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tv   Syria Discussion at Council on Foreign Relations  CSPAN  October 2, 2019 12:31pm-1:32pm EDT

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further evidence of obstruction of justice. that was an article of impeachment against nixon, the obstruction of the lawful functions of congress, that is. we will also draw the inference as appropriate that they are trying to conceal facts that would corroborate the allegations on the wet -- wet -- west wing floor. we are not fulling around. we do not want this to drag on months in the administration's strategy. even as they try to undermine our ability to find the facts around the president's efforts to coerce a foreign leader to create dirt he can use against theyolitical opponents, will be strengthening the case on obstruction if they behave that way. council on to the
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foreign relations for a discussion on u.s. policy toward syria and washington dc with live coverage here on c-span. >> welcome. the executive director, syrian emergency task force. we have the deputy assistant secretary of defense for the middle east. assistante the deputy secretary of state for affairs and special envoy for syria. thank you to all four of you for being here today. everything important in life i learned from two sources. johnny cash and the united states military. the military as relevant today because when you look at complex thelems like syria, military breaks them down into strategic, operational, and technical -- tactical to try to understand. i thought we would have our conversation along the same lines, so i will start with a strategic question.
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as a nation, we have learned since 9/11 that militaries cannot win wars. militaries can defeat other militaries, but it is up to the rest of the government, ngos, and others to actually win the peace. as you look at the complex situation on the ground in syria today. civil war, international meddling, very complicated relationships with neighbors. walk me through if you could what is the route to peace and stabilization? i should start with a johnny cash of "i walk the line" in giving this answer. i am keen to hear from the other panelists, and it is delightful to join all of you today. i think we have a moment where there is a sense that the iraq decisionngs over every that has been made in syria.
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and certainly on the ground in the northeast, there is a moment and something to protect because having had the privilege of traveling in and around the northeast six times in the past, i will tell you it is a story of progress and very fragile, very endangered, but very real gains that moms and dads are fighting for every day. what hasrner, you have ane its job and too good job because nobody wants to pay attention to it. -- anothernny cash johnny cash song everyone dropped the hot potato and walked out. then you have the question of how do you get to a diplomatic and game and -- endgame and where is the pressure going to be. it is hard to find people on the ground to believe in geneva and i would love very much to hear other people's views on this,
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but i think you have a northwest situation, al qaeda discussions, i know there was a piece from your column that is concerning to many and the question is how do you solve multiple conflicts at one time? i think there is a role for the u.s. to help exercise leadership and get concerned parties to the table and i think our colleagues for the u.s. government have been working on this and talking about this, but there is nothing easy about what comes next, because i do not think that policy aside, anyone seeing the assad regime. i want to thank the council on foreign relations for having me here. ands an honor to be back, this respected panel. the servicesnk for all that have been done in the service of our country and syriao help get
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through this horrible mess it has been. i agree with the points you made, gayle. with all of the impeding interest in syria and if you go geographic locations, there are groups on the ground, and i think one mistake that we have made in the past is focus, hyper focused on the northeast and not thinking about the implications of how that affects it and that applies across the board in other areas and syria. the complicated conflict that competing interests for regional companies and others makes it difficult, but i think it is important to stay in tune with the population itself. this population that came out in a nonviolent, peaceful protest initially asking for reform, and the regime and its
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allies increased exponentially asking for a full transition from dictatorship to something they are all hoping for, which is to have their dignity first and foremost, but to have freedom and democracy in syria. investing in civil society and investing in these people is really important. i think they look at the situation today and they do not see the united states sitting at the table. in the last administration and to a degree in this administration, there has been a seething of the decision-making for the long future of syria from iran, russia, and turkey. these are prophecies that in our interaction and work on the ground in syria do not vibe and are not respected by the population. to a greater degree, they would look and they would prefer to go back towards geneva and the agreements that we had there. i think of what is most important is first of all, to
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remember what the syrian people have gone through because without justice, without accountability, and without really catering to their grievances and managing their expectations, we cannot get anywhere. you are looking at around 13 million people displaced, half a million dead, hundreds of thousands in jail, and unequivocal proof of the torture of what the regime, russia, iran has done. that theo ensure regime and allies understand that they themselves cannot have a military solution to the conflict and that is not possible. whenever the regime commits arendt's crimes whether that be with chemical weapons, and the world sits as a bystander, the regime thinks it can. the united states
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out in the northeast. what is really important is that we find a way to create some sort of continuity between the northwest and northeast and all of the areas that are liberated and free from regime control. it is important we do everything we can in the united states to come back and sit at the table where the others are not the drivers of the future and syria, but geneva, and at the same time, by doing all we can hear theigher the costs of ethics regime, russia, and iran and the atrocities unfolding in syria. one way to do that is the act, one that is not going to end the conflict but present hope to many syrians who see this as the very least united states can do. as somebody who spent a whole
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year in conflict zones, i could not agree more. the u.s. military plays a part and certainly should not ever be the only answer to the complex probms. i break it down to three things and all of these groups that i can talk about. the kinetic elements. obviously, the quality and the capability of the partner force allows u.s. military to do what we call abort mission. so we enabled them. it is important to note, they bore most of the burden when it territorialating a -- i got to the size of west virginia. -- thate -- territorial got to the size of west virginia. we, quite frankly, cannot carry out our strategy if it was not
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for partners like that. that is the first thing i know we will talk more about that. civilization. -- stabilization. department leads that, and the major implementers are usaid. that in 2018ied agreement that was between all of the heads of those agencies. we are still working through issues that i see in that when it comes to authority with spending money and authorities to be protected. we can go into that later, but those are things that we have to work out internally so we can maximize the effect of the stabilization operations that we have because at the end of the day, the stabilization part of this is just as important as the kinetic. it is just as much a part of defeating isis as the military direct action campaign was.
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if we do not do that, we will be back there for sure doing this again. we owe it to the people that live there who have bared unspeakable -- beared unspeakable burdens and we owe it to the men and women that will come after us at the state department and the defense department that we do not just leave this. the last part i would say is more philosophical, political part and as gayle might have a big concernt is for us as the defense department. not just because it is a massive humanitarian crisis, but also because these are people who many of them children, all they are going to have his one view and one philosophy throughout the entire time. so if the international community does not come up with a way to rehabilitate them and reintegrate them into society, that is a net generation of isis.
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they have no other input and if we do not do something about that, we consider that to be a substantial issue for the world, not just for the united states, certainly not just for no reason. the 2254 process. weekent a lot of time this and we also have a who i would like to recognize with an organization that we feel is one of the best out operating in syria. we have had a lot of the discussions this week and it is on us to be there, the military, to enhance the mission of the which leading the charge is ambassador jeffrey when it comes to the united states. having that presence helps in that effort. i appreciate the opportunity to speak today and i am nervous, point 18ecause my west
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partners in the room and i -- [laughter] whoever it is, feed me some notes. [laughter] the syrian conflict is a political conflict. political causes, so it has had a political solution so that is what we mean when we say there cannot be a military exclusion to the syrian conflict. therussian military and corps, theyd could attempt to reconquer every square inch of syria, and that would not be the end of it. what you are seeing is a conflict that spans the northern in such a way that if the political causes are not
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addresse it will go online and on and on and our children and grandchildren will be dealing with the same conflict, i am confident of that, having sat visit -- sat through the same movie. clearesident gave us guidance on what strategy to implement to try to bring a close to the syrian conflict. he gave us three strategic overarchingsome ones. the first was to continue the that,gn against dash so especially in the former territories, dash has no chance to come back. to complete the military campaign and do the things that come after to make sure that you inoculate those territories from dash 's return.
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the second was to achieve a withdrawal from syria of all iranian commanded forces and militias in syria. to rollback the iranian power projection grab. the islamic revolutionary guard corps has essentially reached across iraq, syria trying to to try ton a bid it establish strategic outposts in syria that can pose a new kind of existential threat. that is to israel and other of syria's neighbors. that is something in my view that is the most dangerous strategic element in the northern middle east in today, and the factor that is most likely to cause a regional conflict across the northern middle east. the third objective that the tosident gave us was to try
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achieve a political resolution to the syrian conflict under the offices of u.n. security council resolution 2254, so to get a political solution to the conflict that could address the other two objectives. and ale dash caliphate qaeda safe haven that pops up here and there, and power projection across the northern middle east are symptoms of the underlying conflicts. they are not the cause. have risenhings that on the part of those who have exploited the underlying conflicts. the approximate causes of conflict have to do with the nature of the effort regime and have to do with the nature of governance in syria, and has to do with the outside regime has behaved, and a political solution to syria to the syrian
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conflict in order for to be sustainable, the syrian government behavior towards people and a region is going to have to change, and that is the pass out of the conflict. that will require syria's pressure from the united states and the rest of the international community on the thed regime and patrons of regime to compel the regime to change its behavior to make the concessions that are necessary to get to the resolution. >> thank you for the fabulous survey. you touched on important issues and i will drill into all of these here. the question of chemical weapons came up. that is one of the things that does capture the attention of the broader public when the regime uses chemicals and other weapons. doestools of deterrants the u.s. and partner nations have, and what should be done about that?
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i do not wanted raised the red lines phrase, but where we today and what should be done? you have seen two times, the president has said that he is willing to use military force to andto prevent the use production and proliferation of chemical weapons in syria. willing to use military force when it is necessary. we have other tools that we use and both times that we did, military operations in response of chemicalegime weapons, we used economic and diplomatic pressure alongside this. so we have a range of tools. most recently, secretary pompeo was able to announce that the united states has come to the determination that the syrian regime used chlorine as a chemical weapon in may and a province. our response to that was through
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economic sanctions andolical it is only just beginning to play out at the u.n. and other international floors, so we have a range of tools. clearly, the use of chemical weaps in may shows that the assad regime is not yet deterred from using them, so it is going to take a more pressure on our part and on the part of international community, and i would say there is a strong international consensus behind that, and secondly, it also that thee risk regime has not abandoned the idea that they can somehow rebuild their chemical weapons program with who knows what kind of dangerous chemical weapons. chlorine, weuse know they used serin, so that is not just a chemical threat to
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the people in the region, but for international security. it is definitely something that gets a lot attention, but we are bringing -- we have a pretty full toolbox to use. joe's point, obviously we have shown that we are politically willing to take action in response to chemical attacks and the military take abilities -- capabilities are there. if you look at the last response in 2018 that was a result of an attack that killed upwards of 70 people, men, women, and children. i'm sure that was a factor that was considered. samee tracking the announcement that secretary pompeo made at the general assembly on the last use. we would say going forward, factors that would be discussed in any response would be deterrents.
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we have taken strikes before, they did not deter them, so when it is that level of strikes that were insufficient. recognizelso like to -- and the u.k., and we hope even more countries would join in the response in the event that they may be terrible decisions to use chemical weapons as a means of war in the future. he spoke at length about the and anotheruence, foreign power that is very much involved is russia. what is your assessment about their role today and how the level of communications is with the u.s., and how the u.s. should impose some measures on that looking to the future? say i thinkike to what is really important --
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russia coming into syria was a disaster. i'm speaking strictly from the perspective of the humanitarian role that happened. i remember when the regime was bombarded with horrendous barrel an entirehey hit residential building of civilians, that was horrible. the russians came in, they were testing weapons on syrian people, by their own admission, they are taking out entire city blocks. this results in things like thinke explosives, so i -- we should not overstate its leverage over the assad regime. places -- they do not have the same interest in the country, and i think we need to find ways of difference between
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iran and russia to drive the iranians completely out and make russia understand, they cannot afford to keep up what they are doing there, and try to give them guarantees of what they would care about. the russian role in syria is a result of the united states sort of feeding into that whole area, and that began under the previous administration. i just want to add one more thing on chemical weapons. it is important that the next time, god forbid, the regime uses chemical weapons against civilians, the strike must be much harder than it was. onsident obama's inaction that was a disaster. the trumpet administration deserves credit for its response on the first attack, and even on the second attack, it was even weaker, and we need to up the price on the assad regime.
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just on russia having been all and on the side of the regime while folks struggle to understand where e americans were and at what point today were willing to intervene, ask is russia and iran is all and as opposed to and this istates, now the second administration that really has not to wanted to get further into wars in the middle east, and i think that has been a defining behavioristic and shaper of the previous two administrations, and when you are on the ground, it is clear that russia has seen this as a success story in many ways. and they have used it as a test bed. even if there is a failure of their systems, it is a learning
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point. i think you see what happens when there is no u.s. leadership. or when there is very little leadership. who mayven for those think the syrian conflict in the way does not affect us, the russian air defenses in the northwest that are there to protect their allies, the assad regime, are giving cover to a new al qaeda affiliate to launch in launch attacks against the west. there are some ways that the russian presence is a real, clear present threats. >> can i address the overall russian world? in my view have the decisive influence over the assad regime. the assad regime could not survive without the support the russians give them. tothe russian air force were ground themselves tomorrow,
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within a month, the assad regime losing war again. the assad regime military is extremely weak. without heavy, heavy support from the russian air force and the russian, private security contractors, i do not think the assad regime would be taking any territory at all. government, operating at a deep deficit, no one really knows how much, but it is big. and that is made up by the russians, and partly by the iranians, too. giftingians are quasi oil to the assad regime right now, but the russians are making and a host of things that the syrian regime has.
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assad regime just needs to keep going. the state apparatus in syria could not go on without these things. theo work with international community on a political revolution and the 2254,cts through ussc the assad regime could not defy them. could not replace all the support that the russians give. so whatever they think they need them to -- we do have continuing contact with the russians on a diplomatic level. nick can talk about military deconfliction, that is not my lane. but on a diplomatic level, we are in constant touch with the russians on the way to get to the in state, that i think we
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both roughly agree with. behavior in the region has to change in order for the underlying causes of the conflict to be addressed. there, we have a lot of disagreements about, and we talk about those all of the time. one way and which we were recently able to agree was in the establishment of the constitutional committee, which will be charged with undertaking constitutional reforms to try to address some of the structural problems in syria governance. at the end the month in geneva. there is not a lot of speculation. i don't buy that. seen russia doing
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much. >> it is a matter of russia will. of course they have leverage. the point, they should be all in for all the consequences. ofwe could spend the rest the time talking about their atrocities, but i won't do that. i will point to one statistic that stood out as we were preparing for this. september, 59and schools have been destroyed. 59 schools. >> with aerial bombardment. >> yes. so it is not just chemical weapons. it is killing innocent civilians, which is by any means, wrong, and they need to be hel accountable to the point -- >> and it is a war crime. >> it is. i will just point that out. it is consequences with the bad decisions the regime makes.
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therer point, obviously, are many and they keeps finding additional ones. we are not going to mitigate our efforts to attack them and to ensure they are not plotting external plots, or whether it is in europe, or anywhere in the world. you can see that. we just conducted an attack that was very successful. already know there is a strategy and terrorism is a priority. if one of those attacks is successful, you know how that will turn out, so we will never let off the gas when it comes to the threats, specifically pose now. i have seen this often times when a terrorist organization is relieved from the burden of governance. i read a quote written on the
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wall once when they liberated an area, they get back to their true calling, which is telling. i think that is something that we and titillate at the dod, and also my old organization spend a lot of time, ensuring that if they turn to that -- which we know w they are, we will spell a lot of time to mitigate that. >> i want to ask one more question before i go to questions from the members about the humanitarian catastrophe, but of very specific part. there are 2000 foreign fighters encamps and more than 70,000 isis women and children. there is lots of hammering about that. i would like to hear specifically, in a concrete and tactical way, how we deal with that. and not to be too practical, that it is not just a humanitarian disaster, but it is setting up all of the perquisites for isis. what do we do? i was at one of the camps in
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may. i just want to say i deeply believe this is an entirely foreseeable overnight crisis six months in the making. give almost as if -- to you an example -- if we took the northern alliance in 2001 and said, hey, families were told from all over the world, find a way to house, feed, care, and educate them, and the international community's cell phone is going to be off if you need help. it iastounng to me that folks whose children who died fighting isis are being held responsible solo in many ways to take care of the children and ie wives and members because do think it is more than wives. i think that reduces the agency for many of the women who deeply believe in the islamic state. and people are pleading, people
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who run these camps are pleading for assistance from the international community. one woman said to me, one of the main challenges is the mentality of the new arrival. if we cannot do much for them, and they are having a big impact on the people already there, this camp had 9000 people and kids going to schools. are 73,000.e when you go, it is more or less the united nations of the islamic states. a colleague and i were trying to figure out if there were many -- which i think i'm fluent in a number of them -- which we could identify. there were folks from germany. folks from egypt. i am not arguing that all of these people are isis members should be imprisoned. it required the international community to help solve an international problem. this is not a solely homegrown effort that requires folks who
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are stretched in to resolve on their own. you now have a nonstate actor faced with real estate problems, and nationstates who do not want to pony up and help. i do think we have to address this because it is about the little ones and the next generation. these kids did not choose to be in this camp. they did not choose the ideology of their parents. i'm telling you, there is great fear in the region. one mother i met, who gave birth to the first baby during the summer of 2017 during the campaign, we had been tracking her story for the last years. she is now cleaning and she is one of the most articulate, powerful voices in terms of syrians who have seen too much, whose children have seen too much, and she told me there were orisis families or friends
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children of isis of followers who went there. she said, they are so cute, but nobody wants to take them because no one knows what is in their hearts. i am telling you, this is not just her. >> thank you very much. i'm eager to invite members to join the conversation with their questions. i remind you, this is on the record. if you would please wait for the microphone, stand, identify yourself, and please be concise. sir? i am from the turkish embassy. you may know there is a terrorist organization in the communist party based in northern syria. they have a camp there. they go through training, and then they talk about the revolution in turkey, and last weekend, they attacked turkish police officers.
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they announce this on their on the greatnt attacks against turkey. >> sir, can i ask for your question please? >> i am coming. >> i would like your question now, please. >> other european organizations are also getting military training in the northeast, so what is the u.s. position structures that are fostering in northern syria? right now, on both the diplomatic side and military side, we are embarked on implementing an agreement that thed establish a zone along areey-syria border where we
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meant to have a security mechanism within that zone that will ensure that there could be no threats that would emanate from that zone against turkey, and that there would be no threats that would emanate from within that zone against the people of northeast syria. to make it safe for both turkey and for syrians. so far, the implementation is going pretty well. it is going at pace. we have a lot of military coordination on the ground. could commentrs more on that, but i would say this is part of a larger effort to stabilize at a political level the border between turkey and syria, east of the euphrates because we think that is -- that is a necessary condition for the revolution of the overall conflict. conflict along the turkey-syria border, it will
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be difficult -- that will make the job of reaching a political resolution of a political resolution of the conflict much harder. conflict along a the turkey-syria border would serve the interest of all the bad actors in the conflict and in the region, whether that is regime or whate have you. >> on the security mechanism, we do believe there has been progress. we have established joint operations on the border. we have begun joint patrols on the air and on the ground. and some of the fortifications have been destroyed. , wehink working together have made progress in that. and for all the reasons just mentioned. >> michael? >> i will abuse the power of the chair, calling a friend a colleague. >> i have a question for the dod
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and state department reps. president trump's goal is to forces leave syria. how do you propose to do that since striking iranian forces within the mandate of the u.s. military and syria, the russians seem to have no interest or even the capability of getting the iranians out of syria, they n'want to be the ground element, and while the sanctions have made the economy more aggressive to witness the attack on the saudi oil facility, is there a real plan to get forces out of syria, beyond relying on israel? >> there are a number of things that we have undertaken to try to bring pressure to the iranians and the saudi regime to get iranian forces -- iranian commanded forces, as well as
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malicious they have exported, out. first of all, we use economic pressure against the assad regime. we use economic pressure against the actual forces themselves, and we link the pressure campaign we have inside syria to the maximum pressure campaign against the iranian regime. implementingho are the syrian policy and strategy stay tightly coordinated with our colleagues, who are managing .h you will recall when secretary pompeo described the outline, the conditions the united states essentiallyor relieving the maximum pressure campaign in a speech made in the spring of 2018, he laid out his 12 conditions. one on the list of the iran policy was that malicious sa -- was that militias should
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leave syria. we have made it clear that one of the things it will have to do, if at the end of the day it wants to get out from under the pressure of the united states and international community that cooperates with us, they will have to exit the area. we think that is pretty powerful. the iranian the military presence in syria comes under pressure from other powers, not from us. we flush that out on the corner of ri. -- corner of our eye. we predict that pressure will continue for as long as those iranian commanded forces are in syria and are posing a serious threat to syria's neighbors. >> i agree. you are right. we don't have the authorization for direct military action against iran and syria. but i would say that our presence, just like with s moreization, also hav
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than just the iranian problem. physically, being there does obstruct, but it does obstruct the routes in the regular term throughout, some of them lethal and precise, right next to right over the border with israel. being there actually makes it difficult for them. also, being there does provide whenambassadors leverage it comes to the political process, part of which, as just described, is the elimination of iranian backed forces in syria. that is part of the process. it will not be easy, but it is there. >> we will work my way around the back of the room. in the corner there. for the first two gentlemen from the administration. you mentioned stabilization
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efforts. we have heard generals and others asking for a much larger presence of u.s. projects or something for years now, so give us the current state of what the u.s. contribution to that is, versus what the international community has been able to contribute. and for the other two on the left, what are you seeing out there? how effective is this? it has been a while, after the liberation, there were three or four bulldozers with state department logos on them but that was a couple of years ago. so where are we now? are we really getting u.s. relief involved or is this band-aid level stuff? have some pretty good a northeastng areas especially in some that were once under the control
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daesh not too long ago. the u.s. does have some portion of funding that we have been executing, but we have gotten really good contributions from our coalition partners from some of the arab countries, including usdi arabia, that has helped to do the kind of restoration of services and stabilization activities that we use to. as well as some very good contributions from european countries. the united states does a lot in northeast syria. our military does do a lot through their advising of local partners and through the kind of projects they are able to do. of course, we have humanitarian systems throughout the country. is such a conflict that wee of instability
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are always going to feel like we are running behind in the funding that is necessary to theres it, but i do think is a pretty good commitment. right now, the kinds of things we do at a diplomatic level will keep the international community focused on the syrian problem so the international community does not just conclude that because of the daesh territorial caliphate is destroyed, that it is time to move on and the funding would dry up, and so on. we have been pretty successful at that so far, but it takes constant tending. focus on mentioned, i conflicts and my travel reflects that. i go to a lot of these areas. one of the things people all tell me is how important stabilization is.
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you will never get to phase four if you don't have that. the department of defense does have the ability to give humanitarian aid, and we do. it is here right now. we also have civilization with our partners. in cases where the only personnel who can get to these areas are dod, for us to actually have the ability to deliver stabilization funding, which is different from humanitarian aid, it is about turning the lights on, turning the water on, and getting the lights going. it is defense support to stabilization, and we are talking to our committees in congress right now to make sure we can do that and increasing the actual funding. it is great for all the countries who do contribute. one of the reasons for the event today is to bring the issue to the forefront with all of you, so we can talk about contributing more to that
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effort. next. >> -- thanks. >> i think it is a very important question. i think a lot of the work done by the state department and department of defense, cutting off humanitarian aid and support that was going to the northwest is a problem. one thing important to mention, especially when there is bombardment by the regime in russia, that is when the population goes through to protest things. so ensuring that we have already invested in the north, whether it is the work of civil society organizations though, and the people they are trying to rule and govern local communities in a way that keeps the heart of their vision, which are the values they came out with years ago, calling for democracy and
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further voice to be heard, that it is disappointing that that has stopped. continuing that is not just humanitarian aid but an important counterterrorism tool. when it comes to the northeast, what i think is really important is to try to empower as much as possible, not just our direct partner forces that play a role in defeating isis, which has a huge contingent of fighters there, but they feel that they are a franchise. they feel they are more token representatives than people who can make decisions, so empowering population in that area, both in ensuring they play an important role that is not just symbolical in governance and supporting them i think will keep them away from the messaging of violent extremists actors, and i think that is something we could do a lot
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better job of. and finally, when it comes to places that have been difficult for the united states state department to reach, and i bring it up, there are some situations where it might be the best decision to declare the state department that this is something, due to the russian and the regime blockading, and hurting the sort of u.n. profit of providing people aid, and allowing the public defense to find a way to bring direct a there, i already know that the amazing work of men -- servicemen and women is overwhelming and a huge responsibility. i don't take it likely that they should play a role in providing fight,rect aid to a camp for example, because that is a camp within 10 miles of the military base, and families are there -- so we owe them that. i think there is a lot more that
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could be done. stabilization is the 13 letter word that has become a four letter word, even though it is essential to keeping conflicts ended. when you say it on the ground, because i went in 2018, and there were very few people there compared to now. now, there are traffic jams, very fragile stability. and the first thing you heard was the sound of people who had spent their money on getting generators going or somehow it.en a hold of these are folks who are working to rebuild their lives, and stabilization dollars i can do waterl, de-mining, basic renewal. that has been a challenge for
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states.ed one of the first women i met who had a shop in 2018, we visited again in may of 2019, and i thought her shop would be closed. we walked in [no audio] and went to see her family uncovered. she had been very scared to come out and to go to the shop until work, but because her cousin had this shop, and it was doing well, she came and started working there. the shopkeeper said to me, i was open until 12:30 a.m. last night because people were coming out. we are willing to do the work, we just need the basics of help. i think it is absolutely true that this often becomes the kurds versus everybody else, especially from the washington discussion. but when you go around, you hear
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a different story about people simply pushing ahead. went to they is i opening of a woman's counsel in december 2018, and i interviewed woman after woman who was telling me they were there [no audio] because many of them had husbands who are pushed too far by isis. herwoman had three of husband's relatives were hung by isis, so they had to assume responsibility for all of the wives and children in that family. she was talking about the fact that what we have now is room for us to rebuild our own society. i think that is where the stabilization dollars going to make a different. it is helping with the basics for stability and people fighting for them. >> yes, please?
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>> thank you. two have very quick questions. energy, youk about don't see a message to the regime that if you say something, they will keep you in power. for example, if you released the you forgivew, would them for killing so many people? would we forgive him for using chemical bombs on syria? do we identify changing the behavior of the regime? solution? thing about civilization, how can we talk about making with theion in syria u.s. stopping the funds for the hospitals and education?
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they are stopping all the funds for civil society organizations in the northwest of syria, not in the northeast. is a modern, there stopped at the hospitals and we stop at the schools, so what do we think the future is for those? >> the way i would term it is the syrian government's behavior. u.s., as we went to our policy process and the president decided upon earlier this year, we came down to a set of conditions the united states would have to have any syrian government, whether it is the current one or a future one, in order for the u.s. to have normal relations with that government in damascus, and they amount to a change in policy and
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change in behavior by the syrian government. the first is we would require that that government sever its ties with the regime and its proxies. second is, we would require that that government cease the state-sponsored terrorism. tord, cease being a threat its neighbors. fourth, surrender its weapons of mass destruction programs verifiable. fifth, create the conditions on the ground for refugees and displaced persons to return safely and voluntarily to their homes. and sixth, and this gets to the point that assad was kind of require that would that government hold war criminals and atrocity criminals accountable within the international community. i agree that you cannot have political stabilization in syria without real political reconciliation, and you are not going to have political
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reconciliation unless there is an accounting for what has happened. hassyrian population that voted with this fleet is not going to go back home into the teeth of a killing machine and stay there, unchanged, unreformed. so there has to be some measure of accountability. we have not just an interest in that for the purposes of stabilizing syria, but also for the global example. there are some ngos that are quite reputable that estimate there could be up to or maybe even now exceeding 215,000 people who have disappeared into the assad regime's detention center. is rerunningime the holocaust in the 21st century, and all of us have an important steak and making sure that one of the lessons of the syrian conflict is not that an authoritarian regime can kill its way out of a crisis that it
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has created because of its unwillingness to acknowledge the legitimate cost of reform for these people because it that is the lesson we take from the syrian conflict, and the 21st century will see that method repeated over and over and over again. >> we could spend the rest of the day talking about how we get from here to resolving those six points. that is the hard part. in the three minutes left, there was a question in the back. yes ma'am? >> i am with the washington post. thanks for being here. my question is that upon building on your earlier question on what to do with foreign fighters and their families and the camps in syria, just so i can understand what the plan is, what is the plan if the european countries and the other countries of origin do not make large numbers of their come back in a timely manner?
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theou wait several years, radicalization problem could increase exponentially. what is the plan, and details would be great, thanks. >> can i start? we pointed out 70,000 families and 11,000 fighters are held. over 2000 of them are foreign, and they come from 50 different countries. i know this is a lot of problem, but first you have to identify the issue. we expect countries to take them back. as has been pointed out by many panelists, this is a nonstate entity, bearing the burden of the world, housing their most dangerous problems. a lot of countries are on the sideline criticizing conditions, et cetera, but quite frankly, they only have so many resources to be able to do this. we are going to keep pushing countries to take back their foreign fighters, and the ds
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have to be a plan b of what we do next. i cannot declare what that is whatever you going to do with the children? they will not stay incarcerated because you can't do that. they will get out. the international community has to come up with a plan to rehabilitate them so they can get back into society and not follow the path of their father's. -- fathers. >> this topic is so rich. the panel is so expert. we have to adjourn now. i think the panelist for a thought-provoking discussion. and thanke council you for sharing your thoughts with us. [applause] [crowd talking] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2019]
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[crowd talking]
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>> if you missed any live coverage of this event, it's available online at c-span.org. type "council on foreign relations" in the video search box at the top of the homepage. coming up live today, remarks om

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