tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN February 7, 2015 2:00am-4:01am EST
paradigm is not just physical protection. it is security in terms of food, health basic rights for all parts of the population. if you can have that come you immunize yourself better against the forces of extremism. societies that are open to scrutiny that are willing to accept scrutiny are better positioned for the long-term. and so, we are reminded we will be uncomfortable when the you this.
but we also believe we are not doing them a disservice. we are doing them a service. they may be sometimes uncomfortable with what we say, but all of us are pushing in the same direction and that is for the betterment of the people of the country concerned. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] we are looking for them to have the full protections the law provides for. thank you. >> just one last question. >> what do you think of the
escalation? >> thank you very much for that question. the office which i lead has a monitoring mission in ukraine that has been in place really almost since the crisis. since the crisis began in the eastern part of the country. we have periodic reports we make available to the international community, and yes we discuss ukraine with a large number of countries. nationally it is of great concern to the international community. this is a very serious crisis. and we have seen, of course even though we have, all of us have cause for further compliance and diminished acord
the other day we have issued a statement and i make clear now what we see is public transport marketplace, schools kindergarten and residential neighborhoods have become battlegrounds. at risk, 5.2 million people in the eastern parts are now vulnerable. i think surely no one wants to see the crisis deepen and expand. certainly the 5,358 people who have been killed -- or 5,358 people too many. we appeal, of course to all sides to deescalate this crisis.
the world can ill afford to have a crisis of this sort, given everything else that we have to deal with. so we will continue to make this appeal along with all the other u.n. agencies across the international community. i do expect in early march to be discussing ukraine with a number of key officials when they come to geneva. at that stage i will address members of the press on the outcome of that discussion. thank you. >> given every option for ukraine in defensive weapons. >> i won't comment about the
actions taken by individual states because of course our monetary mission is monitoring the performance on the ground. we are not monitoring the position of other countries with ukraine as such. what concerns us, of course, is that unless there is determined action to restore the minsk accord and have the cease-fire put back in place, that the unraveling will continue. again, surely this is not to the advantage of anyone in the international community. >> one last question. then we have to rush off. >> you have to remain neutral. you couldn't have a list of the top 10 worst offenders of human
rights. how would america fare on that list? a top 10 list. you have just given me an idea. we haven't had a top 10 liz. we remind all states, just a review of all the comments my predecessors and myself have made around countries around the world. we don't pick on any one country or one region. we continuously review and study the comments that states themselves make. when they come to geneva and especially under the so-called universal periodic review, all states submit a human rights
performance to the scrutiny of the human rights council. and that is they all, of course, point out, they have been able to accomplish x y and z. and they are told they should do this and that and that they will accept those recommendations. we remind them of the recommendations that they have accepted. and we hope that they then do so. there is no ranking as such, but maybe one day there should be. this is the first press conference i've been to where the press is not just asking questions but making suggestions. >> when i met prior to the press conference with members of the faculty and students at the law school we had a very cordial
discussion, and at times it was somber as well, given the state of the world. >> thank you very much, indeed. >> thank you so much. thank you. >> next, the discussion on the international effort to combat isis. then president obama in indiana talking about college costs and the economy. after that congressman paul ryan on international trade deals. >> on "newsmakers" ranking member of the armed services committee, representative adam smith. ashton carter at the defense and other key military topics. sunday at 10:00 a.m. and 6:00
p.m. eastern. >> sunday david brooks, columnist for the "new york times" on the the awards he gives out at the end of the year. the sidney awards. >> the sidney awards are given for the best magazine. they can be in journals, object secure lit rarey magazines. the idea is that -- between christmas and new -- literary magazine. >> the idea is to sit back and read something deeper and longer, and to celebrate those longer pieces. i do believe magazines changed history. "the new republic" until its recent destruction was the most persuasive writing. conservative barely existed before "national review" and gave it a voice.
>> the washington institute for near east policy hosted this discussion on the fight against icis and the -- against isis. regional experts and a former army colonel who served in iraq took part. this is about an hour and a half. >> good afternoon. good afternoon. and welcome to the washington institute. my name is david schenker. i'm the director of the program on arab politics here. it's nice to see such a large crowd. good to see you. we're here today for a policy forum entitled the fight against isil shiite militias and the coalition effort to talk about the release of two new fascinating institute studies. if anyone had any doubts, the video released earlier this week of the burning alovie alive of the
jordanian pilot confirms the moral depravity of isil. but six months into the air coalition campaign against isil which commenced with the beheading of american journalist foley, the results have been mixed, at best. the air strikes have driven isil out of kobani in syria. however, overall today the group controls actually more territory in syria and iraq than it did six months ago when the war started. air power alone is going to be insufficient to degrade and ultimately defeat isil. to roll back isil, the organization is going to have to be countered on the ground. we're witnessing right now the initial stages of this new phase in the campaign. in syria, the administration strategy of training up the moderate vetted syrian opposition remains a distant if realistic option.
meanwhile, they are deploying a series of shiite militias to combat isil. across the border, baghdad, in cooperation with washington, is working to accomplish an internal security force. to discuss these differing approaches to isil today, we have a great panel, featuring michael knights, phillip smyth and p.j. dermer. michael knights is a fellow at the washington institute, and author of the just released staidstudy" the long haul. phillip smyth is a researcher at the university of maryland and the author of the blog hizballah cavalcade, which tuscaloosas focuses on shiite islamic militaryism. commenting on their presentations, we're really lucky to have p.j. dermer, a retired army koirnl colonel who served
multiple tours in the region, including tours of iraq. he served as senior military advisory for reconciliation to iraqi forces in baghdad in 2008. before we start, just a quick reminder, please put your mobile phones on vibrate. we are live on c-span today apparently. so we'll start with mike knights. >> thank you very much for coming today. it's great to see such a full room. and my colleagues on the panel with me, it's a real honor to be alongside them. so i'm going to talk today about some of the themes coming out of our new study, the long haul,
rebooting u.s. security cooperation with iraq. and i want to go through the study in detail. what i'm going to do maybe is to troo i and pick out -- try and pick out some of the -- i think the key issues and quandaries that come out with the iraq state, with the kurdish peshmerga and our coexistence at the moment, alongside the popular mobilization unit plays a significant role in the war so far in iraq. now, just to run through a couple of graphics quickly which are in the study, which is stable in pdf form online for you to download we include for instance a full brigade order of battle for the iraqi army and the popular mobilization forces, graphically represented. and it demonstrates, for one thing, how much of the iraqi
combat power is pulled around baghdad and the immediate environment. how few of the iraqi military units are able to deploy over long distances, the distances required, for instance to commence an operation in the second quarter of this year. it's going to be very difficult to do that. and also, the lack of combat effective iraqi army brigades with the strength required to undertake a very complex, costly operation in mosul. it indicates that the nine brigades u.s.-led train and equip program to build oversized combat capable deployable units that can continue to operate after taking the casualties in urban combat. that train and equip program is vital. to me it indicates that we're not looking at mosul commencing until q3, q4, 2015. some people are even more grumpy about it than that.
so again on this slide, you'll see the graphic in the study. iraqi army in yellow. ministry of interior in black. and the popular mobilization units in red. if you're interested in looking at the detail, go look at the study. likewise, we've done the same for the peshmerga in terms of a slightly rougher but probably the most detailed order of battle you're going to see out there on what the peshmerga really looks like right now and how it is structured. now, on this slide we see -- even from the back it should be fairly visible. the blue is kurdish regional security forces. and the green is the areas where the federal government is contesting. one of the interesting factors in this is that you can see a little thin green line running from the iranian border. that's the iranian line of supply that directly supports the popular mobilization units
who are gathering and building for a major operation just south. i'm not going to talk about the progress of the war against isil. we'll do that in other forums, on other days, and through our written products. what i will say is to reiterate. i believe the war against isil in iraq initially is highly winnable. and in fact, slowly, slowly, we're on that trajectory now. for many people, the velocity will not be fast enough. but the vector, the direction is in that direction, towards cutting them down to the stage that they are a serious insurgent and terrorist movement. unfortunately, today's best case scenario was 2013's worst case scenario. so, you know what we're hoping is that in the next year or so we can cut isis down until it is
our worst nightmare from 2013. and then we start again. and we start working on a way to cut them down to where they were in 2009, when the security operations were at their most effective probably. and then finally, to get them down below that, to the hopes that we had in 2009. but what i'm going to talk about today more is what if we defeat isis but lose iraq in the process? what if there is another probably graver threat out there, which is the threat posed to some extent by the allies that we are working alongside? i'm thinking here about some of the popular mobilization unit elements who are strongly iranian linked. the movements that phillip is going to talk about in great detail after me. what if we committee feet -- defeat isis? it may sound a little dramatic
but there's a lot going on in iraq. to point in that direction. is this america's moment in iraq? some people, they look at the altar, and they say, well, the u.s. government was just being realistic, the soviets were going to dominate eastern europe. nothing could stop that. others would say -- would have an emotional reaction. this is when we were consigned to 50 years of communism. left behind the iron curtain. even though i don't think it's a perfect analogy, where i think this is a bit of an altar moment is we're in the midst of a war. the war is not over yet. but it's time to start asking tough questions about how the war ends, why we're fighting this war to the end, who our allies are, and how they'll act let's say, after mosul is
liberated, how they'll act towards us and other elements in iraq. i think, you know, in the old days afghanistan was the good war and iraq was the bad war. 2009. 2014, iraq seems to be the good war. and syria is the bad war. but in reality, iraq is going to be a lot more complex. i don't think iraq is -- i believe it's a war worth fighting. involving the u.s. but it's not a complex or a simple war or any sense of us being in any sense allied with iran in this war against isis in iraq. it's fraught with danger and far more complex than many people would believe. now, one thing i've noticed, since i was starting this study in researching,s talking, talking to a lot of people, just to complete the data collection on it throwing ideas out there about this
victory we could win if we defeat isil but in the process hand iraq over to a hezbollahizeed iraqi security structure, first of all, it struck me that -- i don't think i've ever heard kurds and shiite arabs went so much hatred at each other. our allies in iraq at the moment isis's enemies, are remarkably divided. remarkably resentful of each other. it's sad to see because the fighting hasn't even vaguely stopped yet against isis. a lot of young shiite guys usually will say to me, what have you got against the popular mobilization units? they're fighting isis. you're fighting isis. they're fighting and dying. are they really so bad? and don't you hold them to a double standard, if the peshmerga did the same thing would you criticize them as
fiercely? you want to build up the sunni the awakening movements. didn't they do all of these things in the past? didn't they kill americans too? imwe do need to think hard about these questions. we do have something of an emotional reaction against some of the hostile popular mobilization units. so let's just dig into that for a second. all these bad guys, i don't think so. the fight is going to the front line. many of them are not psychos. many of them are not there for sectarian massacres. they're just normal people. i had a similar feeling when meeting hezbollah infantrymen down in lebanon in '99 sitting with them and their families in their houses. but behind them, often far behind them, there was the islamic revolutionary guys that i never did meet. and they had a very different attitude. i certainly became personally aware of the difference between
being in their midst and not their target as i was in southern lebanon till later when i was in iraq, being actively targeted. there's something under the surface of these predominantly shiite popular mobilization units that we need to look at very closely. just to underline the point, on the left-hand side, we have the guys that look pretty scary. they're supposed to be our allies. in the top right, we have these crispily pressed shiite. who looks scarier? i would argue, for a number of reasons, that actually the guys on the left -- we need to treat both with care, but the guys on the right are not as custody cuddly or safe or trustworthy as they look. and the guys on the left, in some ways, because they are cut off, i think from major state
support, because they are not intricately networked into the islamic revolutionary force because they pull in smaller increments, because they are divided rather than having the potential to form into one large hezbollah-like shadow defense institution that could threaten and overwhelm ultimately things like iraqi ministry of defense ministry of interior, i believe the guys on the right are a bigger threat. likewise, look at the bottom. there you have a western private security detail vehicle taken out by extraordinarily accurate and effective explosive projectiles, fired by the shiite groups. on the right -- a marine corps ripped to pieces by a sunni i.e.d. way back. both have killed us. both probably would kill us again, if they needed to, if they felt like they wanted to. personally, i'm more afraid of the capabilities of the kurds
force special groups. as late as june 2011, if you remember, they killed 16 americans, because it seemed like perhaps we were going to rethink our withdrawal from iraq. i think they are much more dangerous than the sunni groups. but i'll talk about why very quickly. two main reasons. one, an increased involvement of the iranian-backed popular mobilization units, particularly in areas to the north, like mosul to crete, places out in the western anbar, where they're at the moment being welcomed in piecemeal, but i think they'll wear out their welcome soon, i think the overreliance on these units will lengthen the war against isis. these guys are -- if you look, they've blanked out the gruesome images of dead bodies -- a dead body suspended from a lamppost,
left there by the pmu's. likewise a massacre, bottom left, this is not even images from the most recent massacre of '72 alleged massacre. top right, heavy artillery bombardment of sunni villages. they may be mostly depopulated with isis, but nonetheless these guys come heavy when they come. and interestingly, the bottom right-hand image, you may say there's a bunch of young fighters, holding up an iraqi flag. what could be wrong with that? in and of itself nothing. but what they're doing is they're holding it up on the main road and taunting kurdish drivers with it. this isn't small. it's not helpful. and it's an indicator, even when these guys are not out abusing civilians and undertaking counterproductive military
operations or at least military operations with counterproductive elements, they're also a source of constant friction in many of the places operating alongside the krg. likewise, the second main point these iranian-backed militias, if not put under some form of control, will ultimately united line the strategic independence of iraq. i think -- we see some of the images here. behind that eagle, in the top left-hand side, sits deliberately a concealed u.s. designated terrorist since i think 2009, who has been pursued for various terrorist offenses, back to 1983, involving kuwait. up there in the front lines
taking iraqi senior leadership on a tour of pmu successes. carefully hidden in this picture, because it was recognized it might cause offense perhaps. likewise, a former pm president meeting up with senior leadership in hezbollah. likewise, on the bottom side, even though i think it's a bit of a stunt u.s. abrams with flags attached to it. i wish information operations was as good as these guys. everything we do -- when we achieve something, we line to fall into the background and you know, hezbollah iraqis could take credit for the things that they've achieved. well you know what? 100% wrong. when the kurds force guys have any involvement or even if they have no involvement in a successful operation, they get their senior leadership right
there and plaster their faces on every social media outlet that they can find. i think we need to be doing more to demonstrate what the u.s. and the international coalition is doing to stabilize iraq, because we're really on our back foot when it comes to information operations. so, you know, these guys are ambitious. they are not some kind of minor small group of concerned local citizens et cetera. in 2009, when the sawa was being set up these guys never disbanded. these guys never did biometrics. most of the movements came in, signed their little piece of paper, did the biometrics, which the iraqi government now holds on them, hezbollah never did that stuff. they just said, we might stop fighting you, but one day we'll fit you again, but for now we are willing to take the paycheck for being in, quote, a son of iraq. these guys are not from the
minority like the sunni sawa. these guys are in charge of mechanized unit capability. these guys have got multiple rocket launch systems and a regular resupply of ammunition coming from iran. these guys have got kurds forces come partcompartmented intelligence within their headquarters that are linking them to the kurds force drone operations overhead. iranian air support potentially or iraqi air support that's being facilitied by the iranians in some ways. they're well-armed networked into the ministry of interior and some of the other key iraqi security headquarters. they're transnational, linked to other aspects of the axis of resistance. so this is not -- these are people who will undermine your
strategic independence going forward. luckily, bringing us around to the solution at the end i think a lot of the moderate shiite leadership in iraq recognize that, whether they're in the political sphere, whether they're military men or whether they're in the religious sphere. iraqi military does not like militia. it never did. it doesn't like, i think, having to operate alongside the pmu's, even though it recognizes they have contributed blood, sweat and tears to stopping isil's advance. i have to give them that, absolutely. they deserve our respect as fighting men to some respect. and many of them deserve our full respect as fighting men because they have given everything, including their lives, to bring isis to a halt. but the institution that they're part of, and the forces that sit behind these often very good fighting men, we need to look at extremely closely. luckily, i think a lot of senior iraqi leaders agree with the u.s. that they are a threat. and luckily, we have seen in many cases in the past the iraqi
shiite vote for iraq rather than vote for sectarianism and vote for iran. for instance, iran-iraq war. not really a shimmer of an uprising against the iraqi state during the iran-iraq war. hundreds of thousands of shiite serving in the front lines. likewise basra. by and large, they believe in the iraqi state, even though they've had a pretty shocking deal from it, particularly over the last decade. p.m. maliki, he recognized, even though he did it for his own political benefit, that he needed to cut the legs out from underneath them, before they took basra. the iraqis understand -- senior leaders understand they need to do something about the pmu's and the sawa.
they need to partially demobilize them. they need governs to say we don't need a national guard division, brigade, for this particular province. we're secure. a way of reducing the threat of militia takeover in key provinces like basra. it's under ministry of defense. it's under the prime minister's office operational control. all these things are built into the national guard law. and they need to be. it's the struggle will be implementation because these guys and these iranian militias will try as hard as they can to take all the bits they like. we want to get paid, we want to have pensions, have vehicles maintained by the government, we want to have light arms provided by the government. but actually i think we'll keep our rocket launches. that's how they'll try and play it. but we need to stay on this. and this brings us back to the final point. by the way, some of these individuals, you know, the parties, are trying to keep a
hand in the ministry of interior, even though it's run by an embattled rebel leader. so they have these guys that kill in senior deputy positions. likewise bottom left-hand side you see this guy running the portfolio, i guess you could say, the national security advisory. again, some conservative elements of that party, conservative as in they don't want a radical change in the nature of power in iraq, they don't want to be one day jettisoned as those are the poll politicians that we, iraqi hezbollah, keep in the cupboard and bring them out whenever we want to be acceptable. they don't want that to be the end point for where iraq goes. the only way we're going to get those allies is if we outperform iran as a security partner. we can't ask for everything we want from the iraqis, unless we demonstrate that we are seriously committed about going forward. and not just until isis is gone.
not just until mosul is liberated. but finally, until -- well, we're talking -- what we need is a visionary. decade spanning, reengagement with the earthquake government for a -- with the iraqi government for a security corporation. this is not lebanon. no disrespect to lebanon. if we lose iraq to hezbollahization of the security structure, this is a country with the same oil as saudi arabia. 35, 40 million and going up. connected to every key regional state. this is like losing china in the 50's. this is not some small country even though in some -- i think some people within the administration have put it in a small box in their mind. that's not what it is. so we need to do more than the minimum and then leave. we need to demonstrate that we're there for the long term. but we need to say that openly. phillip is going to go into it in more detail. the iranians are seriously
playing. they're doing what we used to do. they're there with the joint terminal attack controllers on the guard. pilots who know how the 25's work that iran gave back to iraq. they're doing this really well. we need to do it really well. one of the things we need to start doing is to put more of our special forces closer to the front line, because if we don't demonstrate commitment to the iraqi army, they will continue to rely on iranian-backed pmu's as their primary offensive weapon system. and they can't retake that mosul that way. the mosuli's will not accept it. it will cause more problems. even the pmu's probably don't have the force to take back mosul. if we want to finish off isil in iraq, we need a major iraqi army built up. and we need ultimately to outperform the iranians as a
security partner. now, i'll just finish off. just as i wanted to -- we've got a 5k going on, cameroon, and alexandria, virginia, may 9 2015. if you're interested there's the url at the bottom, sitfiraq.org. it's a good cause. so support it, if you can. applause[applause] >> guess my slides are not going up. well... okay. well, sans slides, i'm going to have to try and work with this. what's really going on in syria
right now? we had a jihad that it seemed like nobody even noticed was going on. everybody picked up on isis, al-qaeda, you know, a section of al-qaeda fighting there. and this was described as the jihad going on inside of syria. but people neglected the fact -- sorry about that guys. back to the main story. [laughter] people were neglecting this. this is another jihad, a major jihad that just seemed to float under everybody's noses. well maybe it looked more organized or maybe it was just organic and there were shiite coming to -- that was all it was to many people. that, okay well, a few shiite fighters went to syria and they just wanted to defend the shrine. but it's not. it hides something that's much much larger. we're now also seeing it in iraq.
we're seeing an ideologic spread that iran is trying to push, to push their ideology, among iraqis, among other moderate shiite. i don't like to use this term, moderate shiite. but shiite who do not believe in their radical concepts. this is kind of what was happening in syria in a nutshell. now we're seeing it on this kind of regional plane. it's shocking. i mean, it's shocking that not as many people were noticing it. so there are a few missing facts about this shiite jihad. and i think unfortunately in the press, because it's hard to cover the issue, a few things have popped up. i collected quotes from people that i know who are asking me about it, as i was doing research. and one of them said, but don't all foreign fighters come in sunni? i included the chart from the washington post which cites the fighters and it just lists them as foreign fighters. one of the largest foreign
fighter con tin contingent had everything to do with the iranians routeing people from iraq lebanon, afghan refugees living in iran, sometimes from afghanistan. they even routed african fighters. they claimed to route in somaliings. somalis. this was a really large-scale operation. we're talking about tens of thousands of people. another prime narrative in the media, it always goes, you know, isis uses facebook and twitter. i mean they have social media. that must mean they're more advanced. i have a little hint for you guys. the shiite militia groups run by the iranians actually have a far more advanced recruitment structure online. nobody has done anything to really take it off or investigate it. i mean, i could go here if we can facebook up. i could find you one in about five seconds. they're doing this quite openly and not hiding it. they're putting up extremely
graphic images ones that many of us have written a hashtag about on twitter, about isis. much the same kind of material. there's another issue here. i talked about iran's control of these organizations. and the routeing of these fighters. so one of the lines given to me by a friend -- she's probably not going to be my friend firm -- was that, you know, phil all these groups look pretty independent. the devil is really in the details. it's about a granular look. don't miss the forest for the trees but focus on the important stuff. a lot of these groups fighting in syria openly stated that they believe in absolute. they were fighting alongside lebanese hezbollah, a devoted proxy to the iranians. so there was a lot of intersection here. they were training in iran. they were then being shipped back after they were dying, through iran, not directly back to iraq. so they're not that independent. they are directly controlled.
another line has been, you know, they're not as brutal and we are fighting the same enemy. well, this makes a lot of sense, kind of, if you get past the whole narrative structure. these groups actually cast a narrative struck chaur that says that -- structure that says that all syrian rebels were muslims who wanted to accuse other muslims of apostasy and thus they could be killed. this is how they cast the u.s. so-called moderate allies. this is a larger narrative process that they underwent. now it's coming to full fold and we're watching iraq. not that i'm saying it's not isis doing a lot of the fighting but they have cast kind of this sunni enemy of theirs. it doesn't necessarily mean that they are your buddies. so the other thing is that they were just reactionary. well, these groups were around for quite some time, decades even. i'll give you the example of the organization in iraq. the iranians created them or helped create them from iraqi
ref jewsrefugees who went over to iran to fight saddam hussein. they are even part of iraq's government. they even dominate the interior ministry. so these groups have been around for a while. lebanese hezbollah, they've also been around since the early 80's. that doesn't mean they are not growing at rates we've never seen before. because there's a new crisis, we have new organizations. the other main thing is iran's reach in this is totally overstated. i can't say how much annoyance that actually causes me, because they're so open about this, about how they control these organizations. again, all you need to do is go on facebook or follow iranian media. here's the weird thing. dr. knights brought this up. even if they're not directly controlling a group, they'll claim to do it. they'll try to influence some with cash, weapons support then they become another
micro-hezbollah. you can never ignore this top-down strategy. i'm not saying everything is a husseinist. not everybody fighting in a shiite militia believes in this. but there is a top-down, trickle-down kind of structure here. how many of you in here a few decades ago, would have said, you know, lebanon is going to be a great place for this, because we all know religiously aware and radicalized the shiite population is there. i'm pretty sure not many. now look at s. these at it. these are main issues. we now have the narrative. why were people going to fight in syria? how did this lead to the current events in iraq? how did this lead to shiite militias fighting isis? first, a religious crisis needed to be manufactured. when i say that, there is is the supposed threat, which is this
major mosque and shrine in southern damascus. a lot of interesting, weird granular connections to iran with this shrine. they actually rebuilt it. that's why it has a nice, pretty golden dome. what they cast this was, to get fighters to go into syria. they needed people who would go for religious reason a justified reason. the justified reason was that they were doing their shrine defense. but it wasn't just that. just saying shrine defense well doesn't fit in with the narrative that was being pushed. why would they need to defend it? oh. well, they're defending against the ones i mentioned earlier. but who pushed them to this? well, america, the state of vail. it was the west. so that was wrapped in within this. there was a whole conspiracy wrapped in within this. if you're really looking at the real big long-term problems with this kind of outlook it now casts this vision that maybe the united states really did want to push for the shrine to be destroyed. maybe the u.s. was really
pushing these moderate rebel groups because they wanted them to be al-qaeda. he said america has been trying to push al-qaeda into syria. for most of us sitting here, that would sound kind of ludicrous, but that's been the narrative. so there's that. beyond all of this, by doing this move, they're actually executing a really grand regional strategy that doesn't just target shiite. and it actually targets a lot of minorities. i think we saw a lot of this -- sorry. do you mind if i grab a soda? thank you. sorry, guys. i'm running dry. i get excited. so -- all right. so in addition to this, we have to deal with the minority issue. if you remember back when hezbollah first had to deal with syria pulling out of lebanon, what did they do? they had outreach, the party.
and by doing so, they obtained this wonderful catholic ally and they could put this veneer over them and say hey, we're lebanese national lists. don't worry. we're for this lebanon thing. beyond that, when they're trying to push the whole thing, it doesn't make sense to a lot of us. this is an islamic ideology, in iran christians are not really treated all that well. they're also playing into these fears of drowning in the sunni sea. they've been doing this quite a bit with christians. if you noticed, the man who pushed this messaging up, you know christians, if you don't align with us, if you don't aline with the shiite, these sunnies are going to destroy you. so there's been that other move that's been pushing them in that direction, kind of pushing a minority alliance of sorts. they also pushed the good sunnies versus bad sunnies line as i like to call it, where say he would come and and he said this.
he would simultaneously make a message. they were not against sunnies if. actually these are not sunnies. these aren't even muslims. he was declaring them as enemies. so there was that other categorization that was going on simultaneously with all of this. but the biggest thing that's going on are these shiite themes and the pan shiite themes, they are trying to cast this narrative that iran is the protecter for the shiite in the region. yes, they are still casting the message that says we are pan-islamic, that he is the one for all muslims not just shiite. if you think about it, in a gio geostrategic sense it makes a lot of sense when you also have forces in those areas. then there's this.
they have tried to minimize their link to this, while also trying to say that we have maintained the jihad. they don't want to show there are geopolitical interests at stake. if they last syria, they would potentially lose their most valuable ally in the arab world. you have to have syria. you have to have that bridge. if they lost it, that would be no good. so, of course, it would be a great idea to drive up a jihad. no? but if they said that, oh, we're driving this, as persian iranians, we're having a jihad just to defend that sole interest, not many would buy into it. i attached a photo in here, and this is from one of my favorite -- it's not really -- it's a song that's been played by the direct iranian proxy. it actually says rough translation, we're not here fighting for bashar al-assad.
we're fight to the shiite. if we're looking at iraq and looking at how a lot of these fighters have been sent back there, what are we seeing now? we're protecting islam. to them islam is shiiteism. that's how they're doing it. so when we have to look at this, we have to focus on the actually militias. which militias were sending people to syria? there's a lot of confusion about what they were doing. i'm sure we remember the fire brand cleric. he killed americans when we were in iraq. but there's kind of a gray area when it comes to this. the gray area is kind of the weird thing, because there's a lot of odd info-ops going on online. but there's also evidence to say that maybe sodder did donate a few people to fight in syria. we don't know. there are a lot of people who what we would call sodderrist
splinters. back during the iraq war, when we were there, a problem happened, where he was trying to maintain the army. and this didn't work out so well. he pushed back against the iranians. not a great idea. so what did they do? they encouraged these splits and tried to build separate organizations. as i was doing this research, i tried to look up people who helped form this group. i call it the lafa network. this network the initial core of commanders, almost all of them were sodderrist splinter people. one of them, who was killed, they would call him -- he was killed, i want to say, december 2012. this is a person who served with mr. dulamy, a sunni who converted to shiiteism. he also raided the provincial headquarters for the american
forces, killing five f to of our guys. he was in some way related to that. the old expression, it stinks on ice, it kind of does in this respect, because yeah, they may have been promoting a lot of imagery and other things, but they had clear, direct links to the iranians. so going down more, we have the old standard bearers. when i say old standard bearers i mean the good old iranian proxies that we know so well, mainly lebanese hezbollah. they were some of the initial forces sent by the iranians into syria. they were serving as advisors. they were also serving as direct combat advisors. but also they were helping form up localized militias made up of shiite and alowese. the bodder organization is another one, but it's a little more complex. because what did bodder do?
simultaneously, while building their own process and putting their own fighters into syria, were also building new separate special groups inside of iraq, taking some of their members putting them in there, and then saying, now that this new grouch is formed, we're going to send these people to syria. one of the newer groups that i put was this one. one of their first martyrs was actually the son of a prime bodder corps commander who was killed. and his son was somehow killed fighting for the other side, which believes in the exact same idealical concept. i guess, going past that, we also have hezbollah and hawk. i'm sure, again, a lot of people remember these groups. they efp'd american soldiers,
killed a lot of coalition forces. some of these guys were the first into iraq. what they would do is go to iran and then take a syrian air flight into damascus unload. they'd be wearing their sieve sivvis. they'd pick up a rifle, go and fight. they were not even hiding this earlier, when they were coming into the country. they were actually openly advertising it on easily accessible facebook pages, which is kind of shocking. are they trying to promote that, hey, we can go into syria whenever we want? who is going to stop us? the biggest issue here has been the syrian-based groups. these are local actors or at least they cast themselves as local actors. initially, their intelligence groupings tried to help form up a lot of localized shiite militias. the main one that came out of this was lewah.
from that, it just kind of expanded out. think of it like an octopus. could we write some of these groups off as maybe subdivisions after the larger lafa network, a battalion underneath a larger army group? i would say yes. i think they're all networked together. but they have now taken on their own separate names, their own separate identities, their own separate recruitment activities, both in iraq and syria. they don't really hide this. they have their own commanders, a lot of them coming out of that initial network. this is kind of the nexus that has formed. so iran's proxy -- i actually put this guy over here holding hands. this is a guy who helped found hawk. hawk as i went through before, one of these first special groups that we saw in iraq, but what's he doing now?
what is he doing now? he's now leading another group like this. you can see kind of through these trails, it looks crazy. a million different little links here, there and everywhere. why would they do this? a lot of people have asked me, how does this make any sense for a grand regional strategy? and i'll get to this. now check this out. but wait! there's more. [laughter] when we're looking at this -- and i have tried to track down all the different connections. and you wouldn't believe this. i put them all up. a radical cleric, where some of his fighters have gone. we have this one over here. i'm sorry if i'm making the c-span guys angry. i keep leaning back. all these different groups. i even put in black and white over here, that's called lewah. afghan fighters. they put this in this big corps.
then what did they do? the minute they got to syria they were fighting under another guy. they put the patches on. they'd serve under their commander. sometimes they had their own subregiments. but all all of this, this confusing judgejumble -- you had all of this. when you get -- another odd thing that happened, after they had already splintered, 4,000 different ways what did we end up having? they did it again. it's just crazy. they did it again. so one, in august, the actual group that's run by ajib, formed a group that's called amafi. it's a fourth of the hawks. so this is their iraq-based contingent that's fighting there. but a bunch of other groups have also taken on the name, tons of
them actually, and a lot of them even have connections back to the original. is this a deliberate move? possible. if it's not, i really don't know. they really need to get their stuff together. but there are a bunch of these different groups that have don done this. the groups was -- i think they were formed a little bit earlier than that. they even started their own iraqi contingent. all of this is going on, the spread and the movement and the networking. it continues. and if we're getting down to brass tacks on this one, we look at it -- i think a lot of this is just kind of a little game that a lot of people like to play. because a lot of these people will share members. they'll fight in the same fronts. they'll say they lost the same member. it's all a big game so i can sit here, suck down my diet mountain dodew, as i'm looking for yet
another militia group. in addition to this, this is my white whale of militia commanders. i had followed this guy since he had his first facebook page. i kid you not. he actually ran it himself. and he also had this great haircut. he'd wear this awesome turban. everything about him was his own personality. but when you're looking at it, what does his presence really represent? this is a major thing. it was announced in this new group through their organization that he was a commander. that is nowhere near damascus that they are supposed to be defending. then they promoted him as a sadrist, that is a picture of him after he was killed with the front end you will see him in a shirt in the back. he came back in the spring of 2014 but then he was named as a commander.
the greatest thing about this if he had two music videos dedicated and appeared in one. not making this up but afterwards another shift seem to have been. where did it go? commented it does appear, into thin air? i didn't see anything on the tv media which i read on most of the time. but then they showed him what has the -- hezbollah by showing this it was a new with a new organization that was formed in iraq but he was the secretary general as doctor knight mentioned before it's kind of the real push behind that. after the pictures he was named as one of their guys. he had a funeral and everything
and all of a sudden his name and face spread all over the web. a huge thing i realized when i was doing the research is the recruitment factor online, something i truly belief nobody is paying that much attention to. they have been posting phone numbers and all sorts of things and this is one of the initial ones where they would put up a popular committee member in the imagery that we are looking at. more needs to be done because guess what i called in to these numbers in the audience they called in with me to these numbers and they had conversations with these guys so it's really not that hard. what did they accomplish? it fits into that narrative that we are pushing isis. they secured damascus hands
down. this isn't a republican guard or a magical local seer ian militia this is the allied organizations and i would even describe these as links. they are all part of a unified network and that is how they are developing. while they've done this they've taken a ton of geography and they've been able to construct the new go on front if we think about the move i was talking about before they are infiltration in the iraqi government and also in syria. it's not like he can push back against them because they are the main fighting force and then on top of that, building with narrative of the strength and protection this is huge. when you feel you've are under
an existential x. essential threat if someone came to me and said i'm going to give you money, the americans are not doing enough for you and they never will. i'm pretty sure that i would take it if i thought that they were going to destroy me. they are playing off of that so effectively. bigger thing there are other breeds all consequences to that group. i heard this question will be magically moderate after isis is defeated? it's like saying you did they drop their weapons after the israelis held out of southern lebanon they most certainly did not. the same thing happened when we pulled out of 2011 to join the government but they never did. but here's the biggest thing.
does anybody know what poster this was? they came out of the february 14 youth movement and put this up for him. why would they put that if you are pushing for syria or iraq for speaking out against the government of this has become kind of this new cause. they execute him and said this. if they execute him we will retaliate against them and strike them so now they have a new cause to fight and it will keep going like that. it doesn't adjust to syria.
it is going to encompass a lot war. ignoring it won't make it go away. aligning with it certainly won't make it go away. because i would say that they have manipulated the process right down to a t. they've done a very good job of it. and i don't see it really going away anytime soon, which is sad. [applause] >> p.j. dermer: trying to digest all of that, my name is pj dermer. retired military officer, started as infantry. and then in the 80s went
conventional. i'm going to bring it up a little bit and hopefully get through this without a lot of tears because the movements are emotional to myself and those that served on the ground. trying to figure out what to do with the information that was put out in the briefings that we would go to and try to figure out how to put it together in a practical sense and give a couple of policy wreck and additions. i think i would start off by saying david asked me to give a small synopsis about the papers. i am in a pretty good conference with mike. it is how complicated even more so but how complicated things are now. we tend to work in the borders and the nation-state and fundamentals of the regional
actors and the fundamentals of the theory of that reactor theory. meaning i punch you, you punch me back. what are you doing why are you not punching me back? sometimes we lost. i think with both of the author officers pointed out in the line of the block charts is quite complicated. how did you maneuver and we will put out to the crowd today that it isn't new. we have seen these demarcations. and lenny before i was in syria in 1982 -- asked me what i was going to do. but never mind. you get to see these split
through. there's a lot of personality involved, a lot of personal interest. at the end of the day, it was who knows why actors do what they do. in 2008 when i was in the negotiations so set up by general petraeus. mike was with me in the audience back there. he wrote a great article on michael saying how the iranians are the best thing that isis can have. those with the same intellectual brilliance of failure and i mean that, they would come in and lay out these charts about how this guy talked to this guy and he calls. and they would sneak a way and the person that was responsible for going face to face with the folks on the side, a lot of them in prison and a lot of them not we would look at the chart and go wow. a lot of names and numbers. so who can i talk to? number two, when i'm with them what do i say?
glad to see you in bahrain today. there is an essence that sooner or later you have to bring to a practical level. it is how much more complicated the ground is then i think in fairness and i would agree i think that we are fundamentally understanding or if we understand it lets say we do our actions are not on the fact that we do. we are currently embarked to train and equip in order to defeat isis campaign. that's where the focus of washington is and where americans have been redeployed to iraq to imagine to build up forces to defeat isis. great. but the officers pointed
information. and their information and marching and even the clerics are dressed up. that didn't happen between the time isis took mosul and the time the news guys got there. meaning it had been going on for a very long time to include while we were there. not just since we were deployed. that's the basis and navigate to the basis part and the schisms that are now developing. it's gone from an isis takeover to a perhaps religious conundrum throughout the middle east. again, unfortunate -- not new industry but in our time new enough. and how do you act? that's the tough question. it's nice to see the charts but somewhere in this world of issue where do you plug into the first possible thing to do? right now we're going to go get isis in mosul. okay, but the rest of the general crowd out there as michael pointed out, it's a
tactical thing for them. isis is not a strategic issue. i think we need to rise to the of a look at the strategic ultimate was out there. i'm a believer in approaching it from fault line and on the medals. there are certain fundamental issues in the middle east in any sphere, middle east as well, that exist. one of them i think it's still true of how do we -- one is very much the arab iranian divide shia-sunni divide, the persian persian arab history gulf. that is not a small fundamental. might prove in this is when we got to iraq, and my first trip was building a city council and then i went all over iraq with just iraqis for nine to 10 months building the new m.o.d. and the army. i was the main recruiter. all these bad characters, all the ones that are left alive don't know where they are, most of them are dead or gone. okay.
but to a t, you have the meeting room -- have the meeting revenge of the sidebars where they put aside one on one, to achieve the common thread was no malign party influence, political party. no party hacks. we want technical guys scientific guys, meaning proper training for the task ahead. military but same thing. so to a t. we did find a lot of skin. the clerics weren't on top of it like they are now. moreover, it crossed boundaries. it crossed boundaries. in 2008, after fighting in basra and baghdad, i was a senior military adviser in baghdad. an iraqi division committee came to us and said, this is -- what a great day. yes. sadr retired from the battlefield mainly because
maliki took the gloves off a us. and the iraqis came forward with us, and we did a lot of fighting. special groups did not play in that fight. special groups were being guided from a different place. i think that is the key to understand, between the nationalist point -- get to the second. what he said in his speech gentlemen, ladies and gentlemen, great americans, great iraqi patriot. today's the first day in the battle against iran.
staff on the streets with my soldiers. thank you for your loyal opinion. take them or else. two days later, he was in istanbul. i got very mad at him. what are you doing in a stumble so fast -- istanbul so fast? the recipe is trying to work out right now -- the rest he is trying to work out right now. i think these fundamentals don't fail. the question is if so, how do we work in that environment? operating in the religious environment are all happening under the guise of a religious breakup which is bigger than what we started with. we will have a tough time because we work in fundamental ways on earth.
if you're willing to come down a level or whatever, i'm not going to speak to you. let us begin. i don't know where you go. we had a guy that was great. i offered that he would take leave of this. you and your gang should be leading not us. number one, the complications are vast. number two, understand the fundamentals. number three, get in the big game. the game of isis is bad news. those guys, gals, whatever they are made above, are really projecting themselves in a way that we all agree is pretty macabre. not new unfortunately. that's not again.
we are not in that game. the united states military is unleashed and allowed to play in the sandbox can do a lot of damage. but you got to also understand that is not just information of guys in black with weapons. isis is not i would argue not a formidable, its formal but it's not, it's a structured thing that we could push it out of mosul. pons. isis is not i would argue not a formidable, its formal but it's not, it's a structured thing that we could push it out of mosul. spot in kurdistan to go somewhere. and then you will be there for our beckoning with our air power. understand what it is. philip has done a very good job of helping explained that about pushing isis out of mosul, it's not a bumper sticker. it's not a bumper sticker. questions, we have to be integrated. game it integrated, game outlined. of course, the iranian influence. so people said i don't know what that means. what do you mean? they get first cut. that's what it means. they are the first ones in the morning, lessons out of me. they get six hours a day. we get 45 minutes with the body in between whatever.
no. we will take six hours. and you know what, you can put your office inside the embassy if they so decide. but we're not in that game. and i've seen this time and time and time again. i've done it plummets with a teen before christmas, the place in the middle east where we show up. what do you want to do? and we are meeting and just when are you going to play? are you guys going to play? why the keep getting on a plane and leave? the brits are here, the french are here, where are you guys? okay, hold that thought. we would be back in a few months in the next meeting. you have to be in the game. i also would argue that this is not, this is not a conflict of beef, far away from. if you don't want to play in this game, we have to adjust the balance between the force protection concepts we have fallen under and the ability to meet face-to-face.
you have to ask the question ask the question where did the shia militia get all this armament under our noses? but what happened since 2011, or pick a date. i don't care. common terms of the diplomatic moves? the guys are living out there day in and day out. where was the influence? can we get it back? six hours a day go by -- that uphill fight to get the influence that we should have to be back but it's interesting. there's a conundrum, a contradiction. you won't need anybody armed or not armed, shia-sunni, that doesn't look at you as an american represented either civilian or uniformed. be the power. you are the power. be the power.
stop playing a round. if you are not the power, that epidemic, you have a real big problem about what's going on out here. for reasons we don't understand but it's your business. whenever you're ready to quit playing possum, come on out. but anytime i got to talk to them because they are here. in their hierarchy of needs, yes, we are alive. so understand the fundamentals. be in the game. can understand the complexities
and last i would just add, i would agree with mike and also with phill. that concentrated in the fringes which it looks like now with the air campaign, the number of sorties, the number of kurdish movement, even kobani as deadly as it was -- is not where it lies. this fight, this struggle lies in the capitals. it lies in the capitals of power. our pressure, our priority, as much as enjoying freedom of the skies in iraq right now, i don't know which we are doing in three, in baghdad and damascus and riyadh. and i've never been out anyplace at a level that never always wanted to go higher. the first question is who are you and who do you represent? there is no weight when we were negotiating as negotiators. for general petraeus and ambassador crocker, the two, three, or four of us that were out. that was the first thing we establish. are you speaking for your grand self, colonel, or have you been former center in a position? because that's what it where it lies. the playground that phillip has so rightly outlined, these guys are being manipulated from a to b. you and who do you represent? there is no weight when we were negotiating as negotiators. for general petraeus and ambassador crocker, the two, three, or four of us that were out. that was the first thing we establish. are you speaking for your grand self, colonel, or have you been former center in a position? because that's what it where it
as the guys that were doing the thinking, the guys that were doing the information operations, the guys with the mouthpieces, the guys who were the whispers in the ear of sadr. because these were the good looking guys. they have the nicest clothing and a very intellectually astute -- very well studied in whatever world they came from. not my world but their world. never mind. they could spin if you were careful -- to turn this current. i would want to join by the time i left the room if i wasn't careful. it was going to happen but sometimes, i don't know. the point is that intellect is out there. as manipulative as it can be, as phillip pointed out, and you have to be, first doctor. to take an hour worth of lecture against the great satan. yeah, i got it. we are the worst.
we are the worst, but i know one worse than us. over there. at least we leave the school hospital, whatever. at least we intend to. what they're going to leave -- i don't know. but you will do what they tell you, no matter what they tell you, for the rest of your life. so this is not easy but these precepts have to be joined into. i think you sum up, i would argue, that mike has done a great job. phill has done something that very few can pull together. and all with open-source information. which is actually important to understand -- especially today in the communicative world. i would be in baghdad, inside the command center of baghdad, watching or advising the senior. one of the people of mosul, the ground forces commander. he was a great guy. he was a nice man, a decent man. he really was the -- he just wasn't a classic wartime commander. he hated the fact that divided iraqis -- which, oh, by the way,
was another theme throughout the armed forces. nobody in uniform in iraq unless they had -- wanted by anyone in the population of iraq. this is what happened in the turmeric in fallujah in 2003. and the reticence of the iraqi forces to fight in basra in 2008. and the backend. bailey went, forces only move forward when we came on the battlefield. and went first. and we lost a lot of guys. that's when they came forth. none of them wanted to tackle this. this is another dilemma i would add. once if isis is defeated, we're coming back for a whole 'nother round. a fight because the iraqi forces come under what -- if they are nationalist-themed, won't want to give it again. thank you. [applause] >> david schenker: thank you
very much. by the way, these studies can be found downloaded in pdf on washingtoninstitute.org. i know we're going to go about 10 minutes worth of questions. but let me just ask first, mike, in terms of specifics, how many soldiers right now, isf, currently being trained up? what's the order about the iraq is going to go to bring against isis? when are they going to bring it? when will it be at its greatest force. that's for you. phillip, hezbollah, perhaps the largest of all this operating in syria. how does it coordinate with the others? and what are your estimates of the losses to date? make a fairly short answer, and then we will get to the group.
>> i think the real numbers of iraqi security force and assured, to be honest -- peshmerga, all those figures are in the report. snapshot view in early 2015 was around 48,000 active combat for iraqi army. a significantly higher number for m.o.i. but again nowhere near what they were back in 2009 or even before isis in 2014, the big takeover. the main thing is this. how many active forces to the have better capable of moving and undertaking offensive operations? that's the key measure we're looking for. with the iraqi army, it's a remarkably small number. it's probably a limits of one armored division and special forces. it's well under 10,000 guys, and
that means currently being used, they're probably able to throw more offensive mobile troops than the iraqi army can right now. and puzzled even the iraqi army and the minister of interior combined. the peshmerga i would probably have as much active mobile capability as the entire iraqi army history of interior, and maybe even the other put together in terms of people that can actually move to a battlefield. >> in terms of hezbollah serving as advisor and also working with the syrian army initially they came in as that come in that advisory kind of role that now has taken on far more of a command style role. actually if you juxtapose it to iraq in certain areas and taking leadership roles with some iraqi, this didn't please a lot of guys in the iraqi army, it also didn't play some people in the syrian army. they were a few little
firefights that actually occurred between some of the iraqi shia militiamen were with hezbollah and also with some of the local militias. but they're essentially running the show now. are running the show in terms of command structure and everything else. i'm not saying that there's no syrian army left, but these guys to have a strategic -- in terms of numbers that lost. official hezbollah said in a high couple hundred. i would say it's much higher than that, probably in the 1000 range, probably more because they didn't a number of the cashless or they have hidden them as casually as from syria. so it's very, very hard to get it to gauge of that. >> i'm going to call on folks in the crowd and maybe identify yourself, wait until the microphone comes. up front, please. >> hi, barbara slavin from the atlantic council. as claude rains would say, i'm
shocked, gamble is going on. when the u.s. overthrew saddam something like 50,000 members of the brigade came in untold and benefited as the u.s. defense tobacco, they came in right behind. hello, iran is next door and have fought a war with iraq and had groomed all these people and now it is reaping the benefits of the u.s. decision to get rid of saddam hussein. we will leave that aside for now but the question is this. i am hearing from some iranians that iraqi shia don't really want to fight to take back the sunni areas. what they want to do is control baghdad south. similarly in the city where we have a partition of the country in effect. how would all of you react to the notion that what we're watching is sipping a partition of these two countries and that the u.s. would like to keep them
unify, particularly in the case of iraq but the people who live there actually don't really care and iran doesn't really care as long as it has its order to lebanon, it's influence, particularly in iraq in areas that were most where the oil is? thanks. >> the first thing i would tell you is partition sounds great until you address the map and then you go put all the layers on it of identity, geography etc. it ain't that easy. if you look at where the iraqi security forces have punched back to now, you can see them spreading up the scenes of shia turkmen community. for instance, a stretch all the way up into kirkuk. so no partition of the country and there is no limit to the pmu -- who have to go very far north to liberate all shia areas.
i don't think it's neat and tidy for sure if you're trying to maintain a line of supply up to syria that is running right through anbar, alien areas. >> i will pick up on the point. i think there is no reason to, if you have basra, which is the major income for the country essentially no one. we like to see say those of us who've been after doing business. that bowser doesn't need baghdad or baghdad needs basra. he had had the oil in the have baghdad, the capital. yeah. why push your luck? why go into food fights up there in indian land for what? you are not losing anything. and i do also believe that once
victory has happened there's a very good scheme of evidence that fights within themselves will occur. and i think phillip, what he should today, supports that, studied other civil wars in the middle east which support that as well. we have to challenge the assumption -- end of the shia, when our kids at certain points in the program, then they will settle and the sunni areas are left. the sparse thing they could do is just sits because the dynamics of history of original show they will turn on themselves sooner or later one way or another. all those lines that phillip showed will have to go somewhere. >> ambassador? >> thank you very much. i have an observation and question. and observation, as a look at this strategic appointed you i think all that isis was loss which i think is a tragedy but think we need to -- [inaudible] and the venom of isis,
engagement, viciousness, creating on its own a culture of violence which make mushroom into other as well. and in relation to all the shia entities, you can have a simmer entity which is mushrooming out as well. so forcefully that's the dangers. i think the key question here is in the midst of that who are your partners and to kenya work with? that i think is what the government of iraq has dictated as democratic as others as well. are the only sort of within this mode all that the safer option to work with. come over to do that there has to be a clear commitment from the united states. i would say one key issue is not to repeat the last 10 years mistake and learn from it. that i think what any reengage with susan has to take that into account. in having better culture awareness and doing something new. that's on the micro level. at the macro level, the more holistic point of view, i think
you are right when you say that the capitals have to have a dialogue. that dialogue can't be just shia-sunni problem because it's not. much more than that. it can't be about dividing iraq are not divided because that creates its own mushroom. with the u.s. has a role, let's be clear about that. but i think it has to be a series dialogue. the nuclear issue is one element of that dialogue by the way. a series dialogue between the regions. you have to say significantly everyone wants that dialogue and create some environment for a series chat to take place but otherwise i think we are doomed. >> i will take just one part of that. i agree. i agree on a number of things, but with all due respect in terms of the growth of isis, this is a two-way street. particularly on par. they would go out and kill tribal leaders, kill awakening
leaders, but who was also killing awakenings leaders. they're putting power drills through people's heads and dumping their bodies to his aides to a radicalization process. i will say this on a personal level because i focus on the shia entities. i don't think it's gotten all that much attention. there's a few "new york times" articles on it. and that's about it. but this is far more circular than just the absolute and utter disgusting brutality that is isis. it's a far larger picture, and i think if we addressed it holistic with as you said we would probably have much better results. >> do you want to say something about the u.s. commitment the ambassador was talking about? >> yeah, i thought he said it well enough. he said two things. don't repeat the same mistakes again years ago. i would agree because i was part of those mistakes. i second-guessed many me thinks i did personally and we did a lot of, to serve in iraq say we
could have done more it and i like to argue, i'm glad we didn't in some ways, you know. just being honest. but not only the u.s. commitment the u.s. initiative. either we are leading this thing or not. you can't have it both ways as who we are. that's what we hear every time we travel. there's an incredible befuddlement in the region at large has to not only will we not take charge but the minute we leave the room and we hear somebody doing something to call him up and say don't do that. why are you doing that? wait a minute, that didn't come out in the office call. i know but we don't want you to do that. an incredible conundrum. i don't know how parties out there get it. >> we have a number of additional questions you but don't want to go over today, so if you have those, these come up. until then thank you very much for coming. i think this was a great panel and i think everyone will benefit from looking at these publications.
so thank you once again for coming. thank you. [applause] >> next, president obama in indiana talking about the economy. then, congressman paul ryan on trade deals. and then the commission for human rights by the u.n. high commissioner. the c-span cities into her textbook tv and american history tv on the road, traveling to u.s. cities to learn about the history and literary life. this weekend, we timed with time warner cable for a visit to corpus christi texas. >> we are in the reading room of the special selections of the library. the papers are the flagship collection. he made it his life to help
local and beyond mexican-americansl learn to be more cynically active and get the benefits they have coming to them as veterans which was sometimes very difficult for them to obtain. those itmems represents the case of private longoria which was an incident that occurred early in the g.i. forum. private longoria serve the united states during world war ii and was killed by a japanese sniper towards the end of the war. he arranged to have his funeral conducted in the only funeral home near corpus christi. they were willing to conduct the funeral but not allow his body to remain in the funeral home overnight for fear of offending the white citizens in the area.
she appealed to dr. garcia and he conducted a letter writing campaign to people with positions of influence. a response came from lyndon johnson who was recently elected senator. he stated his belief that it was wrong for a soldier a fallen soldier to be discriminated against after death. he offered burial in the arlington national cemetery and that is where private lung ongoria was laid to rest. >> watch it today at 2 p.m. and on sunday at 2 p.m. on c-span3. the labor department reports that in january employers added 257,000 jobs and wages jumped by the most in six years. in addition, hiring were stronger in november and december than had been estimated. the unemployment rate went up from 5.6% to 5.7% but officials
say that is because more than one million americans began looking for jobs which may suggest americans have grown more confident about their prospects. john boehner issued a statement following the announcement. he said "it is always good news that more americans are finding work. that said, we know millions of so struggling and searching for a good job." president obama spoke about the economy and the jobs numbers in the indiana. he delivered his remarks in indianapolis. this is one hour and 10 minutes. [applause]
>> thank you, everybody. [applause] hello, hoosiers. everybody, have a seat. let me begin by saying thank you to mayor ballard for the introduction. for all the great work you are doing for the people of indianapolis. and for your service as a marine. we are very proud of the partnership that we have had with the city. i also want to recognize the ivy tech chancellor. where are they? [applause] some outstanding members of congress, our senator, where is he? congressman andre carson. [applause] and somebody who has been a
great friend for the people of the state and nation. a great friend to me personally. one of the people who has ensure that america is safe for so many years, former senator and mayor of indianapolis dick luger. [applause] on the way over here, we were reminiscing about the first foreign trip i ever took, it was with dick looper. we went to russia. he had recently written a book on it. he seems like a kind of relaxed guy, but if you go on a trip with him, he will wear you out.
at one point, we were actually held by a russian colonel at the airport for about three hours. normally, it might have made people nervous. dick, he has been around the block a few times, so he just took a nap. it was fine. it is great to be back in indiana. it is great to be back close to my home state. i respect the pacers. [laughter] yes, i am a bulls fan. i make no apologies. we have some fierce rivalry. i'm looking forward to mr. george and others getting back on track so we can have some more playoff runs. that's not all that i know about the state. one of my first trips as president was to indiana. i stop by some of your manufacturing plants.
i played three on three in a school up in kokomo. my team won, by the way. when it comes to elections, i am batting .500. i am 1 for 2. that is not bad. [applause] last time, i will acknowledge, i got kind of smoked here in indiana. that is ok. that is exactly why i wanted to come back. i do not plan to take too long in the front. i want to make sure we have some time for questions. when i gave my state of the union address a couple weeks ago, i repeated a vision that i originally laid out over a decade ago. that was the vision that said there is no liberal america or conservative america. there is the united states of america. i know that sometimes it seems our politics are more divided
than ever, that in parts of indiana, the only blue you will see is on colts signs. and in chicago, the only red you will see is for the bulls. but, we express so much more in common than not. that does not always get focused on in our politics. i have seen so much of the good, generous optimism in the country over the past six years to give into the cynicism that sometime is peddled as wisdom around the country. we have come a long way these past six years since we suffered the worst financial crisis since the great depression. this morning, we found out that american businesses added another 260,000 jobs. [applause] in 2014, our economy created more than 3.1 million jobs. that is the best year of job
growth since the 1990's. [applause] all told, over the past 59 months, the private sector has added about 11.8 million, almost 12 million jobs. that is the longest streak of private-sector job growth in our history. meanwhile, our deficits are shrinking. they have gone down by about two thirds. our dropout rates are down. our graduation rates are up. we are more free of foreign oil as we had been in 30 years. we have doubled the amount of clean energy that we are producing. a lot of families are saving a lot of money at the gas pump. that is putting some smiles on some folks faces. and -- [laughter] you're
welcome. [applause] although i was telling someone to other day, at some point they will go back up. don't start -- you know, going out there and ignoring the mileage when you're buying a new car. you have to keep looking for those savings. in the single-most hopeful sign for families, wages are starting to go up again. [applause] america is poised for another good year. indianapolis is poised for another good year. as long as washington works to keep this progress going. i was struck as i was listening to the mayor's introduction. here in indiana, we've been able to do some good things because we have not been so worried about democrat-republican.
we focus more on getting the job done. that attitude were open to washington, trying to adapt that same attitude when it comes to the problems that we face going forward. dick was a great example of that. we have risen from recession for you to write our own future, than any nation on earth. we have to make good decisions as to what that future looks like. will we be a nation where a few of us do spectacularly well and everybody else is struggling to get by? or, will we have a country in which everybody has opportunity? everybody has a chance to succeed. last year, i got a letter from jillian millhan, who lives up -- where is jillian? jillian has four kids.
that means she is busy. for 13 years, she was a stay-at-home mom. she was going through a divorce, had to find a way to support her family, did not have a college degree. most of the jobs that she found paid minimum wage. as she put it, i was a mother of four kids, and i had everything against me. she came here to ivy tech to invest in herself to learn skills. she paid her way with a grant from her country, and a grant from the state of indiana. she made the dean's list, earned a spot in the radiography program at iupui. today, she is a few months from graduating.
she is ready to get started on a new career. [applause] in the letter she wrote, she said, it is not just the possibility of financial security and career advancement, it is also something i can show my children. it is about pride. it is about being able to point to a brighter future for the next generation. that is who i get up for every single day. sometimes you will ask me, mr. president, your hair is so gray. folks are always talking about you. not always in the most flattering way. how do you do it? the reason is folks like jillian. who are out there all across indiana, all across the country, working so hard and doing the right thing.
not asking for a handout. they just want to make sure that if they're putting in effort that they can get ahead. we cannot do it for them. we can help. we can create structures of opportunity like we have here at ivy tech. that is something we can do for everybody. that is what keeps me going. i want to make sure that this is a country where hard work is rewarded. and that you get a chance to make a decent living. that is what i've been calling middle-class economics -- what it's all about. the idea that in this country, everyone does best when everyone is doing their fair share, and everyone has a fair shot, and is playing by fair rules. we live in a time of constant change. technology has made some jobs obsolete.
some jobs have been shifted overseas. it is tougher to afford necessities like child care or health care. that has been true since long before the financial crisis hit in 2007-2008. that is why at a time when the economy is finally picking up steam and growing, we have to work twice as hard, especially in washington, to help more americans like jillian. this week, i sent congress a budget that is build on this idea of middle-class economics for the 21st century. it means helping middle-class families afford child care and health care, afford college without taking on a lot of debt, paid-leave at work, helping first-time homebuyers, helping people save for retirement. my budget faces each of these
issues, and could put money back in the pockets of middle-class families. [applause] middle-class economics also means helping more people like jillian upgrade her skills. this competitive economy is not going to get easier. folks are not going to be in the same job for 30 years. these young people here today, they will have a bunch of different jobs. there will be the need for you to continually upgrade your skills. it is about lifelong learning. not just a one-time deal. that is why my budget makes two years of community college free for every student. here in america, it should not matter how much money your folks make.
if you are willing to work hard, you should be able to get the opportunity. you should not necessarily have hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt when you leave. especially if you will go into professionally teaching. [applause] we are not just working to make community college free. we want to make our community colleges even better, and more attuned to what is going on in the marketplace. right here at this school, one of the best in this country, not just in indiana -- [applause] you are finding ways to raise graduation rates, and partner with businesses, provide apprenticeships, and in fields that pay well like construction and technology. middle-class economics also means that we are investing in what makes our economy grow.
better roads, faster internet, cutting edge research that our businesses are creating high-paying jobs. the good news is that we can afford to pay for all this. we do not have to add to our deficit if we have some smart spending cuts, and if we fix the tax code that is filled with loopholes and kickbacks for folks who do not need them. [applause] in my budget, i identify some of these. there is a trust fund loophole that allows the wealthiest 1% of americans, who have benefited more over the last 20 years than anybody when the economy has been growing -- this allows them to avoid paying taxes on their unearned income. that is not something that jillian, when she gets her job is going to be able to do.
people here cannot avoid paying taxes. i do not know why the folks who are most able to pay them should be able to avoid them. we need to fix that. then, we can use the savings to cut taxes for middle-class families who really need it. [applause] we know that there are companies that have stashed about $2 trillion overseas. they have not paid u.s. taxes. let's close those loopholes. let's make it more attractive for people to relocate the united states of america. they will create jobs right here in indianapolis, right here in indiana. as opposed to giving people tax breaks for sending money overseas. we can do that. [applause] these are ideas that are pretty common sense.
now in washington, folks saw the budget. they said, these are obama's plans. some of them are good ideas, but they will not go any place. that's because the republicans control congress, and they will not do it. i am not pushing these ideas for my sake. i'm pushing them because i think this is where america needs to go, and we should have a healthy debate about how to do the things that aren't necessary to help america grow. republicans and democrats will not agree on everything. that is fine. we should agree on the stuff that we are talking about now. we should agree that hard-working families should be able to get childcare that is not more expensive than sending a kid to college. we should agree that somebody like julian, who wants to better herself, should be able to go to college without being loaded up with even more debt.
we should be able to agree that a great city like indianapolis needs to keep its infrastructure in good shape and order to attract new businesses. so that they feel confident that they can get their products and services out to markets, and that we have the best trained workforce in the world. that is what will make companies want to locate here. those are things that we can agree on. we should agree that the tax code should be fair. and that nobody should be treated better just because they have better accounts are lawyers. if republicans disagree with the way that i'm trying to solve these problems, they should put for their own plans. i am happy to look at it. what we can do is ignore the problems created and pretend that they do not matter. pretend that families are not out there struggling to do their best.