tv Today in Washington CSPAN August 18, 2010 6:00am-7:00am EDT
they represented a threat to the viability of the government of iraq. we judge that neither of those things are capable today. they did not controlled territory and do not represent a strategic threat to the viability of the government. that is a huge change from the darkest days of 2006 and 2007. most noticeably in most optimistically, is the ability for them to roll with the punches. if you remember what it used to be like in 2006, he would get a bombing on tuesday and 50 civilians might be killed. the next day 50 sunni men would show up in the landfill with bullet holes in their head. the cycle would be repeated over and over again. which do not see that cycle happening now. do not get me wrong, we want to start the cycle again. the reason why they killed so many civilians is the one that
are rocky -- they want the iraqi people to turn on themselves. they have no intention of turning back to the levels of violence that we have seen before. we also see this in terms of the shiite militia threat. if your member from the 2006 and 2007 time, the biggest threat is the marni army. the vast majority has been disbanded, and their activities have been focused into the cultural and political arena. there are a number of groups we used to call special groups because they received training who also continue to do isolated attacks, but the overall level
is much reduced from murder used to be. we also do not judges say pose as in the biggest threat to the government. iraqi security forces and are 660,000, and that is not just army, navy, air force, but also the local police and broke police. -- federal police. their professionalism has improved, as long with capabilities. the most recent polling done shows that 80% of the iraqi populace has base and the iraqi force to provide for their security. that is a very important piece of data. last, but not least, we now have a viable political process in which key questions of additional power and resources
can now be addressed through peaceful means. it is a democracy, and unlike -- and like other democracies, you can have pieces of rhetoric. issing we should take some solace from the fact that all of the major political party -- i think we should take some solace from the fact that all the major political parties go through the political process. as long as we're committed to the process, we're not likely to see an upturn in the violence. there are more security forces. at the series are weaker, although occasionally still very deadly. the public has more confidence in their security forces. the public is exhausted and not looking to turn back to a large scale violence.
these are the underlying structural features, which makes debility a lot more enduring than it used to be. it is why we have seen a reduction in our force levels. by the end of this month we will see a reduction of more than 90,000 forces since the u.s. took over. we will have seen more than 100,000 reduction since the height of u.s. forces. and we handed over responsibility to the city's and security trends have turned relatively positive. still, there are challenges that we face in the days ahead, and i will not spend a lot of time on this because i expected loss questions on this. the major challenges we have at the moment are the seating of the government anin iraq. once we have the government in place, we ought to continue
efforts to make sure the government lives up to its commitments, especially as it relates to combat and so on the sunni side. continuing to make sure that the political parties have an active voice in the government. continuing to make sure that detainees are integrated back into their communities. the largest challenge, however, is probably along the curve of -- kurd dimension. this is one of the areas where i think u.s. forces continue to play an important role and will continue, and that is along the fault lies. last year they set up the combined security mechanisms. these are a series of joint patrols checkpoints and
coordination centers that dot the fault line between the kurdish north and the arab south. the idea was to set up a mechanism for transparency coronation and confidence- building to lessen the prospects that a small incident at the local level could inadvertently escalate into a larger conflict. they have been extremely effective. one of the ways in which the u.s. will continue to support the forces will be to support these combined security measures. let me talk a little bit about the drawdown strategy and transition strategy. we have heard talk about the 50,000 k reduction. is it is telling that the general is comfortable with this transition. by the time he changes command at the end of this month he will be around 55 months. no was in a better place to judge the prospects for
stability and the general. he feels comfortable about it. i came into the administration in the first week of february. i was one of the first staff level folks to come in. i was brought in by my boss to work on the strategic review that culminated in the stree president's speech. we tried to put a date on the calendar that seemed reasonable for our production to substantially reduce a robust force. and then leave it up to the general on how to shape the contour of the dowdrawdown. that allowed him to have a modest drawdown in 2009. and then to accelerate the
drawdown. i think it general or odierno feels the continued to carry out the responsible drawdown. the first mission is force protection, not only for forces, but civilian agencies that are engaged in capacity building efforts, as well as the united nations mission. the second mission will be to continue efforts to train, equip, and devised the iraqi security forces. -- and advise iraqi security forces. to continue the response will drawdown in compliance with the terms of the u.s./r roiraq
security agreements. it is the culmination of a transition that has been in process for a long time. the most important day may not be september 1 of the share, a general one of last year. it fundamentally altered our relationship with the government. the september 1 date is really the culmination of the shift from combat to stability operations. that has been givongoing for a long time. michael talked about the transition, and there are four elements. one is our continuing effort to build up the capabilities so they will be able to provide for a stable and self-reliant iraq
by the end of 2011. michael alluded to a trip i took in may. this was to inform an interagency planning process very early in the administration of what would be required to engage us in this extraordinarily complex transition, not only from us to the rockieare iraqis. we identified the central capabilities that they would need by the end of 2011. they were cheered in terms of priority. -- tiered in terms of priority. in 2010 they will spend $11 billion on their ministry of defence. we still got most of the money
will go to sustaining, beating the forces that already have. we saw $7.9 billion of additional requirements over and above that. we said what are the requirements for internal defense by the end of 2011 and to lay the foundation for external defense? of the 7.9 billion a really important things, 4.1 billion are especially important, and we call that the minimal capabilities list. that includes congress giving authority to transfer equipment. we expect the iraqi government to build part of that hole. we're asking congress for 3 billion.
it did find additional funds, we would expect they would contribute to top it off the $7.9 billion to meet the additional requirements for things like air sovereignty. the last part of the transition we have been focused on is taking this enormous training mission that used be the multinational security command, which had a terrible acronym, which is now an even more indecipherable acronym. to transform that large training institution into secured the cooperation. we currently plan to have that office of security cooperation set up sometime toward the middle of next year and into the fall that will be basically the successor organization to the trading organization. it will be much smaller.
it will fall under cheap admission authority in the embassy. -- it will fall under chief of mission authority in the embassy. we really see this as the foundation for the security component for our strategic framework. it has a security component to it and it will be the instrument through which we continue to have secured a cooperation with them through 2011. why don't i stop there. [applause] >> think you both. -- thank you both.
when we were talking about how we were going to sit, they did not even want me between them so they could peer -- appear hip to hip, as well as figuratively. let me start with a cynical question. this is not just a diplomatic and dance and ordered to pretend to leave it so that some new government assets to saks us to? >> the terms of the security agreement, which were negotiated by the previous and administration at the end of 2008 could not be clearer. it is that we would transfer responsibility to the rockiei is
in june of 2009 and we would be out by the end of 2011. president obama pledges to execute a responsible drawdown. i think he is to say we need to get out more carefully than we got in. he put another milestone on the calendar, which was the 50 k number. they would have to come back to us or ask for anything more. they have not come back to us yet, and they do not have a government to come back to us. the terms of the security agreements are not such that they're open to unilateral interpretation. they are what they are. we love to see what the government asks for once they have a government in place. actually i cannot guess as to exactly what that will be. i will say this, the vast majority of the prominent political actors across the political spectrum once all long-term partnership with united states. we will have to see what the
shape of the partnership looks like and what shape it takes once we have a government to have that conversation with. >> they are seeking a long-term partnership. there are models around the world and models in the arab world on the type of partnership that they are seeking. we see clear indication that all across the political spectrum they would like to see the strategic framework fleshed out and more traditional elements of a corporation engaged. we have to be answered to that. -- we have to answer to that. >> you both stress this is not as a strategic disengagement and give examples. you also stressed that perception matters. certainly one could make the argument that in a drawdown from 144,000 american forces on the ground to zeroth over a time of a couple of years, there is at least a perception of a vacuum and certainly other interest that may want to fill
the vacuum, whether they are neighbors in the region, not actors. what concrete steps can or should or is the united states taking in order to fight their narrative? >> first of all, we all work very hard to make sure the interim government has the tools, as we knew this would be a long time in terms of forming a new government, on the security side and also on the services side to be effective. we see it continues to be effective in making the decisions necessary for the economy and policy. in terms of a foreign vacuum that could be exported by foreigners, we see there is for an engagement in iraq. some is coming as a result of the election, and some is the result of the political
elections. they are making very clear they want to decide their own future by themselves. there will be foreign influence. of course turkey and syria and others will have influence, but they are taking the lead in deciding their future. there is a vacuum that can be exploited. >> i think there is no doubt that there has been some anxiety. the agreement was reached between us and the iraqis, but a lot of them did not think we would live up to our end of the bargain. there is a strong silver lining in that, which i will return to. living up to the commitment has increased our status as an honest broker in a really important way. there has been inside the. one of the reasons we did one of the ways we intend to counter that is -- one of the ways we
are trying to counter that is we're doing this in a managed way. we first handed over responsibility to the cities and we have drawn down more in the past month. the proof is in the objective data, which is periodically see the spikes of high-profile attacks but the overall attack levels have stayed very constant at the lowest levels for months and months, despite the fact we have been doing all of these things. part of this is to communicate that we're not going to abandon them. i have not only heard the vice- president say this, but every time i travel with my boss, the secretary of defense, he communicates this to officials. he makes it clear that we're in this for the long term in terms of having a long-term partnership with them. iraq will not need tens of
thousands of four since at the end of 2011. what they're going to need its continued training and assistance in a way that a robust office of security cooperation will be able to provide. i do think in that context, one thing we should beat thinking about collectively in town is as we think about the current request we have been making for the iraqi security forces, i think we need to think about it in terms of two things. one is what is necessary to build capability so that the drawdown can be conducted an irresponsible manner? the second is, what is necessary to signal that we're in this for the long term and have a long term interest in developing relationships with them and then getting integrated into our types of weapons systems and joint exercises and all sorts of
other things that we do through the region? i think the more we are able to signal by putting real dollars on the table, and not only helps build the security forces but the signals are committed to the viability of security forces over the long-term. >> now we turn to the next point our that to cover, which is what is your vision as a partner for the united states in the region in the world over the coming decades? what is it we're trying to achieve? how does that make the united states situation better than it was before all of this? >> a stable, self-reliance sovereign iraq that is at peace and working constructively with neighbors in the region. they have played a negative role in the region that has been destructive in ways when you look at how often the border was closed with jordan and syria. if you look at the internal problems with the kurds.
when you look at these factors, they have been at the center of destabilizing factors on the outside, and we see a partnership that may lead, for example, in decentralization. if the law is implemented, it will be pretty unique in the region. we see an economic system that perhaps will not be governed by centralized state economy and state planning mechanisms, but will proceed along the lines of the oil pits linbid lines. >> i think what you're seeing a drop of golfthroughout the gulfn
particular is a networking of concerns. threats to maritime security, trafficking, and things like that. this is open all sorts of opportunities for states to call robert bridgette collaborate -- to collaborate. i think you have seen steps forward and all of these areas. in terms of early warning and defense and things like that. they face so many of the same challenges that bring them in line with so many at the other states that i think we have real opportunities.
>> one final question from me, you book describes the process that is dynamic and conditions- based inseams and driven by objective data. what changes in which data -- in which data might cause you to revisit the timeline? what are the metrics we should be looking at? >> first of all, ultimately the president of the united states will make the final decision, but in terms of what commanders are likely to look at as warning signs that things were getting much worse than they currently are -- i think it is all of collapse of public confidence in the security forces it would be troubling. confidence is going up, not down. if the self confidence drop out, thought would be concerning.
-- if you saw confidence dropped out, that would be concerning. if you saw a substantial increase in assistance from regional states, that might be a warning sign. the good news is, we do not see any of that. believe me, they are incredibly committed and pushing back against the most maligned aspects of foreign interference. those would be the debts of things that were uribe. >> the continued engagement is working the issues that remain in this very fractured countries in some ways. when i mentioned arab/kurdish issue, it is quite clear is the u.s. will need to engage in
support of the political actors as they address kurdish/arab issues such as the disputed boundary process. colin mentioned as the combined the security forces to build confidence. there are rolññ that we have to play, and there will be metrics and all of those, but this is a sign of the commitment that we will be engaged in these processes. takeover and know we have many-- >> i know we have many interested in taking part in this conversation. >> eric, associated press. are you saying that you cannot foresee any circumstances in which the removal of troops at specific dates, where the process would be halted?
similarly you took today's attack as evidence that there elements that want to create the image that the united states is being driven out of iraq. is it being drawn out? rising casualty rates. i wondered when the police forces or professional? you refer to returning to the days when police forces in an iraq where they acted in a traditional way. i wondered when it was an example of good behavior? >> when i said was it is not my call. the president of the undead states is commander in chief and he will make a recommendation based on the commanders and
other advisers. i did not anticipate that any of those were likely to come to bear. the rest is all hypothetical. if the meteor hit them a couple of months from now, it would change things. is the u.s. being driven out of a roiraq? well, the contours of the agreement have been imposed. i am not sure the public is clamoring. it is not a hot-button political issue that was in the fall of 2006. i am not sure that one could point to a series of polls or
demonstrations or other things that were driving the current tempo. i think what is driving the current tempo is a set of recommendations and policy positions that the president has adopted at the beginning of the administration. the u.s. casualties have not surged. they aren't the lowest levels. at the height of the surge we had times were more than 100 men and women were killed. we have had months with zero or one casualties. we are up by far the lowest casualty rates. -- we are at the lowest casualty rates. >> saddam hussein had many other ways of control. there was a traditional police
institution that was respected and predominant element in controlling crime. iraqis want to see that back. we want to see that back. we will work to that. we have gone down to a national police. we need to go down to the local police. we need to do community policing. going back to hiring members of the community in performing the functions of a police in the traditional society where crime is different than we have in the united states. we will work with them on that, in the police are not an instrument of saddam hussein control. to com>> i wanted to probe a lie bit more on the iran question. you say they are resisting the
control. do you think one of the reasons that the special groups are laying low is because they're happy with u.s. withdrawal and do not want to do anything to interfere with that and they are better integrated into i rackr' security forces? why is that the arab world as still not embrace the gulf states question you ever imagine -- ? >> i think the record shows that iraq is standing up to foreign influence. iran pushed hard to resist the security agreement with united states. there has been no mention of the
referendum in the last year. you will see that the iranians and the parties they have supported have been pushed back quite effectively by the authorities. remember, the prime minister attacklaunched the attacks as a direct confrontation with the iranian authorities that were supported the groups. i would say that -- this is not just about iran. this is about all of the foreign influences. turkey is an influence. the fundamental concern of turkey has meant they have addressed this not just through armed invasions, as recently as spring of 2008, but working with both authorities.
remember, there were not going to recognize the kurdish authorities at all. they have managed to push back on turkey. it has worked with jordan. when you look at syrian influence in iraq and the spats3, the do have the arab league summit set for nextc year. there are efforts to show how they're standing up to
neighbors. >> they tried to smash the coalition together before the election and failed. they tried to smash them together and then not been successful in doing that. they have used every threats. they have been doing it. i do not think they have overwhelming influence in iraq, and i think that is largely because it is a powerful antidote to the influence. there are other states that want to have good relationships with iraq, not just iran. last but not least because the vast majority of the prominent political players want a long- term partnership with us, which is inconsistent by being dominated by iran. they tried to defeat the security agreement in fields. it is an indication that the
iraqis have one set of provinces, which is to have a long-term relationship with us, they do not want to be dominated by the neighbors either. the last point you make about are they just laying low? i think that is probably misreading the situation. i think they had to recalculate the approach in 2008. backing the various special groups in the way they did, they really helped bring iraq to the brink of civil war in 2008, and realize that was fundamentally not in their interest. i do not think anything of that calculation has changed. >> the gentleman standing in the back.
>> i am from the council on foreign relations. first of all, i am curious about our guest assessment on the status of the sons of iraq program at the moment. the security can be preferred if united states draws down as 0 1/2 as the current agreement calls us to do. secondly, and also in the context of the current agreement, there has been a lot of discussion about the state department's interest in providing alternative means of security for the civilian presence in the country as the u.s. troops abrodrawdown and tht might involve private contracting, especially given to the degree that private security contracts are sma not popular in
iraq. >> that is a scary question. i do not have the exact figures in front of me, but i believe half of the sons of a roiraq hae been integrated. the integration process slowdown in the lead up to the national elections because the government came to the reasonable judgment that it was good to keep some of them at their checkpoints for security reasons in the lead up to the election, and we're frozen a little bit in that time. i think it will take a new iraqi government for them to live up to the commitments to employ these people, even in civilian fo-- either in civilian court
ministry places. the sons of a rociraq leadership complimcomplaints are on late payments. they are doing better on that. and i think some of this is that these guys are bad guys. of the vast majority, but some of them are. when there are warrants out for their arrest, it is what it is. i think in general, the level of dissatisfaction is not near a threshold in which it would trigger an early warning signs of large numbers of young men flooding back into the sunni interested -- insurgency. i do not see that happening. >> this is something that the state department is uniquely
focused on. we have to protect our people. i would argue that private security contractors are not viewed with such ripples and by the iraqi people as they were before. -- i would argue that private security contractors are not viewed with such propulsiorepuly teh iraqi people as they were before. the oil companies that are going into southern iraq are working with them. the security companies that bought the u.s. presence and military presence was clear to last forever and refuse to work with the officials. security contractors are a fact of life, given the security situation. the security companies are
working with the government officials. we took the lead in the state department after the blackwater incidents of being square and have much tighter controls on the private security contractors, and we have seen that be reflected in all of the successful security contractors that are operating within iraq. as the military withdrawals and all of the capabilities they have provided, we are going to continue with a system where we have the regional security officers and the diplomatic security working with private security contractors. we have no u.s. military providing security for our movements and presence in some parts. in baghdad all of the movements were done by private security people. we're moving to a situation where we have already been transitioning, and we're working with the authorities on that. security is a huge expense.
it is a mind-boggling expense, and requires changes in basic philosophy. as a diplomat i appreciate this. we are in harm's way and we need to get out and do our mission. this is an enormous price tag. it is far and above what we have budgeted for in the past. we have had to recalculate how much it costs as we go along and look at all the different features that the u.s. military has provided, but we will get out and do our missions and make sure that we have the capability of doing that, because this is so important to having this engagement with the iraqis as we go forward. >> i am from "national journal." does the iraqi constitution
offer any deadlines for the confirmation of a government or any mechanism for compelling a new election or at the confirmation of the government? mentioned a very compelling statistics about the fallen violence, but obviously it was not sold solely as a means for preventing violence. instead we have a situation where the one block is predominantly shiite, the other block pulled out in large part because it was cleared by referring to it as a soon the party. -- as a sunni party. can you say the surge succeeded when the primary goal has not been met? >> first, on the constitution, the iraqis had met -- partially met only goal in the constitution is that the council
are representatives was supposed to meet 20 days after the election results were certified. they did do that. they are now in open session. there are no deadlines in the constitution. the speaker is supposed to be elected after the 20 day time period that has happened. there are no deadlines in the constitution. the deadline is the iraqi people becoming frustrated that after going to the polls on march 7, going through the certification process, they want to see a government formed, and we believe there will be growing pressure as we have seen from the people to have their political leaders be responsible. i would say that discussions, talks are breaking down, the forming of alliances are all signs recently of an increase seriousness by all of the parties in the political process.
they realize the pressure they're under, and they are in a significant serious discussions to form of government. >> i am not sure i would frame it in terms of whether they are successful or not. i would leave that to the historians. i think a separate from your basic question, which is really about which whether we have had a true national reconciliation, i think it is a work in progress. i think you have seen times before the election is all she did secretary and rhetoric. -- before the election we saw she diheated secretary and rhet.
they claim he was using a secretary and label to describe him. i think the most important thing is that while there is a lot of rhetoric and sometimes it has said in a year to it, the underlying commitments is the most important aspect. as long as the parties they committed to the political process, the worst things we saw in 2006 and 2007 are not likely to re-emerge. one of the reasons we have been pushing so hard on principles is that we think there are real principles at stake about inclusion in the next government. we think the next government should be representative of the elections and be inclusive of the major communities. that is one reason we have been pushing for that so hard. i also mentioned during my remarks that we will focus on the arab/occurred issues.
-- arab/kurd issues. the last point i would make on this is something that i referred to earlier, i really do think we have surprised many iraqis by living up to our commitment. we surprised them by continuing to draw down. we are surprising them by hitting the drawdown that was set. it means when we say things, we mean it. it has helped honest broker role. one reason we continue to have important influence is we are seen as someone who does not have any particular person or party is at stake, but iraq's interest estate. and-- interest at stake. >> could you talk -- tell us
about the judicial and legal system and how that is evolving in this creation of the new country so to speak? >> very good question about the judicial, and rule of law is something we're very focused on. when i mentioned the police were not an instrument of saddam hussein is repression, the judges were in institution that had a limited role under saddam hussein but were respected. we're working very hard with the judges, prosecutors, rule of law to address one of the other big challenges that we face, which is corruption. this government, and especially in an economy that will have oil revenues, we have to keep working to address corruption.
to have judges that can try the cases without being threatened by violence or of being paid, and we see the judges and the development of judges training program is something we're working on very effectively. this is something that will be a priority as we go forward. the judges did rule that the elections were valid. they did stand up to some political pressures that were coming on them to change the results of the election. we see them as playing a positive role, but something we have to watch all the time. >> i have a question primarily four. if 1 regional power effects and other regional power and uses
the airspace, it is the u.s. air force passed with defending the aerospace? is there any initiative being discussed to do some kind of multilateral initiative for the tigris euphrates area? thank you. >> water is so sick of the issue throughout the middle east. it actually is a growing issue that the state department is focusing on. -- water is a important issue throughout the middle east. all of these countries are hesitant about multilateral approaches, because they all want to divide the water up
themselves and they are concerned the more players there are, the more difficult it will be. we definitely see areas where there could be cooperation. we think this is one of the tools were the iraqis are concerned with the iranians. we will look for multilateral elements. we do know the iraqis have gone to the turks and talk directly to them. there has been a water let go. they are having bilateral negotiations. we will look for ways of supporting that and bringing multilateralism throughout the middle east. >> you are so good at asking questions. i am not really point to comment on the prospects for a third party strike that uses iraq territory.
under the security agreement, we helped preserve iraq air 70 at the request of the government. -- air security at the request of the government. i do not want to invest into hypothetical. i just did not want to talk about that. [laughter] >> i just wanted to ask, you have mentioned a lot of social and military changes you have seen positive signs. what do you make of the iraqi military chief made that he does not think the forces will be up to speed until 2020? , to work still needs to be done regarding the perceptions that were created in the muslim world after the invasion of iraq?
>> first, obviously as we keep our commitments and as people see we are not planning to stay indefinite leavinto the future,e increasing value ship of the partnership is significant. those partnerships, which include training, exercises, weapons sales in coronation are important for the militaries of the middle east, and i think the chiefs of staff's comments were reflecting another institution that was gravely damaged by saddam hussein, but what is important is the military, and they want to build their place as a part of the political spectrum. we want to build their place as part of the spectrum that this not play a role in politics. as we see successfully from the long partnership with the egyptian military.
we want to build those relationships and see that strengthened. in terms of going back to keeping our commitments, this is the first step for improving our relationship with the rest of the arab world in terms of what we're doing in iraq. that is why we're so keen on building the civilian diplomatic relationship that we shared so many other partners in the middle east. as we keep our commitments on the military front, we think we're headed in the right direction. >> our goal in strategy has been designed around trying to help the iraqis achieved the minimum central capabilities. i think it is the judgment for people on the ground who are involved in training and advising that if we get the resources we need to complete the mission, and i have talked about the 7.9 billion, i think
we're fairly confident we will be able to achieve the minimum citracentral capabilities for defense. there will still have gaps. the most noticeable gap will be in error sovereignty -- air sovereignty. they have focused on land. they live in a dangerous neighborhood. it is surrounded by countries that it has hostilities with. you have advanced aircraft and has concerns. you have seen press reporting of u.a.v's that cross into iraq. that is why they have an
understandable desire to have a relatively small number of capable aircraft, potentially u.s. f 16's. this raises the 2020 issue. security forces will not be something that is just done. our military is not like that. it will be a work in progress. will they be in a place where they can take over primary responsibility for securing their country by the end of 2011, and i think our answer is yes. will they need assistance for a long time? probably they will require assistance until they are exporting 8 million barrels. we will work with the security force to organize the relationship. >> ladies and gentlemen, please join me in thanking her them.
>> "washington journal" is next with the day's news and phone calls. the report on large companies are doing to repaprepare for the new health-care law. live at 6:00 eastern, the funeral service for senator ted stevens. speakers will include joe biden. in about 45 minutes, we will focus on the future of mortgage lenders fannie mae and freddie mac with barry zigas. dick
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