tv Iranian Influence in Iraqs Government CSPAN January 22, 2019 3:59pm-5:05pm EST
supported by republicans already and each of them would reopen the government in august 2 continue discussions on border security. the sooner leader mcconnell allows a vote on those bills, the sooner we can end this pointless shot down and reopen the government. mr. president trump, leader mcconnell, the. american people, 800,000 workers are asking and waiting for you to act. i yield the floor. >> just within the last half-hour, the majority leader announced in the senate will hold two votes thursday on reopening the government. one would be in a measure proposed by president trump, which includes border while funding. the other would be the house passed short-term funding for february the eighth grade both of those measures need 60 votes to advance. the votes are coming up thursday afternoon at 2:30 at the senate
today approving an extension of temporary assistance for needy families that passed in the house last week and now goes to president trump for his signature. the senate back in tomorrow 11:00 a.m. eastern. live coverage here at c-span2. we will take you live to a discussion, not momentarily on iran's efforts to influence officials earlier about both political and economic security and religious leaders. world politics, the discussion getting underway shortly here on c-span2. [inaudible conversations]
[inaudible conversations] >> at afternoon. i think we'll get started even though we'll have people trickling in over the next few minutes. welcome this cold afternoon. at least it's not as cold as it was yesterday. i name is dr. paul coyer, research professor at the institute of politics. we are for many of you that don't know, we are not a think tank. we do like to think, but we are not a think tank. we are actually at graduate school. we have about 17 one-year graduate certificates. several masters degrees and it just started a doctorate in strategic studies. we are privileged today to have michael present her from the hud financed to do. i give you a bit of his background. recently we have come into contact with them last year or so as i become more good traveling there in getting more involved in the dynamic there. michael has many years of experience. not to make them sound too old.
he is still young. he is a senior fellow at the hudson institute. senior middle east analyst, former adjunct lecturer for the college of international security affairs. and a visiting fellow at the institute of national strategic studies at national defense university. michael is a former intelligence officer with 28 years of experience working security, countering terrorist -- in the middle east, north africa and southeast asia. he's an expert in the middle east and north african political security issues counterterrorism analysis and strategic planning. spent considerable time working in iraq as an advisor to rack security intelligence apparatus. michael served in desert shield and deserts her arm, served as liaison officer and director in the intifada as a counterintelligence officer at centcom in 2001. in company commander in
afghanistan in 2002. michael served as embedded advisor with fish burger and mozilla 2005 and 2006 and the civilian estimate working for dia served as a political military advisor focusing on reconciliation, the insurgency from 2007 through 2011. it says here you are violent extremists. here are violent against the extremist from 272,013. anyway, michael and i are going to have a discussion here about iranian influence in iraq. there is not much of a bigger topic right now. that needs to be focused because of the immense impact iran's influence in iraq is having on dynamics they are on how we play our hand going forward.
it is just a critical dynamic. so michael, why don't we start by altering things over to you for maybe a five-minute overview. what are the highest points come in the most important thing is to need to focus on now about iran going back a few years to your events were talking about earlier and what we need to focus on right now. >> thank you, paul for having me. can you hear me okay? the key takeaways right now are basically 10-year-old sunni arabs in iraq and syria are going to want to killed 10-year-old americans two years from now. because of this campaign not only the iraq war is to begin in 2003, but this campaign to defeat isis. the key take away when it comes to iran if iran was never in iraq to defeat isis.
iran was in iraq to defeat future sunni threats from iraq and also to establish itself in iraq's political, economic and security apparatus and that is where we have iran and syria and white israel is willing to strike the cubs first target because of this i would call it a failed u.s. policy in iraq the last 15, 16 years. it is not because people at the time were doing the wrong things. it's because it wasn't consistent. because success wasn't mirrored. success wasn't followed. it doesn't mean that by any means the american generals at the time were doing the wrong thing. it is just an american generals are doing different things over the course of 15 years that have led to a continued cycle of violence that will have 10-year-old americans fighting in iraq is 20 rows because iraq and the middle east will
continue to incubate the existential press whether it be the next iteration of al qaeda coming next iteration of isis. now we have this new added dynamic. the atomic revolutionary guard corps as liberation army proxies in iraq and syria that have hegemonic hold. they want to build the threaten u.s. interests are sunni allies. >> it's interesting you say about the 10-year-old boys. one of the things i noticed americans are so popular with them right now. you stick out as an american manner and they notice you and they'll want to talk to you and practice english. that is a key demographic whose perceptions right now are being shaped and make sure they are being shaped by the right
courses. >> is a great opportunity for future security experts, for people currently involved in our intelligence apparatus, our national security in the national security realm. look at iraq to 70% of the population is under the age of 30. they are increasingly against the political parties. i'm not talking about the sunnis. i'm not talking about just the sunni arabs. i'm not talking about the political construct. i'm talking about 60% of this country now opposing political parties tied to iran. a key thing happened in 2018. they rose up and burned down the iranian consulate. dave berg down the office buildings. they burned down a soon-to-be designated terrorist organization. they burned down their offices also.
they vandalized from these entities and iranian proxy. the religious parties set up -- the shia youth are pushing back against shia political parties and they made a big mistake under this current leadership and we condemned this. we didn't condemn it with nuance. we should've said we understand your frustrations. they're not getting water. you're not getting electricity. basra basically generates iraq's income and yet people can't have internet. don't have water. don't have electricity. when they protested, they actually wrote her chance in arabic, english, but the one that was on top was in farsi because they blamed iraq for
this in the political parties tied. we have a great opportunity. this last election in 2018, estimates between 25% to 40% of the population voted. because of that, prime minister of body was the preferred candidate. general petraeus on the ground. imagine the cia and u.s. special forces as one unit operating in iraq with unlimited resources and no rule of law to be able to conduct assassination. make people disappear. be able to do things with impunity. this group basically is on the ground doing these types of things. and finally coming of the sunni,
kurdish pain attention and reject tenet. instead of backing the shia youth in basra, and they can then do them for burning down the iranian consulate in closer consulate in basra, sending a message that is how we run the american soft. i forgot to mention in iranian backed proxy -- they were close enough. a common theme to the facility in iraq plead for the explosions and then go about your day. in this case we shut down something that the youth wanted to be there. one of the most important things in iraq is to cultivate this electorate. you have again the 2022
election -- correction, the 2018 election, three parties came in. again, 24 to 40% turnout. party they came in second was the hot tub party. it is also bad actors in the 2007 general petraeus already saw them on the radar and basically charged h.r. mcmaster to assess the level of iranian influence in iraq in 2007 because iran had become the biggest threat. now these political parties are these entities came in first, second and third. >> 12 years ago are now coming reality. everything we wanted to stop in
2007 we were already trying to top what happened on june 14 when isis rolled in. we are already trying to stop, but what is happening now and again this is a criticism of u.s. foreign policy and iraq after the surge in 2007 in 2000 native is getting better to the point where president obama said it's as good as it's going to get. but send a signal to all the players that were leaving in which he started to see was immediate security degradation. this is 2008. we have 20-year-old americans in iraq now. 10 years later, fighting isis is now being threatened by iranian militias. this will continue to repeat itself. these parties are now charged in the recipe for the media recipe. they are not there to defeat ices.
they needed to exist because they operate outside of the constitution. they operate outside of the formal security apparatus. >> with talk about that a second. a couple other points but you just brought up the fact that there seems to be portrayed by shia groups as an grass-roots and popularly driven but it's not. -- in fact, this is evidence between iran and washington. talk a little bit about that. >> the argument here is really difficult when you're in this foreign policy circles to talk about a designated terrorist. designated terrorist groups that now have legitimate feed in the
council of representatives in iraq. getting back to back, you demographic in iraq, they want a relationship with the united states. they don't want one simply military relationship or diplomatic relationship with the united states. they want western investment. they want western universities. i'm talking about the american university of baghdad here at american university's american university of mosul. they want that. they want a relationship with united case that reaps benefits and opportunities and lasso american behind training a 97% shia security force to go and put down disenfranchised sectors in iraq. it is not the disenfranchised sunni anymore. nowadays the disenfranchised shia that are becoming the loudest voice in this country and it's a great opportunity for
the united states to help iraq return to its traditional bulwark status against iran. that doesn't mean that it didn't like saddam. it means you're actually going to use sunni, kurd and shia to finally say no, iraq has an opportunity to basically it is the economy against iran. with the sanctions on iran, we've heard there's messages out of europe that are getting tired of iran's aggressive behavior in the middle east and some other goodies. they haunt ayr cannot fly in germany anymore, which is a big deal for those of you who follow sanctions and iran's use of civilian commercial aircraft moves into syria and other places in the violation of u.n. security council resolutions, they get nobody talks about it. you have a great opportunity now
to help cultivate this. in 2020 to go see a large turnout because they're so upset. iraqis are so upset with the result of the 2018 election in you're going to have leaders that are pro-business, pro-economy, pro-west, anti-iran. not anti-iranian, but anti-regime. i get the argument. i talked to a lot of people about iran. you've got to understand their neighbors. they share a border. the islamic republic of mexico doesn't decide our president. the islamic republic of candidates in a primacy over security forces. i want iran to have a candidate u.s. relationship with iraq. not the one that they have. not the one russia has its ukraine. not the one that i ran house with iraq. >> that raises another issue.
so let's talk just briefly. it's a complicated topic. what is your sense of the realism of the likelihood and iraqi nationalistic identity, a positive one can develop in the shia and the prg and everyone else and never one as we know has been fractured and 100 years ago coming out of the umpire. it never has been a cohesive nation except when it was forced to be under saddam. what are some steps you think can be taken to create that sort of and build on positive trends to develop that sort of identity and cohesiveness. >> it's up to the u.s. to decide to cultivate. not cultivate, but highlight this growing leadership in this country that is against, you
know, extremism in all forms, that basically want to be able to get online or be able to travel somewhere and not be held up because you have in isis pocket here. you have shia militias threatening your government. but a country like that. there are leaders that we need to highlight, that the west needs to highlight in the best way for iraqi nationalism to take shape is for the shia use to protest the treatment of sunni arabs and kurds in iraq because there is a sectarian divide. i get criticized a lot for having a sick. dynamic to my panels and my ratings. but it is fair. when i was in most like.us argue
for the shia were for the sunni. i guess to you guys. they said were shia. i said i'm for the shia. and then i went down to back down and got the same thing. you always hear something like that. all you have to do is simply look at the people doing all the right things. all the hard things. a friend of mine plays cello, you know, to bring music. there's so many good things to cultivate here or to highlight. >> are meant and there's a story in "the guardian" two years ago of a violinist who played in bothell when isis took over for the day they came and he played violin and then he hit his violin because he had multiple of them in the underneath floors of his home. when they left again he symbolized that freeing of the spirit. little ones, but george h.w. bush would call a point of
light. >> yes. are those things in the accusations that you're a violinist. so when you run for political office, hi jolly, she was candidate for the ministry of education and shia to step down because her brother i talked to all sides of this. the iraqi government says he was a senior isis leader. arg says he was a senior isis reader. sunni arabs they know, he was a mechanic and muscle and was to do a propaganda video under the threat of execution. if he has all of those things, should be tried for that. you extend punishment to the system. we have to remember what tea bath vacation was. a way to take any confidence. didn't matter if you are sunni, christian or shia.
if you're brought to the religious parties. they basically exited the capable security force that we were working with in 2003 to basically tamp down on security want saddam was removed. the rockies general said and military that were against their leader to summarily execute people and basically an incompetent leader and deep ratification gave the shia force to shia political parties and militias and now you basically have a 97% force and the iraqi army that the mod, ministry of defense and also ministry of the interior. but you also have this group outside of that. yes i understand the nuances that not everyone is inoperative
just the ones in charge. just the ones that decide you get paid. just the ones who decide who goes where. so you have this beautiful story of a violin that does is amended deep ratification of steroids, which is the new law. i don't know if you know this, but if you're captured in syria and you happen to be in isis controlled territory, we believe the government you should be looked at and the problem is if i'm an unwed military announced in isis controlled territory i actually got a comment on my beard earlier. i am in isis fighter or in isis collaborator. basically to individuals, one
steeped in each to the judge that says you're in isis fighter in your lawyers will defend you for about two minutes and say you're not done in the judge will say the evidence is overwhelming. you are now going to be sentenced to death and executed for being in isis collaborator. the punishment for collaborator is no different in isis fighter. this is d. education on steroids. deep ratification takes you on eligible for a technocrat position. the sentences you to death or puts you in prison for a long time. again, it goes back to that 10-year-old sunni female 50s mom, dad, uncle, whatever relative in prison or executed for having the violin under isis rule for three years and simply going along. i'm not a terrorist sympathizer.
[inaudible] certain things like not every is a terror. only the ones that are. how do you reform somebody? i got asked a great question the other day. you believe a terrorist can be reformed? i do. you can have sunni muslim scholars talk to somebody who's a terrorist and say you shouldn't do this. but what you say to that that is not a terrorist that is fair because his mom, dad, uncle who basically killed in a u.s. airstrike against when isis sniper where we dropped a 500-pound bombs on a building that has 60 civilians and we killed the isis target. if he pushes than -- precision strike. you now have this kid that you can't talk to him and say you shouldn't be a terrorist because he's not there for that reason. he is there because he wants
revenge. he may join al qaeda in isis iteration whatever it is that is because they have the means to get him his revenge. the weapons, the money, the protection. we are not only looking at his law mess for extremists. we are looking at people with legitimate revenge issues where they believe his righteous indignation 10 years from now because we prop to the pro-iranian government in baghdad should we condemn the shia youth for burning down the iranian consulate after a sickly ordered its iraqi to use late rounds to suppress. these are all the things that we've ignored and is pretty typical. i spent some time in bahrain can listen to general mattis speak. general mattis said something very eloquent but it resonated with me. he said my job is to give deployment one more hour, one more day, one per month, one per
year to do their jobs. that's what they did by not addressing the iranian influence in the area. by saying that the jcpoa did not -- these are things that actually happened. the thing about what he said is his biggest concern was putting american soldiers at risk. but you ensure that the next secretary of defense has to do that because of all the things you didn't address while in opposition. we have an over reliance on transient political figures and that's the way our democracy is built. it's a good thing that we have change out. the problem is you get two years out of somebody in two years out of somebody else and we have this has been slow to our policy
in the middle east for all of our adversaries have the same one for 40 years >> the lack of american long-term strategic continuity. i wanted to shift a little bit of running off of something you said about public opinion turning is a pendulum against the iranians right now, which is true. in iran as well. and so, you have an opportunity, which we may or may not use lightly. let's talk about a key part of the dynamic that a lot of people here i'm sure know about and read about. talk about his iraqi nationalism and whether or not he provides some sort of positive leadership to she accused that we've been talking about. flesh that out a little bit for us. >> so what i like about the shia youth is they are doing -- they are not opposed to over trying
to do with iraqi nationalism, but they still don't want to be tied to other political parties. even the heck my party, the knowledge party is done a lot of outreach and they are more closely tied to the youth movement. if they're having a hard time because they still identified with the father's role and also the shia religious parties. [inaudible] somebody that we actually had to hide from his followers because his followers tend to be very anti-iran is shia militiamen and now absalom. but sadr is not.
i think the only thing that would change his mind if is if he married a strong woman. maybe he change his mind then but al-sadr is not who people hope he was going to be and then so the money got into support and in 2010 he was against maliki and in 2014 he was against maliki and sulimani got him to support him. they said who do you want to be prime minister. and they agreed on how many, they agreed on salih to be president and they agreed on mohammed to be to see our speaker, not because they were strong against iran because it would not be strongagainst iraq . all likable men, but there's
a difference between a likable guy and an ineffective guy. a likable person and an effective person and if you're looking for somebody to push back against iran, none of them are them >> you and i have talked before about the jockeying over the current cabinet, the difficulties in filling it and the lack of the ministry of defense and ministry of the interior and one of the points you made is even if you get somebody won't " good in either of those positions in terms of our position in the country, you still have all the mid-level bureaucrats and all the others that are beholden to tehran that run the ship. talk if you would about that jockeying for those posts over the government formation but also about the bureaucratic presentation in iran. the key tactic in a swaging american concerns about iranian influence and other ministries was to put a sunni in charge of the ministry and have the deputy director control the ministry and we didn't look below the minister.
the intelligence community did and those of us that were embedded in the ministries said this gentleman is in charge of this ministry. every sunni minister of defense has told american advisers on not in charge of my ministry. every one of them. you have the thing that's going on right now with the security ministries is interesting. the reason they have primacy over the iraq security forces is because the horses own them as well and the court is transferring your proxy in iraq. they control iraq's security andintelligence apparatus . polyol armory was, you have these meetings in dc where she's supposed to be off the record. i can't tell you how many times he was pushed as a
potential prime minister for iraq to see how we felt about it and those of us that knew who he was said this is exactly the guy sulimani wants to be prime minister because he's facilitated everything that sulimani has wanted to do, everything that mohandas has wanted to do, everything that he's wanted to do, he is the legitimate iraqi security force representative of the force and i'm saying this as a former intelligence officer that worked with these individuals and brief one of the general advisers and i said sir, he's a bottom corner commander. no he's not. he told me he's not. okay, he's not but here's all the intel that he is and that general today says he is a soleimani. so it's very difficult to
look at the iraqi security forces and we go there, i talked to a general who has a key role in shaping the iraqi security force and providing weapons and training and i said what arewe building ? what do we want iraq's military to do? he didn't really have an answer. it was kind of like wow, why are we giving them jets? it's not for saudi arabia and it's not for syria, it's to put down insurgencies in their own country. i'll never forget general, dual kalmar, a relative to the marriage and he was in charge of baghdad, the baghdad operations. then he had primacy over all the operation centers in iraq and he wanted artillery.
we asked him why do you want artillery? so i could aim it that way and that way was fallujah, the sunni enclaves and he said why do you want to? if we ever have a motorcycle we barraged him with artillery and they learn their lesson and they said the next time they see an insurgent with a mortar system they say please don't do that again. the last time the government had a family and blew out my house and i believe that was a pragmatic tactic. something that they should recommend to the united states, you should do this and they recommended that we use our specter gunships and other assets against sunni enclaves in baghdad but would not allow us to do the same in jam controlled areas. so the iraqi army is built, put down the civilian
insurgency. the iraqi army is built to defeat isis. the iraqi army is only concerned about the areas it cares about, that's why rahmani was 80 percent destroyed, mosul was 60 percent destroyed and fallujah which is one of the towns held by isis early on was left there for 2 and a half years under isis control when it could have been liberated within a month if it was strategic to iran. if it was strategic tobaghdad but it wasn't, it didn't have infrastructure, it was a place to punish . so when we talk about what we are looking at in iraq, we are looking at, i'll say it one more time. 10-year-old americans fighting in iraq as 20-year-olds, this i'm not against the next generation of isis but militias that have primacy, freedom of movement, are deployed in syria, are making threats to hit israel to the point where israeli generals are saying we will hit controlled militias in iraq on the iraqi side of the border because
soleimani has told them to stage there because if they go into syria they are vulnerable to israeli airstrikes. >> that brings up another segue before i get to q&a. and it's the broader contract, you've got israel, syria, the impending american pullout which is shaking shaking things up. you've got the idf and the officers right before christmas, we were concerned about our pullout for obvious reasons. let's talk a bit more about that dynamic. what does the pullout for syria mean about what's going on for iraq, how iran is likely to react, etc. click the american pullout of syria is based on this narrative
that isis is defeated. isis is not defeated. we simply knock down buildings. what we've done in this defeat isis campaign, we've destroyed sunni cities, exited the refugee population and we claimed victory over a enemy that we have temporarily defeated and we are temporarily holding that territory that's been cleared of isis with the wrong forces. and in iraq, you don't hold sunni territory with shia militias that view it as an isis collaborator. >> muzzle 1.6 million people in that were 46,000 isis fighters, yet the city was destroyed and 1.6 million most lavish were exited and put into the refugee camps. for the refugee system. and the old city, you had an estimated 600 isis fighters and 60,000 civilians. that is an incredible ratio, that is one for everyone isis financial, you killed 60 civilians.
killed or injured 60 civilians. human rights watch at the make 1 million iraqis are missing in iraq . that's a lot of people. and we don't talk about that, we're not looking at what happens five years from now, what happens 10 years from now, what's happening now so a lot of syria, a win for iran, a win for russia, it win for assad and isis, it's a defeat for our allies, it is a win for a nato ally that's not acting like a nato ally. and the president runs the risk of doing or what he said obama did in 2008, president trump said obama pulled out of the rack too soon and it led to the rise of isis. if the president pulls out of syria, peace is facing an isis resurgence ahead of the 20/20 elections. and we're already seeing, isis is alive and well in iraq and the provinces. in the, in syria and the
previously held territory. there's still an isis presence on the border and the thing about this is the president's right to criticize syria policy because it wasn't working. our syria policy is supposed to defeat isis and exit iran. we don't have force for the strategy to do either. we are working with the stf in northern syria to hold territory and been a very capable ally and defeated isis there's a longold . because there looking hard and held territory and with concessions from either damascus , from working with russia and iran to get assurances that they will keep them from being targeted by turkey. there's also something there, but the one thing that work in the search and i again this is why i criticize us foreign policy is you don't repeat success, you don't mirror success. the search used duties,
basically had 105 status sunni military point out to al qaeda was. point out or protect their neighborhoods from shia militias. there is static force. general flynn, general mcchrystal, all saidthe best way to defeat the sunni insurgency is with sunnis , and sunni intelligence. and sunni intelligence and this isis campaign never sought to use the sunni that malady exited from the iraqi security forces to fill isis interact, never built a sunni forcein syria . the biggest problem here is isis is alive and well in northern iraq. reconstruction funds are not going to rebuild rahmani and mosul because why get isis something back to take over? the argument is almost let's
destroy itself isis doesn't have anything to fall back on and yet isis is still there. >> i think we need to start going to q&a because isuspect with a topic this day there will be a lot of questions so let's start with you in the back . >> let's see how close you can get with a boom, just triedto project . [inaudible] >> i'm wondering is there any possibility that iraq could evolve into a loose federation of shiite, sunni and occurred like some of these autonomous regions? is there any possibility of that happening?
>> not without violence. iraq is like an ipad. you drop it on the floor and it breaks in three pieces, it doesn't work. the problem with that argument, i'd also say that was the first time iraqis all agreed to disagree with an american, when vice president biden said we should divide the country up in paris. everybody wants to cook, everybody wants basra. the sunni don't believe they make up 20 percent of the population because of the landmass that occupied. the sunnis want kirkuk, but she'll want kirkuk. all the infrastructure is in contest, everyone will fight for it and right now that shiite government has primacy and they are in those areas,
they're in the region, there where the infrastructure is. when isis rolled into mosul, the first place isis went to was the revenge of operation in tikrit and they went there because that symbolized where saddam hussein was from and they went in there and they decimated the place. they decimate the place, there were 1000 isis fighters that held territory until we finally broke with baghdad that we were bringing in us airstrikes . so the government now and decide whether that happens. there will be no sunni stand, there will be no curtis dan unfortunately because you have that the okay has now sided with theirtraditional allies . . i don't want to say allies that if you have to look at what happened after the gulf war, you literally saw the p okay working against the kde to try to seize our bill and then you have that split so you have these factions that are vying for the same territory so the partition
>> lobby was part of that whole thing and that was the problem, we had this calculation, locates saddam as much as we do and it turned out to be iraq. so we think iraqi parties tied to iran to go in. it's the opposite. it's like george cassandra in seinfeld. if i act this way, i'll have a better day . >> first time i've heard that seinfeldanalogy for iraq. go ahead. >> . [inaudible] >>. >> we seen this movie before, haven't we? >> basically the lebanese has
a law model is why we have all the iraqi shia militias in iraq now. but it was semi-accidental happened as well. the core model is now being used in lebanon with the lebanese armed forces and that is basically saturating the level officer ship, the ones that decide with a poke program or at least intimidated by iran lebanese hezbollah casualty while you can argue specifics with the majority of the laf is not shia nor is it tied to lebanese has the law, there aren't enough leaders that are synthetic and committed by or influenced by, and again, what are we building the lebanese armed forces to do? is it to go after israel? is it to go after jordan? it's to protect from a civilian terrorist threat which is lebanese hasthe law. in iraq, we're building the iraqi military , to go after
terrorist groups, parliaments, they're not going after iranian terrorist groups when we assess the capabilities of iraqi security units, whether or not there are effective against the sunni terrorist group like isis . we never ask them to go after . when i say for example the charge of the knights, things like that where malady went after shia militias, he went afteral-sadr . he went after jam because he was a officer.and it's things like that, he's a great american, i know he's an iraqi but we took him as a great american because he would go after both groups and admitted he was a problem. the thing is iraqi army does there's not one unit that's willing to go after a militia and now you basically have this freedom of movement, lebanese model where all services are credited to the
study and can get there before the government get there and provide service. they provide security, provide incomes to sunni areas, they're not allowing the refugees return to their city. and it's exactly that . >> i'm sorry to interject, which causes me to ask on your perspective, how successful are they being and stunting themselves in popular support through this model that claire has pointed out? >> their popular support, 80 percent of this country is against iranian influence and the militias do not care, the iraqi authority forces do not care. a decide, this is something that we learn when saddam fell. saddam was able to keep security because he could make people disappear in the middle of the night and there
was no payback, no rule of law to hold him accountable. that is iraq now. people can disappear and they will say we're looking into that, there should be an investigation. we have so many disappeared sunni military malls from this campaign and yet there are no results from investigations and findings that the state department and iraqi government under high minister abadi said they were looking into so because you can make somebody disappear without repercussions, there's, nobody cares about what the population thinks. the sunni don't care what the sunni population things, they don't care what the kurdish population thinks and they need to care what they see you think they are going tobe a force in 2022 . >> you had a question? >> was the role of saudi arabia in this discussion? >> they are always competing together so if you don't talk about saudi, how is it? >> saudi arabia needs to develop its own ceremony, its
own iraq secret force. they don't. people talk about saudi arabia's budget versus miranda's budget and the saudi at five times the budget ran on defense. what's more effective, the militia , like lebanese have a lot that you pay $200 million a year going or an american fighter aircraft that you hundred 56 million for? lebanese has the law is more effective. so the saudi's much like lebanon and much like syria, iran is told rihanna painted the desert green. we don't care, all the money coming to syria and lebanon that you want to come in as long as you don't interfere with our strategic interests. >> this is the criticism of my saudi friends but often marries his proxy and he decides if they get divorced. saudi arabia says you're going to lock lonnie forever and it doesn't happen.
there is no, i don't want to say how long, because the saudi are lazy when it comes to foreign policy but the, the one thing that is so consistent is the questions asked. how many of you want to fight assad and five groups raise their hands and yet they don't do anything that further benefits saudi strategic interests. saudi arabia can give al-sadr a salary, money and he will do nothing that interferes with iran's strategic goals in iraq. everybody says it's not versus coal and yes, there is the religious pushback against iran's influence in iraq. however, every pilgrimage that he placed in iraq is facilitated by iran. the iranian tourists, iran had the capability of building airfields and
airports and more electricity than iraqi solomons than the government did. i think saudi can do a lot more if they have a consistent strategic message but al-sadr is not your guy and one thing we talked about is nationalism, the iraqis arevery proud . people talk about our sunni regional partners and sunnis will say we got this, just let us do it, give us the weapons, give us the funds, it was the intel and we can do it. the problem is the scope of what they want to do is take back baghdad and iran out and take over the country again. instead of killing isis and cultivating charismatic leaders but unfortunately with the identification of this new isis law whereby three degrees of separation, if your third cousin was an isis number, will affect you. and with those tools in place, the accountability
justice law, the terrorism law and this new isis law, any charismatic sunni leader that's developed or is championed by the saudi's for a sunni regional ally will become the target of the government and some charge will be levied whether it's asset or a friend of isis, there's too many schools at their leisure to discredit, to disenfranchise and to target charismatic tune leaders which makes it difficult you're saying for a sunni leader to rise. >> the female candidate for minister of education, i talked about her earlier. she had to resign because her brother was an isis fighter. and that, the ramifications of that, it may be true that he is all the things what message does that send your population that we can'tget credible people ? >> i saw a hand in the back corner. >> right there. >>. >> your mentioning isis and they're not defeated for
instance. the past 30, 40 years, your thailand, now you have dinesh, they're obviously after they're gone, they're not too anymore, so what else is going to be correct. you have a region where you have a large locale but let's assume for a second completely wiped out, everyone's taken out but you have , the most radicalized members of ãcoming from the uk, france and belgium. who are allies and think we're going to be wiping them out. at what point we consider isis be? >> that's a great question and you might want to run with it too, it's a great question because of the mindset and the, some of the teachings in islam that go back so farfrom , that you get isis and al qaeda to
point to. it's difficult to wipe out those belief systems and those structures that give rise to this. that would remind us of that response. >> this is just the way it's going to be from now on. there will be more integrations because there might be a different name but it will be a different name on the same basic thing is going to be a different game yet none of them go away. al qaeda is still there, isis is operating the al qaeda model. it's assessed to be anywhere between 30 and 40,000 isis members between iraq and syria. they're operating at a higher level than al qaeda ever operated in iraq and that's what happens when you simply just lock down buildings and call it defeat.we knock down buildings in fallujah in 04 and 05 and never claimed victory, in fact we claimed we fueled the insurgency and created more recruits so it's not only defeating an ideology, it's going back to my point. how do you deal with the sunni military that's 10-year-olds today that's 20,
10 years from now who's not an islamist, was not a terrorist but wants revenge and these entities are the ones that can get him there? that's what we are going to be dealing with because we form temporary alliances for temporary solutions and it is this permanent cycle of violence that we continue to have to address as different generations and this is just the new way to go. if we would have simply told the taliban were going to be in afghanistan for 17 years, we would have beat them in the first three. if we would have said that in iraq but we go in telling the enemy when we're going to leave and the enemy has a clock that's much different from ours. the jc pla was supposed to keep iran from a nuclear weapon for 10 years. 2015, wherein 2019 now, in six years were going to have a bomb and 10 years to them is six months to us. and that's what you get when
you have a consistent foreign policy that those 40 years and a us policy that changes every two years. i'll say this right now that i predict a hard turn towards iran by baghdad if the president doesn't get reelected. because the president is the only one that cares about this and i'm not saying he cares perfectly, i'm just saying that the secretary of state does and secretary of state has gone to baghdad many times and ancient iran in every sentence that he's had. and i'm telling you, they're looking towards that and we're likely to see a more, a closer aligned iranian prime minister unless we start getting behind this youth movement in iraq and cultivating or helping them cultivate leaders. when i see international community, not just the us cultivating theseleaders to push back. we have a new era of spring coming in the middle east and it is , you want and a
relationship with the west that is beneficial. it has economic benefits or technology, everything else. >> not a us special operator kicking down the door to kill an isis or al qaeda terrorist. >>. >> how would you describe the kurdish situation at the october 6 when the terrorist groups check kurdistan and password? >> it came on the eve of the president designating the force as a terrorist organization, so the money rolls in with has a lot in the iraqi counterterrorism federal authorities and counterterrorism services, we basically forcefully back or cook . as punishment or the referendum. and it was a, it's another
thing we haven't talked about is we keep abandoning allies. the kurdish were a staunch ally in the fight against al qaeda. noamerican died in pakistan , no american unless the recent isis fighter killed somebody on the outskirts of princeton as we were moving in on the offensive but this recent betrayal, these examples of recent betrayal, the kurdish customer in iraq and now the likely in syria, it's going to be hard for us special operators and advisers and future secretaries of defense to get a proxy force on the ground to be an ally because that's the way we're going because of our public, our media, our war fighting is us airpower, intel and advisers with a proxy force on the
ground. and that proxy force cannot have recent examples of betrayal, where asking them to do difficult things over an enemy like this that never goes away. >> that brings up another point i only briefly, strong long enduring relationships between asians that are beneficial to both are far deeper than just the security force level and the elite policymaking level.their cultural, they're the economic relationships and anyway, i would agree completely with what you're saying. i saw hand back there. jack. >>. >> this is related to a previous question. i appreciate your reference to the 10-year-old, my question is having a grandson in march. how about the children born this year in march and april, what are they going to be doing in iraq in 20 years or in other words, the question is how long and a year now is this going to last? >> if we get this right you can be visiting iraq as tourists. this is where these relics
used to be or this is where isis had its last stand. i had the honor of talking to a graduating high school class of class that all decided to join the military. and they were all 18 years old, 17 years old, getting ready to graduate and go into the military and it happened to be on the 17 year anniversary of 9/11. so you literally have children born on 9/11 now serving our country and going to the same countries we've been . mainly afghanistan since 9/11 so the forever war. we hear this term a lot and there forever war doesn't have to be a forevermore if we treat it conflict like we did with world war ii and others. where we just stay. and people know this is controversial, what do you mean stay? get your embassy in there, get bases in there, make iraq japan. iraq controversial, but it should be.
we are there anyway. we might as well say where there and we're not going anywhere because what happened with germany, look what happened with japan. you have a consistent us foreign policy that has stopped whatever aggression was taking place there. in iraq and i know it's controversial but this is the first time iraqis of all sectarian backgrounds wanted the united states in iraq. the only parties that want us out of iraq right now are the ones tied to ran. anyone else wants us in iraq. should be nothing wrong with saying let's get here, let's get a university and public business, a breakaway. let's make iran canada. let's also look at the protests going on. we need the economic opportunities iran squandered under the jc poa. listen to irradiance and the international community is not a spotlight on these leaderless protests across the country that the regime is concernedabout, we're
coming up on the 40 year anniversary of the regime . and they are in trouble sanctions are working, they're about to lose your . they're trying to offset us sanctions by using iraq's economy and that's something we need to pay attention to because iran has permeated iraq's economic, political and security sectors . >>. >> unfortunately we're out of time, this is a complex topic and we could spend another three hours although i'm sure you would want to go get dinner so we're going to have to end it now. michael and iwill stick around afterwards to talk informally if you want to come up here and talk to us but for now, join me in thanking him for spending his afternoon with us . [applause]