on the verge of collapse and the debt to gdp ratios in the world. i think it's the third highest. lebanon faces enormous challenges and at the same time and my roots are lebanese as well, there is an incredible energy and entrepreneurial spirit in the lebanese people. the question is to what extent they can get their governance issues right. they can address the corruption issues and only then, i think, is the international community going to come in with the kinds of assistance needed. it's a big question mark what it looks like in 10 years. >> thank you. emily, what does syria look like? >> i see an optimistic version. on current trajectory, libya will remain unstable, possibly in ways different than previously. i expect more of the local
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conflicts or conflict city by city or region by region rather than a full-fledged war in 2014. the same problem with ungoverned spaces and criminality and stability and the occasional terrorist problem that the west will come in and try to deal with period cal ll lly fix. i am hopeful that this problem is fixable if libyan leaders and the international community come together and i think that there is frustration with how long this has gone on. i am hopeful the trajectory will change and head towards progress. >> william, how does the north africa region come around. so what does tunisia and libya and north africa look like. what does tunisia look like? this is a pretty story or a very
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ugly story because it's going to be in cahoots, if you will, or a recipient of what happened in libya? >> it's going to be a mixed story, tunisia. morocco, algeria, and tunisia are all over 10,000 what we call microprotests a year. the trend is a way from big conflicts to small conflicts. they are increasing and they doubled over the last three years and we will have more and more of that. the externalities of that are the question mark. when do things get big and threaten the big mac row political issues? politics will remain complicated and they will be insufficient and the big question is to what degree they can keep the lid on security threats and on that, all in some ways are so far, so good. they are maintaining a hold.
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if i can add one sentence on libya. in total agreement with emily, i would like to add an if-then. if the u.s. remains unengaged, i predict the miss mipessimistic . if the americans help out with this intraeuropean rivalry, if the united states steps up diplomatically and starts paying attention to politics and not just economics and security, libya is the easiest conflict to fix of the three over yemen and syria. it is going to take an american involvement. >> i agree. >> i agree, too. >> i say your full name because i have two more. i decided to go with your full name. egypt. what's it going to look like in 10 years?
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>> beautiful. >> do you care to elaborate? >> promising country as we just said before. the mega projects that we were all criticizing now will bring its fruition by then. jobs will be found. every day there is a new discovery. we have a new museum and i invite you to come all to egypt by yourself. the progress that is being done except for one thing. we will be $120 million by then. >> that is something to think about. i invite you to come to beirut. either new york or beirut because i live in both places and i came from the region now. since this is where we are going to be living, this is the last panel and the doctor is going to
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be coming to give the last word. i want to thank the organizers of everything, but especially for this session that played a very big role in making sure they communicated and we were on the same page and understanding how to make it nice and smooth and different rather than delivering speeches. i want to thank pat. he's an amazing person and he has been really, really great. [ applause ] this is for you. we thank an excellent moderator. intelligent, inice sightful and agreeable.
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>> there will be additives to some of the questions that were not answered. some of the presentations that had the speakers had more time, they would have covered. they would have provided you with otherwise hard to come by insight. number one, education.
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people to people. it's been 10 years now since the deputy minster of one of the gcc countries said that -- it was saudi arabia, said that we have 300 graduates of america's universities. 300. now, the number of american graduates of gcc universities if you take time and round them off to the nearest even number is zero. okay? this was 10 years ago. that was one country. i don't know how to estimate it, but i would think 600,000 is not an exaggeration. if you add kuwait, bahrain, qatar, the emirates and oman. how did this come about?
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it came about in a way that i experienced in 1962. the yemen revolution began and a civil war began and it was a revolution because it toppled the monarchy that had been in existence for several helpundre years and then there were several hundred egyptian troops on the doorstep. it never happened before and hasn't happened since. you can imagine how we would feel. look at the sensation of sending 3,000 to 5,000 to mexico's border. suppose 80,000 were consecentrad just above maine or minnesota there of some foreign troops. very efficient and effective. eager to beat you up foreign troops. we would be scared to death.
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faisal found that all of the secondary school graduates up until that time went to secondary school in egypt. there were not many in saudi arabia. here they were sending their youth to the soucountry that wa invading and occupying them. when you make a strategic decision in the area of education to completely scrap the existing curriculum or at least the dynamics of it and substitute it with another one, you will not see the results until 12 years later. k-12. kindergarten, elementary school, junior high school, high school, graduation at great 12. do the arithmetic.
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it started in 1962 and here they come and it's 1974. 99.9% of americans said they are coming because they have that war money. they attacked the price of war and they got us over a barrel. that's why they are coming. that enabled them to have more means than they had in 62, for sure, but know the impetus was spra teeji strategic. they emphasized this relationship needs to have people looking at it who are able to look at things long-term. and so we had been the net beneficiaries of that. these are almost 97% pro-american individuals in these countries. there is nothing comparable on the reverse side.
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there is no equilibrium there. massive a symmetry. their ability to understand us is hardly devoid of fault. and you are seeing and by ago a conference like this, it's how little we know about that region. how important it is and how much work we have in front of us to learn about that region. this region is not saturated with people. if you went to your faculty adviser, they are not going to say to you, focus on latin america or africa instead. there are too many specialists in the region. no! 15 years ago at a middle east studies summit, let's establish the studies among the 3,000 of
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us, those who focus on arabia and the gulf. the total was 16. okay? iran at the same time had an iran study's association with 440 members. the turkish study is 200 members. so you see what work we have to do. the six countries, a person can focus on one, two, three, all six and you would be in demand if you did it. with great effort and energy. point two is that these individuals have pressured their governments to do something from which we are the only people on the planet that benefit. that is support for the dollar. as a means and the currency for their international financial
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transactions. think of it from the russians's point of view. i was going to say chinese point of view, but they have plenty of dollars. think of it from the russian point of view. they have to export enough to earn dollars in order to pay in dollars. we would not want to do that. so what they do in this regard has nothing to do with oil. sure, it was made possible by oil, but once you put your money in the bank, it has a life of its own that is not influenced by anything in between. so this is key to the preem nens of the american banking system worldwide. those of you who are going into this field who have a financial or economic business management ak men, you will have your choice of the jobs that will be
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offered to you because of the deficit of people who have arabic or arab studies even, with this kind of still. point three is the support that these allies, these individuals in their elitists provide for us where we are vulnerable. where we are weak. where we are exposed. where we are in danger. namely, inside eight different international organizations. where we have interests. we have concerns. we have needs. but we are not on the inside of that and therefore can't do anything about it. when they meet, they all have charters and headquarters and they all have annual meetings. if not quarterly meetings. we are not in any of them, but on the table for them is always what are we going to do about
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the united states in terms of a relationship and we can grow stronger and more expensive or begin to cut our losses because we embarrassed by the positions that the administration's want to put together takes on issues of moral importance to us. we don't have to take this. china doesn't do that. russia doesn't -- no other country does that. america's not pressured by any country to have the policies it has regarding palestine or to provide the country that will not allow palestine to be free, sovereign, nationally independent, its territory intact, but we, those of us in the audience and other taxpayers, pay that country $150 a second since 1979.
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i don't have the figures before that. $150 every second since 1979. $6,777 every minute. $366,000 every hour. and a minimum of $10 million a day, okay? and the recipient is a competitor with us for being the olympic champion of violators of international law and their own constitution. that's point three. point four. point five is what they have done when we have been in conflict. i mentioned three, the iran-iraq war in 1988, the liberation of kuwait, '90, '91 and iraq since 2003. when we are in that region it is often to their clinics, their
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hospitals that we're taken because it's too far to go to rahmstein in germany or across the atlantic to the united states where we could possibly die. probably die en route and so we're tempted to -- buy our arab friends right in the region. two of the iran-iraq war, when we were trying to put our flag on tankers going to kuwait, one of them was hit. the "uss stark." and americans were killed and thrown into the sea. it was bahrain that went out and rescued them. it was bahrain that brought them into bahrain's hospital. it was bahrain's ruler that went to visit them in their beds, their sick rooms. many people do not know that.
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with regard to khomeini's regime? rooi in iran that put a death sentence out for the author of "satanic verses" there. not long after that, there was a meeting of the organization of the islamic conference in riyadh. iran wanted a resolution support i have ive of what it did. every single country voted against what iran had done. i thought, wow. because we'd been looking at the whole region through the lens of a small country in the eastern mediterranean and a large country on the eastern side of the gulf there and i thought, wow, this will settle it. this will have a more level playing field. not one american news outlet
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covered it, printed it. major breakthrough there. similarly, again, with the organization of islamic conference, they pulled a trick because of what iran was doing not to stop the war. they said, oh, we've been talking about the remodeling the area around the grand mosque in mecca and the prophet's mosque and tomb in medina and we keep putting it off. no, we're going to do it right now. and all of us will suffer. we'll have to pull our back belt in, and each of us will have 10% less allowed to go on the pilgrimage and the iranians went through the roof and so did the pakistanis and so did the malaysians. they said, you're not going to tell us how many pilgrims we can
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take there, et cetera. well, iran was the loudest, though, and so saudi arabia broke relations with iran and said, good luck on getting a visa. a number of iranians went on that pilgrimage that year were less than 6 versus the 300,000 that they wanted -- demanded they will allowed to take and this eroded and corroded the popular base support for khomeini, who was prolonging the war. there were whispers there, and many people, everyone who knows of us and realizes that many save all their life to make that journey, especially in sub-saharan africa, they called it the haj there. with the organization of islamic conference in which we're not
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among, but did something like that, and it hastened the end of the iran-iraq war. and they stood with us on july 15th, 1987, when human resolution 687 came for a vote, and this was to condemn the war's prolongation and demand an immediate cease fire. iraq accepted it, iran took 13 months to accept it. and many, many more thousands were killed as a result, and when the leader of iran did accept it, he said, i would rather have drunk poison than accept this cease fire. so, i'm mentioning things that are not well known but a part of the glue and the adhesive that hold us together despite what's happened in the last month where
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journalists have never heard of implying that we should be pulled apart or pushed apart. six. we have three laws that are punitive to american businesswomen and men who want to invest or have trade and establish joint commercial ventures in the region. one is the arab -- anti-arab boycott act of 1975, the second one is the corrupt practices act of 1976. and the third one, the amendment to the tax reform act of 1978. no other country in the world has that kind of legislation. iceland had it for a time, but
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what this does is drive a wedge between our private sector and the private sector of the region you can go to jail there too on the arab boycott side of this, one that's administered by the department of commerce, another administered by the department of treasury and you think i'm making these things up, a business person from an american aerospace or defense company going into the ministry of defense in an arab country and they become friends in the process of negotiation and conversation and the minister or the deputy minister or the director general or whatever says, you know, i have a 13-year-old daughter and she has had infantile paralysis since she was a little girl, and her legs are very deformed, and it's very difficult for her to walk and we don't have anybody who
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specializes in that kind of medical assistance, but we know of one in switzerland and one in france and three in germany and two in great britain, but we don't know -- they have a long line, and we're told that it will be least a year and a half. can you help? if that person says yes, i'll help you, it can be interpreted and the person would go to prison for doing a favor to an official of another government in an effort to try to make a sale. with regard to the amendment to the tax reform act, i may have my arithmetic wrong but i think you'll get the gist of it. it's a position would ordinarily go for $100,000, and one of these countries.
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well, you can get three canadians for that. you can get six pakistanis for that. and say it's an engineer. but you have to pay the american tens of thousands of dollars more so that she or he can pay her tax and not be punished for working abroad. now this is upside down, inside out if you're talking about enhancing trade and exports and service industries and jobs related to it, because the americans living and working abroad, they are, at best, marketers. they're right there on the ground, and when they are in a discussion, talking about this bridge or that refinery, they do not talk about german specifications or japanese specificatio specifications for the columns, for the arch, whatever. no, they went to texas a&m or
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wherever. and they recommend the only ones they know, which are american specifications. for it to be otherwise, we're talking about tens of millions of dollars that one has to pay just in order to accommodate somebody else's weights, measures, and standards. when a situation is largely that we are able to trade and invest and have joint commercial ventures with our arab friends regardless of that set of punitive laws that no other country has. all other countries want us to keep them on the books, because it's a boon to them. it helps them and their marketing and expertise and efforts there. all efforts to amend those laws have failed because the
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lobbyists of another sector of friends, allies, strategic partners in the same region intimidate and threaten any congressman or woman who would dare move to take those books -- those laws off the books. where's the courage? think of saudi aramco. we misspelled it there. it's no longer aramco. it is saudi aramco. but once it was the arabian american oil company, the one that discovered the oil produced, that laid the pipes, had the refineries, had the ships, et cetera, and aided not just the recovery of europe from the marshall plan and the few
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but much of japan as well. japan has no oil. italy has no oil. half a dozen european unions don't have a drop of oil. it came from these countries and this was in our net as well as our gross benefit. but think of it for a minute. there's no country in the world that would not trade places with us in terms of the overall relationship that we have with the arab region. 22 countries in the arab region, 28 in the middle east, 57 members of the organization of islamic cooperation. so, the more we get exasperated and our angst increases as does our temperature, and we say,
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let's be independent of those s.o.b.s, and movement -- movements to that effect began in the 1970s after the last arab oil embargo in october of 1973. people began to invest in scientific labs to find something, anything so we wouldn't be dependent on those s.o.b.s. okay? nobody else in the world did. the press in no other country is as anti-hydrocarbon fuels as is the media and much else amongst america's private sector towards hydrocarbon fuels. and yet, it is absolutely vital to human existence. on your table is a cloth inside
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of which there are textiles laced with petrochemicals. much of your -- much was raised as a result of the nutrients in the soil that are now the crop to come up and be harvested there. many of the pills and equipment and hospitals all over the world come from petrochemicals, which come from oil and gas. it is the engine. there is no other remotely comparable competitive engine that drives the world's economies, and as being the largest, we are, therefore, the largest beneficiary of that. i'm suggesting additional ways to look at this issue. so, we have benefitted enormously with the highest standard of living in the world,
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with the most enviable material well being in the world, with funds and money that can have a $750 billion defense budget and add $250 billion from the department of energy which regulates and runs and administers that nuclear situation and you've got more than $1 trillion. where did that money come from? it's largely our own, but we do borrow, as do others. there was a time in the '70s when saudi arabia alone was in the top five of countries that purchased america's debt and enabled americans to continue paying the salaries of cadets and people in service and school lunches for the underprivileged.
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had that not occurred, we would have had to have raised taxes to find the requisite funds to do that. so, that's benefit. number eight. but hidden in most people's analyses of it is this. it was not just a boon for both ends of the bridge, saudi arabia's economy, people in their society, material well being, and america society, economy, material well being, revenue, investments, commercial joint ventures, trading, et cetera. the entire region benefitted because it is so valuable, so precious that we've built willy-nilly a protective ring
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all around it as best we could, and that protective ring protected more than saudi arabia and protected saudi arabia has 13 neighbors, it protected most of them. the awacs that we sold in a small country at the eastern end of the mediterranean didn't want us to sell to saudi arabia. it covers kuwait, bahrain, and qatar and the emirates and parts of oman because of its technology and its reach from saudi arabia. the awacs fly, but look at the multiple beneficiaries of this one particular aspect here. and when kuwait was invaded, you
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had almost an automaticity, unanimous vote in the united nations occurred to counsel to come to kuwait's aid. communist ussr stood with us, arm to arm, shoulder to shoulder, 12 consecutive times and voted with us on the resolutions that condemned what iraq was doing. i'm not sure we would do that so quickly or as effectively. we're not seeing, since then, the russians standing with us and voting on issues of importance and we've not seen china standing with us and voting with us on issues of importance there. so, let's stop here, and simply revert to four words that have
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come up intermittently in the discussions, and this is every country's strong -- and there's no stronger urge to be secure. as we human beings seek to be secure. none of us want to be insecure. it's hell. if and when you are insecure, and if you've never been insecure, you will know it when you are insecure and you will never, ever want to be in that situation again. and your mind will start racing. how can i prevent this from occurring? well, here's a situation where we have been involved in aiding that as -- i don't like to use the word "they." . as the people in other countries
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in this region have contributed to our ability to make this achievement a reality. so, that's security. and the next siamese twin, joined at the hip, is stability. without security, you will not have the necessary stability. and people look at stability as a given. it's not at all a given. but with stability and a government's secure situation, one can plan with confidence. one of the young people yesterday spoke about how you can obtain confidence when you don't have confidence or didn't have confidence but you can get confidence. and we work with youth at
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achieving precisely that kind of result. so you can plan, you can prepare, you can anticipate, you can predict. all of these things are keys to a better life, then take those keys away and what that life would be. and those two are absolutely related to peace. everyone says they want peace. many people do not have peace. and part of the reasons is the absence of security and the absence of stability, and someone invaded them, wanted their mountain, wanted their gas, wanted their green fields, et cetera, and they did so with impunity. so, peace be upon us.
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but peace is also key to prosperity. you cannot have a chance at prosperity absent security, stability, and peace, and his relationship, the arab-u.s. relationship where we have been -- when working on trying to improve two ps and two as. one "p" is positions on issues. we stand for this. we don't stand for that. i'm thinking we're standing there with the knee, taking a knee for the national anthem there. this came to my mind there. and we largely stand against the people who are doing that because we think it's unpatriotic.
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is it really unpatriotic if you know the reason a person knelt in respect to the flag but just in a different way? do we all have to be exactly the same in our behavior or have positions. we have positions on abortion, right to life, okay? so, that's one of the ps. another one i'll come back to last, but two of the as are actions and attitudes. actions that one takes after thinking out of the box and saying, now, got it. you have to do something to bring it about. and that means taking action, but what kind of action, how long will you do it, and how
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much will it cost? are you confident? can you achieve your goal by undertaking an action to accomplish it? i don't think you can. but what is the other "a" that drives the three i've mentioned -- the two that i've mentioned, and that is attitudes. are you depressed, optimistic, are you jaded, are you exhausted? just tired out, worn out? with this region in america, there is arab fatigue. there are people who just say, enough is enough. there are other regions of peoples in the world who are deserving and i'm going to focus on them. the arab world is hopeless,
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et cetera. are you like that? have you been like that? in any event, the attitudes are key as the other two, actions and policies -- excuse me, positions. those three combined are the essence of policies, and we've had a lot here to focus on policies, and let's hope, as we vote next week, that we can vote our head and our heart much more informed in our head of what is right and what is wrong, and realize that achieving our goals will not occur by accident or
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coincidence. it will be, in my view, a combination of what some have said of conviction, and conviction is associated with will, and you heard several people mention that. and conviction and will are linked at the hip to commitment. okay? what are you going to do about it? in my life, and i don't know about your life, i have maybe 40-plus convictions, just a number out of thin air. maybe i have 80. maybe there are only 13. but in any event, like the rest of us, we can only work so many hours before we have to go to sleep, and we have to eat and we have to run errands so we can't
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have a commitment for every one of our convictions. so, which convictions will we roll into commitment? that takes a lot of inner searching and talking with yourself. but in this field, because for many, arab is a four-letter word, what is required is courage, not just political courage, which is absent in both houses of our congress. a side bar here for the three civil rights laws passed in 1963, '64, '65, not a single southern senator of the 26 southern states -- 13 southern states voted for any of the three civil rights laws.
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not one senator. and in the house of representatives, they had more than 140 representatives, if i recall, in the house from the south. only one voted for those laws that gave african-americans their due. that was long overdue from the moment the first slave set foot in america in 1619. this aspect befell that man. he was voted out of office the very next year. and so the people who have the moral will and political will to a degree but in a national situation that pay a mighty price. the chairman of our international advisory board is
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former congressman paul finley. he served 23 years, and he wrote a blockbuster book that was on the best seller and the "washington post" for weeks after weeks and the summer when he wrote it there. he's 97 years old, and when we talk, he says, john duke, i'm 97 and i'm still on fire. and he is. there are these people. so, it's not just a political courage. it's also the moral courage, without which the political courage won't come to pass. i'll stop here and thank you for listening and being part of this conference where we try to make a difference and we have been trying since 1991.
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but we can't do it without participants. thank you.
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and more live debates later today. west virginia democratic senator joe manchin meets republican candidate patrick morrissey in
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morgantown at 7:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. and then at 8:00, in new york's 22nd congressional district, republican incumbent representative claudia tenney faces democratic anthony brindisi. live coverage tonight on c-span, your primary source for campaign 2018. oprah winfrey's in georgia today joining candidate for governor democrat stacey abrams. 10:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> which party will control the house and senate? watch c-span's live election night coverage starting tuesday at 8:00 p.m. eastern as the results come in from house, senate, and governor races around the country. hear victory and concession speeches from the candidates. then wednesday morning at 7:00 a.m. eastern, we'll get your reaction to the election, taking your phone calls live
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during "washington journal." c-span, your primary source for campaign 2018. >> the c-span bus is traveling across the country on our 50 capitals tour. during our stop in augusta, maine, we asked folks which party should control congress and why. >> i'm looking forward to having a republican majority in the next congress. we've started a lot of really good policy initiatives within the congress over the last few years. i would like to see those move forward. i think it's important that we keep a republican majority, although it's important for both parties to work together and continue to get things done for the people of this country. >> my key issue is health care. if anything will change after the election. i have two parents who are unable to work due to health issues and i wouldn't want them to go through the process of not having health care. >> and if the midterm elections
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result in a change of control of congress, it would be a good thing for education. we're very concerned about the agenda that is the administration's agenda just now, headed towards privatization of schools, school vouchers, having devos as the secretary of education has just been the wrong way to go. we're concerned with the supreme court going forward and the decisions that will be made that will impact our students and our public schools, and we are hoping for good funding for public schools, and we are really hoping for a turn around in the midterm elections as well as in our state and hoping for a governor who's a friend of education. >> i'm hoping that republicans still control congress after the midterms so that we can keep moving president trump's agenda forward, and for me, what i have been working on is term limits. i've sponsored an article v term limits bill so that maine will join a convention for the term limits amendment, and if i get
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re-elected here for maine's 129th legislature, i would look forward to sponsoring that again and getting that in for the people of maine and for the people of the united states. >> and what i would like to see the midterms elections is that the economy stay the way it is. it's doing really well. we would love to see it continue, at least i would. really concerned about that. and as far as the tax implications, congress just passed a tax package. it's really going to benefit a lot of americans, and i think the investments are going to come and hopefully we see that after the midterm elections, that those continue to come and make america -- keep america strong. >> voices from the states, part of c-span's 50 capitals tour. next, the french ambassador to the u.s. talking about the state of u.s.-france relations. this was hosted by the hudson institute in washington, d.c. it's an hour.


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