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tv   News  Al Jazeera  September 4, 2013 1:00pm-1:31pm EDT

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have stated publicly or privately that the assad regime is responsible for this attack, and that was before our evidence package was put together and 34 countries or organizations have indicated that if the allegations prove to be true, they would support some form of action against syria.
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>> thank you, chairman. perhaps you can answer this. i know secretary kerry referred to it in his opening remarks. i believe like you, mr. secretary, that american credibility on the international stage hangs in the balance. while it's crucial to make sure that assad never uses chemical weapons again, i think there is
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something even greater at steak. and that is the message we send to iran as they pursue nuclear weapons capability. they see the syrian crossing of the president's red line and the world red line, and the supreme leader is also aware that mr. mr. obama keeps options on the table to keep iran from possessing weapons. what will iran's position be if we don't act now. if they see the stop of new nucr program hallow, and how do you think their nuclear program will change as to what we do now? >> congressman, there is an enormous amount of question in the region, not just by irania iranians, bu, but by otherwise o
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whether or not the united states of america means what it says. they ask me all the time, are you guys serious about iran? i'm sure when they come and visit with you they look to you for reassurances with respect to america's position on iran there is no question in my mind that the president of the united states does not bluff, and he is committed that iran will not have a nuclear weapon. but if we fail to enforce the standard that has been in existence for almost 100 years regarding weapons of mass destruction we are putting that in question in the minds of a lot of observers and creating problems for ourselves. where we may get closer to a test that cannot be constrained or managed as a consequence of the misinterpretation of our word today. i believe it is critical to do
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other things, i say, without any question in my mind, if we fail to pass this, those who are working with us today with the syrian opposition, and i know congressman engal, you know this, we've been keeping them from funding bad elements which they have funded out of frustration because they think they are the best fighters and the own people who will get the job done in getting rid of assad out. if we back off and fail to enforce our word here, i promise you that the discipline we put in place with respect to the moderate opposition versus bad guys will dissipate immediately, and people will resort to anybody they can find to help them accomplish their goals, and we'll have created more extrem
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extremism down the road. >> thank you. mr. secretary, perhaps secretary hagel could answer this, secretary kerry just mentioned the opposition, and i put in a bill several months ago which would allow us to aid the syrian opposition. i don't think that the pension use of military force we're considering can be looked upon as a vacuum. i think this operation must be utilized as one piece of a larger comprehensive strategy. is the down grade of syria's ability of weapons, will we degrade assad's air force so he cannot continue to use the sky to murder his own people? >> congressman, i would respond
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this way. you are correct as you assess this one option that we're debating. it works in parallel that everyone at this table believes there is no military solution. it will require a military resolution. in that regard the actions we would take would be in parallel to the opposition strengthening of the opposition. it would be in parallel to what secretary kerry noted, the continuing defections assad's
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military regime. it would be in parallel to the international community, and strengthen their voices and in joining with us in this condemnation. all the other consequences that would come from this would be part of this. so that's the way i would answer your question. >> we'll go down to the chairman of this. >> we're following al jazeera, and we're following the house foreign affairs committee meeting in weather to authorize military use. they are expected at 2:00 p.m. eastern time to vote on action against syria on the use of chemicals weapons. paul, anything jump out at you so far in this hearing?
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>> well good question. it certainly got off to a much different start yesterday. the tone of this meeting not quite as receptive as we heard from the senate foreign relations yesterday when chairman ed royce began the hearing today in the house. his first words were u.s. policy on syria has been adrift for more than two years. so right away a somewhat hostile reception to the top administration officials who are at this meeting putting them on the defensive much different again from a the senate foreign relations committee. you mentioned at 2:00 they're expecting to be voting. that's two and a half hours later. things have been pushed back a lot, and things not moving as quickly as maybe we would have expected give the tone of things the other day. >> you have detected a subtle shift in policies noted by john kerry and in his opening
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statement. what did you hear? >> well, it's interesting for the past couple of years since the trouble in syria began the administration has been saying that they would like to see assad go. they want to see him out. secretary kerry stating flat out that it's the administration's policy that assad must go. it will be interesting to see where this hearing goes on that subject. are there going to be specific questions about the policy going forward is going to lead to assad either stepping down, being ousted some how, again evolving here as go. >> in the two-plus years, two and a half years of this revolution/civil war, it's clearly been the statement of the president consistently that he wants assad to go. let's listen to the particular statement that you're bringing into question here. >> since president obama's policy is that assad must go, it is not insignificant to deprive
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or degrade assad's chemical weapons, d depriveed him of the lethal weapon in the civil war. >> this idea that this limited target, targeted attack would degrade asaid's first of all, his ability to use chemical weapons in the future. aboutser but also it would enhance the opposition in position. is that what you would say? >> that's right. there have been questions from the senators in the house how the opposition's ability to be upgraded. that's the specific word that senator mccain used over the weekend, and we heard over again and again, we're going to degrade assad's ability to deploy weapons against his own people as we upgrade the
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opposition's ability to resist. the question is how is that ability to go to be upgraded? there are not a lot of specifics on that yet. >> degrade, deter, and also to further arm the opposition seems to be the two prongs of this approach to this policy. >> arm, operate, and enhance. >> yes, operate and enhance. we'll get back to that hearing in just a moment. you're watching al jazeera.
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>> welcome back to al jazeera. we're following the house of
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four affairs meeting as they discuss whether to use military force against syria. secretary john kerry, general dempsey and secretary chuck hagel is there as well. the senate of foreign affairs committee are expected to vote in two hours time. but now let's live to the testimony. >> the germane and the effective. germane would be directly related to chemical weapons. but the fact is we want assad to control, store, and keep control of his chemical weapons. and so you'll be seeking out targets some how related to the creations storage control or delivery of chemical weapons, and i think that instead you should focus on punishing and
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deterring assad by hitting valuable assets that will demonstrate to him that it was a military mistake to hit with chemical weapons, even with the air assets for the delivery of chemicals weapons will make that lesson to him. we've all learned a searing lesson from over 4,000 casualties in iraq. but there are occasions, and mr. chairman i would like to put in the record a crs listing and analysis of 150 occasions of the last four years when america has deployed it's forces into dangerous or hostile situations, and most of those we had limited purpose, limited deployment, and the cost was so limited that we forgotten the incident involved. i hope very much that what you're planning is something
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much more long those lines than iraq. the resolution that was sent to us was sent to us on august 31 is obviously flawed. i sent secretary kerry amendments the next day on september 1st. our colleagues, mr. van holland and mr. connolly have proposed a substitute as as senator menendez. i would like to explore with you what a good resolution has, knowing that you have the resolution of the 1973. is it acceptable that this resolution confirms what you have already said. it does not add powers to the president to put boots on the ground in syria. secretary kerry? >> absolutely.
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>> would a time limit of 60 days indicating that you might have other authorities back beyond those 60 days, what we're authorizing now is limited to 60 days, would that be acceptable? >> we would prefer that you have some kind of trigger in there with respect to his--if he were to come back and use chemical weapons again, that there would be a capacity to respond to that if you just have a fix-- >> well, you could always come back to congress or have a provision every time you use chemical weapons you would come back every 60 days. >> that would be acceptable. >> the second, the first-- >> the second. >> finally would you accept a provision that said you may want to pursue regime change from other--with other authorities that you have including arming the rebels under authority that you have, but the disresolution is limitedded to actions designed to punish and deter the use of chemical weapons and not to change the outcome of the
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civil war? >> the preference of the president is to have this aaire authorization so no one gets confused here, and people are not asked to vote for two difference things. one thing the president was is the capacity to enforce the international norm with respect to chemical weapons, and to make our word with respect to that meaningful to the region. >> i know your staff will be working with congress to draft a resolution in a more carefully tailored it is, the more narrow it is, the more likely you are to succeed in the house. we're marking up a resolution in this committee pursuing regular order. >> afterwards we can introduce the words for the record. >> "the new york times" editorial yesterday,
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mr. secretary, said it was ala alarming that president obama did not, quote, long ago put into place a plan for international action. there were alarming that we failed over the course of last several years to do what ought to have been done as "the new york times" editorial, hardly a conservative newspaper, i have three specific questions, and i would ask you to the best of your ability to answer all three. yesterday, secretary kerry, you said you wanted to make him, assad, i presume, to regret using chemical weapons. first question, do we have clear proof that assad himself ordered it. second, in an interview with chris wal wallace, you said thee was a vote in the house of representatives and the vote did
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not carry. the house of representatives voted against force slobodan milosevic. and it was a full month later of nato's bombing of march 24th, and the house voted against it on the 28th. during that time there were significant assurance that's operation would be of short duration and very limited, and many people thought and at nato headquarters, that it would lo t a few days. it lasted 78 days. specifically the mill lows miloc attacked, and it put albanians at flight, and you and i visited
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them as refugees. how do you define limited and short duration, and what might assad do in retaliation, and what contingency plans do we have when he attacks the other areas. and when we reconvene, to authorize the president to a court to hold accountable all those in odometer side, includin--allthose accountable g assad, who have slaughtered and raped in syria. we have learned lessons from sierra leone, and the rwanda court and the court in yugoslavia, it has to be immediate, and it could be a rallying point. you yourself said we should send them to jail. well, let's send them to jail. but by killing people and not
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targeting assad himself may be accountability, but i think there are other alternatives. >> well, congressman, i actually didn't have time yesterday because of our testimony to read "the new york times" editorial, so i would like to read it, but there is a plan in place. the london 11, so-called, have been working over some period of time working internationally. last year secretary clinton joined in in convening with the russians and others in meeting with geneva who resulted with the jeanne have a communique which set up a process in syria, and that's what we're currently supursuing now with france, gret
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britain, germany, the saudis and others. it may not be working as well as we would like. it may not have had impact as yet fully, we have seen president take response to the attacks of chemical weapons to increase lee tal lethal aid to e opposition. that is now known. >> we're almost out of town with all due respect. >> limited, short duration, special tribunal of war crimes for syria. >> i understand there have been conversations already with syria and others for a court. i would welcome the effort to hold people accountable for those kinds of abuses. as you know the international
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courts have not fared well with both parties. >> mr. meeks of new york. >> thank you, mr. chairman. in the interest of time i would like to submit my statement fo for--without objection. first, i agree with the president's decision to come to congress for the authorization of the use of u.s. military force to address the use of chemical weapons by syrian forces. i think it was the appropriate decision and both constitutionally and morally, and in making my determination on the use of force i try to look at it with both short and timlong term interest as my paramount focus. to that end i think the use of chemical weapons by the assad regime is a flagrant violation of international norms, and it is, indeed, against u.s.
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interest. it is not only against u.s. interest, it is also against the international interest. so if we act in an unilateral way i have huge concerns that if there is a violation we act militarily in a multi lateral way. we have regional countries, and i've been listening to the testimony here, but i don't know where nato is, i have heard n.a.t.o. say they have condemned it, but i have not heard them say that they would step up with us militarily. i heard the arab union, the arab leagues step up with us. i've heard people condemn, and mr. secretary you said the world is watching what we are doing, but i have yet to hear concrete things of what the world is doing. i'm afraid they will isolate the united states where we are only doing something unilaterally
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while the world sits back and watch when it's an international violation that took place. if you state, mr. secretary, that it matters today that we are working as an international community to rid the world of its worse weapon, i couldn't agree with you more, i cannot hear or see another setting with the world is stepping up and agreeing to act with us militarily, not just condemning the acts, but acting on that condemnation of the acts with us in a military fashion. and you say during the hearing yesterday, mr. secretary, you indicate russia has obstructed ethics to react to assad's regime's use of chemical weapons, there may be other ways in which russia may help. can you relate how russia is being engaged given the obama
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administration's correct assertion that there is no military solution to the crisis in syria, and quickly, general dempsey, i have serious concerns as i stated about any accident not supported internationally. unintended consequences including the prospect of long military action. and there are actions that the u.s. could take short of tipping the balance of syrian conflict that could impose and cost a an her rant behavior and further commit to the united states conflict. it would not be militarily decisive but to the conflict. can you elaborate what you meant when you said we could be decisively committed to the
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conflict, and if the u.s. commits to the conflict to syria, and are there risks of a longer engagement which are more pronounced? >> i'll have to take yours for the record, i predict. congressman, in the time remaining ihink it's the focus and purpose of the military action that will give us the best chance of limiting it in time and in commitment. other words, my letter to representative engals in what would it take to tip the scales of opposition. if we were to take military action ourselves to support the opposition that's a long prospect? what we're he determine something not to determine the grade but the specific once pure
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of when weapons. our intent is to limit it. that's not to say that i discount escalation, but we limit it as low as possible. >> we'll go to colleg congressm. >> my phones have been ringing off the hook with callers supporting the administration's position, we all know that woud not be accurate. nevertheless i'm trying to approach your resolution with an open mind that we'll consider any argument that the administration might make in favor of the use of force against the assad regime. that being said i do have serious concerns, and i think ma


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