Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., commander of U.S. Central Command, joins other experts in a panel discussion sponsored by the U.S. Institute of Peace on the challenges ISIS poses and the military’s role in working toward long-term stabilization and the defeat of ISIS, August 12, 2020.
Okay. Good morning. My name is Nancy Lindborg on the president and CEO of the U. S. Institute of Peace. Thank you for joining us for a critical discussion today on the continued threat of Isis and the role that disengagement and reconciliation need to play in its lasting defeat. As many of you know with the US led coalition to defeat Isis, along with the Syrian defense Forces regained all the territory that was occupied by Isis in Iraq and Syria in March of less gear. Though that territorial defeat was significant, serious challenges remain. Thousands of foreign fighters for more than 120 countries traveled to Iraq and Syria to join Isis in their brutal reign of terror. Today, many of these fighters and their families remain in displacement camps and detention centres throughout the region. One of these camps, Al Ho, presents one of the world’s toughest security and humanitarian challenges. Located in northeast Syria, al whole houses more than 65,000 people who may or may not be affiliated with Isis, including about 10,000 foreigners for more than 50 countries. No, 98% of al whole residents are women and Children they live in horrible conditions. They often lack food, clean water, and many of them fall victim to violence within the camp. Not only does a whole present a humanitarian crisis, especially now with the presence of covert 19 but national security experts fear that it’s a breeding ground for more violent extremism. Last May U S. I P formed a working group to help the U. S. Government and the international community better respond to these intersecting security and humanitarian challenges. We facilitated dialogues between humanitarian actors and US interagency partners from the Department of Defense, the U. S. Agency for International Development and the Department of State. The goal is to develop recommendations on how to respond to the challenges of our whole when key recommendation highlighted the urgent need to safely and effectively coordinate the voluntary resettlement and repatriation off the tens of thousands of women and Children that are because of the volatile security situation in northeast Syria. This will only be possible if we enable those affiliate fitted with Isis to disengage from violent extremism and at the same time, foster community reconciliation in the areas where they will be returning so disengagement and red a conciliation are the primary focus of US eyepiece violent extremism programme. This is a peacebuilding approach. It focuses our transformed relationship, building social bonds on generating a sense of belonging and providing justice and accountability. This is based on growing research and experience that military solutions alone will not solve the problems of violent extremism. We have a distinguished that of panels today, too. First, these issues unpacked these concepts. They will be moderated by US eyepiece, director of violent extremism Leon Bernburg Steadman. And after the penalties confession, I’ll join General Kenneth Mackenzie, the commander for US Central Command, for a conversation on the current stabilization priorities in Iraq and Syria. The coalition’s key areas of focus moving forward and how the military sees the challenges of repatriation and rehabilitation of thousands of people over the A long term, we welcome the audience to submit your questions throughout the life, and you can use the life chat function as reminder. Please keep your questions concise on well focused on today’s topic of Isis and the associated humanitarian issues, and please use a question form. We hope to get to everybody’s question, but we’ll we’ll do the best we can. And in the meantime, please engage with us on Twitter with hashtag re integrating extremists. Let me now turn it over to LeAnn to introduce our Panelists and start the discussion. Thank you for joining us this morning. I am. Thank you so much, Nancy. And thanks for your amazing tenure at us. I p we’re so grateful for your leadership, But I know I joined many of my colleagues, and I are friends of us. I think we’re gonna miss you dearly. Is partly institute. This month to begin, I’m going to share the rules of the road. For the first part of our panel discussion, I’m gonna introduce our esteemed Panelists. Then I’m going to give about five minutes of framing remarks on the topic. Has us i p has been researching it. And then I’m gonna jump into a moderated discussion with the Panelists. After around 30 minutes or so of us asking questions and discussing the most one another we’re gonna turn. The audience submitted questions around 10. 40 or so. As Nancy said, you consider those questions on the chat function and as a reminder, please keep those questions focused on today’s topic of Iraq, Syria, Isis and the associated humanitarian and reconciliation issues. It is my pleasure today to introduce incredible honesty and Panelists. First, we have Ambassador Bill Roebuck, who’s the deputy special envoy to the global coalition to defeat prices and a senior adviser to the special representative from Syria. Engagement. He’s going to provide us with insights into the current state of the global coalition to defeat Isis. And what are the priorities moving forward? Next, we have Philippa Kamler, who is the acting U N High Commissioner for Refugees representative for Iraq. And she’s gonna provide remarks on UNHCR work in Iraq, particularly when it comes to the displaced. Next we have Major General Alexis Grin College, who’s the director of operations at U S Central Command, and he’s gonna provide an overview of current U. S. Centcom operation, strategic objectives and how they relate to today’s topic. And next we have us. Today. Moaveni is the project director for gender at the International Crisis Group, and the author of the incredible book Guesthouse for Young Women knows that looks into the lives of 13 young women who joined Isis. And she’s gonna provide us with insights on life inside the whole camp and how understanding what made people join Isis and what it was like living under Isis might assist with us in today’s topic. It’s my pleasure to welcome all four of them today, and we’re going to dig into their specific work and expertise shortly. But first, as a promised a few framing remarks as us I PC’s violent extremist, disengagement and reconciliation, or what we’re calling Vader, we’re committed to prim proving here at U. S. I. P. It’s practical, and it takes action. But as Nancy laid out for us, this is not going to be straight forward. While many should and will face trial and incarceration, the criminal justice sector is not going to solve this challenge on its own and in places like Al Hole, where there are undeniable perpetrators of violence and we see them continue to try and enforce the caliphates austere, violent norms upon others. Those were not the only residents there. There are those visible adherence, but there’s also those who were bystanders. There are the repentant, and there’s also victims of Isis atrocities. Perhaps most confounding Lee, their those who our perpetrator and victim in the same person who are at once traumatized and in need of support, but also accountable for engaging with the genocidal group these varying roles and levels of devotion to ISIS, or neither well, understood, nor they static. This is not to mention many. Many Children were victims of a brutal circumstance. They’ve been caught up in the aftermath of this crisis, not knowing the childhood, many highly traumatized and developmentally stopped. So communities they’re gonna need to be prepared for these returning persons of all shapes and stripes and to rehabilitate and reintegrate those effectively and inclusively. Our work on this topic builds on the great work of researchers and scholars on local experts because we have learned that people can abandon their violent attitudes and violent behaviors, and communities can work towards social cohesion to avoid further violence. Decades of research from psychology and sociology criminology underscored that people abandoned violent roles and people adopt new identities. But this has to include more than just a person changing their mind. It has to also include interactions between those disengaging and community members and in conflict. Sutton’s, where we have victims and bystanders and adherents who have all experienced destruction and some have resulting trauma. The key to enabling a future that’s not solely defined by the past is going to require focusing on the humanity of individuals and their capacity for change and their well being. So that guide our conversation. We’ve started to come up with a framework of what we’re calling Vader and their further researched and presented in U. S. I. P reports and publications that are available on our Web sites but a couple quick quick pillars to help guide today’s conversation. The first is that we’re making a clean t d exceptional eyes violent extremism because it’s not the only discipline that works with the highly violent. Instead, we can incorporate lessons from cults and gangs and militias and organized crime and other challenge like we’ve seen in places like Colombia. Peace Building has shown that offering a new group and a new identity and a new future to the disengaged can make all the difference. The second pillar is that behavior change is key because people engage in violent group and leave violent ideology is for a variety of reasons. So by Central on behavioral change, we can see results that just changing somebody’s beliefs could never accomplish. Additionally, behavioral health and psychosocial support can address barriers. Toe why people change their here’s like trauma and hopelessness and fear, lost grief, shame and humiliation. The third pillar is that reducing stigma is possible. We often hear words like jihadi, an Isis bride and terrorists, but these nearly reinforce the very identity that people are trying to disengage from, and it can become a self fulfilling prophecy prophecy. Instead, we should use language to our benefit, because people tend to conform to the labels that society gives them. So even calling a person rehabilitated and itself play signals. The fourth pillar is to facilitate justice and accountability. When it comes to communities, many made gravitate toward revenge. But transitional and restorative justice can also be an option to temper vengeance and also redistribute power. And as we saw in places like Rwanda, community based redemption rituals can help perpetrators acknowledge their harm and accept responsibility for crimes committed while helping to restore the dignity to victims and he’ll communities. And lastly, resilience is possible even in the most dire post conflict circumstances. Disengagement and reconciliation from violent extremism should be a part of stabilization in order to break the long term cycles of violence and conflict that have played too many countries around the world alongside stabilization activities like rubble removal and training for new government leaders. A new playbook plus also leave room for Vader. We’re working hard to put these principles into practice in the countries in places that have the greatest needs. This is all part of a peace building approach. The flips the script rather than focusing on risk alone. We consider what resilience factors exist in individuals and in communities, and what can be strengthened to prevent the resurgence of violence and enable lasting peace. We hope that today this conversation will help forge pathways ahead our efforts and through the many efforts that are ongoing throughout the international community. And we’re looking forward to the unique advantage, points and expertise of our esteemed analysts. So with that, I’d like the first turn to ambassador robot and say, Can you tell us a little bit more about your assessment of the current state of the defeat Isis campaign? What are your primary objectives today and what are some of the principal setbacks as you see them to continued success actually an and thank you for the opportunity to address this distinguished panel. Ever grateful to us, I p for putting this together should be an interesting discussion. Um, let me start with the global coalition. Um, I think that’s the place to start as we talk about the state of Isis. The global coalition is made up of 82 members and organizations, mostly states. But a few organisations like the EU, NATO on Interpol are also, uh, members. The coalition has been incredibly important in the fight against Isis. It has been a fluid ah, diplomatic instrument that has allowed the international community to, um to use I would call it a coercive economic and diplomatic pressure and also to coordinate with the military forces in the fight the military fight against Isis. The coalition is united. Uh, the members strongly believe in what they’re doing on believe that the threat against Isis remains and that they need to be involved in the ongoing campaign against Isis. Um, in terms of the military campaign Azaz Nancy said the military part of it is largely over. Um, Isis no longer holds territory. They’re, um their leadership has been decimated. Uh, and scattered, um in Syria, for example, in northeastern Syria, they don’t have safe haven largely there under significant c t pressure from our partner force, the Syrian Democratic forces Um, the the, uh, in addition to the military campaign which has been so important defeating Isis as a physical caliphate. The coalition has been involved in a number of other lines of effort, and these are not just military. They involve things like choking off their finances, using international organization issues like munis. Oddest Um, of course, our a Treasury Department, but also counterpart ministries of finance and economy that cooperate with the Sonus choking off the flow of finances. And it’s been largely successful. Isis struggles with it with its to finance its operations. Now, um, a similar line of effort is involved with the Children off foreign fighters a two front, and this involved choking fighters trying to flow into Syria and Iraq, and now is involved in trying to prevent them from leaving and going to save payments and other parts of the world. Um, the coalition is also involved in countering the violent narrative or the messaging of Iraq. We have messaging the centers in a number of capitals that cooperate in trying and to counter Isis, his message on social media and another media excuse me. And the last line of effort that the coalition is involved in is, um, amounting stabilization assistance to the communities that have returned or been liberated from, um, from Isis. So it’s a big agenda. Um, but and it’s been remarkably successful. It’s been, I think, in the in in recent history has been one of the most successful international ventures that you could look at because of the level of cooperation and the complexity of the task that was involved regarding the task. Um, let me just say a word about how we assess Isis and the threat that it poses. Isis remains a sin if significant threat. Um, and that’s why the military presence is still there. And that’s why the coalition remains engaged. To prevent Isis from researching our assessment is that it is a threat, but it isn’t an increasing threat. It has, um, some capabilities, but for weaker than what it used to have, it is not able to to to to the significant degree, it’s not able to mount sophisticated attacks or operations or to tactically coordinate most of what you see it. Launching is, um, um, Tara against targets of opportunity assassination of individuals who cooperate, for example, with the our apartment for two Syrian democratic forces, either on security or local government on I might talk for a minute about a couple of other primary objectives that the global coalition is involved in. Of course, we cooperate with local partner forces. This is how we executed the fight against Isis on the military side, and we continue to cooperate closely with the Iraqis on the Iraqi security forces and with Syrian democratic forces in northeastern Syria. Recently, the SDF completed several CT operations. For example, in there is your problem province and this was done in cooperation with coalition forces. We training and equipment we advised in the system and I’m sure General Greek, which will get involved in some of that in his remarks, um, we continue to provide stabilization assistance as I mentioned to communities that have been liberated from Isis. This involves help in getting these communities restored in terms of their essential services so that people can go back to their homes, get back to work um so it involves things like providing running water, getting clean drinking water to communities of repairing agricultural irrigation canals, re firm she schools, hospitals, activities like this. The United States has been heavily involved in funding this. This isn’t 2018. Coalition partners have also have funded it in the tune of several $100 million both in 18 19 which funded a lot of stabilization programs but also funded a lot of of US stabilization programs in northeastern Syria, for example. So it was a good example of burden sharing in the operations. Um, the, uh, the other primary objective that I wanted to mention was helping what I call the SDF secure the legacy populations, the post bag goose populations, the fighters who have been put in prisons, makeshift prisons, largely school. How former school houses former local industrial compounds that have been abandoned. So these were really Jerry Richt prison facilities. We’re working with the SDF to strengthen the physical security of these prisons, um, to help him expand detention facilities for juveniles, for women, um and, uh, and also just in general, help him with the expansion to ease overcrowding, which is one of the triggers for violence on the other side. We’re also helping with the women and Children population. They were also taken from the battlefield in booze, and they’ve been, as Nancy mentioned, put into the, um I’m GP camp it Ah, goose. I’m sorry. At Al Whole, our focus there is different. It’s to provide humanitarian assistance for a very vulnerable population food, shelter, medical care. But it’s also there’s a second tier to it that’s very important, which is to, um, to do some of the tasks that will begin to allow for disengagement and reintegration. The very first steps and these were things like vocational training, education for Children, recreational activities and psychosocial support. Um, which is also very important. Um, I wanted to mention just a couple of challenges. I think that you asked about the, um the, uh a couple of things come to mind, of course, that the primary challenge and the thing that keeps us there is the challenge from Isis. Andi, I’ve developed that a little bit already. What I would also talk about in the Northeast is the economic crisis that they face. They’ve been hit very hard by devaluation of Syrian pound. The Syrian Democratic forces and their affiliated civilian institutions draw in all pro vices. So they’re they’re having trouble paying their salaries. They’re having people who are ordinary people have trouble buying the basic goods that they need to survive. Show me the the other setback that I mentioned that a challenge is really what they faced with the covert 19 pandemic. And I can talk about that a little bit if you want to. But it’s been a significant challenge and eyes likely to increase going forward. I’ll stop there and see if you have questions. Thanks so much faster. Thanks for laying out something new, different lines of effort, some of those primary objectives, and we’ll circle back to you on some of the challenges you just laid out like toe. Next. Ask Pilica when it comes to the displaced in Iraq, where some of the key priorities in pressing concerns that are first and foremost in your mind today, thank you very much. And it’s a pleasure to be a member of this panel. This’ll morning or this afternoon. In my case, I have t to start off with a brief comment from From the perspective of UNHCR. When we talk about the display, these populations were of course, focusing very much our interventions and our activities on civilian displace populations. So people who have either fled Isis or who have fled areas of conflict where they were previously living and who are now living either in idea camps within Iraq or a large number of them also living in urban settings. Quite a lot of these people have already been through numerous security screenings by the authorities of of Iraq by the police, military, various entities in Iraq. So the presumption is very much that the that these people are all civilians on were therefore looking at our response as the U. N asshole Ondas Unity are in particular as a humanitarian response toe politically vulnerable populations in terms of our current priorities. Perhaps one of the key key issues for us is the question of durable solutions. How do we find solutions for these options? These displaced populations, so that they can either even return, which is has been a much talked about a solution for the displaced populations in the context of Iraq, but also recognizing that some of these people may not be able to return to their places of origin for various reasons which I’ll come to it later or may not want to return to their areas of origin. We need to also start looking at solutions that are that the other than return, in particular local settlement in the areas of displacement where where they can’t be are It’s been a very difficult up until recently to engage on in this discussion with the government in particular. When we’re not talking about her return is something that is voluntary return, that is that it has been on the cards for a while. But these other solutions have been much more difficult. Teoh engage in discussions on, but with the current government about recognizing that it is only an interim government, but never the less. There is a lot of willingness and understanding that we are going to need to expand The discussion of the search for durable solutions for the iron deepens beyond beyond issues of just return and of course, all these things. Discussion involves a lot of complex and difficult issues, including the issues of social cohesion, Andre, integration of populations that may be perceived to be affiliated toe Isis so that they may not necessarily be welcomed in in the in the areas that they are even living in displacement. If they were to stay there in their potential areas of origins. So that’s that. That is one, of course, a big challenge for us, but something that needs to be addressed if we are really going to be serious about getting to the point where we can start talking about people having found a found a solution Um, yeah, I mean, certainly part of our durable solutions approach from the UNHCR perspective is very much toe focus and prioritize protection interventions, a za basis achieving durable solutions. So here I’m talking primarily about lack of civil documentation. Many of the displaced do not have access to civil documentation. Also talking about preventing and responding to sexual and gender based violence issue be addressing trauma. As we all know, many of these populations have gone through severe traumatic events and will need support in addressing and dealing with those events on also supporting you through education and of course, for everyone access access to healthcare. So allow these air protection issues that but as UNHCR and without, without partners working on these issues we’re trying to address to perhaps make the path towards achieving a durable solution on easier for for for the displaced. Our primary focus as well is on supporting the restitution or the giving a single documentation to these displaced populations on. We work with the government of Iraq, in particular, Ministry of the Interior, very closely in order to assure ensure on support them in delivering civil documentation. T i d. Please, including through mobile missions to I. D cats, where they where people can be registered on and I received the document place really need. And for us it’s key because it ensures that it will have freedom of movement. If it documented, it facilitates, then going through security screenings that may be required if they want to go back to their places of origin on, Of course, it’s access. It provides access to a whole range of both basic services like health and education, but also programs that have been set up to T and to compensate people for properties or houses that they’ve lost, or indeed, even family members that they’ve lost. So a whole range of compensation schemes require and have documentation, so that’s very much. Are areas the focus for the time being? But I’m not the only one because, as this has already been said, he very much. Also linked to the durable solution debate is the reconstruction of infrastructure, so working with other partners to ensure that if people are going back toe the areas that have been very much destroyed by conflict, they have access to basic services, their water and in particular shelter. We’re often hearing that one of the key obstacles to return our is the lack of shelter on Peps, just to mention a very current example of the moment. In the last couple of months, we’ve seen over 11,500 Yazidi returnees from the whole area in particular into into singer on. Many of them are going back to too difficult a difficult situation on have needs for quite a lot of infrastructure rebuilding in addition to a number of other needs, like the Documentation one which I, which I just mentioned. Perhaps one of the other challenges is, of course, on the whole sort of transition point, moving from what has been up until now very much a humanitarian emergency response into more longer term development. Because these infrastructure projects, I meant while some of, um, a relatively short term and can be addressed, I’m quite quickly a number of sort of infrastructure program’s lean, cuffed Teoh much more the development side of things and require input from partners and entities, including the government, of course, on the on the development side. So that has been a challenge for for for Iraq in general. Andi is certainly something, but we need to continue to be to be engaged on when we’re talking about rebuilding, we building infrastructure. Um, just a quick word may be on the coverted pandemic and the effect that that, but that has had. Of course, it’s It’s really being a major challenge, first of all, in terms of access to populations in need, in particular the the I. D. P. Populations. Because they’ve seen a number of lockdowns on restrictions on freedom of movement due to health concerns, which makes things very difficult for the humanitarian community to provide assistance. Even if there are exceptions, the delivery of life saving assistance and perhaps even more importantly, it has meant that a number of displaced people have lost livelihoods. Opportunities that they had previously so access toe daily labour in towns and things like that have Bean has been severely curtailed. And one of the key issues that I D piece raised with us in terms of concern is the fact that they have lost the livelihoods activities that they previously had. So that has been a major challenge for for that primarily, but also for all the partners who who were working, working with I have a question. What more to say. But maybe I’ll leave it benefit how I don’t even come back through questions like that. Thanks so much. Yes, I’m sure they’re going to be many of them. Thanks for laying out some of the commitment on durable solutions and how hard it is to come by particular as you’re prioritising protection and the very many needs of so many of the displaced and things for ending on some of the updates regarding covet, it’s that you just don’t help. Well, I’m gonna turn next to general language, you know, as many of our opening statements, and were over a year posted territorial defeat of Isis. So how does us and come see the picture today. And how does this relate to the issues of reintegration? Return of the fighters as well? 1,000,000. Thanks very much for the question. I’d like to start by saying thanks to us I p for putting this for mine. From our perspective, here in U S. CentCom way also served as the Combined Forces Command for the military arm of the coalition. There’s not many more important topics as we look at how we can manage this, uh, this problem of ice to city well over the long term. So it is a priority for us on and much of the solution space so is not in the military relevancy. Ambassador alluded to much of the solution. Space comes from others. So thanks for the fellow Panelists were here with me today bringing ah lot of attention to this issue on for those who are attending and especially good to see Ambassador Robot. Last time we saw each other was several months ago in Syria. Uh, so I guess a couple of thoughts on framing the issue used I hear from my perspective I did spend the last year of my life in Iraq and Syria assed part of C J C F O i. R. The Combined Joint Task Force for inherent resolve. And so I’m shaped by that experience. When I think about the problems that we face on the challenge that we face with the prison population on the internally displaced persons camps around the area, I guess I’d start by saying, and I’ll focus on the president’s upfront. You know what one of the things he ambassador highlighted that we’ve been trying to do both through the military efforts and other other efforts is improved the conditions in the prisons from a security perspective. And also, I would argue from a humanitarian perspective. And so I see that really is crucial toe laying the foundation for any future reintegration efforts that what happened with that population, you know, the prison populations gonna have individuals with a minute. They come from a variety of backgrounds or a variety of levels of radicalization Within their I think that there are, you know, tailored solutions for different parts of the population. On some of that is a is A is a repatriation issue so that folks could be prosecuted. Some of it may be repatriation s so that folks could be reintegrated with their with their with their parents societies. And so we’re certainly working on all of that. But I think it’s important to note that the security discussion is absolutely linked to the longer term durable solutions. But he has been talking about in the internally displaced persons camp. I just like to highlight one point on that I It’s a really complex problem, and it’s not just because they’re bonified humanitarian needs in those camps. But we do have a fair amount of evidence that some of the individuals Internet camp, especially at Al Hol, are are not just family members associated with Isis proper. But some of them are probably ice it. Spider students happen to be female in some cases on, therefore work put into the male prison populations. And it’s important to note that because again, as we look at what that bell curve of attitudes looks like within Al Hol again, we’re gonna need tailored solutions for each part of that bell curve. So some of that is security and humanitarian conditions in the camp. Some of it is figuring out how to reintegrate back with the populations that individuals came from. And as a couple other folks have mentioned that sometimes I just may not be possible. I’ll just close with one final point on that is to go back to the ambassador’s point on messaging and encountering the global message of Isis. So from the military dimension and especially from where I sit here, a U. S. Centcom we’re focused on the security situation on the ground to allow some of these other efforts, uh, toe happen in terms of stabilization and longer term durable solutions. And that’s really what the military could do. The challenge with that is, if we maintain too much of a geographical focus, we forget that the long reach of Isis ideology globally can reach out and touch folks who were previously radicalized and pulled them back into the isis fold. And so it really does require a global approach from all of us to counter that message. And we do have some a number of initiatives that we worked with in the global coalition. To that end, we certainly worked within the US United States government with the State Department’s Global Engagement Center, but it’s something that we can’t afford to overlook. It’s not just a situation on the ground, but it’s done that broader information apartment that we need to address Thanks very much. Thanks so much general for framing the issues on particularly your points on the variety of different populations that exist within prisons that exist within I d pecans and the global connectivity of those who are adhering ties this with that. So I’d like to now turn to ASDA, Um, and ask a little bit of an opening question on in your book. Guesthouse for Young would, as you describe the way in which many young women left for Isis and how some different policies helped push women toward some of those fateful choices. Given what you know and what you discovered, what do you recommend today, particularly when it comes to some of the reintegration challenges? Thank you so much on plan. And to us, I p very good to be here with all of you. Um so I feel likely on the last time you and I saw each other, we were looking at this situation and Allah hole on DNA. Not so much in a lot of ways, has changed there has been, you know, a retrenching and and a real reluctance in Europe in particular on a set of Commonwealth countries to repay trading women and Children with Isis affiliations in hell Hole. Um, this is something I was very glad to hear the General Major General talk about separate facilities and strengthening facilities for women as well as as well as male detention centers. Because this is something that we’ve known has has been desperately needed. There’s then, you know, the problem in Europe is that there has been a political blockage to repatriation. Azaz. I’m sure everyone is aware. The language around this population has been deeply dehumanized. Thing on public are very against repatriation on politicians, elected politicians see little to gain politically it in a very febrile and still difficult atmosphere, made even more complicated by Covidien and some governments faltering response to Kobe to bring women and Children back. Um, security officials who are who are very much against this have been publicly on the record, just don’t have on its policy. They do make the case that is more dangerous to leave women, many of whom are indeed Isis fighters or militants in a camp it so porous where they could easily manage to traffic themselves out or to hire a smuggler to get them out. Um, there has been a kind of ah ah, minor shift in the UK, and I think it’s worth mentioning because I think it’s been the rial only rial development That might potentially should, of course, for the UK in the last month. Which is that a court judge that should name a Begum who I write about in my book, who was a 15 year old high schooler, uh, in London when she was groomed and recruited by Isis. Now in I’ll hold her three Children have all died, but she’s actually inroads. Was first in Al hold Ah court. Well, the British government had strict most of its nationals and the whole camp of there British citizenship. But a court ruled that the government should repatriation Naima Begum so that she could challenge the stripping off her citizenship from the from the UK that there was no meaningful way for her to do that from from these council northeast Syria, and said very clearly, and I think this is you know why this ruling won’t have legs that the security risks could be managed through law enforcement measures here in the UK s. So this is something that I think might make make a dent. I mean, this is very much something that is, uh, ruled buying politicians. Reluctance to, um no provoked public ire at these kind of repatriations on the number of Europeans we know in alcohol are actually quite small, even within the foreigner population, of course, within the larger population of Al Hole and the whole network of camps. But they haven’t oversized impact on the perception off hold and repatriation of returnees and Europe they haven’t. Oversight of impact on isis is ability to a deploy the camps, the humiliation of the Kansas subjugation of these women and Children in these horrible circumstances as part off, um, it’s narrative and its rhetoric. So certainly potentially around Shamim a big um, this tournament Begum ruling there will be a possibility for some different language on in the media and the public around these kinds of cases. And extending the idea that you know she is a case illustrates that many of these women were kind of brainwashed teenagers. If they are not monolithic. Some are quite dangerous. And some, you know, we’re studying for exams and buying new Congress when they were recruited. Four largely sexual exploitation by an armed group. So hopefully there will be some space to chip away at the public resistance that politicians sort of cultivate. And then and then you know, blame for their reluctance on. And there could be some movement on the rial kind of commonwealth European hardline against any repatriation. Thanks. How’s it? And thanks for bringing us, you know, into the most current of developments, as we see our countries are are looking even many countries that are all members of the coalition are all still I’m looking at this at each individual case by case basis. And so it might be interesting to see if infection in Megan’s case may have some outsiders to impacts. I realize that we already are 15 minutes before the top of the 11 hour, so I’m going to shift a little bit into some of the questions that we’ve received from the audience. But I’m gonna ask them toe all Panelists. I think some of them probably have about two of you. That would be relevant for each question, and so I’m not going to direct it exactly to you. But please feel free to chime in on it. So the first question that we have from the audience is GSP in need Or are there any plans for accountability or criminal prosecution at the international level for international crimes that were committed by ISIS members? I’ll take one crack it, and I’ll let others weigh in on it. Um, I think at least in the first instance, our view is that, uh, countries individually or better suited in to try these people for the crimes that they committed. Um, there’s a sense that, uh, if you go the route of tribunals that, um, the judicial process will be lengthy. The tribunals that have been used in the past have taken quite a lot of time to develop a verdict. Um, and I think at least the thinking right now in the U. S. Government is a strong preference for repatriation and prosecution by individual governments. I do. I do take the point that maybe some thought should be given to this, but I think the general view so far at least, is that, um is difficulties. That might be it. So it’s a move or, um, individualized approach, then. Ah, tribunal or something international like that. Thanks. Well, great. That was a really great answer, Acid. I see you want to jump in on that, too. Um, perhaps I’ll just try men. I definitely agree with Ambassador Roebuck. I mean, there’s seems to be little political appetite, especially in Europe, for an international tribunal in the northeast of Syria. Even this notion of of hybrid courts in Iraq seems to have been sort of lordly discarded. It creates all sorts of problems in terms of European conventions on human rights. Andi, just you know, I think the Iraqi government was disinclined anyway, so I think from a kind of political policy perspective, you know, they’re just seems that seems to be a nonstarter. However, I think there is sort of one element that would be quite important on that. The idea of having some international response could address, perhaps in a different context, apart from a tribunal is the importance of bringing ah much more nuance and discerning attitude around gender in repatriation and rehabilitation on prosecution, because we’ve seen in countries like Turkey and Morocco. Prosecutors and judges tend to see women as trailing spouses. Nor does militants or operatives having this kind of, you know, significant battlefield or operational experience. As far as we know. You know, tens of women who have been returned to Morocco haven’t been prosecuted at all, not only from a security perspective is it really flawed approach. But it also denies women who may have been victimized, traumatized and and largely coerced in enjoining Or, you know, women on a spectrum, the opportunity Teoh to be rehabilitated. So in Turkey, only a small handful of women, for example, are in prison for their Isis affiliation. But in prison they have access to female religious scholars and imams and social like psycho social support and treatment. Whereas, you know, the hundreds who just melted back into Turkish society eventually lip having these close to our lives are not given that kind of support on, and that is unsocial part of rehabilitation. Many of them are foreigners who are living with other families off of their finder husbands, you know, How long will that will that be sustained? So think bringing Ah, very serious gender, uh, could set of considerations and to have the response all the way from prosecution and, um, and and accountability through rehabilitation and DDR is essential. And I think there does need to be a sort of collective effort to do that, because individual states on their own tend not to be bringing that into their considerations. I think that’s a really important point. And how How did you think of a little bit more consistent consistency and system? It ization across what are definitely going to be experiments and learning in process that many countries were dealing with at different points in the entire spectrum. Return to another question from the audience, and this one to fill over may have some some comments on this. Well, what you see is some of the past for Children, that what may have been born to people of multiple and nationalities and made now essentially the state was particularly those who may have lost their parents. Somebody actually, yes, and I wanted to come in after as a race focus well on the need for a agenda, a specific approach when talking about reconciliation on this engagement of women in our whole. But also we need to, of course, come at addressing the issues of the population in our whole, many of whom we all know are Iraqis on and particularly pay attention to the to the Children. I mean, we have 50 something percent of people in our whole who are Children under the ages of 18 and quite a large proportion of those under the age of 12. And it would be very important that we stop talking about solutions, to look that at at the needs of those Children and to avoid a situation where first of all, we have Children in detention or incarceration for long periods of time. Because that is not going to lead to a healthy outcome for those Children’s on any front on, but also to look out at the best interests of the child. So perhaps this is where it relates up to the question that you read out. I mean, what is key is the best interest of the child, and of course it’s a difficult challenge when you have a parent who perhaps has been involved or has been affiliated to some of these. That Isis, but nevertheless, from from a from a human rights perspective, it’s very likely to focus on the best interests of that child and, of course, to take a differentiated approach because it will depend on the situation of that family, the activities that they may or may not have been involved in, and to look at education as well for those Children, both at the moment, while they are still in our whole. But certainly, and now I’m talking more about the Iraqi population. But certainly if it if and when they come back to Iraq, there needs to be a plan that would include making sure that those Children have access to education and are able to integrate, enter into the existing education systems with other Children are not stigmatized four for their their parents background. Let’s say that was a really great run down as to how we really prioritized the needs of the child in so many of these dire situations. Any other comments before move to the next question? Okay, great. Um, so this is another audience question. So Isis is nearly the latest chapter in a variety of different solid few jihadist movements that we’ve seen over the last couple of decades. Do you step halfway toward defeating this movement. I addressing some of the underlying grievances and poor governance that is across the Centcom area of responsibility to assume that this one would be for for the general and for the ambassador. But others please feel free to to join as well. Thanks for the question. So, you know, we certainly understand that, uh, Isis is just the latest chapter. There’s a lineage you can trace Isis back toe Al Qaeda in Iraq on and even before that. And of course, there’s other extremist movements that have popped up independent of that. But there certainly in the same a family of movements. And I do agree with the premise of the question that a lot of that is driven by underlying grievances in the in the area. This might be a, uh, this is certainly not something that the military can solve. But it’s certainly something that we can highlight and that we can discuss with our partners in both the US interagency and across the Coalition on a Cross, the international community and the non governmental organizations and international organizations that are out there, because fundamentally, if you don’t solve those underlying issues, then you are going to get these types of movements of spring up. And that’s true, really, regardless of the cultural context. Of course, we’re focusing on U. S. Central Command right now, but I think that would apply globally as well. And we’ve certainly seen that another context this This is a really good place against a hammer home, the impact of Cove it and a challenge that that’s gonna collectively give us across the community as all of the nations that we’ve been talking about today from from Europe from North America, you know, as economic conditions adjust to be determined exactly what level of resource is governments will be willing to apply to these problems at exactly the time when the vulnerable and fragile governments across the Middle East across our a o. R. Might require additional support. So it’s something to think about to try to come up with a strategy for I don’t think we know the outlines of that strategy yet because we don’t understand how that economic, uh, geography will lay out over time. But it obviously goes beyond economy. Economy is just one aspect of it, and certainly governance is another you know, I guess I’d be remiss if I didn’t say if I take it back to the Iraqi context on the Syrian context for just a moment. One of the issues that we see is with some of the militant Shia militia groups that air tied back Teoh. A fair amount of Iranian influence is they operate in traditionally Sunni areas across Iraq. We think that that does also contribute to some sectarian tensions, historically have caused the rise of Isis. And just as a as an example from the last. While we’ve got a fair amount of polling data that we do to see what is some of the previously vulnerable Sunni communities in Iraq. How did they respond to Isis ideology? It’s highly unpopular. They have lived under Isis once They don’t want to do it again. They recognize just how difficult that is of them. When a Shia militia group comes in, that is only nominally associate it with the Iraqi government that’s working for its own ends, and the levels of corruption become clear that it does start to push them back in the opposite direction. And so I think some of those sectarian divides religious divides on the governance issues that overlay on top of that are extremely important. Thank you. Early and just addendum to that. I agree with everything the general said. I thought that was a great response to that question. Just one point on the need for governments for the coalition on others who are involved in this problem set to address some of the underlying grievances in order to to get to a point where we solve this problem of, you know, consecutive chapters of ah, of jihadi ex extremists. I think it is, um, is true. Is that in electoral proposition? I just don’t know if the if the U. S government are others are well positioned right now to to do that. Um, I don’t know how much appetite there is for it, given the I mean to be honest about it, uh, given the way that Isis has conducted itself, it’s sort of frankly poisoned that well. But I do believe that some of the approaches that we’ve talked about in some of the approaches that Azadeh and Philippa and Leanne that you mentioned have to do with durable solutions with re integration, with disengagement, with taking these first steps, they can possibly open up in in governments and populations. Ah, willingness down the road to take a look at some of these underlying grievances. And the attitudes can consulting and become a bit mawr adaptive and mingle and being realistic about the need to to address some of these underlying grievances. Thanks, Philip Gossett. Anything sad? Um, I might only add very quickly. I think there’s a juice. You’re the jewel political element, Teoh everything that we’ve just been discussing. I would just add very quickly agreeing with both the ambassador in the general on nearly everything that they said that it’s quite imperative for Iran US tensions not to spill over more than they already have into the Iraqi theatre because the interim Iraqi government turning its attention to re integration and reconciliation in a potentially serious way For the first time we’ve seen needs toe have the space and the room to maneuver to focus attention on the very intractable and complex issues off domestic reintegration and reconciliation at this process is not helped by the polarization that’s especially exacerbated and illustrated on the security landscape in Iraq by Ron US tensions so just to sort of mentioned the looming, you know, geopolitical dinosaur looming over this issue is that Andi? I think, you know, hopefully we will have to shift on that in the months to come. But I think it cannot be resolved in a genuine way, given that the kind of matrix of security actors and the way that they feed into that adversarial relationship that’s it. Well, it seems that we are at the top of the hour. And I just wanted to thank everyone for a really engaging an informative panel. I feel like we covered in, uh, just about 50 minutes or so, a huge amount of ground on an incredibly complex issue that we could definitely be talking about for hour after hour after hour and still not have untied all of the different knots that are part of this problem. Um, but was that I’m really excited, Teoh this transition to the next part of this discussion, which I hope through ah, one on one. He no chat is going toe expose even more. Some of the issues that we put on the table today. It’s been my pleasure to moderate this and please thank you so much Panelists for your excellent remarks here. Candor, your explanations and thanks for being part of it with us today, right? Thank you, LeAnn. And let me add my thanks to the Panelists. It’s really terrific to have that military diplomatic, humanitarian development view altogether to address what is, without question, a very complicated, very difficult issues. So thank you to all of our Panelists. Thank you. Also for all the work that you do. And you have perfectly set the stage for our next discussion with General Kenneth Mackenzie, who has now joined us. We’re delighted to have you with us. Uh, this morning, sir, for this conversation. Uh, General Mackenzie has been the commander for the U. S. Central Command since March of 2019. This means he’s responsible for the U. S. Military operations throughout the Middle East in South Asia. And throughout his impressive 40 year career as a Marine general, Mackenzie has served in Afghanistan in Iraq for the Joint Chief of Staff, as well as dozens of other positions in the Marines and the U. S. Military. General Mackenzie has been seized with this challenge of what Indu during defeat of Isis really looks like since assuming command last year, so it’s my pleasure to welcome him here. Today we will dive into a discussion and some questions, including questions from the audience. But first general, welcome. Thank you for joining us and let me turn things over to you for some welcoming comments. And Nancy, thanks a lot. First of all, I’m delighted to be part of this session this morning. I got to hear a little bit of the last session, which I thought was very good. But this is very important to may I tell people all the time one of the very highest priorities I have. Its central command is dealing with displaced persons and refugees. I think it’s a unfortunate byproduct of the conflict in the region. But I think unless we have a way to solve that problem we’re setting, we’re setting a strategic barrier for ourselves. 10 or 15 years down the road is the Children grow older as they’re radicalized. So I am absolutely focused on this problem. And as you know, it is an indirect. We can help indirectly. We’ll do everything we can to help indirectly. But I thought it was important enough for me to actually volunteer and very aggressively pursue this opportunity to talk this morning. Nancy, What I’d like to do, if I could is just give a couple opening comments, uh, set the stage. And while I’m talking about the enduring defeat of Isis, we should all recognize that the enduring defeat of Isis has got an incorporate in the middle to that. It’s got incorporated way forward for the displaced persons in all the other people that are at risk across the theater. If not, we’re actually never gonna really defeat Isis, and the problem is going to come back. But we just need to realize that we have to operate in many dimensions and think not only in the military dimension but outside the military dimension as well. So I feel that very strongly. But what I’ll do is just set a little bit of the history here. So the coalition campaign began in 2014 story with air strikes, uh, if expanded advisory forces on the ground that with additional air and ground fires, sustainment and intelligence support in Iraq, isis pushed the Iraqi security forces to the very limits of their capabilities are advisory efforts with the Iraqi army and the counterterrorism service with CTS as we know it rebuilt their tactical capacity and began a systematic clearance of Isis hell terrain, including the large, their largest stronghold in muzzle Iraq declared victory over Isis in December 20,017. But in fact, efforts against Isis continue to this day across Iraq, and I’ll come back that you’re a little bit. The complex operating environment of Syria proved a much harder challenge. The presence of Russian and Iranian forces, large numbers of displaced persons from the civil war in an organized but increasingly desperate Isis resistance. We’re all obstacles to developing a coordinated campaign against the heart of the physical caliphate. Our largest partner, the Syrian Democratic Forces, under the leadership of General Mr Bloom, spearheaded the push down the Euphrates River valley that broke the back of Isis power, including the capital, to capture their capital of Raka in October 2000 and 17. The five year existence of the caliphate ended with the fall of booze in March 2009 and one of general job hotels. Last actions does the CENTCOM commander, while pockets of determined fighters remain in both countries. Local security forces have prevented Isis from reorganizing into a viable for it and certainly they don’t have the ability to hold ground. U. S and coalition forces continue to advise a security partners were authorized. Sitcom also supports US government stability in humanitarian efforts. So, looking ahead a little bit moving forward from the territorial defeat of Isis, the campaign for the enduring defeat hinges really on three conditions. First, we sufficient security capacity of local and state level to prevent ISIS remnants for imposing a threat to stabilization efforts and governance. Again, we’re authorized. Centcom and coalition forces will support the development of operational and institutional capacity to sustain. These are doing partner gangs at the tactical level. Second, with security assured national international students a stabilization efforts can focus on meeting the basic needs of the population and repairing the devastation of years of conflict. This will set conditions for the third and enduring phase, a return to the norm of institutional governance by sovereign states. This would be the conditions that would allow displaced persons to safely return in generationally impacting reforms to be put in place to prevent a resurgence of radical ideology, a little bit more about Isis. We believe they continue to aspire to regain control of physical throwing without sustained pressure. They have the potential to do so in a relatively short period of time. Local security forces are the key to preventing resurgence of Isis in Iraq and Syria. The underlying conditions that allowed for the rise of Isis remain, and they’ve been compounded by the physical destruction required to dismantle the caliphate. The amount of time and resource is necessary to address these conditions is Significa Cove. It impacts their going to complicate further complicating really all other aspects of stabilisation. The malign influence of Iran in both Iraq and Syria is an impediment to the enduring to fi devices. Arraigning and support to their on proxies in Iraq increases the risk of coalition forces and it impacts our abilities, support development of the eye itself and to focus on are the reason we’re there, which is operations against ISIS. Support to the Syrian regime and regional terrorist organization. Prolongs the conflict, convince the return of displaced persons in refugees and drives intervention from other regional actors. Under new prime minister could, any Iraqi government has an opportunity to address protesters demands for political, economic and security reforms. We’ll continue to support the development of the I sell transitioning from a tactical focus that enabled the defeat devices institutional capacity building this sustain the games that they made. There is no viable military solution to the conflict in Syria. Only a political settlement can in the violence and address the underlying conditions that for actually the country and allowed Isis a Today Co. We talk just a little bit about the humanitarian challenges. Russian support to the regime’s Headlam offensive increase the risk of humanitarian crisis in Syria. Reduction to a single crossing point in Northwest is impacting the international community’s ability to provide H A two displaced persons in the local population. Safety concerns on the part of the population. Very few were able to return safely to their home communities, basing either personal risks, widespread destruction and nothing to return to or both. Perception of safety is a far more acute problem in physical safety. The story of the vanished 104 persists Refugees from rock band who after regime engagement, were not heard from again. Syrian regime control of areas surrounded. The anti comparison complicates the return of the population of red wine, both displaced persons insecurity partners that supported the fight against Isis have faced forced conscription into the Syrian armed forces and and even violent Reprisals from the regime itself. The United States government is working closely with the government of Iraq to return Iraqis currently in Syria in a manner that is most safe and secure. We support the department states leadership role within the US government. The international community needs to support repatriation efforts or coalition. Three ISIS efforts may be for naught. That’s the best way to solve that particular roll. The United States government supports the uniform, the in form safe, the voluntary and the dignified movement of internally displaced persons within Syria. And we strongly urged all parties to work with the U. N to adhere to the U. N. Guiding principles on internal displacement. We continue to push repatriations the priority for all the foreign persons in both camps and prisons, allowing for civilian leadership in northeast Syria to repatriate Syrians. Look, I would like to finish with just one other thing. I want to come back to how this ends because that’s the title of what I was talking about, and I’m actually gonna pick a phrase from one of my favorite poets, T s Eliot. And I’m gonna say this is the way the world ends. Not with a bang, but with a simple And that’s the way this campaign is going to end. There’s not gonna be a significant victory celebration. There’s not gonna be a clear cut military victory. The future, particularly in Syria, is not gonna be bloodless or Iraqi, But it can be. We can look to our future. Will security forces, local security forces answerable the local elected leadership wanted leadership? We’re gonna be able to handle it without extensive outside help. That’s what we need to aim for. But we need to recognize it’s never gonna be a perfect solution that we might like I have seen in other wars. One of the key things we’ve also got to do is prevent connective tissue from being coming from what was once the centerpiece of the caliphate to the rest of the globe, where they seek to export terror. Unfortunately, you know that the cyber issues have made it all too easy for them. Teoh motivate people globally, and we’ve got also fighting that domain. As we go forward to the future, we have a we have a way forward. It’s not gonna be a clean cut solution, but I believe it’s a solution that can be enduring if we can all work together to that end. Having said that, Nancy, I’m ready to stop and answer your questions. Thank you so much. Wonderful. Well, thank you for that very clear eyed and comprehensive over you of amazingly complex situation. And I wanted to just go back to you, laid out a lot of the critical issues. And since you took over the command, of course there’s been defeat the territorial defeat. But we’ve also seen a withdrawal of the troop levels reduction of U. S. Troop levels. We’ve seen the incursion of Turkish troops across the border. And of course, as you mentioned, we also have covitz. So I’m just wondering, how have you had to adjust your campaign and your activities as a result of Allah? These these pretty significant changes over the last year and 1/2 way actually remain completely focused in Syria own operations against against Isis. That’s what we focus on. That’s what we work for their partner. There are several things that go underneath that you’re aware of. We re awarded last October and what we call now the eastern Syria security area, which, if you were to think of Syria largely, is a boundary that runs along the Euphrates River about midway north and cuts over to the east a little bit. That’s where we are. That’s what we work with our SDF partners on. So we also, as you know, have a supplementary test who aid them in their defense of the oil fields that are any period which allows them. Ultimately, we hope to be able to gain income from that which they will then be able to use will continue to prosecute. The anti idea account arises effort. So that’s really where our focus is there. Look at the same time, we also need to recognize that Turkey has legitimate security interests. You realize that we agreed at the PKK has been a terrorist organization, has attacked the Turks. We share a different view of the SDF what they’ve been able to do for us, and we don’t believe that they are one in the same. That’s just the spring that we have with Turkey and continue to work with them on that problem as it goes forward. But the bottom of it all, Bottom line with a We do recognize that Turkey has concerns about what flows over the border into metropolitan Turkey, if you will, from what goes on in Syria and other parts of in other parts of the deer. So we need to recognize that. But we remain relentlessly focused on finishing Isis off at the same time. I don’t think we’re gonna be in Syria forever. I don’t know how long we’re gonna be in Syria. That’s gonna be a political decision, not a military decision. It’s not gonna be made by a uniformed officer, so we’ll be ready to respond to that. And at some point, we would do want to get smaller there. I just don’t know when that’s gonna bay. I do know that as long as we were remained, we’re gonna work very hard to finish off Isis Senate. I noted earlier. I really don’t have the ability to hold ground anymore. We think that remains an aspirational goal, so constant pressure is actually very important against them as we go forward and we’re work with our partners to ensure that pressure is maintained. It is a uniquely complex operational environment. You know, the threat against our forces from Shia militant groups has caused us to put resource is is that we would otherwise use against Isis to provide for our own defence and that is lowered our ability to work effectively against him. And we just had to do that because we’ve got to be able to protect our people. And those are our coalition partners that are with us in this fight. So we look, you know, But whenever we can, we look to get back to the reason that we were there. And the reason we’re there is to finish the defeat of Isis in to ensure that it cannot return with level where it can move beyond that local sporadic violence level. Because, unfortunately, as I noted in my opening remarks, I don’t think we’re ever going to get past that point. There’s always gonna be remnants of that and unfortunately west of the Euphrates River, in areas that we do not control where the regime controls ground with the Russian patrons, the conditions are as bad or worse than those that spawned the original rise of Isis. So I’m not encouraged by what’s happening out in the West. I think that is very concerning. We should all be very concerned about that. We have a vision for stabilization. It may be an important in a nim perfect vision, but we have a vision. I’m not sure that out in the West, there’s any vision at all beyond violence. Is there any coordination or common discussion with the Syrian or Russian, uh, forces or powers? Given that there’s hot, probably a common goal of defeating Isis in a more permanent way? Sure, So we D conflict with the Russians were carefully bounded on what we can do. We talked to them through a deconfliction channel. It’s usually done below my level. It’s done a level of my three star commander in Iraq, in Iraq and Syria, C J T F A Y our Army Lieutenant Colonel Pat White. He talks to his camera pork when necessary, when we need to be conflict specific operation on. And then we have a more technical channel that goes between our air operations and center and their air operations center that we talked to them about specific things. But the talk is strictly deconfliction and is not what I would call coordination or anything beyond that, you know, is always our primary go. There’s Deconfliction system percent is to prevent miscalculation when you have high speed, very sophisticated aircraft operating in a constrained space and sophisticated air defense systems. You want to prevent the occurrence of an event that could be unfortunate for everyone. So we work that very hard, and we actually have very little coordination with the government of Syria. Yeah, it is my judgment that the government of Syria has actually missed opportunities in the past to try to come to resolution with the SDF in the east. But, you know, they have never been the government in Syria, and Damascus has never been noted for its political adroitness or ability to accommodate change. There Will Mackenzie. I want a pan back for just a minute because you have an extraordinarily complex command. Uh, not only do you dress the problem that you just laid out, you also have under your command, uh, the issues in Afghanistan, Dan, with Taliban and the growing focus on great power competition today. We’re talking about how ISIS really ends. So I’m just wondering, Is there a struggle to maintain the focus on this issue? Especially as it has morphed into not just a military solution but a humanitarian and diplomatic requirement? Sure that. But, uh, yes, yes, that’s a great question, because it is. I look at the theater. We remain focused, own Iran as our central problem. This headquarters focuses on Iran executing the Terrence activities against Iran in doing those things. At the same time, though, we’re conducting a significant campaign in Afghanistan where Americans are directly at risk and we’re conducting a significant campaign in Iraq. In Syria, we’re Americans and in both countries are coalition partners are well as well are at risk. So our goal is always we want to keep focused on where we have U. S service members and coalition partners and our friends where they’re at physical risk. So, you know, there are a lot of things that I worry about it and I looked at my focus, but we’re always tactically folk people in contact, So I would say, having said that the Iraq Syria conundrum is particularly demanding because of the element of displaced persons that air there. The volume of displaced persons, the fact that we have the camps that the crowd we’ve talked about so eloquently and that is very concerning to me because again, I look at it as a tactical problem in a strategic problem. The tactical problem. We were managing that we’re continuing operations against ISIS. The strategic problem, though, unless we find a way to repatriate, to be radicalized, to bring these people that are at grave risk in these camps back probably to their nations, that they came from or to stay in Syria where appropriate, but with some form of the radicalization were buying ourselves a strategic problem 10 years down the road, 15 years down the road on. And we’re gonna do this all over again and I would prefer to avoid that. And that is why what I think makes the problem in particularly Syria so very complex because you’ve got a deal, really, with two time scales, a timescale now, the military time skill which is measured in days, weeks, hours as we conduct operations and then the longer term time scale. As you know, young people grow up and we’re gonna see him again unless we can find a way to turn them in a way that will make them productive members of society. So So let’s turn to the Al Hol camp as you heard a little bit with the previous panel. A 65,000 residents of this camp, which is a small city. Uh, the vast majority are women and Children. You you just mentioned the importance of repatriation. How have you seen the repatriation proceed thus far? How likely is it? Do you think that will actually be able to repay trade? Any significant number of these camp residents, and particularly with cove it now so many of so some of movement globally has been shut down. How do you see the international community able to enable this kind of returning repatriation? And is the military involved with with that of all purely in a supporting role with that is, you know, that’s really way support. We help trying the the people that the improvised security, the camp that work it, But we are not directly involved in turn except in terms of transportation’s. When we were asked to do that in terms of moving people, I would tell you that it’s going very slow from my perspective. I think it needs to go faster. I don’t have an answer besides repatriation, I mean, look, many people have been to the camp, and a lot of people have talked about it. This is it is not a good place to live. Had things gonna happen if you keep a lot of people, they’re bad things are gonna happen in terms of radicalization, and bad things are gonna happen in terms of of it or even before Cove it. I would tell people I was worried about cholera. I was worried about access to water. We were worried about a lot of a lot of other things. So we absolutely support the department. States lead on repatriation. We think it’s absolutely critical they are working very hard. But, you know, nations got agree to take up, and so we talked a little bit about that. I heard you’re the tail end of the prior group. About that is concerning to me that we’re moving so slowly because, you know, we can either we could either deal with this problem now or deal with it exponentially. worse a few years down the road, and And what worries me tactically also is the prospect of massive infection in the camp from Corona virus. Although I again there are many other bad things that happened in that camp a swell. So a significant number of the camp residents, of course, are there many, many foreigners, both fighters and families, that there are also significant numbers who are Syrian and Iraqi. You mentioned the issues in Iraq with both the opportunity with the new leadership there. The fact that most of the Sunni population does not support a return to Isis. But how do you see the impact and of the possible return of Al Ho and other ISIS affiliated fighters and families to Iraq? Is there a willingness to take them? Do you see that will be a downside and moving them back to what is still a very volatile situation in Iraq? Yeah, I think so. It’s an option of difficulties, if you will. Alcohol arguably is one of the worst places in the world, and I’ve got to believe that if you get him back into Iraq, it can’t be worse than that. They were back in there will be back in the nation state from which they came. But I’m not. I’m not wearing rose colored glasses as I consider that possibility as well. The action of transit is gonna be difficult and demanding. Settling back in an area where you may not be welcome will be difficult and demanding. But I just don’t see a better solution. You know, it’s and and my my ability to apply the levers to it is very limited, as it really is a larger issue than us. You know, we can help the teams that go in there. We can do all kinds of things, but it really is. It is an interconnected ecosystem of problems, if you will, that that really requires international agreement. Unfortunately, you know there’s not. It’s very difficult to gain that right now. And you’re also right, Nancy, when you pointed out just a minute ago, the Corona virus is uniquely poised to put friction in that everything that we think needs to happen, which is the movement, which is the movement Teoh to the home countries. There’s 60 nations that are represented, although the vent, although many of those nations have a fairly small amount of people. But I wish I had a better solution. I will tell you this. If we stay where we are, we’re gonna have huge problems. Huge problems in the near term, I think with lots of people potentially dying in the huge problems in the long term because I get to see a scheme that can talk about the radicalization at scale. And I don’t believe you can necessarily affect that de radicalization. Stay in a place like alcohol, you need to get people back into the environment from which they came. And I believe it needs to be a, uh the radicalization process. And I’ve looked at a lot of alternatives, and I know a lot of really smart people are working on it where I said it needs to be embedded in the culture, so it needs to be a needs to be a Middle East solution. It needs to come from the region and will be even better if it came not only from the region, but with form within the sitting area that the people who have been radicalized came from. And beyond that, I am I’m still struggling to find something that works because, you know, there may be pilot programs that could do one or two people at an extraordinary, extraordinary amount of cost, but we need programs that will work at scale. Andi, I think it’s much harder to envision. Yeah, we had a Z. You may have heard an interesting conversation on the these concepts of disengagement and reconciliation as keep yeah, are able to return. And, you know, I think for a lot of listeners, this whole idea of reintegrating Isis into communities can seem like a very lofty, an impossible goal. We have also seen in conflicts like the Rwandan genocide I’d the aftermath of career Rouge that in fact, there are ways to rebuild a future that isn’t Onley defined by its past. And, um, you know, clearly this is a very complex problem. But I’m wondering from the military’s perspective, and you quite rightly point out, this is far beyond just a military problem. But in the military, uh, world, are there lessons from other post fireman’s that you think about the You pull forward to apply to this situation? I decided Rwanda. I think South Africa isn’t is another place where you can take a look at possible Solutions s Oh, yes, There are other solutions. Bosnia is another place where you can look a solution. The only thing that concerns me about Isis is, uh, you know, you never want to say this is the worst. This is the worst example of extremism that you’ve ever seen, but we’re pretty close to it here. And so I think it’s I think it’s a tall order to talk about how you re integrate Isis, and I don’t in the way to do it. I believe it is not to start at the top, because I don’t think you can start with current leadership and hope to bend those people. You got to start at the bottom but feeds in which takes you to the Children crustacean of in the majority of people in the camps themselves. So if there’s a way to work that I think it’s the way to work it and I also agree with you disengagement, some form of disengagement approach may be ultimately more effective, you know, then talking about the radicalization because the radicalization may just not be possible within the within the fiscal and time limits that we’re operating under right now. You know what? My and last trips before Covic shut a cell down was to Pakistan and remarkably, those the five Central Asian countries have really been in the lead in taking back residents of ice of Al Ho, mainly women and Children. Um, do you have any thoughts on why there’s been a greater willingness for Central Asians to take their their citizens back? Versus what we just heard from the panel is a is a steep reluctance in in Europe, you know, that’s a I wish I could give more light on that. I really don’t know, Um, smaller numbers from one thing I mean, you know, in the case of Iraq, we’re talking many, many, many thousands of people. They’re going to come back so smaller numbers in the Central Asian states. If I were to look for causal factor, that might be the one thing. Plus, you know that obviously things happen, Teoh, When you when you’re a good citizen, internationally, Central Asian states need help. It’s a good way to about what flows over the border into metropolitan Turkey, if you will, from what goes on in Syria and other parks in other parts of the deer, so we need to recognize that. But we remain relentlessly focused on finishing Isis off at the same time. I don’t think we’re gonna be in Syria forever. I don’t know how long we’re gonna be in Syria. That’s gonna be a political decision, not a military decision. It’s not gonna be made by a uniformed officer, so we’ll be ready to respond to that. And at some point, we would do want to get smaller there. I just don’t know when that’s gonna bay. I do know that as long as we were remained, we’re gonna work very hard to finish off Isis. And as I noted earlier, I really don’t have the ability to hold ground anymore. We think that remains an aspirational goal. There’s so constant pressure is actually very important against them. As we go forward and we’re work with our partners, we sure that pressure is maintain it is a uniquely complex operational environment. You know, the threat against our forces from Shia militant groups has caused us to. But resource is, is that we would otherwise use against Isis to provide for our own defence and that is lowered our ability to work effectively against him. And we just had to do that because we’ve got to be able to protect our people. And those are our coalition partners that are with us in this fight. So we look, you know. But whenever we can, we look to get back to the reason that we were there. And the reason we’re there is to finish the defeat of Isis and to ensure that it cannot return with level where it can move beyond that local sporadic violence level. Because, unfortunately, as I noted in my opening remarks, I don’t think we’re ever going to get past that point. There’s always gonna be remnants of that and unfortunately, west of the Euphrates River, in areas that we do not control where the regime controls ground with the Russian patrons, the conditions are as bad or worse than those that spawned the original rise of Isis. So I’m not encouraged by what’s happening out in the West. I think that is very concerning. We should all be very concerned about that. We have a vision for stabilization. It may be an important in a nim perfect vision, but we have a vision. I’m not sure that out in the West, there’s any vision at all beyond violence. Is there any coordination or common discussion with the Syrian or Russian, uh, forces or powers? Given that there’s hot, probably a common goal of defeating Isis in a more permanent way? Sure, So we deconflict with the Russians were carefully bounded on what we can do. We talk to them through a deconfliction channel. It’s usually done below my level. It’s done a level of my three star commander in Iraq, in Iraq and Syria, C J T F A y our Army Lieutenant Colonel Pat White. He talks to his counterpart when necessary, when we need to be conflict specific operation on. And then we have a more technical channel that goes between our air operations and center and their air operations center that we talked to them about specific things. But the talk is strictly deconfliction, and it is not what I would call coordination or anything Beyond that, you know, is always our primary go. There’s Deconfliction system percent is to prevent miscalculation when you have high speed, very sophisticated aircraft operating in a constrained space and sophisticated air defense systems. You want to prevent the occurrence of an event that could be unfortunate for everyone. So we work that very hard, and we actually have very little coordination with the government of Syria. I is my judgment. The government of Syria has actually missed opportunities in the past to try to come to resolution with the SDF in the east. But you know, they have never been. The government in Syria in Damascus has never been noted for its political adroitness or ability to accommodate change. There Will Mackenzie. I want a pan back for just a minute because you have an extraordinarily complex command. Uh, not only do you dress the problem that you just laid out, you also have under your command, uh, the issues in Afghanistan and with Taliban and the growing focus on great power competition. Today we’re talking about how ISIS really ends. So I’m just wondering, is there a struggle to maintain the focus on this issue? Especially as it has morphed into not just a military solution, but a humanitarian and diplomatic requirement? Sure that, but, uh, you see, that’s it. That’s a great question, because it is. I look at the theater. We remain focused own Iran as our central problem. This headquarters focuses on Iran and executing the Terrence activities against Iran in doing those things. At the same time, though, we’re conducting a significant campaign in Afghanistan where Americans are directly at risk and we’re conducting a significant campaign in Iraq and Syria. We’re Americans, and in both countries are coalition partners are well as well are at risk. So our goal is always we want to keep focused on where we have U. S service members and coalition partners and our friends where they’re at physical risk. So, you know, there are a lot of things that I worry about it and I looked at my focus. We’re always tactically folk people in contact. So I would say, having said that, the Iraq Syria conundrum is particularly demanding because of the element of displaced persons that air there, the volume of displaced persons, the fact that we have the camps that the crowd we’ve talked about so eloquently and that is very concerning to me because again, I look at it as a tactical problem in a strategic problem. The tactical problem we were is made we’re managing that we’re continuing operations against ISIS. The strategic problem, though, unless we find a way to repatriate, to be radicalized, to bring these people that are at grave risk in these camps back comfortably to their nations that they came from or to stay in Syria where appropriate, but with some form of the radicalization were buying ourselves a strategic problem 10 years down the road, 15 years down the road on. And we’re gonna do this all over again, and I would prefer to avoid that. And that is why what I think makes the problem in, particularly Syria so very complex because you’ve got a deal, really, with two time scales, the timescale now the military time skill which is measured in days, weeks, hours as we conduct operations and then the longer term time scale. As you know, young people grow up and we’re gonna see him again unless we can find a way to turn them in a way that will make them productive members of society. So So let’s turn to the Al Hol camp. Aziz, you heard a little bit with the previous panel. A 65,000 residents of this camp which is a small city. Uh, the vast majority are women and Children. You we just mentioned the importance of repatriation. How have you seen the repatriation proceed thus far? How likely is it? Do you think that will actually be able to repay trade? Any significant number of these camp residents, and particularly with Cove it now so many of so, so so much movement globally has been shut down. How do you see the international community able to enable this kind of returning repatriation? And is the military involved with with a purely in a supporting role? With that is, you know, that’s really way support. We help train the people that provides security of the camp that working. But we are not directly involved in turn except in terms of transportation’s. When we were asked to do that in terms of moving people, I would tell you that it’s going very slow from my perspective. I think it needs to go faster. I don’t have an answer besides repatriation, I mean, look, many people have been to the camp and a lot of people have talked about. It is it is not a good place to live they had things gonna happen. If you keep a lot of people there, bad things are gonna happen in terms of radicalization, and bad things are gonna happen in terms of overhead or even before Cove it. I would tell people I was worried about cholera. I was worried about access to water. We were worried about a lot of a lot of other things. So we absolutely support the department. States lead on repatriation. We think it’s absolutely critical they are working very hard. But, you know, nations got agree to take up, and so we talked a little bit about that. I heard here the tail end of the prior group about that. It’s concerning to me that we’re moving so slowly because you know we can either we could either deal with this problem now or deal with it exponentially worse a few years down the road. And And what worries me tactically also is the prospect of massive infection in the camp from Corona virus. Although I again there are many other bad things that happened in that camp a swell. So a significant number of the camp residents, of course, are there many, many foreigners both fighters and and families that there are also significant numbers who are Syrian and Iraqi. You mentioned the issues in Iraq with both the opportunity with the new leadership there. The fact that most of the Sunni population does not support a return to Isis. But how do you see the impact and of the possible return of Al Ho and other ISIS affiliated fighters and families to Iraq? Is there a willingness to take them? Do you see that will be a downside and moving them back to what is still a very volatile situation in Iraq? Yeah, I think so. It’s an option of difficulties, if you will. Alcohol arguably is one of the worst places in the world, and I’ve got to believe that if you get him back into Iraq, it can’t be worse than that. They were back in there will be back in the nation state from which they came. But I’m not. I’m not wearing rose colored glasses is I consider that possibility as well. The action of transit is going to be difficult and demanding. Settling back in an area where you may not be welcome will be difficult and demanding but I just don’t see a better solution. You know, it’s and and my my ability to apply the levers to it is very limited because it really is a larger issue than us. You know, we can help the teams that go in there. We can do all kinds of things, but it really is. It is an interconnected ecosystem of problems, if you will, that that really requires international agreement. Unfortunately, you know there’s not. It’s very difficult to gain that right now. And you’re also right, Nancy, when you pointed out just a minute ago, the Corona virus is uniquely poised to put fresh in in that the very thing that we think needs to happen, which is the movement, which is the movement Teoh to the home countries. There’s 60 nations that are represented, although the vent, although many of those nations have a fairly small amount. Uh, but I wish I had a better solution. I will tell you this. If we stay where we are, we’re gonna have huge problems. Huge problems in the near term, I think, with lots of people potentially dying in the huge problems in the long term because I get to see a scheme that can talk about the radicalization at scale. And I don’t believe you can necessarily affect that de radicalization. Say, in a place like alcohol, you need to get people back into the environment in which they came. And I believe it needs to be a, uh, the radicalization process. And I’ve looked at a lot of alternatives, and I know a lot of really smart people are working on it where I said it needs to be embedded in the culture, so it needs to be a needs to be a Middle East solution. It needs to come from the region and will be even better if it came not only from the region, but with for more than they’re sitting area that the people who have been radicalized came from, and beyond that I am. I’m still struggling to find something that works because, you know, there may be pilot programs that could do one or two people at an extraordinary, extraordinary amount of cost, but we need programs that work at scale. Um, and I think it’s much harder to envision. Yeah, we had a Z. You may have heard an interesting conversation on the these concepts of disengagement and reconciliation as keep yeah, are able to return. And, you know, I think for a lot of listeners, this whole idea of reintegrating Isis into communities can seem like a very lofty, an impossible goal. We have also seen in conflicts like the Rwandan genocide I’d the aftermath of career rouge that in fact, there are ways to build a future that is an Onley defined and guides past. And, you know, clearly this is a very complex problem. But I’m wondering from the military’s perspective, and you quite rightly point out, this is far beyond just a military problem. But in the military, uh, world, are there lessons from other post fireman’s that you think about the you put forward to apply to this situation, decided Rwanda. I think South Africa isn’t is another place where you can take a look at possible solutions s Oh, yes, there are other solutions. Bosnia is another place where you can look a solution. The only thing that concerns me about Isis is you know, you never want to say this is the worst. This is the worst example of extremism that you’ve ever seen, but we’re pretty close to it here. And so I think it’s I think it’s a tall order to talk about how you to reintegrate Isis, and I don’t in the way to do it. I believe it is not to start at the top, because I don’t think you can start with current leadership and hope to bend those people. You got to start at the bottom what feeds in which takes you to the Children crustacean of in the majority of people in the camps themselves. So if there’s a way to work that I think it’s the way to work it and I also agree with you Disengagement, some form of disengagement approach may be ultimately more effective, you know, then talking about the radicalization because the radicalization may just not be possible within that within the fiscal and time limits that we’re operating under right now. You know what my and last troops before Covic shot a cell down was to uzbekis tan and remarkably, those the five Central Asian countries have really been in the lead in taking back residents of ice of Al ho, mainly women and Children. Um, do you have any thoughts on why there’s been a greater willingness for Central Asians to take their their citizens back versus what we just heard from the panel is a is a steep reluctance in Europe. You know, that’s a I wish I could give more light on that. I really don’t know, um, smaller numbers from one thing I mean, you know, in the case of Iraq, we’re talking many, many, many thousands of people. They’re going to come back so smaller numbers in the Central Asian states. If I were to look for causal factor, that might be the one thing. Plus, you know that obviously things happen. Teoh. When you when you’re a good citizen, internationally, Central Asian states need help. It’s a good way to going forward. What our presence is gonna be Iraq will be adjusted in concert with the government of Iraq. I think there’s a there’s gonna be a requirement. Trust us in our NATO and our coalition partners that have a long term presence in Iraq. But I think it’s something in the level will be a level that will be negotiated with the with the government of Iraq going forward, and I think that is a grave concern to the Iranians because that works against what they want, which is for Iraq to be pretty directly under their control and for us to be out of the theater. So good news. And on that front, now real hard. Your question was, What is this activity meant for us? So over the last seven or eight months, we have had to devote resources to self protection that we would otherwise devote for the counter Roces fight, and we’ve had to pull back. Our partners had to pull back. At the same time, we’ve done some things too hard in our positions to make it more difficult for Iran to actually attack us in Iraq. And we’ve been very successful and commanders on the ground they have done a great job again with Senator old Pat White, his team, my three star commander. There just a great a great job of that. But it has had an effect we’re coming through now is we’re also seeing the Iraqis are better. You would like to believe when you train someone over a period of time, eventually you don’t need to be quite as closely associated with him. tactically on the ground and we’re seeing the fruits of the training that we conducted over the past several years, you know, and they’re good enough to begin to fight aggressively against Isis within the physical boundaries of Iraq. And that’s good enough. And so that’s really the fact that we’re getting smaller is actually a sign of campaign progress. We don’t want to maintain a huge number of soldiers forever in Iraq. We want to get smaller. We want to return to a more normal security cooperation environment with Iraq. As we go forward and again, I don’t know where that number is gonna be because that’s not gonna be a military number. That’s gonna be a political decision, will be made by our national leadership in concert with the government of Iraq and strategic dialogue that’s gonna occur here in the next few days is a very good sign of the healthy nature of that dialogue, which I got to tell you is nothing less than sort of a victory going forward. It is not what Iran wanted. It’s not how they they saw things in January or February. Things have gone against him, and I think we can see that they will eventually respond to that. I do not know what the next to that responsible day, but we will certainly be ready for it should occur well. The complexity, of course, is also, as you mentioned at the top with your remarks is that the political objectives that Iran pursues in Iraq and the tactics that they employ can in fact inflame the possibility of reemergence vices. So there’s there’s an inherent, uh, additional problem just in that regard. No, no, Nannette Nancy, You’re absolutely right. You know, I had an opportunity to meet with Prime Minister a month ago when I was when I was in Iraq. And you know what? What they have asked us for. He’s asked us, and I’m sure he’ll continue that dialogue a much higher level than with me when he comes in. The United States is patients. They’re trying to do that. They’re trying to do a number of things that we agree with. We’re gonna have to say they’ll take two steps forward. They might have to take a step back every once in a while. We need to be patient and understand that, but But I think he’s on the right path. I think the trajectory of the government is actually good. We need to give him a little space to begin to work. The issues control the paramilitary forces. All of those things I believe he has a has a good vision for how to proceed with that. So I think we’ve got we’ve got a pretty good team in place there and we just need to support him. We need to let them work. And we need to try to do everything we can to not in flying the environment in Iraq. And again. Luckily, we’ve got very good commanders on the ground there that every sensitive that fact. And we worked that every day. Terrific. General Kenzi, I have a stack up of questions that we promised we’d get to. So, uh, go. Let’s go back to the cove. It issue gin. Is that over the last several days, we’ve had the first reports of covert cases in L ho, both with workers and residents, the humanitarian workers and residents. So as you, as you indicated, this act at the new dimension of risk, uh, to the Children there in particular, and an additional urgency for their repatriation. Current counter eyes Does Training equipped Fund guide law finds allow d o d to facilitate repatriation toe on Lee Country to other countries. Onley If fighters are also repatriated, so might a Koven outbreak. Pressure the C T e f the counter isis training a quick fund to change the rules and expedite d o d to facilitate repatriation, uh, from Al Ho to protect the Children. So, in other words, to bring Children back without fighters. Sure, we’ll certainly take a look at that. That would not be my decision. Obviously, that would be a decision at a higher level, I will tell you that you know, the krone virus emerging in the camps has been put him behind fears for a long time. Frankly, I’m surprised we’ve gone as long as we end without it showing, and you said a couple things when it gets into the camp. First of all, as you know, it’s a much younger population, which is which it stands, the virus a little better. On the other hand, I don’t think it’s a healthy population and they’re gonna be a number of morbidity factors. It affected survivability. The population, so I wouldn’t I don’t draw any strength from the fact that populations younger and typically they do better against this. So we will examine everything in concert without a farm in state partners and actually has the lead in this, you know, we’re willing were open to anything that would be proposed. I got nothing specific. O mat. I do note it and agree that that’s certainly something great. Um, so that the next question is that there are reports that Isis members are returning to areas under Turkey, which control in Syria. Is the Pentagon worried about an Isis resurgence in the Turkish controlled areas? And the SDF has accused Turkey of helping to smuggle Isis individuals out of L Ho and other I. D P camps. Do you agree with SDF assessments and what’s being done about that earlier when we were talking and I think generally and west of the Euphrates, Russell conditions are much worse than they are easterly. Afraid particularly with the resurgent survives, is I don’t have any particular visit building and what’s happened inside Turkish controlled areas. Um, so I wouldn’t I just don’t know. I’ve got no visibility and I’ve got better visibility, actually, south of their west of the Euphrates, north of anti off in that area out there, the Padilla desert areas like that where we have a little more visibility and what’s happening with with Isis. And they are operating there with some limited degree of freedom, certainly more freedom they have east of the Euphrates River. I have no evidence that I’m aware of that. Anybody’s been smuggled out of a camp in order to go across. I just haven’t seen that it’s not. It’s not something. I have visibility. That’s a pretty long, porous border, a lot between Syria and Iraq. Are you still seeing a lot of movements of Isis fighters back and forth across that border? Uh, so, you know, some of some of the Iraqi security forces have pushed up against it, so it’s better than it used to be. Not as back in right about the time. Isis, that is final collapse in the spring of 2019. I actually believe Isis had a very good plan in place to move people into Iraq, and I think they executed that plan. I think so. I think a lot of people came in during that time period. I think it is harder for them to execute that movement. Now. Of course, a lot of people in northeast Syria. This is another question there more than two million Arabs under SDF control. And of course, you know, there have been tensions between the Kurdish population in the Arabs, which is just a additional complexity to an already complex area. So is the U. S. G doing anything to stabilize those areas? Do you see that Arab Kurdish issue as as something toe to be worried about? I am worried, probably a little more about it now than I was earlier, when we were fighting when we had a common opponent, uh, holding ground, never liked very good. Now that the common military campaign, if you will, is over and require, in my judgment, considerable adroitness on the part of the SDF if they want to successfully manage and is that problem? The Iranians are also active there as well. This is, of course, the area that falls squarely in the mission of the U. S. Institute of Peace Way know that conflicts have a lot of complexities and they happen at a large look at a community level. And so the ability to get in there and create dialogues to bridge those kinds of divides is absolutely, absolutely critical. And that’s related to another question. Which is how does the global coalition move forward with reconstruction and stabilization in Syria, while the Russia, while Russia, Syrian regime and Turkey all have a vested interest in undermining the SDF and STC So feel free to comment on whether you agree with the premise and unpack any acronym. You uh, yeah, that’s Ah, uh, you know, that’s kind of the in state question. How do you go forward and how do you How do you actually find a way to To bring it to bring it Teoh and end to it to unending. I think that, you know, we are, Ah, we got to do the rebuild You unless you are able to get money in there to rebuild the infrastructure and nothing else is gonna happen, and that needs to come from a variety of donor states, it shouldn’t be necessarily just the United States that pumps that money in there are. There are other states that have a bar greater interest in it that we do that are gonna be more closely affected by a bad outcome in the United States. So that’s not a military problem. I’m just observing that that’s the way to pick. That’s the way we need to get that problem. If we can find a way, for example, to generate income for the SDF from the oil fields that that income can then be equitably distributed in the long term, that’s a way to actually begin to generate that. Look, I know I’ve walked. I know the condition of those oil fields. They’re not They’re not. You know, we’re not looking at all feels as we would know him in Texas or even other partners in the Middle East. You know, these are generally pool surface fields that are not very good shape. So we will work. We will aggressively support any defense support stabilization that we can do going in there. But the money is not gonna come is not gonna come from us. It’s gonna have to come from other agencies entities in the not only in the interagency, but more particularly in the international community. And the other thing is, I think our vision would be that wealth needs to stay there. I think the Russians, on the other hand, want to extract the wealth, and so that’s a that’s an information opportunity that we have. I mean, we sort of have a vision of it where this can help fund what’s going on Mayor as well. Uh, but But there’s a closing window for that. We need to move quickly on it. The fissures that you’ve outlined, one of the Arabs, the Kurds, those air factors that need to be addressed sooner rather than later. Meanwhile, over time finance and now this is more of a military issue way. Expect that the research team is gonna want to push to the East because they won’t control the same thing. I think that’s an economic engine. It’s one of the key parts of you know. People sit in Damascus and look at trying to rebuild their economy. They think they need control of that. So we dont have a resolution to that yet way sit on the Euphrates River, and they’re not going to be able to come east while we’re there. And while RST of partners or their I don’t know what the long term solution could look like they’re But you know, again, the people in the people in Damascus have not proven particularly adroit at dealing with these complex issues. And so I don’t have a lot of hope for, you know, whatever the Syrian regime might or might not bring. I know that you know the political level. Ambassador Jeffrey is engaged with Russians on talking about this. So we do do outreach at the political level again. I’m not particularly got to talk to about that, but there is. Outreach is going on is we’re trying to find a way to go forward, but we need to rebuild the infrastructure. We need to find some former generation capability to provide basic quality of life for these people that goes hand in hand with security. I don’t want to minimize or say that’s an easy path forward. Well, it also has been reported the devastating impact of these open old oilfields that you just mentioned on both the environmental in the health of the citizens in the region, which is it’s owned. That’s stating problem. Um, but, uh, I want to go back to the whole repatriation question because there are several that have come in, and one goes to this issue of partnership that you just raised that it is this partnership of the international community. And so the question is, how does the global coalition move forward with the vast challenge of re page breaking foreign fighters when even close US allies such as the UK and I think we could include other European allies, are so unwilling to repeat repatriated? There’s the sense. So I wish I had an answer. That question. I do not. I do think that it’s the department Department of State. I know, because I talked to him all the time on this is aggressively engaging on this. Um, you know, we’ve got skin in the game in Syria, summarize some. Not all of our partners have skin in the game in Syria as well, and we recognize that in terms of forces that are there, I think it’s. But I just don’t see any way to go forward without some form of repatriation, and that that’s a that is a uniquely diplomatic national leadership question. Not really a military question. So, you know, I I hate to sound like I’m admiring the problem, but it’s not within my capability to solve it. I’m happy to provide. The resource is to move them, were directed to do that, and I could move them anywhere in the world and moving very quickly and in a safe and transparent manner. But I think it is uniquely a political problem. But you use that line, that is, it’s hard to do when even your close allies, you know, are sort of hesitant to get involved in that gang. It is very It is very hard to do it as a genuine practical matter, you know so But I think the way that we contribute actually is by time. If we can keep the situation relatively stable than our diplomats have an opportunity to work the problem and we may be able to find a solution. I can’t contribute to the that diplomatic negotiation. But I can contribute to the idea of buying time for the diplomats to work. That problem, so is I know. That’s another reason why I’m very comfortable with our position now in serious reconciliation. You know, Nancy and some and some circumstances weren’t allowed by allowed by law. We collect biometric data We’re limited on the uses of that day that we’re limited on who we can collect it against. So that’s actually a tough problem. And I don’t know that I have a good answer for you in terms of being able toe associate evidentiary chain with, you know, the people that then go back and also, depending on where they’re going, you’ve got to wonder about the nature of the justice that they’re going to receive in the country that they’re going to. That’s an additional problem. I wish I had a better. I wish I had a better answer for you on that. I just don’t have a better answer. Yeah, it’s It’s not unique to this environment, but that’s not really compounds the problem. So the next question wants us to go back to Turkey and the question is that Turkish on arm. The actions in the North have expanded in recent years as we’ve discussed, but especially in the past few weeks, are you concerned about increased friction between Iraq and Turkey and how have Turkey’s air in Iraqi Kurdistan affected the U. S. Partner admissions in the region and have as the U. S. Gotten any reace reassurance from Turkish officials about this issue and these actions, sure clearly distraction in northern Iraq and into additional fresh in there. There’s additional complexity of the problems that we face same time Turkey does have, as I said before, does have legitimate national security concerns. And they’re and they’re you know, they’re going to be able to. They’re going to address those. We keep a very close dialogue with the Turks. I know I talked and, as you know, all significant military of problems occurring at the junction of a map sheet or some other boundaries. So you’ve got to bring another combatant commander in. So you know Turkey, of course, is part of European command. So I talked to General Todd Walters, my good friend and the Yukon commander, frequently about this issue, and we share and we share notes. We talked to them, so I think we have a good continuing dialogue going on with the church. I’m very comfortable with that level. If I need, I need to get a message across their Walters is very good about it, and vice versa as they is, they as we go back and forth across the board said that obviously, you know when you’re striking targets essential for miscalculations very high. The official collateral damage is very high. And that’s something that we watch, general. Not all our let our listeners or viewers may understand the differences between this. The combatant command boundaries. Do you want to just say a quick word? Your so U S Central Command is responsible for 20 nations in the Middle East and Syria, Lebanon, Iraq are all within my area. I’m a geographic combatant command. I come in in a geographical part of the Earth for the United States and work with our partners and allies within that area of Turkey falls within the European Command boundary and so that therefore, the geographic boundary between Turkey and Syria is not only a boundary between the two nations, but for the United States. It’s a geographic combatant command boundary. Luckily, we while it’s always, there’s always friction associated with that. Luckily, you calm and Centcom, the two respective combatant commands work closely together. And it’s also made easier by the fact that, you know, Walters and I are personal friends. We talk frequently and we share a common view of many things So what overcomes that kind of friction is personal relationship between commanders, the hard work, that hard work of the staff and also, equally important, the ability to reach out to the country teams and our diplomats in each of those countries. That’s also very important and actually, more important when you actually start to think about it. So we use all those tools trying to minimize the sense of friction that occurs at these. So we talked it in the panel earlier about the importance of nonmilitary means being brought to bear on this issue of violent extremism. And, of course, we’ve seen the passage last December by US Congress of the Global Fragility Act, which directs, uh, state U S aid in D o d to work collaboratively. Uh, in some of these more fragile states to address the conditions that give rise to violent extremism. Do you see that as a viable way forward? And have you seen any of that start to take hold in terms of conversations you have with diplomats and development colleagues in the U. S. Government? So, Nancy, philosophically, I I really would like to see us move to solutions. That’s where we’re not applying the military element powers. The first is the first choice. Um, we’re a very blunt instrument. Were very effective instrument, but really particularly complex problem sets. I think of it. It’s an arithmetic approached to an exponential problem, and they’re always downstream effects. When you lead with a military, we could do a lot of great things. We go in there and fix a lot of problems initially, but never gonna be as effective and as the other tools of power working because you’ve got to get to the root causes of those problems were not going to ever be good at getting to the root causes. The problems we can do is address the symptoms and manifestations of the problem. But the root causes the problem require forum where delicate, nuanced approach. Let’s let me give an example. So what just happened in Lebanon is ah is an example of how we can actually help so significant crisis when the the money of nitrate blew up, But we have done is we’ve been in direct support of U. S. A. I D. And other elements of the U. S. Government. You know, we’ve flown in planeloads of food, medicine, water supplies and also some gets some medical kids. By that I mean large medical kids capable of treating thousands and thousands of people under U. S. A. I. D auspice sees. That is an example of how we can be used to leverage the other elements of power. But again, what? I think it’s the Dimas. You know that all the elements of power, defense, diplomatic, information, military and economic were only one of those element. And often the better way to find the long term solution is to apply the other elements of power there. Sometimes when you can’t do that and you’re just gonna have to go in, you’re gonna have to adopt a military solution because of the threat that you are presented. But at all times, I think you should seek a transition to a more holistic approach. Whenever you could do that. That’s not easy to do. And but I think we’re beginning to see some science of that. I welcome it. We’re happy to work with it here. It’s We actually believe in that, and is the are the conditions in and around the al Hol camp? Do those conditions make it more difficulties given the, you know, the security situation, all the complexities that we just discussed given Turkey, Russia, the Syrian regime. Yes, I mean, so that way talked a lot about the situation inside the camp, which is which is what it is. And we laid that out pretty clearly, but they’re also external threats to the camp. Isis want to get in there a swell, deliberate, deliberate people do things like that. Um, you know, it’s hard. It’s hard to move around up there. The routes are generally closed all around it. So what you’ve got is you’ve got a huge, um, human problem over laid with a significant military tactical problem. And unfortunately, the history of warfare tells us when those two are juxtaposed, the military tactical problem is gonna receive the mark majority of attention. And we worked to try to minimize that because we were recognized. We have a unique problem there, and we want to read, you know, what we don’t want to do is make the problem worse than alcohol. It’s bad enough a zit is right now, so, you know, do no harm when you can support the international agencies to go in there. You know, the last thing I would say about alcohol is it truly is an international problem. It’s going to require an international solution. No one nation no one military can solve that problem. It does require an international approach. And I know our diplomats are working very hard to try to make that case. Then we can say, I want to ask you one final question. You’ve been very generous with your time, but just if you could, We’ve talked a lot about Isis in Iraq and Syria. You just brought in the really terrible tragedy in Lebanon. You know, just a word about your concerns about the the actual or potential spread of Isis through your region, uh, Lebanon into Yemen and elsewhere. Where and what? We’re one of the things I mentioned it just very briefly, early own. One of the things we want to prevent is the development of what we call connective tissue. So originally, a za caliphate envisioned itself. During their heyday, the caliphate, satiny Freddie’s were valley and in western Iraq. And then it was connected to a variety of what I recall. Franchise organizations ranging from the Pacific Ocean Teoh to the South America, uh, to Western Africa. All around the world, they envision those sub caliphate says reporting back and money would flow back and forth. Fighters would move back and forth, and that was the idea of a global jihad. So the middle of that has now been taken away, and there is. What we want to do is prevent the globalization of the problem. Now, unfortunately, there’s a degree of globalization inherent in the Internet and in cyber capabilities, because you can set any one place in the world and talk to anyone in any other place of the world. So we what we face now is a challenge. Is the idea of distant radicalization the idea that inspired attacks can occur? An inspired attack is an example of someone who, self radicalize, is perhaps in the United States, perhaps in Western Europe, but through exposure to the toxic literature on the Internet, and decides to take up jihad and do something, do something violent there that is very concerning to us. It’s very hard to stamp out, and it’s made ubiquitous by the presence of the Internet, but what we have been able to do is reduce the directed and enabled attacks that come from the central caliphate where they provided money where they provided other other other kinds of, uh, that’s hard for them to do. On the other hand, you know, it is a It is a fire in the minds of men, it’s ah, it’s an idea And so it’s very hard to fight an idea within a boundary. We do think globally about this. My good friend General Rich Clark, the Commander Special Operations Command Thanks about a global problem all the time. And we work with local coalition to actually work against that. But it comes down to this. Prevent connective tissue create conditions. Were local security force were able to contain it. Recognizing that it’s not gonna be bloodless, I’ve said that several times because it’s important to emphasize there are gonna be eruptions. There are gonna be problems. But what we want to do is get to a place a point where these can all be handled by local security forces, maybe with chipping and queuing from outside actors, but not significant support. As we see now. You know what’s happening in Syria. We’re in Iraq and I think that’s sort of the way forward. This problem is gonna be with us for a while. It is not going to go away. It’s going to go away with a whimper. If I could go back to my T s. Elliot Illusion. But it’s going to be around, and we just need to get used to it. General Mackenzie, I’m always happy, Teoh, uh, and did discussion with a quote from T s. Eliot. Thank you. You’ve been going today with so much going on with an extraordinarily busy command. Thank you for your sites. Thank you for your dedication and in addressing these very complex problems. Please come back. Would love to have an update from you, Uh, it sometime in the future. And I want to thank all of our viewers for joining us today for a conversation on a very critical and complicated issue that affects all of us, General. Thank you, Nancy. Thanks so much. U s I P does great. Where I really wanted to make this. I protected. This time I carved it out. I wouldn’t let my guys change it for me because I wanted to do it. And I absolutely connected. Coming back and giving. Giving an update on this in the future. Thanks so much. Have a good day.