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tv   Conflict Zone  Deutsche Welle  September 21, 2019 6:30pm-7:01pm CEST

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famous naturalist and explorer. to some. 250. discovery. expedition. costly and misleading wasn't it was misunderstood by everybody are you going to let me finish you know this same figures about day and. simple late last year donald trump ordered and then partially halted the withdrawal of u.s. forces from syria causing many of his allies to doubt his commitment and reliability my guess this week here at the state department is ambassador james jeffrey a special representative of the u.s. for syria engagement can any of america's policies in that country deliver
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a successful outcome. james jeffrey welcome thank you the sake of context can we go back to last year the announcements by president trump. he had won basically over isis in syria and little u.s. troops would be coming home from syria was costly and misleading wasn't it was misunderstood by everybody it was misunderstood the president made it clear at the time to us and to other leaders that he wasn't losing the bubble as we say on the fight against isis which he recognized could really. constitute itself nor was he. losing interest in. he said at the time
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a that the united states would maintain its air cover over the not be that u.s. special operations personnel he made this point very clear publicly and all the other side air base in telling the president and secretary of defense are you going to meet with an issue so. that we continue to deploy special forces troops into north east syria to go after isis if they started showing signs of a threat it did cost him the resignation of his secretary of defense and my predecessor in the office that deals with the computer combating of this. because they disagree with the policy and quite a lot of blowback from the congress senator lindsey graham said it was a stain on the owner of the united states added that it was disastrous to u.s. national security how could a clever man like that in the u.s. and so this is going to be you have got it so wrong the issue is that the president
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after listening to people including lindsey graham decided that he would keep it was a dual course on so there was a road back to the president after listening to people that he trusted and decided that. and his eye was involved in these discussions including with lindsey graham and the reason is the president didn't want to have the syria abandon he thought that. as part of his overall. strategy of burden sharing that as the united states did the heavy lifting with at times 15000 ground combat forces in iraq and syria i'm not talking about the air power talking about helicopters helicopters we had a major force in they were involved in considerable combat that the follow on our. stage 4 we call it the. stabilization phase could be done by perfectly competent forces from other coalition countries many of whom
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a nato countries we know the quality of a true i i that's what he wanted he told us to go out and find our country why couldn't they come up with say 500 or 600 or few more numbers of troops not a bad question however the answer we had to tell him was they would not commit to forces unless there were some american forces the statement in december we have won against isis we've beaten them and beaten them badly you know isn't being borne out by defense and it was left last month to the lead inspector general of your anti isis in the haven't result of operation to inform congress of an altogether different reality you know in the history of 50 years roughly that i've been involved in wars i've really seen a statement by any victorious political force that is more close to the truth in what donald trump said isis was unique. in a way that focused the international attention from 2014 until about march of this
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year where is we all forgot about al qaida and why because al qaeda had gone away no i actually quite active in many different places and terrorism experts are worried about because isis created a state and an army of $35000.00 troops commanded a population of $8000000.00 people with a budget of billions of dollars and now has research and sell in areas controlled by you going to let me finish some of the same views about the end. so that simple isis has a state in the unique threat that isis presented by its ability to project power into paris khan berlin and other places 7 attacks in turkey. and that isis has disappeared and thus some of the very specific concerns we had particularly about the stability of iraq and the region as
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a whole we now have isis as a terrorist i'm. going to say sion not all that different from al qaeda that is something that we worry about something that we focus on something that we're working on which is why we're keeping troops on which is why the coalition including some i can tell you exactly how many but it's in the many thousands of some thousands of u.s. troops still in iraq to defy. in iraq and syria so it isn't that we thought the problem is gone away the problem just changed dramatically because we achieved a victory over isis as a political force trump was right in saying that what's been particularly damaging for you is suit syria now lies with the timing of this with the drool the report from the inspector general said the reduction has decreased the support available to syrian forces at a time when they need more training and equipping to respond to the isis was. combining joint toss. also said the drawdown could cause those forces to move in
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the ships on the that is good. if it were true it wouldn't be good for the inspector general does that mean it's true. do you know him to be putting out false i know inspector generals would not ever deliberately put out a false statements but they often put out in their current statements based upon a misinterpretation of one sided information that they get from one or another source had they asked me which they probably should have as a state department official responsible for the political side in the fight against isis you would think that i would have been a reasonable person to chat with they didn't i would have told them you know gee i've talked with these very same forces 8 times in the last minor 10 months and i haven't gotten any complaints about the level of american support even though we have in conjunction with president on trump's decision conducted a very significant deliberate drawdown of a large percent of the forces we had there back in march period that's the 1st thing the 2nd thing is. i do not see
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a surge in isis i look at the actual number of attacks incidents and i such ansel's we would you listen again i did this for a living for 3 years in iraq every day excluding in parts of the time when i was the target and i wanted to every single attack that we were getting in iraq and i have a good idea of what an insurgency or a terrorist operation looks like in nazi syria looks nothing like that it's a handful of attacks a week with almost no lethal casualties that is very few people a dime he says in an area of 30 percent of all of syria the heartland of isis in 20132014 with. population of several 1000000 people and we're getting 34 attacks 567-8910 attacks a week you know is that more than we've got in the immediate aftermath of much absolute. and in terms of needing much training those s.t.s.
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forces and our people who were training them were fighting a heavily armed conventional force that was dug in incredibly well with artillery with heavy moron is with minefields and everything else that is really an extremely difficult military mission what they're dealing with now is not easy it's counterinsurgency in a way it's counterterrorism it requires a different skill set and thus some new training but i would really deny that that is more difficult than fighting isis when isis was building an army should the top general in the middle east commander in chief of the senior generals have known what was being planned because commander of u.s. forces in the middle east general joseph folks will confirm to congress in february he was neither informed nor consulted about the president's net is correct and that's a glaring omission on a glaring omission is too harsh that's the kind of thing that i see happening all the time in my government and every other government i deal with unfortunately people make decisions and it doesn't get out to the people in the field in time but
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the fact that it doesn't come through a tried and tested chain of command is that not worrying the chain of command the united states starts with the commander in chief he took the decision therefore it's a tried and true chain of command and it's but it's not communicated to the people who have to carry it out it was communicated to the people who carried out what you're saying is shouldn't they have provided their advice to him before hand should they have been asked for the advice they. probably should have been asked for their advice their advice was that they would continue on. with a residual force as i said once the dust settled from the december decision the president listened to them and decided that he would go with a residual force. ambassador jeffrey view of views on how this war will end seem very different than disastrous war in syria and we're seeing now we're talking about not the fight against isis which was anything but nobody told me about syria but to syria. in internal conflict yes you have views on how this
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war will end a very different from those of your victory trumpeting president i mean in may you told congress experiences in any gun light excuse me we'll probably see several other pathetic sorry and much broken ceasefires that will eventually slow down the conflict that for us is what victory looks like in this war but it's it's worse than that isn't it because the people you would see as the bad guys are winning. they continue to announce cease fires and. the cease fires continue to be broken down but in the last 13 months the regime has taken almost the bad guys if you will has taken almost no territory other than the area around. khan shake in and just south of it live now we're very unhappy about that because we think it indicates that the regime is thinking again about a military victory and is being supported by the russians told us this will be
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a major theme at the u.n. general assembly the russians can deliver that victory no the russians can deliver an advancement in did live here is the problem is you have a turkish forces also in in live to the north of there the russians do not have an answer to that and you have followed your turkish forces in what we call the euphrates shield area around listen now bob and in the afternoon and of course we have forces and we have the pattern of forces in that not least 30 percent of the country i don't think the russians have an answer and we have a residual force and tom from the south i don't think the russians have an answer to any of that and the russians tell us themselves and state publicly that there is no military only a political solution however it's on that side of the war so they did turn the tide of office and could and will continue to do so if they were continue if they can get away with it to try to yes this in the in jewing lesson this whole tragic who
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if you can get away with mass murder torture and the repeated use of chemical weapons against your people what are the chances that president assad will have to stand trial in the war crimes tribunals pretty pretty close to 0 isn't a secretary general just announced a board of inquiry we're expecting new reports from the o.p.c. w on chemical weapons use in 2017 as you know we twice the 2nd time supported by the french and the british to military action on the basis of chemical weapons. and i think the regime we know the regime has taken that seriously he's used them 30 times. since. we struck him twice he's been very careful. with only one possible use that we're still looking into. and that's in over a year and a half so i would say that's an improvement the assad regime has been denied all reconstruction funds from the international community and from essentially every single nation state there under a very strong u.s. and e.u.
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sanctions and they're going to continue to be put under a lot of pressure whether assad ever stands trial for his walk climbs of which there are many and he certainly deserves to that's another question but we don't see assad as having won this what we see assad as having. that is not possible for the opposition militarily to win the war as this point that is what the russians and the iranians have provided assad but i'm busted if the taliban who continue to blow up you can almost make its camp david on the side chop up the political opponents in the lie about it can have business as usual with washington as that doesn't have much to boy that's. i would not compare him with either taliban who is a 2nd the saudis. you know i have a very simple but tried and true. attitude towards who you really worry about in this world. there is basically an international auto
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however flawed that we in the us are associated with as leaders much of the rest of the world particularly. your. view is in western europe and britain and elsewhere are all part of an beneficiaries of and then there are people who are trying to overthrow that order isis is one. among the others and we've listed them in the national security strategy is a ramp that puts arena in a totally different category and syria has aligned itself with iran we see this in the introduction of iranian long range weapon systems of the sort that struck the saudi. petroleum installation over the weekend into syria. threatening israel and thus provoking israeli military responses which is further complicated the. environment in syria that is you have several was
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happening simultaneously but the core of all of these wars is a rainy and expansionism in assad's facilitation of the county stabilizing do you think those attacks on saudi oil installations were for the region well i'm not responsible for the region i'm responsible for syria in the fight against i say this is that which is why i say it's the stabilizing for the if this is not this is a serious step in the wrong direction. we just into woods where this was going to richard haass senior state department official. this is a step in the wrong direction destabilisation in the middle east again if i were responsible foreign policy or middle eastern policy and on their response with 3 other i would be the more clear cut but i'll leave it at that you talked about the . new trying to have this right part of that will who should include justice shouldn't it and if if people like you say we're not committed to any personality
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we're not trying to get rid of us by you you know that of us i believe. personally as someone spent much of my life that a world order to be truly effective and to be. truly accepted around the world. should include justice. but. i recognize that. that is not shared by everybody including much of the american public because once you accept that that is part of it that's. right to intervene or need to intervene this was very popular in the 1990 s. i was involved in the concept when i worked on bosnia the problem with that is that it gets you involved in every internal conflict because typically in every internal conflict there are major and serious abuses of justice whether that is necessary for world order a not i would just say that's to be debated does the administration have an
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enduring interest into this just as it says it supports the international and cost of an independent mechanism to see if it does but why did it hold up money for last year the spike lee criticized for doing. whether you fund something or not and whether you support something politically or 2 different things funding requires prioritization stephen rapp form a state department ambassador at large for war crimes that the actual amount of the funding is only a fraction of the organizations budget but the symbolism of america reneging on its pledge to help was that the state. the united states including this administration for syria long as provided $10000000000.00 in humanitarian assistance and that is far more than any other country has done again one very important part of america's view in this administration and at least in theory and prior administrations and what i really hear too is the idea of burden sharing for
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example the president before his decision to pull troops out of syria decided that we wouldn't be doing reconstruction funding in the northeast anymore and asked us to turn to other countries and we've been fairly successful collecting it but we have been criticized by the u.s. congress and by some of our partners but again this is a question of if you $100000000.00 look at how much money we put into humanitarian assistance president trump but we use that. as part of the global coalition against isis global coalition in nato and several other coalitions with many of the same members whose total g.d.p. is roughly double that of the united states that we should not be paying the burden that we're paying and that is simply a view of his it was a view expressed for example in the nato 2 percent by the obama administration before him and it's a view that is held by the american people the american people do not like the deal and which we have to pay a disproportionately high percent of the costs as well as be a most of the military risk. and losses in these international conflicts that's
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simply the way it is and i just go back to the issue of justice. is there a similar willingness to look at allegations of war crimes committed by the coalition in syria amnesty international report that was primal facie evidence that several coalition attacks killed and injured civilians may flouted international humanitarian. be investigated this all 1st of all i'm not a lawyer but. international humanitarian law is not lying. it is a political theory. if it's international what is international law are it's the geneva conventions that's where you define what crimes we look very carefully at every coalition strike we have seen no example of what crimes. cops alluna absolutely not but you would take part in any investigation to prove that define
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investigation find investigation by the mechanism to syria the international independent mechanism to suit the un has looked at this the i.a.m. has looked at all of these attacks they've raised questions we've provided answers . your policy which shoot to kill 82 with syria has 3 strands doesn't enjoy ensure the enduring defeat devices with which you've said it's turned into a terrorist organization so that it's going to keep you busy for a very long time 2nd priority to ensure a political process that will produce a different kind of government that will encourage people to come back and be a decent player in the international arena. has very little chance of that happening with outside remaining in power he's never going to be at peace is the. u.n. security council voted 15 to 0 for exactly that result and resolution 2254 in december of 2015 it's not irresponsible of the united states to have as
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a political and diplomatic goal something that the security council has unanimously endorsed reason for going to happen to find this guy well we hope it will but until it happens we're going to continue our unrelenting pressure on their regime 20 months of bickering over 150 member committee to write the country a new constitution and the prospect of years of high dealing walkouts fights stretching into the distant future is that it or you just described the average diplomatic process that i get involved in. 100 times worse when you in doing it after a war of this nature i would say that every time you get people together saying in geneva which is the plan to start talking about a solution to a military conflict as opposed to allowing this fighting to continue yeah that's a step in the right direction again we have seen only one chain in libya and it was
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a limited offensive it's an offense who are very unhappy about we're working on a u.n. security council resolution condemning it right now but that's been the only case in the last 13 months of fighting breaking out so i would say that we've had more success from 2018 to the present then we did from say 2015 to 2017 for example free and fair elections and i was always it was a regime when you have that in the arab world apart from she needs you which is just beginning well where in the arab world as you have a little rations. that's. free and fair elections is a standard that we apply that the u.n. applies certainly if you would ask the u.n. which managed i think now 5 or 6 elections going to last in iraq they would basically give them fairly good. marks in terms of free and fair so they can do in iraq why can't they do in syria do 3rd priority iran the removal of all the rain in
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c'mon dude forces from the entirely to syria that he did he's not going to happen that bill to their integrated with the syrian government forces have a they're not integrated into the defined integrated forces integrated in nato yeah they work together to the defense intelligence agency iran continues to field islamic revolutionary guard soldiers support the lebanese hezbollah commander shia foreign fighters and that what that includes militia from iraq pakistan and iran all true but they could leave tomorrow if there was a ceasefire that everybody believed in and. if there was a political solution to the water there would be no reason for these people to stay on the. threshold. i think that. it is. policy that if we do not find solutions to these issues that we've raised the 3 goals i have
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different political solution in syria the withdrawal of all. the feet of isis that we are going to be on the road to a much bigger and far more dangerous war in syria not only involving forces fighting. terrorist groups but potentially any one of the 6 armies counting the syrian that is present in or over syria today is a policy towards iran going to change. who is left. and i certainly know that i don't know of anybody in the us government at any level that does not think. on the region. this weekend at the very top of the stretch to. regional security and we act accordingly ambassador james jeffrey thank you very much. thank you.
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. this is david e. news line from the band small protests flare up in hong kong. gas of angry crowds during another weekend of pro-democracy protests. just petrol bombs also fly as crashes resume once more between already and demonstrators also coming up young activists gather at the united nations in new york for a dialogue on climate change the meeting comes a day after millions took to the streets to rally against global warming and we'll go live to new york. and restain.

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