tv Hudson Institute on Political Situation in Iraq CSPAN August 24, 2018 3:10pm-4:42pm EDT
columbus, ohio, which recently tested gene therapy and 15 infants not expected to survive more than 15 months. they infused a viral the actor designed to deliver the normal gene to the spinal cord, which is where the problem is, and held at their breath. over the next few months something dramatic happened. lareal, 100%the every of the kids who got the highest could feedlive, some themselves, and some like evelyn who is now three and a half can not only talk and walk, but she can do push-ups. c-span,ht at 8:00 on c-span.org, and listen with the free c-span radio app. >> the democratic national committee holds its summer weekend.n chicago this
members consider potential changes to the presidential nominating process, including the role of super delegates. c-span coverage begins at 10:00 a.m. eastern tomorrow morning. institute recently hosted a discussion on the evolving political situation in iraq, almond the may 2018 parliamentary elections. this is one hour and a half. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] thanks for coming today. my name is michael pregent.. i'm a senior fellow here at the hudson institute.
a pleasure to have you all here. i like your seersucker suit. all-seersucker panel one day. that will be nice. thank you for being here. i will handed over, and we can begin. >> thank you all, for joining us. speak about a country near to my heart. i was the ap iraq bureau chief from 2014 to 2016. it is a place i know well and love. it has been 13 weeks since iraq seld parliamentary election and talks still continue to sort out the results. there are a lot of accusations of fraud and corruption surrounding the results. the results were just certified, not changed very much from what
they turned out to be during the election. that is where we stand. iraq is really trying to write ,he next chapter of its history but as with many things in iraq it is a bumpy road. drawl ask the panelists to out on that point and see where optionstand, what the are for iraq and for the region in general mike, if you can start and set things up, where do things stand today as far as the results of the parliamentary elections in the potential outcome? the election has been certified. 99% of it stayed the same, with few changes. can we have that slide? right now we are looking at government formation and we don't have a commitment from the other parties to join something.
you are seeing the state of the another coalition and prime minister's alliance forming a group. if you look at the totals they have 114, so they would be able to form a government. they need 165 to do it but they would argue that they have the best start to do it. sadr came in first and to the surprise of most pundits in washington dc, abati came in third. now you are saying a hard line in the sand with the sovereigns saying we will not have a government that includes malaki in it. gc proxies say we
yill not form any government unless malaki is included in it. the thing i am looking at is, it is not new to hear sadr being opposed to malaki being in government. 2010, 2014,ed in and came over to malaki's side. looking forward as well. we did one of these panels about two months ago. james jeffries was on this panel with this. we wanted to see how right or wrong we are, and we still don't because it has been 13
weeks since the election and what we are seeing is u.s. di inure to keep aba position, and the rejection by parties who say they won't as prime minister. he doesn't meet our requirements, the dual-citizenship issue, things like that. because we are focused on government formation, we don't see the protests coming. ,he protests are blaming maliki blaming the status quo parties for the current economic situation in iraq. the only person who is really immune is sadr. vivian: this is not a new phenomenon. i saw them and i get all the time. why is that a new phenomenon? looking forhey are
a relationship with the united states that is not military, based on education, university partnering, technology, investment, things like that. they are rejecting status quote politicians. i talked to people working with youth and we have influencers in a rack now who are not that in iraq -- influencers in iraq now that are not part of any party. political parties are reaching out to them and trying to hardness -- trying to harness this youth and get them to be part of something. you are seeing a lot of questions, how are you different than anybody else? that's something we are likely to see in the next four years, these influencers outside traditional parties forming something, especially this government formation fails.
vivian: weigh in on this issue formation, and how is this impacting isis and their attempts for independence? how do the activities we are seeing in the rest of the country impact the whole country, the one-iraq model we heard so much about a decade ago? this map is quite helpful, because the two models we are faced with our whether we are going to have a unity government that all political parties are going to be part of, the model 2005, government since where everyone is in, a and while of everyone this government has been very good in terms of appeasing
everyone and including everyone, just by virtue of being a unity government. based hand, it has been on sectarian and partisan patronage, and some economic trickle-down has been happening through these political parties, where masses of the population and up working for the , being part of a social security network, a patronage network, where people get paid by being police officers and teachers and bureaucrats. on the other hand, this is basically given us no opposition, therefore everyone was in it, everyone was milking the cow, which was the government offers. and this sort of government lasted so far but has received serious blows in recent history, the recent past. one was the system, while it was good in the short-term and good
in terms of including everyone and appeasing everyone, could not provide security for the country. isis managed to capture one third of the country. so having these masses of armed forces, well-equipped in in american weapons, they did not have the software, the unity, the command-and-control structure in the military to withstand a few thousand fighters on the back of pickup trucks. other hand, this goes back to the question of protests, this form of government with everyone in it and therefore no one leading it and taking ownership and accountability inside this government, that's how this form of government is able to hire police officers, teachers, pick five people for the same job, but it cannot offer services, and cannot offer the government, it cannot offer the kind of big, national projects that resulted
in better roads, electricity, less bureaucracy, fighting corruption. so not being able to deliver in terms of government or did have in front of us today is a public that is very angry at this lack governors, iat we corruption. they don't know saddam hussein. 60% of the population is under 30. so this whole idea that, you have to be happy because that iraq,s are ruling that kind of identity politics that has been enough up until today doesn't really fly anymore. people want services, they want jobs, they want the opportunities of every other neighbor that lives in a petrol state. the options of the election in a way give us, on the one hand, another unity government, which will be a continuation of the status quo, or perhaps and this
is what we are seeing, some part elites of the ruling coalitions actually becoming oppositions. so we may for the first time have a serious opposition since 2005. that would put iraq on a different trajectory, probably closer to political maturity. i think the kurds are in a way bystanders, because this is inter-shiite rivalry. it is who within the shiite house will be the core of the next government, and they are willing for the shiites to make up their act, because from the it'sective of the kurds, being in iraq, being in the government, some of those positions in baghdad, the vice presidency, the prime minister, that's enough for the kurdish leadership. they are not kingmakers anymore.
they are not going to change the scale as they once used to, and they are trying to reintegrate politically and economically after the referendum of leicester that did not result in furthering the kurdish aspirations for independence. vivian: what we are saying here the victories against extremism, against isis, that we abadi's prime minister administration only go so far. the basic things everybody around the world wants, and those victories got old fast. . bilal: the victory against isis, or how sustainable the liberation of isis-held territories is going to be, and
again he named his coalition, victory coalition, trying to cash in on the fact that he let and through liberating defeating isis on the one hand, and defeating the kurdish effort at independence. but the election results show that is not the priority of the iraqi people. if you are in iraqi, the whole capture of the country by isis was a big mistake. they did really was correct a mistake rather than achieve a victory. and in august, temperatures are above 110 degrees fahrenheit, electricity, where accounts for 80% of your revenues, not having enough electricity are fresh water to drink, protesting is about the only thing that you can do. and the other challenge is, they
look at the political lineup, the parties, and nothing is really changing. so there is no guarantee that tomorrow is going to be better than yesterday. people want to move on while the parties want to cash in on their achievements. some of them are visible, like defeating isis, but the bloated reactor see, it takes months to get a drivers license, takes months to get a birth certificate, anytime you go to a government office they say, come back tomorrow. and again, not having basic a bankingrom sector, many schools have to have three shifts of schooling because there are not enough children,ldings for so iraqis are saying a paradox of being the second-largest opec member on one hand, but not having fresh water to drink on the other hand. i forgot to thank our
friends at c-span who are here taping this. and we have an audience watching c-span today joining us. we thank you for being with us. something he said about this inter-shia rivalry going on in this race, the question becomes, what is tehran's role in this thing? wants tohat tehran influence iraq, but explain how it influences iraq, and why does it want to today, what benefits does it have? bilal: it is about iraqi security and politics -- >> it is about iraqi security and politics. iran does not put all its eggs
in one basket, in iraq. elections happened, coalition came first and the number of pundits here described that as a failure by iraq. but iran understood that it has allies within this coalition, and there is a coalition of iranian-backed militia forces, they came in second, they got 47 seats. since the election, the
party has also reached out beyond shiites, going to the sunnis and reaching up to the kurds. a lot of iranian officers in their meetings with kurdish officials did tell them, we guarantee you greater autonomy but you have to work closely .ith our allies so for the kurds, it is a critical decision because they are disappointed with the situation. but the united states did not back them, nor did any other regional government. so some of those kurdish leaders are now amenable to offers, particularly the puk and others.
has reached out to different segments of iraqi typety, so no matter what of coalition government takes place, iran will have a major stake in it. vivian: what about prime minister abadi and that relationship? ahmad: prime minister abadi tried to balance the relationship with washington and iraq. badi ise minister a having problems just keeping that balance. and opening sanctions, that puts the prime minister between a
hard, in a very difficult position, because he said he would initially abide by the sanctions. but later he had to walk back from those comments because the iraqi allies, whether was militia commanders are major adr,ticians including s 'skim, they all took iran side, which shows iran's influence in the country. with this as a backdrop to the most recent events, something we've been talking about for years is the rise and fall of isis. i encourage any of you to jump in. about you to be casual our interactions. the united nations this week put out a report talking about a grave resurgence of isis. we talk about president trump
talking about isis being defeated. what is the situation with isis, and are iraq and its neighbors prepared for a resurgence? we destroyed fallujah twice and at no time did we claim victory over al qaeda in fallujah. it has a campaign where, many phases but this is phase one, taking away territory. we have taken away territory by simply destroying the structures. 80% of ramadi, destroyed, 50% of basically, and calling it victory against something that has been operating on the al qaeda model for almost a year and a half. whoe was an iraqi general said he estimates the number of isis fighters in iraq at 1000 to
4000 spread out. and a u.n. report says there is isisen 30000 and 40,000 fighters between iraq and syria. so he cut that in half it is 10,000 to 15,000 between the two places. but al qaeda was never more than 4000 and iraq during the height of the insurgency there. isis has learned that unless you aircraft, don't plant the black flag and claim territory or you will lose it. they are now the al qaeda model. anytime you google any city in iraq you can find an isis an attack. resurgence about the of isis, and isis is now looking at that high-value target in iraq, that same target in
damascus, that same ability to take territory. the only way you kill isis is to empower sunnis to reject it, by having sunni faith in their government, and it is something we are not seeing in baghdad. 97% of the security forces, they are not sectarian but they are shia, and the ones that have primacy in the ministry of the interior are bottom core aligned. drese are militias, and the sa militias are the ones the government is trying to this arm. the economic issues taking place on the streets of iraq, wasn't that the reason people protested in the first place, the government couldn't provide services? have a more
disenfranchised population, even with the shia themselves, they believe they are disenfranchised as well. of iraqi populations are more distrustful of baghdad now than ever. you have simply reset the conditions that isis began with and with that caveat, isis knows that they can't hold land and hold public executions without the ability to shoot down american aircraft. >> that number is significant but should not come as a surprise to anybody who is closely watching syria and iraq. but more important than that number is, now that the kurds are challenging iraq, it is more difficult than it was before you isis does not control that territory that it controlled before, up to 40% of iraq at one point, but now he has sleeper
cells. it still has infrastructure in different parts of iraq, they are invisible during the day but at night they continued their campaign of assassinations, intimidating officials and tribal leaders and others. now, the onus is on iraqi security forces and their international allies to find them and dismantle those cells. and that's a much more difficult challenge and was before. althoughith mike that, the violence has decreased significantly and isis has less territorial control, but the underlying challenges that led to the rise of isis, most of them are still there.
the government doesn't have the willingness and at the times capacity to deal with this. vivian: you said allies have been a driving force in the counter isis campaign and iraq. president trump has made it clear he wants out. iran is suffering an economic crisis now. where do we stand if there is a legitimate resurgence? how are we going to face it when the u.s. is reluctant to get involved again? is iran capable of providing the support it did two years ago? iraqi security forces, despite advances over the past few years, they are still in no position to defend iraq on their own. what happened after the withdrawal of troops by the obama administration. hastrump administration
learned from that mistake and will not leave iraq precipitously, and that leads to another type of isis, and that's again, thes because main reasons, whether it is sectarianism, policy, the problem in iraq is not just ias,een sunnis and she between tribes and even between sunnis there are differences. there are people with neighbors yho sided with isis and the are returning to it, and the country needs stabilization. this is what the trump administration i think helps, but most importantly it needs to keep troops in iraq for the long
until the security forces are able to police the borders on their own. yemen-backed militia forces have at history of violence against some of the communities inside reasonnd they were a big behind some of the sunni communities reluctantly joining isis in the first place. they have changed their outlook and softened their tones and threats and have become more politicians, but in reality the forces of the same forces. bilal: tying back to the previous points about security, in terms of politics in baghdad, the kurdish leadership is
waiting to go back to baghdad because of aite lot of issues at home with the elections being scheduled for the end of september on the one hand. so while participation in baghdad requires a level of unity, to go in with one voice, having elections at home requires competition and rivalry. so that is one area where the kurdish politicians are very clear that yes, we are going back to baghdad. but when it comes to the aestion of security, this is crucial area where cooperation in baghdad is necessary. trying an insurgency is to capitalize on the grievances of the population, especially in disputed territories. we talked about the lack of electricity and services. in kirkuk and kir
basically bombed electricity towers to stoke greater disenfranchisement and anger at the government. the other thing they do is they stoke political disputes, they party headquarters while the ballots are being stored in the recount is going on. furthertried to delegitimize an questionable election, and they do a tax on both sides and make it sound as if the parties are fighting each other. and the issue of tribes also teaming up, sometimes we are between forces outside the territories and tribal forces on the ground, we
have seen clashes between these groups and they try to blame it on one side to stoke this kind of internal conflict. so they are playing an interesting game, to say the least. and this is where cooperation is necessary. if isis is playing these dirty ares, and people in baghdad still distrustful of each other and refuse to have joint security operations, which was one of the main mechanisms that they managed to secure in the past, we need that level of cooperation, the joint security cooperation, which by the way, the united states mediated at the time of al qaeda. so that is definitely necessary. maybe it is difficult for them to ci july in terms of kurdish participation in the government, revenue sharing, oil and gas, but when it comes to security, i think neither baghdad or the k r.g. can alone manage security.
vivian: what about national forces that were supposed to be plucked from sunni tribes in these very places. they used a haul us out to see the training of these forces, americans would be there to andort the training, attempts to do a similar force in 2007 failed. where does that stand now? the failure in 2007 and 2008, they were never incorporated into the iraqi security forces. they were dismantled. a temporary security force was under contract when we handed it iki. to malol malkikirking with the
government and we could see that maliki was targeting forces. mand it was challenging to get intelligence in front of a general when the general would say, i had dinner with him last night and he is not doing that. that was a difficult situation. so we saw the dismantling of the and now they are attempting a light version of it by bringing reporters to an airbase south of ramadi to show that sunnis are now part of the security forces. at the same time, there were posters inside those military about other leaders, and it was to intimidate sunnis that were getting off buses and going into these camps, and seeing that someone they know as part of a militia has a very close
relationship to a u.s. soldier. and why i say that is, we briefed the 82nd airborne division before they went into baghdad in 2014 and we asked, how many of you have been to iraq before? last time we did combat operations was 2009, so we have expertise. asked the brigade, how many of you have been to iraq, and only the senior leadership raised their hands. nobody at the captain level, the staff sergeant, basically nobody who has ever trained iraqi security forces had ever been to iraq before, and they did not know who were training. intelose of us in the community looking at the iraqi security forces and militias saw that they were training a militia force, they were kudsing people tied to the
force. that was one of our biggest problems because you would have leaders say we, we can wear any uniform and the iraqi security forces that we want to. their rainy and had an assassination campaign against iraqi pilots, and it didn't matter if they were shiite, christian or sunni if they were -- sunni. assassination campaign to kill iraqi pilots, who is flyingk at american planes and driving american tanks, they are highly -- we are basically training a military where kuds presimacy.ias have
if we had intelligence in 2007 where we would see some of the leaders on the ground, we are more comfortable with him in a secret meeting or being part of a conversation and eight sunni neighborhood, and -- in a sunni seehborhood, and now you him leading victory parades and posing for selfies. this is what we were looking for in 2007 and it is now in front of our faces and we are ignoring it. has primew well ati done to
avoid retaliatory retribution attacks? city after ite was liberated and there was graffiti all over the walls, saddam hussein's hometown, a bit of a vendetta there, but that was the fear, that if the militias were not integrated into the military that it was going to go wild. has it been managed well enough that iranian influence in the military element of this has been controlled? are we seeing the start of potential attacks? ahmad: about the local sunni after, even sunni units isis, their
numbers have dwindled. some have gone back to civilian life, some have been integrated so if theity forces, security situation becomes worse and iran since forces to those communities, sunni militia there are not in place so are shared forces there which could exacerbate sectarian tensions. inclusion back to the of militia forces diminishing i think it security, has increased the uranian influence actually. -- thethe iranian iranian influence actually.
irane seeing inside chants against the regime's very expensive involvement in iraq and syria and elsewhere. hand, iranthe one has a passive influence and it financialemoved the burden from iran. has increasedthat iranian influence. mike: iran is looking to offset u.s. sanctions in iraq. so, your question earlier, will iran increase activities in
iraq, this makes it more necessary to increase activities in iraq. vivian: what about recent iraqi military attacks against isis strongholds in syria? the isis targets have been put in quotations, because they are not isis target. they are the sunni opposition. it is kind of the same thing you iraq.n howard ministration said we have killed 50,000 isis fighters and iraq. there were never more iraq. than 10,000 to 15 thousand isis fighters and a rock the start of the campaign through the campaign. isis works on a billet system. somebody dies, they fill a billet. operations, of their pay was dwindled to $50 a
month and you would be conscripted into those positions open because people had been killed, or isis killed them themselves. iranian forces are targeting sunni in syria, targeting s. argue iraq should have the best intel on where isis fighters are in iraq, because the core group around i was iraqi. inteld say that iraqi should pinpoint baghdadi, and we have seen reports that he has been injured and can no longer lead the movement. if an intelligence organization
is wrong 90% of the time, and they are right one time, defined yourself -- do you find yourself discarding what they say? and we are doing that. they have been wrong 90% of the time. same thing in afghanistan. wrong.the time they were what about al qaeda? is there a resurgence? that's what the u.n. report suggested? do any of you have thoughts on we seeing a substantial al qaeda presence that can be distinguished from isis? mike: isis would take anybody into the organization. they wanted al qaeda-type qualifications.
you have to be versed in the ideology, you have to have scales, tactics, and i would say that there is an al qaeda resurgence, it doesn't matter how big it is, they will be smarter. they will be the ones that have the skills. a big problem with isis is there was no consistency across the governance, there was so much competition that the iraqis insulated baghdadi for meeting with other isis members from other countries. al qaeda doesn't do that. al qaeda wants somebody who is qualified to do things. they do have a resurgence, yes, but i don't put them in the 50,000 number the u.n. came out with.
they are assessing talent. if you look at the osama bin laden exploitation documents, osama bin laden said go to syria , find the talent and bring the talent into the organization.
they want charismatic leaders that can actually move people and do things. that is what they are looking for. they are better at venting individuals that isis was -- that isis was. ahmad: if we talk about isis presence in iraq, it does not have a significant presence. based on my own talks with iraqi officials, they don't see that as a major threat. but the al qaeda organization has decentralized over five years. they are not a smaller organization, they are not are forces but there in iraq
that have an association with isis, and the iraqi government isn't much concerned about whether it is al qaeda or isis. it is bad andd
that the conditions can help them to a resurgence. it is just to extremists that take different needs at different times. vivian: the reason i am asking is, there is an ideological break between them, where al qaeda spoke out against isis going after shiite because they said they are both muslims and you shouldn't do that. in syria we have really seen them go at each other, another element to an already complicated security landscape. >> the isis leadership was against what al qaeda was doing in iraq, the golden mosque bombing, and there was some conversation with them behind al qaeda wasecause out of control and wasn't listening to key leadership, maybe that was one of the reasons we were able to target
rkawi to begin with. and isis has been as brutal as zakawi, fomenting sectarian strife and doing these things. i think that's the difference buried al qaeda has a slower method to what they are doing ome one, comealm all. peshmerga, the iraqi-kurdish forces, is the trump administration helping them out? a they in a position to defend the kurdish region if there is a resurgence? your silence is deafening. mad: the kurdish peshmerga, the structural problem is
command and control, loyalty. vivian: all the kurds are not loyal to one later? bilal: factionalism is big in afghanistan. is a business of being a political party incur to stand, but that is a different conversation. but the challenge with the peshmerga is, these are the fighters that came down from the the party andre peshmerga were two faces of the same coin. they formed a government in 1992, thought a civil war in 1994, and although they are the government and have been the government, they have refused to
surrender their own peshmerga to their own government. and this is the challenge of governance in kurdistan. this does not mean that they are not effective, because they have been effective in protecting kurdistan from isis. they have been very, very effective in participating in the coalition against isis. they had better command and control structure at following orders from their leaders in the ul, coordinating with u.s. forces, coordinating with the iraqi security forces in liberating mosul. so they are protective, but are they effective as a force for protecting kurdistan?
the peshmerga alone could not protect kurdish stand, they needed iranian help and they needed american help. so as an army that is able to defend kurdistan alone, i don't think they passed that test. fast forward last year, after the referendum of october, when the iraqi military attacks them kirkuk and they kurdish peshmerga did not put up a fight with the iraqi security forces. themerga is no match for iraqi security forces with all their power and their american tactics. they were told not to, as well. not todid they choose
fight, or were they told to? that is the problem of the peshmerga. their job is to protect kurdistan and when it comes to security and policing they have been very for example, this was a lifesaver when the british his murder was protecting it. then there are 40 car bombs and a month when the iraqi security forces that this. they are very good with internal security. as defense against an outside force, they have proved to be less capable. power -- theof fact that the reform has been so difficult also emerged from the fact that it tradition is not
the international army. isis, thee, against united states credit incentive to say that they will only fund .nd arm brigades that was incentive enough for the parties to unite and put them under the county -- klg's command. that is the challenge for reform of curtis stand. kurdistan. .e see this often after elections, during elections. this is the challenge for the future of kurdistan.
in 2014, these on the isis, it should be a wake-up call that yes, they are going to be little to the parties. but it is time to formalize them. this way it can be treated as legal and a better representative of the courage -- kurdish people. >> how would you describe right the complicated relationship between the kurdish government and turkey? bilal: it is very complicated. we can talk about it in terms of the kurdish government and the turkish government. when it comes to relations, we have to get a level deeper, which party i am talking about.
the democrat party is the largest party in kurdistan. they control two of the three provinces. they have better relations with turkey then the p u.k.. airlines, while they fly, they don't fly the money in. accusesish government -- that was enough of a grievance with turkey to ban turkish alliances. hand, the p u.k. has felt it lost the balance of power. they had his relationship with the pkk because it is one way to -- p.u.k.'sp uk's
power. broadly speaking, a general thattment from both sides k r.g. proper should not be used as a basis. this can't be a base to attack iran. practicallyuntries can hurt the k r.g.. they are allied with the iraqi government after the referendum. these neighbors, while they can be friendly like turkey has been griendly to the k algae -- kl by shutting down borders ending a lifeline. they can come together and they
can cross a line that but for them. they were targeting from iraq. pkk.are an offshoot of the i ran on the other hand -- iran on the other hand bombards the iraqi villages. kurdistan is quite vulnerable. this delicateo dance of maintaining relationships on the one hand and not being seen as anti-kurdish. >> i suppose that was the missing piece to target a specific question for all of your.
we saw the jemison the money was was there.neral of thegrander discussion political landscape, the fight over resources and iraq, what is the situation today? is there any discussion of that amidst all the parliamentary issues? bilal: we have a constitutional article. roadmapfically puts a to settle the disputed territories. the process is simple. it has three phases.
i should never use simple and iraq in the same sentence ever again. it is complex. there is a roadmap. neither the iraqi side -- it is the iraqi government's prerogative to implement this. it means that people who are forcibly forced out of this territories should be able to come back. people who are forcibly brought and should be sent to their provinces. we know who is there and how many people. the last time that iraq had a knowledgeyears ago, is a very dangerous thing in iraq. iraqis, the numbers
are skewed. nobody wants to know. if you want to know, knowledge can be dangerous. the final stage of the -- did they want to be part of iraq, kurdistan, independent russian mark -- independent? there is this blame game between them and baghdad. what had replaced the constitution as a legal process has been politics. the iraqi government said that we are here. the deadline passed and therefore there is no need, no need for a referendum.
thereisis attacked and was a vacuum left and the them, theyces took protected this area. what did the kurds say? they did not say that we have an opportunity to implement the only needn, this and for the constitution, we are here. this is the implementation of the constitution. they concluded that there is no constitutional article that talks about normalization. this angered not only baghdad but turkey as well. now, the iraqi government say we are here now. this game of i am here and has really am right
proven unstable. i hope the iraqi leadership and the kurdish leadership realize they need to sit down, negotiate and settle this on more solid ground. this applies to the question of oil and gas management and residue management. werethe kurdish forces -- it doesn't matter that the constitution says that the oil is the property of everyone in iraq. this balance of power has been played over and over again. the people continue to suffer from violence, lack of jobs. >> primarily, they are there.
what we have learned about iraq years -- ast few another tribes and another people. from thise one unit province into the other province and the effective. peshmerga learned that. empowered local forces to provide local security and understood that there is -- that is how the iraqis carry this out. they can defend territories. they can go into this area and hold it.
2014, the predominantly sheer leadership said i will not die in muscle. i will fall back to baghdad. there was security degradation and iraq. you're talking about politics as if security is stable. it is not stable in the areas that ice is controlled. when we talked about the trump administration and iraq policy, how we get administrations to put something concrete in place that doesn't go away when the next president comes about. something that prevents tangled americans from fighting in iraq when their 20 euros. i see 10-year-old americans children fighting. there is an existential threat and iraq keeps emerging.
baghdad ifgo into these parties take hold again. both reformist parties or moderate parties are asking for the u.s.. whether it is immediately or overtime, it would have a smaller footprint. when that happens, it is in the best interest of the militias and the peshmerga. it validates moshe presence and foreign interference and it validates iran's presence. them to declare security situations. you can stand still long enough to form government. these are the issues we don't get right. we are constantly looking at the 50 meter target and not what is coming. vivian: this is a great way to set up one of the last two questions. to thewe open the floor audience, i wanted to ask about the trump administration policy. you are saying that you want to
20-year-old iraq ians to have to fight. president trump said he does not want to build states. he wants to bring our boys home. when we have evidence of a resurgence of a group like isis, what is the solution? it is not an american presence, then what? >> we are getting into campaign bumper sticker mode. the president and sadie economy is on the rise, i will do it from a terrible i run deal and we're getting out of syria. the president has also told his national security team to not give me my own war. you don't get to say that your enemies get to
choose whether or not we are at war. obama didn't want his war in iraq and got it. the trump administration doesn't want their war in afghanistan, they have it. continueinterest will to push this era as long as we theyallies and as long as have resources of international interest. right now we're looking at a situation where the president will have to think about this very hard. he criticized obama for leaving iraq and said that because of this, isis came back. the same time, the president is saying that isis is 90% defeated and wanting to live syria and wanting to get out of iraq. he runs the risk in 2020 of heng in the position criticized obama for, leaving too soon and allowing the resurgence. we are are already seeing metrics and indicators that isis is back. also opening
opportunities for others to step in. why not let the russians come in and do what the americans don't want to do? is that a risk? intelligent and joint operations between russian forces. , baghdad and i all have this program. tohave seen the russians try solve the iraqis. they are there to protect oninst the western strike iranian nuclear facilities. they are not there to protect operations against israel and syria. the leader setback is in for structure three years. there are a lot of things happening there. the kurds areaid,
looking toward the strongest tribe. romani said we will pick the strongest forces. we will not take you because you are wavering. they said that we are willing to talk to the russians. we have seen that with our traditional gulf allies. because theyssia see russia as an angler in the middle east as the u.s. continues to back out. the biggest problem we have is as soon as we get into something, we automatically tell everyone when we are leaving. that is meant to build trust. trust is based on frequency and proximity. the more you see me, the more you can reach out and touch me, the more trust is built. against -- papers up against isis -- pit yourself against isis and i
am leaving. i can't be here if you're going to have a permanent enemy in the telegram. party thatpolitical is tied to the party that came in second in iraq's politics. vivian: they are not too young to remember the invasion of 2003. that is an issue that needs some time to get over. does you want to jump in here? -- did you want to jump in here? there arel opportunities for other players to step in? vivian: brush is already stepping into the k lg. not just russia, other players to. particularly, china.
they're trying to encourage time itsake iran part of initiative. whenever we talk about this iranian land bridge -- there are implications of that. in -- disengaging from iraq at this critical time jeopardize a lot. -- jeopardized alot. they're pushing back against iran and expansion. the more stable iraq is, the ane strong and independent
institution it has, the less influential iran will be. this is what comes to the political issues, it is about making sure that the prime minister has terms. there needs to be up landing in case somebody does not win. they have to think long term. beyond isis. >> one follow-up, we run the mistake ifing the promised her body becomes minister abadime
becomes powerful in iraq. this is how comfortable they are. seee had this ability to this as the intelligence officers in 2007, we would have targeted and attacked it. we would have put pressure on baghdad to do it. you are offering storefront offices in ident. you have these offices next to the rock sheet of -- rah ashid hotel. you can't have that level of storefront terrorist organizations. in the process of being designated. it can't be that out in the open. with all of we have these organizations. bilal: they should also
encourage this and these other countries. to go early and iraq. they should encourage these countries to become more involved in iraq. particularly, in the economy. because, the market that , itified iraq's economy is will be on iran. the trump administration wants iraq to strictly enforce all of on iran.sions it is difficult for iraq. when it comes to gas and food stuff. they may have an extralight. moremay be making them formidable to iranian dictation. >> we have never seen iraq who has a relationship with iran
that we have with canada and mexico. primacy overt have our security forces. we would like to trade goods, we would like to see that relationship with iran. i don't buy into the argument that just because iran is a neighbor that we had the situation. bilal: it needs to be about the relations. 12 billion ine is trade between the two countries. it is in favor of iran. the level of exports into iran from iraq is near a few million. the chief iranian food stuff that comes to iraq that actually helps iraq, it cripples the local business and communities. also, this is the levers to seek political concession.
that is why i think they are the more stable. the market has relations with turkey, saudi arabia, united they will have a more balanced and healthy relationship with iran. they're both shared majority countries that are historical times. >> they shouldn't pick presidents. they should have primacy over this. i was want to ask to be sure what the limitation of sanctions on iraq with it. i was a one minute answer to that. i think there is some wishful iraqing and believing that
is going to simply say yes to american demands when it comes to implement and sanctions on iran. simply because iran has the ability to sabotage the iraqi economy. especially the oil in the south. vivian: did you want to say something? >> iraq is important. iraq and afghanistan have become the unintentional hazards. we see for example that china and india are importing iranian oil. many european countries would significantly reduce that. in india, they have elections coming up. dropping. rupee is
that is difficult for them today. right now, both afghanistan and iraq are trying to lobby. they should give them some time to accommodate that and work as an alternative to us. happens, that completely cripples the economy. >> it will be interesting to see what this task force will look like and what they will look at. will pressurethey on those countries to not violate u.s. sanctions again. the private sector here's the whispers coming out of the treasury and they say they want to it despite the government saying go ahead and tested. >> i am sure that like you have seen when you are in iraq under the obama administration, it is
not between the two countries. i am ok with food and gas. the palm for the initiation is even if they give attention to certain things, even targeted sanctions become more difficult. economics that they have, even when they're under the guise of private companies, they would be -- they would be targeted by the u.s. administration one way or another. vivian: the theme of our panel is that it is complicated. we are going to open the floor to questions now. question, let's keep it brief so we can get as many as possible. i will start right here.
>> thank you to the panel. is that relations with turkey and the united states have hit an all-time low. .he lira is way down how do you see this impacting relations with the k r.g. and the katy perry and other iraqi k.d.p. and.g., the other iraqi organizations? basically, they are price figures being influenced. they don't have much of the toolkit to really deal with larger events that go on in the neighborhood. governmentthe iraqi continues to sell oil and oil prices are high and there are
more dollars coming in, hello exchange rate could be in iraq's interest in the short term. the turkish economy is going to be crippled by the sanctions or by a week lira. that could result in lower .roductivity they are depended on imports from turkey and iran. in the long-term, they will have two unstable neighbors. it is not to spill over into lgq and the kale g -- k economy as well. >> thank you. i just wanted to get a feeling of what the difference is between these systems.
it is very misleading. you have a high unemployment rate but people are hired to do corruption things. can the system have some change from america? do you have the capability to lead the society forward? vivian: is there some way to incorporate american? haven't established that they are trustworthy. people can't have a happy life. >> the constitution is often shelved and the rule of law, we
are good. constitution and the rule of law is something that the iraqi government uses. that is one of the biggest problems. that is why was he the youth protests in the south. this is based on your question, that fairness, that economic opportunity, they are not seeing it. the only way to do things is through corruption. >> i like your concept that the kurds are bystanders and not kingmakers. but based on a couple of recent activities, the united states is to build a single largest consulate the u.s. has ever had in the world. iraq is not talking about
putting a customs border between baghdad and reveal. iraq and the turks have just talked about opening up another border crossing with turkey. it doesn't have to do anything with the k r.g.. where does that leave the kurds as far as getting involved in a government in baghdad? were trying to build an international consensus for kurdish independence? they have received a serious blow. >> there are all of these if questions. what would happen if the people voted for independence? what will turkey did?
and not seeing the international markets. the only way out of that is through the kurdish pipeline because that is a sign of concession. at the time iran is being by the market, that 3000 is a lot of leverage. issues coming in to the relations. pointsll about winning rather than achieving the kind for.als testing
that dynamically change pretty quickly. >> i have a question about the ander ambassador to turkey iraq. james jeffrey was just sworn in. what can you read into that? we are entering a post access phase? two months ago, he is very both iraq and syria. i will let you go into it since you told me about it this morning. think the administration is
paying good attention to syria. you cannot work on syria and isolation like in the past. i hope this is a sign the administration is put together when it comes to a clear policy. on the one hand, he is a realist . , to stabilize syria, the united states needs to work with iran and turkey. i think one area where iraq has
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