tv Washington Journal Jennifer Cafarella and Pentagon Briefing CSPAN April 14, 2018 10:39am-11:08am EDT
allow us to do that. syrians know what the are saying or not saying, but i am telling you what actually happened. -- therussian didn't russian disinformation campaigns have already begun. there's been a 2000 percent increase in russian patrols over the last 24 hours. we will keep you abreast of the faxed going -- of the facts going forward. thank you. >> the united nations security council is holding an emergency meeting this morning at 11:00 eastern. the meeting is at the request of russia to discuss the joint air strikes in syria last night by the u.s., great britain, and france. we will have live coverage of that meeting at 11:00 on c-span. while we wait for it to begin,
some of the discussion on syria from today's "washington journal." cafarella, a senior andlligence planner at -- she is here to help us continue to break down the strike yesterday against syria by the u.s. and its allies. thank you for joining us. before we get started, remind our viewers, what is the institute for the study of war? guest: it is a nonpartisan, nonprofit think tank. we do what we call intelligence firm openly available sources. we develop a granular, high fidelity picture of conflict zones where american forces are deployed or theaters where they could need to engage in the future. our hope is to inform decision-making in washington and to help educate the broader
public on the threats that face this nation and ongoing military efforts. have anys the group specific point of view about the use of military force in syria? guest: no. we have analysts with recommendations and opinions, but no organizational, official position. host: i want to ask a question a lot of our viewers have brought up, that they have not seen proof that syria was behind the chemical attack that was the precipice for this strike by the u.s. and its allies. how do we know whether syria was behind it? what data exists pointing to that conclusion? guest: we have early reports from u.n. and other aid organizations on the ground that have reported on the symptoms the victims experienced, to include evidence of symptoms not only of chlorine gas exposure, which is an industrial agent used by the syrian regime as a makeshift chemical weapons, but
also symptoms of a higher end nerve agent type chemical weapon. we have reports from the doctors on the ground. what adds credibility is we have subsequently seen after the full evacuation of the town of douma which surrendered after the attack, we have seen targeting by the syrian regime against the ors to prevent them from testifying. it is a pretty good indicator of the regime's complicity alone. we know that we have video and pictures of the cylinders dropped from helicopters, which only the assad regime and russia have on the battlefield. those are some of the best indicators, in addition to the intelligence reports. host: let's talk about the strikes themselves yesterday,
and a programming note that the pentagon will be holding a briefing at 9:00 a.m. we will go to that briefing and break to do that. know aboutr, do we the way the strikes were conducted? what were the targets? did they hit? guest: we know the u.s., u.k., and france conducted a relatively limited military engagement to target three primary targets focused on chemical women's capabilities. they targeted factories -- weapons capabilities. engagement, not actually targeted at producing any kind of effect like regime change, or halting the syrian regime's wider war effort, but holding against the chemical weapons. the pentagon will speak about the effectiveness of those knowes, but what we do
from initial reporting is that the strikes were successful. the syrian regime claims to have engaged in air fire and shot down missiles. it remains to be seen whether those are true, and that is something we should look for from the pentagon. host: we are joined by jennifer cafarella continuing to break down the strikes yesterday in syria by the u.s. and its allies . republicans can call (202) 748-8001. democrats, (202) 748-8000. ,ndependents, (202) 748-8002 and if you are outside of the united states, (202) 748-8003. we have heard officials say this is not an ongoing military operation, so what else should we expect to happen next? guest: the next step actually is to watch, weight, and see whether the strike had its intended effect to deter future
use of chemical weapons against the syrian population. we have seen messages of life is normal from the regime. the president posted a picture of him walking into work as normal. the regime trying to message the strike did not reflect their civility -- affect their stability. change, weere is no had this attack a year ago and it seems nothing changed. the airfields where rebuilt. and others ind syria want a business as usual approach. if there is no response, what should the u.s. do next? guest: president trump committed in his statements last night to the possibility of future american military response if the regime violates this redline again. part of the concern that i have, bashar al-assad relies heavily on military support provided by his backers, russia and iran.
the u.s. has not placed any constraints, meaningful constraints on the russian and iranian presence in syria and their ability to support the regime. it is unlikely without a 'srategy to constrain assad; backers-- ,ost: you wrote on the website sdresearch.blogspot.com, saying america's interest is beyond deterring chemical weapons used. people are concerned about the u.s. getting involved, sending troops, getting involved in the military operation in the middle east, increasing your presence. thanabout why it is more just the images of chemical attacks coming out of syria. we already have thousands
of american military forces deployed in eastern syria. we have been fighting a war against isis but we do not have a coherent strategy for turning that success against isis into an enduring outcome that prevents us from needing to do this again. concern, isismary is the second manifestation of the terror group we fought back in iraq successfully. after the military withdrew in 2011, isis had the opportunity to research. in syria, the biggest driver for extremist groups is the assad regime and its war crimes, and the goal to kill as many syrian people as possible. various groups with ideologies will have the chance to portray themselves as the defender of these populations.
until or unless the united totes develops a policy prevent jihadist growth again and again, i fear we will face enough national security threats domestically and the threat of future possible attacks in europe that we will need to deploy again. it is in our interest to take care of this now because we are heavily invested. host: when president trump made his comments a few weeks ago that the u.s. should draw down out of syria, of the points he made is that middle eastern leaders should step up. the leaders of the countries in the region should do more so the u.s. can do less. what is your reaction? guest: i do think middle eastern country should step up and it is right to solicit resources from american partners. this war has been going on for seven years. it is clear that regional countries will not be able to solve this problem on their own,
and in fact, in the absence of american leadership and an american commitment to altering the course of this conflict, we have seen regional engagement adding fuel to this fire rather than putting the conflict in syria on the a path to an enduring outcome. host: republicans can call (202) 748-8001. democrats, (202) 748-8000. independents, (202) 748-8002. and outside the u.s., (202) 748-8003. let's talk a little bit about some of the issues that u.s. troops are having in syria. nbc news reports russia has figured out how to jam u.s. drones in syria. the russian military has been jamming some u.s. military drones operating in the skies over syria, seriously affecting military operations. someussians began jamming
smaller u.s. drones several weeks ago after a series of suspected chemical weapons attacks on civilians in the guida.eld eastern the russian military was concerned the u.s. military would retaliate and began jamming their gps systems. talk about some of the issues the military faces over there, and the role of russia. guest: the united states has not set an objective visa fee russia -a-vis russiavis and syria. russia has actually been aggressive across the region and internationally, at harassing ' naval assets and air
assets for some time, and its intent to bully nato to accepting russian aggression or trying to compel the u.s. and nato to not take action against russia and assad. host: deborah is on our democratic line from kansas. caller: i just want to say, she just said that she thought that people were asking if syria started it or if president trump is doing it. she indicated they have some proof that syria is starting this. i trust president trump. cautious and very safety he has americans'
at best. i think syria probably is doing it. i really like him. i hope it goes well. host: what about that? act,nited states did making a military strike is one of the most important things a president has to do. what is your reaction? guest: this is a president that does not fundamentally want to be engaged in additional military conflict in the middle east and signaled his desire to withdraw from syria. it is important and noteworthy that president trump made the difficult decision to undertake this kind of military action, and it is difficult decisions like that in upholding international norms in the prohibition of this type of egregious violence that makes us the greatest nation on the earth. host: ask the us published a -- axios published a map to show how difficult the situation in
syria is. different groups dominate areas in syria, including those held by the government and those held by opposition groups. , it gives thee is latest look at the conflict zone as president trump considers military action. we now know the united states has taken military action in the wake of the suspected chemical attack in douma. talk about the complexities here -- different government forces, terrorist groups, explain how all of this factors into these decisions to launch strikes, and how they might affect what happens next. guest: one of the biggest developments in the syrian civil war over the past seven years has been the slow demise of groups that were willing to negotiate with the assad regime,
groups that opposed him and came out militarily in defiance, but were nonetheless interested in repairing the country, putting syria back together, and reaching an outcome to protect civilians. those groups have been destroyed on the battlefield systematically. they have been targeted to create a terror threat in syria that will allow him to hold the west hostage to his own survival. is faruation in syria worse from the perspective of american military actions, because the good guys have been dying at a much higher rate than the jihadists. next, onef what comes of the biggest questions is how can the united states reach an outcome that does not leave assad in power and does not hand the country over to jihadists? maria is going: on our independent line from north carolina. caller: it is a beautiful morning here.
syria andwas true in in all of the dangerous places in our world. jenniferto first thank and her articulate expressions of what is going on in syria. so many of the humane efforts by the groups that have been trying to assist just douma alone have struggled with what the situation is. i am incredibly sad about the actions that were taken. there is so much i don't know, we don't know. i wanted to say how thankful i am for c-span and particular you -- particularly you, kimberly, for your poised reception of everybody's different viewpoints in reaction to not only this news, but representing different political views, religious views. your posture during all of the
different calls has encouraged me to listen to very different views that i normally would not do. jennifer's views and the fact that she is a woman in her position has given me such hope for the future carolina, where a woman expressed her concern and stated she started to pray. i hope you hear the bird singing in my backyard. host: i want to let jennifer cafarella get to the issues, particularly what is happening on the ground in syria, the suffering we have seen. talk a little bit more about that and the role of the u.s. and other countries in the face of that. guest: it is difficult to overestimate the human suffering ongoing in syria, and part of that is because we are seven years into this conflict and there is some exhaustion and the donor community that needs to fund humanitarian aid.
also, humanitarian aid workers have been targeted deliberately by the assad regime and russians, which have used their power to attack hospitals at an alarming rate. many of the hospitals have had to go underground to avoid being targeted. -- denyingitary medical attention to victims is testament to the barbary. proud ofeting -- so the power of our military after spending billions of approved dollars. the finest our country has ever had. there won't be anything or anyone even close! we will hear from the pentagon, a briefing. it seems that the president is putting an awful lot of focus and emphasis on the strength of
our military. guest: i think the president is referencing in part the budgetary wins his administration has had in lifting some of the restrictions of the sequester, which fundamentally harmed american readiness and our ability to prepare for worst-case scenarios in a hope to avoid them. president has focused on deterring the next great power war so it does not become necessary so we keep americans safe. ,e is tying his action in syria the success of that action and the professionalism that the american military exhibited in executing those options, and tying that to his bigger program of supporting our armed forces. host: patsy is on our republican line. what she ispreciate speaking about this morning. i just want to applaud our president. he has shown he has the power and the strength and the
know-how to get the job done over in syria. off of allem to lay of these chemical weapons. right.mal word is an animal kills their own. you don't kill your own. you have to protect your own. that is what trump is trying to put into recourse here across the world. you have to protect your own and he is going to let them rebuild over there, as they have to be the ones in the future after all this is over, they have got to be the ones to take the hand and rebuild their country, and set up some zones for none of this to happen anymore. i feel so bad for those people, however they got to learn to stand on their own feet. we cannot fight everybody's wars. , thesehere in a sense women and children and old people get hurt for no reason.
host: talk about the role of the syrian people. guest: the syrian opposition has never really called for the u.s. to fight their war. syrians are very proud. they did an incredibly brave thing in standing up to the assad regime in demanding their freedom, basic dignity, and human rights. they have requested american military support to level the playing field because they are fighting a regime that deliberately slaughter civilians while releasing jihadists from prison. this started with peaceful protesters trying to fight back. they are calling for u.s. help, but not for us to fight this war for them. host: the caller pointed out that the print this president called the shar always sought -- the president called bashar al-assad and animal. someone that would authorize an attack on his own people, how do
you get someone like that to a diplomatic table? is there a diplomatic solution where bashar al-assad is involved? guest: that is a militant -- million-dollar question. bashar al-assad has never been willing to grant a single meaningful concession to the syrian opposition. it has never been possible to reach a negotiation about the settlement of war until and unless the shower al-assad is --ced -- but show all aside bashar al-assad is forced to make concessions, or the regime believes -- host: we are joined by jennifer cafarella from the institute for the study of war and an analyst at isw. recentco-author of isw's planning exercises for a strategy to defeat al qaeda and
isis. we have been talking about a strike in syria. up next is judy on our democratic line, from indianapolis. caller: i was calling because i was thinking about -- i really feel sorry for the people over in syria. the presidenthat is trying to do what he can to keep them from killing his own people. i don't understand why they do not him like they did gadhafi in libya, just go ahead and bomb the palace or wherever the leader of syria lives. that is the person they need to get. president for being concerned about people in another country who are suffering, but he is a person who is divisive in his own country.
he is dividing people against each other in america, so what makes him concerned about people in another country? he is not even concerned about bringing the people together in his own country. host: i want to get jennifer's reaction to the option, can assad be taken out? guest: there are very valid military discussions. the indications from earlier are valid. there is not a ready replacement for the regime at this time, and there is incredible jihadist strength remaining. there is an entire al qaeda affiliate we do not talk about that have conducted sectarian massacres that would drive into of thecoastal heartland regime. any actionmake sure
we take does not create the risk of reprisal against the side.rian released pentagon has ame images, according to reporter who just tweeted them out, some images of cruise missiles that struck syria last night. those images released by the pentagon this morning, as we await a pentagon briefing giving us the latest on that attack. we are joined by jennifer cafarella of the institute for the study of war as we continue to break it down. bill is calling for washington, d.c. on our independent line. caller: good morning. i would caution people against getting swept up in this war hysteria. wewas just not too long ago had assurances of weapons of mass destruction, during the
vietnam era we had the gulf of it wasincident and completely fabricated by the pentagon. one thing we have to think about , these rebels have been using chlorine gas. it does not take anything to take a cylinder full of chlorine and dump it someplace. the u.n. has pointed out that all sides have used this chlorine gas. the sovietening is union and now russia have used syria as their only warm water port to resupply their navy. russia is not like the u.s. they do not have 100 bases overseas. syria is the only place during the wintertime they can service their fleet without being locked in by ice. that is why over the years,
since the 1960's, whoever is in power in syria has been important to the former soviet union and russia. host: i want to ask jennifer about that. talk more about the access to supplies and the role that that plays in this conflict. guest: it is an incredibly important point and a good example of how the syrian civil war is no longer only a civil war. this is no longer only a local concern. it started when iran scaled up its involvement in syria, making it a regional war. sectarianismd the of the war, which was not a defining feature when it broke out. we now have russia entering into syria in order to create the opportunities for russia to challenge nato in the mediterranean. part of what that poses in terms of the military challenge for the u.s. and nato is that we have to consider contingency plans for possibilities that the
russians actually try to contest american access or nato access to critical shipping lines and routes through the mediterranean sea. strategic level challenge being played out in the context of a vicious local civil war. host: mary is on the democratic line from philadelphia. caller: good morning, ladies. i agree with your last caller. we have to be careful about entering into these conflicts in , i am auntries because democrat and i always believe what president reagan said -- trust but verify. with have not verified any of the conditions in this country, in these other countries based on regime changes that a lot of times the united states pushed for. we have no idea who released
chemical weapons in syria. it could be rebels that are trying to overthrow that government. that is just like anyone in the united states, a rebel going against our country and release terrorist bombs or things in our country. we cannot go by what information these other countries are releasing. ,e have to verify it our self and our country is going bankrupt as a result of doing the job of these other countries. they should be involved in what is going o >> weea
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