tv [untitled] CSPAN June 8, 2009 12:30pm-1:00pm EDT
its use of ballistic missiles as a way of trying to increase the cost of potential -- if this is a u.s. attack, it would be to increase the cost to our allies of providing support for, for our power projection capabilities. also, potentially some shots against israel. if it's, an israeli attack, it would be to try to show that the -- that iran is going on the offensive against this attack. but even in the event of a u.s. attack, it would be to try to draw israel into the -- into the conflict. one question is whether they would try to close the straits innist -- in this
event, and i think that might be a little more difficult because as keith showed, iran is quite vullinable to shutting off its oil exports. and -- vulnerable to shutting off its oil exports, and the iranians will have to, i'm sure very carefully think about whether to try to inhibit exports out of the strait of hormos with the possibility that they could get hit in this area as well. i will point out that this will be something that if iran attempted it, it would be one of the areas where it could actuallyiment pose a strategic cost -- actually impose a strategic cost on the united states by internationalizing the conflict. global energy markets would, would speak to that. after, after conflict in the straight of -- stait of
hormuz or the persian gulf. other than that, one would have to look for -- it's not just immediate retaliation but potentially retaliation over time that could come in the form of proxy attacks, so-called proxy attacks. if there are, if there are -- if there are proxies who would listen to iran's request for support. but also potentially terrorist attacks in other parts of the world. and this is something that wouldn't necessarily happen right after a, a u.s. attack but, but could happen over time. i think -- support and diplomacy i think you'd see a great deal of support from a number of our traditional arab allies but at the same time there would be tremendous pressure to oppose it in the public domain. at the symbolic level to, to, to appease their domestic constituents, to play to their, their domestic audiences.
regarding the threat of iranian retaliation, i think you may find that this becomes a pretext for sort of a dragnet of internal -- of a round up of internal dissidents, you know, our interviews in the gulf certainly suggest that there's a lingering fear of, of sleeper cells, of a fifth column presence, but in the many cases, this is overblown. that said, you could still see a conflict being used to sort of top cover to, to, to suppress a lot of internal, internal dissent. >> okay, we will open it up to the audience. robin wright. in the front here, katie. >> thanks i have a question for fred. couple of questions, actually. can you take a look or compare for us the kind of activism you see the meddling by iran today versus the early days of the revelation, when they had dreams of exporting and -- revolution, when they had dreams of exporting and were
much -- were visibly helping a lot of groups, eastern saudi arabia, the eastern gulf, region as well as deeper in the arab world. and also, compare it with the what the oddies -- saudis are doing in promoting their own funds, promoting wahhbism, building mosquealize over the region and to what degree those two are trying to counter each other or is this really just their own domestic agenda. >> i think there's a qualitative difference between obviously the post-revolutionary period in that the appeal -- iran's ideology that it's trying to sell is a mix of rejectionism, it can arguably be called pan arabism. in fact there's an interesting quote from abofficial in hezbollah which said iran's foreign policy is essentially sunni because iran has essentially co-opted or taken over a number of traditionally pan-arab concerns, and i think this is an interesting dynamic. it's no longer the export of, of pure revolutionary
shihaism but it's this blend of rejectionism that sells very well when it's compared contrasted with the hesitation and caution of arab regimes. another dynamic that we've found in the region looking at threat perceptions of iran was this sent that -- sense that iran was trying to promote pluralism and sort of the fragmentation of the, of the arab state system promoting identity politics in saudi arabia. and this is very interesting, the iranians are so concerned about it within their own borders and yet you find abroad, and i think ali can speak to this, the speeches that promote pluralism or, or the, the promotion of identity politics and this is an interesting dynamic. i found in saudi arabia the saudis are petrified that thirannians are trying to stir up not just the shi'a but, the -- against the --. this is an interesting
dynamic. you go back to the early 1990s and there were a number of irani propaganda journals that appeal to that. soy it go business yond simply shism. it's rejectionism. it's an anti-status quo ideology. now, regarding the saudi-iranian contest, it's an asymmetric one. i think the saudis know that at the level of symbolic politics, they, they're behind. i mean, they are fundamentally crippled by their association with us. but they're trying to outspend the iran ybs. this is a lesson they learn -- iranians. this is a lesson they learned in the conflict -- in the contest for the post-soviet republication in the 1990s especially in -- simply outspend iranians and you can dent their sort of symbolic advantage that they enjoy in arab public opinion. >> okay. we'll take one and then barbara. go ahead. you can identify yourself before your question.
>> sure. my name is jared troutman with -- resources. my question s i was wondering if one of the reason iran seems to act up so much it because it feels maybe surrounded. the u.s. has a bases in iraq, kuwait, saudi arabia, barain, turkmenistan, azerbaijan, pretty much every country around iran, turkey, has got a u.s. presence. my question is do you think they would tone down the rhetoric a little bit and things could be a little bit smoothfer we chose to return to a strategy of offshore balancing and reduce our presence in the middle east? >> david, you want to speak to that at all? >> um, i think, that would probably help. oh, i'mary. i think that would -- -- i'm sorry. i think that would -- i think it's more than our posture. that, that determines whether they feel encircled or not. >> how could they not feel
encircled if iranians were occupying canada, cuba, mexico, for example. >> absolutely. but it's not the only thing, is what i am saying. they also at the same time have a confidence anew found confidence despite the presence of u.s. forces, especially in iraq and afghanistan. they believe they are on the march. a number of the elite believe nat they are on the march in the region and that they have a greater confidence in their, in their ability to present themselves as ang alternative to the united states. so i think, i think it's probably more than, than the posture. it's also what -- how our relations are, what our relationships are and what, -- what our interests are in the region. that makes them feel encircled or not. >> we'll move on. barbara.
>> talk, fred, if you would a little bit more about the iranian relationship with their proxies, partners, clients, however you want to identify them. particularly hezbollah. and, and how you see that relationship evolving if hezbollah does at all in the lebanese elections coming up if it does even better -- has more power than it currently does. thanks. >> well, we tried to convey in our study is that iran's relationships with these, these nonstate acters are in fact real and lethal and, and substantive. at the same time they are bounded by certain realities in the domestic states, the states where these proxies reside. and i think these groups ultimately follow their own domestic agendas. and iran has a long history of being disappointed and exacerbated by the, the lack of reciprocity that it finds from these proxies t. gives
all this aid, it gives all this support, and that doesn't always translate into the desired degree of resprospy. -- respaucity. regarding hes bella, you know, hezbollah, you know, responds to a dmesic constituent. much of their appeal, we found in our field work in lebanon, was due to rising sectarian tensions, the fear that there was this sunni empowerment, this growing radicalism, and that many of the shi'a were reverting to hezbollah as sort of the only protecter that could defend them in the face of this, this rising sunni threat. so i think hezbollah is playing to the domestic constituency. you know, regarding the elections, i mean, i don't, i don't want to predict what the relationship will be. i think there could be a strong case that, that hezbollah will increasingly act as a responsible political actor inside lebanon that this increased political power could in fact moderate it but i think
the relationship wiran will still be, will still be solid but again it won't translate into direct control and what we try to convey in our study is that iran certainly influences these groups but it cannot control them. they should not be thought of as automotons. >> okay. in the back. over here. one -- one and then the other one behind. maybe you could both ask one question after the next and then we'll have the responses. >> yes, hi, john duke anthony, i agree with post of what's been said here but some additional points on possible reactions. there's some macro ones and some micro ones. in my talks with officials from all six of the gcc countries at the heads of state summit and outside of those, a consensus seems to be if the united states were to attack iran that they could probably weather the reaction locally in their
societies. if israel does it, that consensusalize bets would be off. if, it's alleged that israel does teven if israel doesn't do tall bets would still be off. and if there was some collusion between the u.s. and israel again, all bets would be off. that's the consensus i get. on the micro side, you can't block the straits physically if you've ever been there. you'd see why in terms of the depth and the width but you could block it rhetorically. you could brock it -- block it analytically by saying you've done this, that, and the other, and bow you are -- boy, you are going to get really hit and people might not want to call that bluff. this happened from time to time during the irani' iraq boy. all eight years of t. the convoys that wouldn't go through the straits because lords of london would clean their dlok stretched all the way back to musket and this happened for years and years there so something like that
could happen again that would be stratstrofk on oil prices and a whole bunch of other things. insides of berain, you have the last con-- bahrain you have last country in the world where shi'a are the majority and in this case the overwhelming majority far more than than -- far more so than iraq but they are not in control of the government. the degree of dissidence. 4 or 5 times are over so there's an exposure there. with regard to the uae, the other three islands that are still occupied, in iran's special operation forces, in undersea capabilities are seriously to be taken into consideration, almost every year since 1993, iran has had naval exercises practicing in some cases amphibious landings now the amphibious landings would not be targeted towards brazil or argentina so there is this particular concern.
in one of your statements that iran feels it's on the role in the run on the image level and on the justice level in terms of supporting so-called righteous resistance in lebanon and palestine, at various gcc summits,sick joke that circulates is that america attacked iraq and iran won. without firing a single bullet or shedding a single drop of blood. >> thank you. okay. since there were a few questions within that, we'll have you respond and then we'll move on. just one or two questions after that. >>. >> a couple of points. i definitely agreed with most of what you said. i would suggest that whether it's the united states acting without israeli collusion or israel acting by itself, israel -- israel and the united states would be considered to be in collusion, certainly by iran, and iran will try to
promote that perception in the arab world. so i am not sure there's going to be as far as perception is concerned a big difference between just us rile -- izre a-- israel attacking and just the united states attack figure that were to come about. that's just something to keep in mind. we should expect that. israel will be brought in one way or another. the second thing about the strait of hormuzening i think physically you are right, it's probably impossible to close it and when i talked about the strategic costs that iran could impose on the united states, by pretty much internationalizing any conflict, it's, it's not necessarily because they physically closed it but because they have made it very, very expensive for commercial ships to go through. or just made it bad enough to the point where crews will not, will not take their ships through the strait of hormuz.
even with u.s. navy escort. so. >> back there -- there's one back there. [inaudible] >> iran to retaliate as well -- >> [inaudible] >> absolutely. yeah. hi, richard parker, american foreign policy project. question for david. i was, i was interested in your comments on iran's missile. work. i just wanted to push you a little bit. there are sort of two lines of thought that i have heard about the missiles. one is that this is clear evidence that they are pursuing nuclear capability because their miserals very impercise they could only be useful if they had a nuclear warhead on them. the other point of view i've heard is that it seems a little bit more closely aligned to yours is that they do have a conventional deterrent, particularly in light of use -- particularly in light of iran's feebleness with regard to any other response to an air
attack. their planes wouldn't stack up very well against either israel or the u.s. at l. i'm just wondering what do you feel is the fairest inference to draw? is it fair to say that this is an, a data point in -- you know, that, that shows a nuclear intention, nuclear weapons intention or is it much more ambiguous than that? >> i don't know if it shows intention or just this is about as capable as they can become at this point. one would suggest that their longer range missiles are much less accurate than their shorter ones. their shorter range missiles. and that this could suggest if they are not working on ways of improving the accuracy of their lodger range missiles -- longer range missiles then maybe they have -- the question that you asked was either or and i think it's kind of both.
i believe that even in the event they have nuclear weapons, they cannot give up their conventional deterrent capabilities, and now i am talking about conventional nuclear versus conventional as opposed to unconventional. that they would continue to work on the, the conventional -- the accuracy of their conventional -- whether they have nuclear weapons or not. they want to maintain. i think a number of different avenues to deter. i really don't know whether, whether what you are asking kind of suggests that they are not trying to improve the accuracy of their long range missiles. because they are just saying -- waiting for that nuclear warhead to be placed on top, and i don't know that that's the case. i think they are going as far as they can with their, with their accuracy and their capabilities.
>> i guess -- the question was whether there was sufficient justification for, for these missiles as a conventional deterrent that one could plausibly sufficient justification that they would do this even if they had no nuclear intention. would it be rational for them to pursue this, this missile technology purely conventional deterfant they had no nuclear. >> oh, i think absolutely. i believe they, they learned a lot about this from the iran' iraq war. they looked at ballistic missiles as if not not necessarily accurate they weren't that accurate in the in the iran' iraq war. they are a major psycholog c8 weapon and i think the fact that they can reach israel even with very bad accuracy is both a big part of its self-immage and the way it portrays itself to the, to the region in particular, to the arab world especially.
and also they look at it as a way of reaching out and touching a keyadsversary of theirs so i think they would be doing this whether or not they were going for nuclear weapons. >> okay. final question. >> voice of america t. was in the news that is cooperating with -- arabs in an unprecedented way due to the threat of iran. so if pushing forward the peace process is also part of the agenda of this administration. do you think it's good to keep iran in isolation? >> jaw i think perhaps too much was made of the cooperation between israel and arab states.
i mean, i'm -- i'm not sure i completely understand your question of -- i mean how the two are linked. >> well, if israel feels a threat from iran and that's why it's cooperating with mad rid arabs so keeping the threat of iran alive might have some benefits. to resolve some conflicts in the region. is that a true assumption or no? >> that's an interesting take. you know, i mean, i think, you know, our interviews in the region, when we looked at, at arab perceptions of, of the iranian threat, one kuwaiti rights activist said you know address the palestinian issue and you'll defang iran in the region. and i think much of its mobilizing capability, the vocabulary that it uses is is related to the arab-israeli issue. it's not completely and i think the fundamental issue is governance in societies
and the gap there, the tension there is often expressed in the terms of the arab-israeli conflict. that's why palestine is such an important issue. so from the region i think the arab-israeli front is a critical one for addressing the challenge of iran. >> i think we might also just to quickly add, a good litmus test would be to see what the reaction is to this obama administration's overtures to arab allies to see what are they going to put forward on the peace process? and if they're, if the concern over iran gives them that incent to have do so, maybe that would be a good litmus test but so far we have yet to see results so that might suggest an answer to you. okay. we are going to take a break because i assume that all of you focuses who have -- folks who have stayed with us all morning which we are grateful for and have really enjoyed this discussion so far are probably very hungry, so there is food outside in the haulway. we are doing box lunches, since we are stadium seating here, take your various
>> ralook live a. warm day in the nation's capitol a. look live at the u.s. capitol, where both the house and senate will be gaveling in to start the week. the house briefly started its day at 12:30 p.m. eastern with morning hour speeches, legislative work, gets underway in the house at 2:00 p.m. you can watch that live on c-span. meanwhile, the senate comes to order also at 2:00 p.m. eastern. after some general speeches lawmakers will continue work on a bill regulating tobacco products with a vote to advance that bill set for 5:30 p.m. eastern. live senate coverage right here on c-span2. and we have more live events for you later.
while we wait for david simon at the national press club 1:00 eastern a short portion of today's "washington journal". a reporter looks tomorrow's democratic primary in the virginia governor's race. >> election day, primary election day in the state of virginia. the commonwealth of virginia. jeff scha piro is the reporter for dispatch. governor's side a three-way race, mr. scha piro tell us why the rest of the nation should be interested in this race. >> virginia and new jersey are the only states choosing governors this year, and these are states that were also carried by president obama. so the elections for governor in new jersey and virginia will be vused -- views as referenda on what's going on in washington or not. >> two of the candidates are known nationwide, particularly one of them for folks familiar with the democratic party. why don't you tell us about the three and who's leading
in the race according to most polls. >> well, i suspect you are referring to terry mc-- the former chairman of the democratic national committee and beth bud of bill clinton. he parachuted into the virginia race ten months ago and assembled a fairly impressive organization. and raise a good deal of money but a the pre-primary polls which are hasten to add are likely more curiosity than anything else due to small turnout suggest he may be fading somewhat a. second candidate in this race is brian moran amember, former member of the house of delegates in the virginia legislature from the city of alexandria, just across the potomac river from you all and he is the younger brother of jim moran a longtime congressman from northern virginia who sits on the appropriations committee and has been touched somewhat by some of the controversies surrounding military
contracts. and the dollars that congressmen generate from lobbyists for the defensedry. the third candidate is -- defense industry. the third senator is creigh deeds. those polls seem to suggest a surge on mr. deeds' part. he's a former member of the house of delegates as well. and was the unsuccessful candidate for attorney general in 2005. he was defeated by 360 votes. it was the closest statewide election in virginia history. and he was defeated by the man he'd like to take on in the fall, bob mcdonald, the republican. >> your story yesterday in the times dispatch said that mr. mcauliffe said mr. deeds can't beat mr. mcdonnell and that's his, his pitch to the voters. >> well, what i suspect an attack by someone who has been perceive as a front runner on another candidate
indicates that the ground maybe shifting. mr. mcauliffe, bill of complaint against mr. deeds focuses on two issues. one, mr. deeds' support of firearms rights, very sensitive issue, particularly in rural virginia, and also his support several years of ago of abincrease in the fuel tax to pay for transportation improvements. mr. mcauliffe noting that bob mcdonnell has already defeated deeds, and because of those issues could likely defeat him again. >> as we wrap up here, what will you be watching for when the democratic turnout -- with the democratic primary tomorrow and, and, and, and it's implications for the general election? >> well, certainly because a light turnout is expected, really anything could happen but this seems to be pretty much a two-person race, mcol scpf deeds, and the conventional wisdom for what that, that is worth, is that if mr. deeds pulls this off, despite the good deal of
work ahead in the northern virginia suburbs and hampton roads at along the virginia seacoast that he might be in a position to better compete for swing votes against bob mcdonnell in the fall. >> jeff scha piro political reporter for the "richmond times-dispatch" read his work at timesdispatch.com. thank you for being with us this morning. >> thank you. >> private donations. >> taxpayers. >> i don't really know. >> from public television. >> donations. >> i don't know where the money comes from. >> federally. >> contributions from donors. >> how is c-span funded? 30 years ago, america's cable companies created c-span as a public service. a private business initiative, no government mandate. no government money. . .