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PUBLIC POLICY UPDATE March 29, 2013 WASHINGTON UPDATE Congress was out of session this week, but

we have provided an update on the Senate budget vote this past weekend. After over 13 hours of voting, the Senate adopted its first budget in four years early Saturday morning with a margin of one vote, 50 50-49. 49. Dozens of amendments were considered, including several regarding foreign assistance. The amendment that most directly affected our issues was Sen. Rand Pauls (R-KY) KY) amendment #382 to cut foreign assistance in order to pay for domestic infrastructure programs. This amendment was defeated 26 26-72. 72. A full list of senators who voted for the amendment is included in the table below. As we have noted in weeks past, the House provided only $38.7 billion in base funding for the 150 account 18% below the Senates base level of $45.6 billion and 25% lower than FY FY2010 levels. As the appropriations subcommittee mark-ups ups begin, we will look closely at Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO OCO) funding to see how this affects the base funding levels.

Barrasso (R-WY) Coats (R-IN) Coburn (R-OK) Cochran (R-MS) Crapo (R-ID) Cruz (R-TX) Enzi (R-WY)

Members who voted for Paul amendment #382 Grassley (R (R-IA) Moran (R-KS) Sessions (R-AL) (R Hatch (R-UT) Paul (R-KY) Shelby (R-AL) (R Heller (R-NV) Portman (R-OH) Thune (R-SD) (R Inhofe (R-OK) Risch (R-ID) Toomey (R-PA) (R Johnson (R (R-WI) Roberts (R-KS) Vitter (R-LA) (R Lee (R-UT) UT) Rubio (R-FL) McConnell (R (R-KY) Scott (R-SC) UPCOMING HEARINGS There are no upcoming hearings next week. HEARING SUMMARIES

After the Withdrawal: The Way Forward in Afghanistan and Pakistan (Part I) House Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, Subcommittee on Middle East and North Africa Mar. 19, 2013 Witnesses: Dr. Seth G. Jones, International Security and Defense Policy Center, RAND Corporation Dr. Kimberly Kagan, Institute for the Study of War Peter Bergen, National Security Studies Program, The New America Foundation Dr. Daniel S. Markey, Council on Foreign Relations 1

Opening Statements: Chairman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) (Subcommittee on Middle East and North Africa) Obamas plan to withdraw forces from Afghanistan by the end of 2014 is risky and may undo the efforts and sacrifices made by the U.S. and other allies over the past 12 years. o There is a very real threat that withdrawing troops will lead to an increase in terrorist activities. o The U.S. must hold Karzai accountable for dealing with corruption. The U.S relationship with Pakistan has deteriorated and our alliance should be reevaluated. o Pakistan must eliminate its ties with terrorists if we are to continue providing billions in aid. Ranking Member Ted Deutch (D-FL) (Subcommittee on Middle East and North Africa) After 12 years of war in Afghanistan and deteriorating relations with Pakistan, the American populace is tired of this conflict and wants it to come to an end. The U.S. has achieved many successes against al-Qaeda. Largely due to American aid, Afghanistan has experienced greatly improved living standards. Despite our differences with Pakistan, we do have some common interests, including the existence of a stable Afghanistan. One of the most important objectives to focus on now is ensuring free and fair Afghan elections in 2014. Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) (Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific) Obamas decision to expedite the withdrawal from Afghanistan risks undermining gains in regional security. o There is no clarity on the details of the withdrawal plan or any plans for post-2014. o In making this decision Obama is going against the advice of military advisors. Pakistan continues to receive large amounts of aid from the U.S. although they are still harboring terrorists. o Pakistans stability is vital to success in Afghanistan and other regional interests of the U.S. With so many unresolved issues, withdrawal will lead to factionalism and violence in the region. Ranking Member Eni Faleomavaega (D-AS) (Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific) The U.S. failure in the Vietnam War showed us that ultimately the fate of any country lies in the hands of its own people. After 12 years of war, the American people are tired of a war that is costing so much. Originally no one thought this would be a war of nation building, but that is what it has become. America cannot succeed in doing what the Afghans must do for themselves. Seth Jones It would be detrimental to withdraw all forces from Afghanistan. o The border between Afghanistan and Pakistan is still a hotbed for extremist groups such as al-Qaeda and the Haqqani Network.

In Iraq, the U.S. withdrawal of forces led to a large increase in the number of car bombings, showing that militancy does not disappear when the U.S. leaves. o Many indicators show that living standards in Afghanistan are improving; GDP per capita has risen dramatically, infant mortality has fallen and enrollment in school is increasing. The U.S. should not leave Afghanistan until there are no longer any immediate threats to our security. o

Kimberly Kagan Although progress has been made in dismantling al-Qaeda, the job is far from complete. o Al-Qaeda is an ideology, so dismantling the core leadership is not enough to eliminate the threat. There are a variety of terrorist groups that thrive in the border regions of Afghanistan, and those groups could also pose a threat to the U.S. o Countering these threats will require the long-term, if not indefinite, presence of American forces. Security in Afghanistan is necessary for security in the region If our policies do not succeed, it is likely that Afghanistan will face civil war. Peter Bergen The relative political stability of recent years in Pakistan and Afghanistan shows that this is an optimistic moment in the region. It is important to reiterate our commitment to supporting Afghanistan beyond 2014, even while we are withdrawing troops. There is a lot of data that shows that living standards in Afghanistan are improving. The Afghan army has shown an increased commitment to taking control over their own war. Pakistan is an important ally and the U.S. should explore new ways to build on our relationship. Daniel Markey Pakistan is important to U.S. interests both because of terrorist threats within the country and because it is a nuclear-armed state. o Good relations are paramount or else the U.S. will face a situation similar to that of North Korea with Pakistan. Although relations with Pakistan have been rocky, recently they taken a more cooperative stance toward the U.S. o U.S. efforts to reach out to insurgents in a reconciliation process have been appreciated. If we can maintain a cooperative relationship with Pakistan while withdrawing from Afghanistan, this may be the best possible outcome. The U.S. should find places in which we can work together with Pakistan, while at the same time not allowing the threats along border regions to grow. Questioning: Chairman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) (Subcommittee on Middle East and North Africa) 1. Why has Karzai pushed for a quick U.S. transition out of prison centers? Will the Afghan forces be able to run these prisons?

Jones: o The Afghan government has generally been receptive and helpful in these efforts. o Many of Karzais comments are done for domestic political reasons. o The prison transfers are definitely something to be careful about, but the actual practices on the ground have been successful so far. Kagan: o Concurs that Karzai makes such comments based on domestic political concerns and that his public statements dont always reflect policy.

Ranking Member Ted Deutch (D-FL) (Subcommittee on Middle East and North Africa) 1. What are the chances that the 2014 elections in Afghanistan will be free and fair? How can the U.S. be supportive of the elections and ensure that they are not a repeat of 2009? Bergen: o The U.S. can provide security and technical assistance, but it ultimately is the UNs job to ensure fair elections. o The U.S. needs to remain impartial. 2. What would constitute a free and fair election? Kagan: o A free and fair election is important, but what is more important is that the leaders who are elected are legitimate. 3. But isnt being elected in a free and fair process what constitutes legitimacy? Jones: o Ultimately it is an issue of the availability of information. o The U.S. needs to help by collecting information on voter fraud and make cases of fraud publically known to deter corruption in the process. Markey: o U.S. capacity to police the process is minimal. o The conversation of political change in Afghanistan needs to be broadened beyond the elections. o It is possible that in the near future Afghanistan will change their constitution to better fit the present Afghan context. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) 1. How can anyone suggest that Pakistan is our ally, when they are harboring terrorists who have harmed Americans? Markey: o Although it has been challenging to work with Pakistani leadership, it could be a lot worse. Ranking Member Eni Faleomavaega (D-AS) (Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific) 1. How can we justify putting Americas troops in harms way when this is a war of choice, not a war of need? Jones: o The U.S. has played a very important role in countering terrorism in Colombia, the Philippines and elsewhere, using far less money and resources. o These models might shed light on how we can do more without involving a large number of troops in Afghanistan. o However, the U.S. cannot leave too quickly and risk undermining the gains that have been made.

Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) 1. What are the consequences of announcing that the U.S. is pulling out troops? Bergen: o The Afghans do want the U.S. to stay. o They see the U.S. presence as a guarantee that Taliban insurgents will not take over. o Anytime that the U.S. announces that they are withdrawing troops, it will cause heightened concern about the Taliban. 2. What role can the U.S. play in helping Pakistan diversify its economy in order to avoid forcing them to reach out to countries like Iran for support? Specifically, what can we do to block the peace pipeline to Iran? Markey: o The pipeline is certainly concerning, but it is mostly being used as a political stunt. o The pipeline is a major project that will be almost impossible to build presently. o The U.S. should impose sanctions and support Pakistan in finding alternative options, but keep in mind that it may be many years before this project gets off the ground. Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) 1. What assurances can you provide to U.S. families about the likelihood of more insider attacks? Kagan: o We cant provide any assurances. o This is a hard issue to deal with. o We have to continue to partner with Afghan forces in order to achieve any of our goals. Jones: o Insider attacks were at a peak last year. o Efforts have been made to improve the vetting process for Afghan forces, and that has helped somewhat. o The U.S. needs to come out strongly in denouncing Karzais anti-American comments because they directly threaten U.S. forces on the ground. Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) 1. Why did the U.S. chose to install Karzai as the President of Afghanistan when he had no support in Pakistan? Jones: o Pakistans Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) originally suggested Karzai, so at the start they supported him. 2. What should we do to reach out to more communities in Pakistan? Should we consider doing radio broadcasts in different languages? Bergen o What we say is not as important as what we do. o The main issue that aggravates Pakistani people is the U.S. drone strikes. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) 1. Why was 2014 chosen as the final year for the withdrawal of U.S. troops? Does the panel believe this was a political decision? Jones and Kagan: o It was a decision motivated by domestic politics. 5

Bergen: o It is more complicated. o A variety of considerations went into the decision, including the interests of other NATO members. Markey: o Karzai was the one who originally suggested 2014.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) 1. What is a realistic plan for moving forward that would lead to a successful outcome? Jones: o Militarily, the U.S. needs to focus on training Afghan security forces. o Between 8,000 and 15,000 American forces should remain on the ground. o Reluctant to give a specific timeline for withdrawal, arguing that the timeline will depend on whether or not the threat is eliminated. Kagan: o Concurs with Jones, the timeline for withdrawal must depend on the elimination of the threat. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) 1. He heard from a nonprofit leader that if the U.S. withdraws, Afghanistan will continue to muddle along and some institutions will endure. Does the panel concur with this analysis? Bergen: o Yes. Kagan: o Disagrees with the statement there is no way to know that Afghanistan will muddle along. o Civil war is a very real possibility, and our actions are a very significant determinant of the future of Afghanistan. Jones: o It depends on the activities of Afghanistans neighbors, whether or not the U.S. stays in some capacity to continue training, and the outcome of the elections in 2014. Markey: o Muddling along should be seen as a success; it is the best hope given the alternatives. Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) 1. We have not heard many details from the administration about the withdrawal. Do you know what numbers the administration is suggesting keeping in Afghanistan? Jones: o Does not know specifics. o The most important question for the administration is concerning what their plans are post- 2014, and weve heard nothing about this so far. 2. What can we reasonably expect from the Afghan government, given that they have never been able to consolidate power in the past?

Jones: o Our best hope is for a limited central government with other factions exercising control over some of the rural areas. 6

Kagan: o It is important to remember that the Afghan people do want to remain a nation. o The idea that Afghans do not want to exist as a single nation is an American misconception. Bergen: o Concurs with the other panelists. Markey: o Army unity will be very important to sustain overall unity. o This is an area in which the U.S. can provide significant support. 3. Does the Taliban have interests in working with al-Qaeda? Jones: o It is impossible to generalize about the Taliban. o Local Taliban leaders will forge their own alliances as they see fit. Crisis in Syria: The U.S. Response U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs Mar. 20, 2013 Witnesses: Robert Ford, U.S. Ambassador to Syria Anne C. Richard, assistant secretary of state for Population, Refugees, and Migration, Department of State Nancy E. Lindborg, assistant administrator for the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance, USAID

Opening Statements: Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) Two years ago last week, protesters in Syria took to the streets. U.S. policy on this issue is adrift. This conflict is escalating. The United States has provided generous support to suffering Syrians, but perhaps the United States has also been nave. Syria is a now a humanitarian nightmare and a strategic challenge for the United States. The United States should provide support and empower the moderate opposition. Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) (standing in for Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D-NY)) The Syrian conflict is entering its third year of violence. With 70,000 dead, 1 million refugees, and 2.5 million internally displaced people, only 20% of the funding promised at the Kuwait conference has materialized. There are now serious concerns about regional stability. What can and should the United States be doing? o The United States must engage the opposition. o Syrians need to know that the United States supports the people of Syria. o Arming the opposition is a compelling option, potentially giving the United States influence over the future leaders of Syria. When Assad falls, the United States must be sure to have secured its interests. There is great concern about the rumored use of chemical weapons. 7

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) The Syrian crisis threatens the stability of the entire region. Since the popular uprising began, the sectarian conflict in Syria has escalated. There is a risk of the opposition coalition being co-opted by extremists. o The United States should NOT arm the rebels; greater vetting mechanisms must be in place in order for the United States to even consider providing arms assistance. Robert Ford The Syrian conflict began as a peaceful demand by Syrian citizens for freedom and dignity. Assad has demonstrated, in this crisis, a new level of ruthlessness. o Bombings have targeted hospitals and schools. o The regime has been dropping Scud missiles on civilians. Fighting in southern Syria has intensified. o More than 1 million refugees have fled Syria; this number is set to quadruple this year. Finding an end to this crisis must be a priority. o The United States is providing humanitarian relief and supporting the development of democratic government. In December, the United States officially recognized the Syrian opposition coalition. o There are diverse representatives inside and outside of Syria. o The United States is working to help establish a democratic and independent government, free from terrorist influence. o A transitional government will need support to provide basic services. Secretary Kerry approved $63 million to provide food and medication to the Syrian opposition coalition. o This assistance is intended to forestall the collapse of the Syrian state. o The United States is working to negotiate a political solution to this crisis. The United States is calling for mutual consent for a transitional government in which Assad is not involved. The conditions in Syria must change in order to bring about an end to this conflict. Anne Richard The State Department is working with USAID to coordinate the U.S. response to this crisis. o Half of the refugees have been registered in the last two months. o The increasing influx of refugees has put a strain on host countries and host communities. o The United States is urging all of Syrias neighbors to keep their borders open for people fleeing the violent conflict. o U.S. humanitarian assistance has been focused on providing technical expertise and operational capacity through the UN, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and NGOs. o The United States has so far donated $385 million for humanitarian aid; $185 million has come from the State Department for humanitarian assistance in the form of shelter, water and health. Humanitarian action must be kept neutral and impartial, providing relief to those in need regardless of where they might be. o The United States supports the UN convoys that have been able to access communities in opposition held territories. 8

The United Nations is working to gain access to all those in need. For the Syrian regime to deny access to certain areas is violation of the humanitarian principles. Moving forward, the United States must prepare for all contingencies beyond the size and scope of this conflict. o This conflict and the humanitarian crisis may be protracted. o There is a chance that peace and security will be established, in which case the United States must be prepared to support a transitional government. o o

Nancy Lindborg The situation in and around Syria is grim. o The conflict has escalated since its beginning two years ago. o Women and children are left most vulnerable by this conflict. The humanitarian mandate in is an important expression of the values of the United States The U.S. is providing assistance to 2.4 million people affected by this crisis. USAID is coordinating humanitarian relief through many mechanisms to reach all who are in need: international organizations, NGOs, local Syrian groups and networks, the Syrian National Coalitions humanitarian unit, the Assistance Coordination Unit (ACU). o USAID has a full-time liaison with the ACU. o Humanitarian assistance has been mostly food and medical/trauma supplies. The global crisis is outpacing the international response capacity. o Limited access across conflict lines and borders limits the capacity of humanitarian aid. o The United States is calling on the international community to fulfill the pledges made at the Kuwait conference. Branding of U.S. assistance is limited because of the risk to humanitarian aid workers. Communications plans are being implemented for limited branding and other engagement to ensure that people know that the United States stands by the Syrian people. The United States is working to support the foundation for a democratic transition of Syria, which is of strategic importance to U.S. interests. Humanitarian assistance is not a solution, but it is vitally important to saving lives and keeping this crisis from becoming worse. Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) 1. What can you tell us about the reports that chemical weapons have been used? Ford: o There has been no confirmation that chemical weapons have been used or by whom they may have been used. o The United States is consulting with partners and carefully investigating these reports to verify the information. o There is concern that the deterioration of the Assad regime will tempt Assad to authorize the use of chemical weapons. o The United States has a very clearly stated position on the use and security of chemical weapons. There will be serious consequences if chemical weapons are used or become insecure. 2. What would those consequences be [if chemical weapons are used]? Ford: o Will not engage in speculation. 9

o The United States is moving forward with this investigation very deliberately, carefully monitoring the situation. 3. How hard has the administration weighed in with the Iraqis, regarding Iranian supply of the Syrian regime over Iraqi airspace? How can Congress clarify this is issue for the administration? Ford: o Iranian assistance to the regime has increased, which is likely to prolong the conflict. o Issues have been raised with the Iraqis in Baghdad and in Washington. 4. Can you share anything definite about what is being done to force Iraq to be a solution on this issue? Ford: o Senior staff in the United States are communicating very directly with the government of Iraq on this issue. Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) 1. What specific leverage can the United States use in conversations with Iraq? Ford: o The details of diplomatic activities cannot be discussed in this hearing. o There are embargos in place against Iran and Syria. o The United States is impressing on the Iraqi government that their interests will be best served by supporting the establishment of a transitional government in Syria that is friendly to Iraq. 2. With the lack of clarity on where U.S. military assistance might be going, do you agree that it is difficult to assess the possibility of providing direct military assistance? Ford: o Everyone working on the Syrian issue is deeply saddened by the human toll of this conflict. o U.S. policy at this time is not to provide military assistance; this policy is under regular review. o U.S. efforts are focused on convincing the Syrian regime and the opposition coalition to agree to negotiate a positive political solution. o For now, the United States will continue to provide food and medical supplies. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) 1. To what end do you believe there is greater cohesion among the opposition? Who will govern Syria in a post-Assad scenario? Are the reports of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) true? Will the U.S. call an emergency meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)? Ford: o The Syrian opposition can be categorized into two groups: the political opposition and the military opposition. There is increasing cohesion among the various interests within the political opposition. Humanitarian assistance to the opposition has been provided in large part because of this willing separation of the military from involvement in bringing about a political solution. o The United States is in regular communication with the IAEA about the security of WMDs in Syria. 10

o The United States is urging the Syrian regime to be transparent with the IAEA, knowing that the continued fighting may inhibit the IAEAs access. Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) 1. Is there evidence that the sanctions against the regime have resulted in changing Assads calculations? Is Assad now more likely to negotiate with the opposition for a solution? What work is being done to protect women and girls against rape, forced marriage and child marriage? Ford: o The opposition is gaining military advantage. o The United States is pushing for a negotiated political solution. Lindborg: o USAID is supporting a variety of information campaigns, including the I am she text campaign from International Womens Day. o USAID is providing rape kits and training for counselors to provide to refugees who have been the victims of sexual violence. o The United States is working with partners to provide special counseling for children. Richard: o UNHCR in Jordan is providing sexual exploitation and abuse services to victims in the refugee camps there. There are credible reports that many of the refugees who have fled Syria are fleeing from rape or the threat of rape. o The United States is funding NGOs implementing programs in the Zaatari Refugee Camp for women and children. Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) 1. What has the administration done and what should be done regarding rumors of ethnoreligious cleansing? (Speaking particular to the reports of violence targeting Syrias Christian minority.) Lindborg: o This issue reflects the fragmentation of the population in Syria and the ways in which different identities are being targeted and threatened. o The United States provides humanitarian assistance on the basis of need in all 14 governates. o USAID is carefully monitoring and providing aid to particularly vulnerable minority populations. Ford: o The administration is very sensitive to the persecution of minorities, particularly by Islamic extremists like al-Nusra. o Syrians in favor of a tolerant society have visibly pushed back against the intolerant views promoted by Islamic extremists. 2. Can you talk about what the administration is doing to prevent the transfer of chemical weapons to extremists and other dangerous rebels? Ford: o The United States is verifying reports of the use of chemical weapons in northern Syria and eastern Damascus. o Regular discussions are being held with Syrian stakeholders regarding the use, security and control of chemical weapons.

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Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ) 1. What is being done to hold Assad accountable? Ford: o The United States is working to ensure that the Syrian people will be prepared to hold Assad accountable as they see fit. 2. Can you talk about the role of Russia? Ford: o The Russians published a report that the opposition was using chemical weapons; no evidence has been found to verify this report. o The Russians have said they are not attached to Assad, that they would accept a transitional government. 3. Can you talk about the issue of branding? How will Syrians know that the United States is assisting them? Ford: o Understanding the utility of the awareness of Syrians of U.S. assistance, branding humanitarian assistance in this context has the potential to put humanitarian workers at risk. Lindborg: o USAID evaluates the current branding policy on a daily basis. o U.S. assistance is branded when and where it can be done so safely. o The current priority is to provide humanitarian assistance while ensuring the security of humanitarian aid workers. o The United States is implementing alternative communications strategies to spread awareness about U.S. assistance. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) 1. At the beginning, what would our reason have been not to support a popular uprising with lethal or nonlethal aid, especially against a regime that is supported by Iran? Ford: o In the beginning, the United States was supporting democracy activists. 2. What was the reason, at that time, not to provide lethal aid? Ford: o The activists in Syria wanted to have peaceful protests without international intervention. o Syrian activists, early on, were particularly critical of Iran and Hezbollah for interfering in a Syrian revolution. 3. What was the reason for the United State not to provide lethal aid to the opposition when the violence began? How do Russia and Iran see U.S. policy in Syria? Are they frightened because they see U.S. policy in Syria as a threat to their interests? Ford: o Not speaking for Russia or Iran. o Their actions, particularly of the Iranian government, suggest that there is great concern about the long-term prospects of the Assad regime. 4. Are they nervous because of what the United States is doing in Syria? Ford: o U.S. policy is furthering the Iranian concern in Syria. The United States is providing video equipment to the opposition and ensuring that information can flow freely to/from the opposition.

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Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL) 1. What events or trends indicate that U.S. objectives are not achievable? What is the best alternative for the United States if national unity cannot be achieved? Ford: o Collapse of the Syrian state is the worst case scenario: no government; destruction of economic institutions; a security force that cannot maintain law and order; complete deterioration of Syrias infrastructure. o The United States is closely monitoring failed state indicators and increasing its assistance to liberated areas. o The United States is supporting the opposition to develop the institutions of a state, like helping local administrative councils to provide basic services. 2. What is the best alternative in the event that there is no national unity in the wake of this conflict? Ford: o A solution that includes national unity is still possible within the coalition. o A solution with coalition unity is in the best interests of the United States. o The Syrian opposition is not looking to divide. 3. With regards to the concerns over the protraction of this conflict and the spillover resulting from the refugee crisis, how can Congress help ensure regional stability? Ford: o The United States is coordinating with Syrias neighbors. There are concerns about the economic, social and cultural strain the refugee crisis in neighboring countries. The United States is providing aid to Syrias neighbors to prevent regional instability. Lindborg: o The United States is focusing a lot of assistance to providing regional support. Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) 1. What is the range of possible consequences from the administration in response to the use of chemical weapons? Ford: o The United States will have a very strong response in the event that any party uses chemical weapons in this conflict. 2. Do we know what we can expect to see, and at what point? Do we know what kinds of WMDs we are talking about? Ford: o The Syrian regime has the largest WMD and chemical weapons cache in the region. o Reports of the use of these weapons has not been confirmed. 3. What safeguards are in place to disable cross-border transfers of weapons? Ford: o The importance of control of dangerous weapons has been underscored to the Syrians. 4. To clarify, is this referring to the Syrians who are already in power? Ford: o Yes. That being said, the United States has apprised General Idris that the use of chemical weapons by the opposition would also be completely unacceptable. 13

5. Have you discussed any safeguards regarding border control of WMDs? Ford: o The United States is acting as necessary to prevent the use or transfer of chemical weapons, in concert with each country, according to their needs. Rep. Eni Faleomavaega (D-AS) 1. Do you see a similar pattern to Rwanda and Darfur? Is this the same situation? Richard: o Rwanda saw an outbreak of violence involving large numbers of people using simple weapons; neighbors were killing neighbors in large numbers very quickly. o In Syria, the situation has been protracted and is more sophisticated. This conflict is between the government and the countrys citizens; the government is killing its own people. This conflict is not face-to-face. The government is dropping barrel bombs and Scud missiles on different areas. 2. Do you see a contradiction in that the United States is observing the transfer of weapons to the regime by Russia and Iran and not providing arms assistance to the opposition? Ford: o The U.S. policy is not to provide military assistance nor is it acceptable for others to provide military assistance. o Russia has been urged not to provide military assistance to the Assad regime and to join others in the international community in denouncing the Assad regime. 3. The Syrian regime has assured the international community that its chemical weapons are secured and will not be used unless Syria faces external aggression; does that sound like an invitation from the Syrian regime for the international community to become involved? Ford: o There is concern that the Syrian regime will use some kind of ruse to justify the use of chemical weapons. Rep. Randy Weber, Sr. (R-TX) 1. With the involvement of Hezbollah and al-Qaeda in the opposition coalition, what will a post-Assad Syria look like? Ford: o The Syrian opposition does include a number of external actors, supporting both the Syrian regime and the opposition. o The al-Nusra Front is considered a minority group within the opposition. 2. How strong are the extremists? Ford: o Their strength varies, though none of them are as strong as al-Nusra, which has a national command. o Most are very localized in their operations and their influence. 3. What is would be in the influence of those extremist groups be on a post-Assad Syria? Ford: o Extremist groups have not been allowed to join the military command/opposition. o The Syrian opposition will likely continue to resist the influence of extremists. 14

4. Is the Syrians resistance to extremist influence a good thing for the United States? Ford: o Within the opposition, there are competing visions for the future of Syria: an extreme Islamist society versus a tolerant Syria that respects the rights of all Syrians equally. o The United States is advocating strongly for a moderate and tolerant future Syria. Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) 1. Will the military opposition in Syria willingly subordinate to the political leadership? What are your thoughts on the strength of Hitto, who hasnt been in Syria for a couple of decades? Ford: o Prime Minister Hitto left his work in Texas to work on behalf of Syrians, particularly to help coordinate humanitarian assistance. He is a capable manager. 2. You also mentioned a concern regarding the collapse of state. Hasnt the state already collapsed? Does the state have any legitimacy? Ford: o To clarify, the collapse of state refers specifically to the collapse of the institutions of state that provide the capacity for a state to function. 3. What is the capacity of the rape kits and counseling being provided for victims of sexual violence? Lindborg: o The rape kits and counseling being provided have limited capacity, but the training conducted for those administering rape kits and counseling is still important. o Aid for other womens needs is also limited, but the training for those administering aid in clinics and hospitals is still an important part of U.S. assistance. o To support a tolerant, secular vision of Syria means supporting womens voices and women in leadership roles. Rep. Luke Messer (R-IN) 1. Can you expand on who the moderate rebels are? What, if anything, can we do to help those with a similar vision for the future of Syria as ours? Ford: o The opposition is headed by the president of the opposition coalition, Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib. He supports the vision of respect for all, of tolerance, in Syria. o Syrians want to believe in tolerance. 2. Can you provide more detail on the branding of U.S. assistance? Lindborg: o Branding on U.S. assistance is being evaluated on a case by case basis. o The United States is exploring and using alternative communications to broadcast information about the aid the United State is providing to the region. Richard: o U.S. representatives have made frequent appearances on Arabic broadcasting networks to spotlight U.S. humanitarian aid. 15

Rep. Juan Vargas (D-CA) 1. What is the thought process of a dictator that is slipping from power? Ford: o Hopefully, Assad recognizes the deterioration of his regime and is considering his calculations regarding the longevity of his term in power. o Syrians will have to decide the consequences for Assad and his people. Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) 1. The persecution of women is not limited to certain groups. Is that what you understand, or is violence against women confined to government forces? Lindborg: o This issue is far beyond one side, this crisis has become an emblem of violence against women around the world. 2. Is a scenario playing out that Assad is going to retreat to his domain and hold just Damascus? Will we see a smaller Syria? A smaller regime? Do you see that happening? Ford: o The United States will spend approximately $5 million to develop police forces to establish and maintain law and order in Syria. o There are two possibilities regarding Assads movements: Assad may decide to stay in Damascus. It is more likely that Assad will retreat to the northwest coast, where he has a base of support among the Alawite population there. Is the leading part of the opposition movement an al-Qaeda affiliate? Ford: o No, the al-Qaeda affiliate is in the minority, but they are growing louder. 3. Is the Muslim Brotherhood affiliated with Prime Minister Hitto? Ford: o Prime Minister Hitto is more Texas than Muslim Brotherhood, but his political affiliations are as yet unknown to the U.S. government. Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA) 1. What are the chances that Hezbollah will remain a potent force in Syria? If so, how will Hezbollahs role in Lebanon be affected? Ford: o Hezbollah wants to remain a force in Syria, so they are increasing their presence in Syria. o The future transitional government will likely not be in favor of Hezbollahs involvement in Syria. 2. What is the status of arms transfer to Hezbollah today? Ford: o Hezbollah continues to receive arms from Iran. 3. How will the ultimate fall of Assad affect Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas? Ford: o The United States will have new opportunities to stabilize the region. Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) 1. Do you have any idea of whether the jihadists in Syria are foreign or Syrian or a mixture of both? Ford: 16

2.

3.

4.

5.

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o The al-Nusra Front, the group of greatest concern to the United States, is inspired by the jihadists from Iraq. Do we suspect that some of these people were actively fighting the United States when the U.S. had a greater presence in Iraq? Ford: o It is very possible. What type of international support do these foreign fighters have? Ford: o The extremist groups in Syria do have support; they have a well-developed network for private financing. How would a country like Iran mediate between some of the extremist groups in the region Ford: o The extremist groups in question passionately hate Iran. What about the moderate groups? Ford: o The moderate groups are extremely frustrated with Irans support of the Assad regime; a transitional government is unlikely to have a good relationship with Iran. What can be done by the United States to support peace in the region, recognizing that violence is often more powerful in times of conflict? Ford: o The United States can and is working to empower those in Syria with a vision of tolerance.

Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) 1. Why is the United States providing so much support through UN agencies when doing so requires the consent of the Assad regime, which allows the regime to dictate of access? Ford: o To make a distinction, the United States is providing support to local councils, which is not the same as humanitarian aid. o Humanitarian need provided to people in government controlled areas is a different kind of assistance from that being provided to local councils for state building. o The $60 million package that Secretary Kerry approved is specifically to support the nascent development of local governing bodies and unify the national opposition efforts. 2. And how is that being done? Through UN transfers? Through NGOs? Ford: o That assistance is being provided directly to Syrians. Richard: o Humanitarian aid coordinated by the United Nations does cross conflict lines, which reflect more of a checkerboard. o The United Nations is playing an important part in providing humanitarian aid wherever and whenever possible.

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ARTICLES AND REPORTS BBC News Mar. 25 China President Xi Jinping hails ties with Africa President Xi Jinping of China visited Tanzania and South Africa. He is partaking in discussions on China-Africa trade relations and a summit on the rising economies of the BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). China has strengthened its trade with Africa in the past few years. Devex Mar. 25 Inequality out of the World Banks 2030 Strategy? The World Bank has been criticized for emphasizing economic growth rather than income inequality in its antipoverty strategy for the future. A recently leaked document suggested the bank would like to cut the number of people in extreme poverty to 3% by 2030. Their plan to do so is viewed to lack a relationship between poverty and inequality. The Guardian Mar. 25 John Kerry makes surprise visit to Afghanistan Secretary of State John Kerry landed in Afghanistan on Monday for an unexpected 24-hour stay. Kerry chose to visit due to President Karzais recent anti-American remarks regarding supposed collaboration with the Taliban. Kerry intends to discuss Afghan reconciliation, the shift of security obligations to Afghan forces and Afghanistan's elections with President Karzai. Mar. 26 Central African Republic humanitarian crisis deepens following coup A coup took place over the weekend in the Central African Republic as the Slka rebel group overran the capital. This caused President Franois Boziz to leave and installed Michel Djotodia as the new head of state. UN secretary general condemned the coup and called for a quick restoration to order. Mar. 26 Congo receives 180m boost to health systems to tackle warzone rape Rape as a weapon of war will be a main topic discussed for the G8 agenda. The UN estimates, which are conservative, suggest that 200,000 women have been raped in the DRC since 1998. The DRC will receive 180 million in funding for their health system, which includes training staff to properly assist rape victims. Washington Post Mar. 27 Brazilian Chief uses technology to help save his tribe, and curb deforestation Chief Almir Narayomoga Surui of western Brazils 1,300-member Paiter Surui tribe has turned to smartphones and other technological devices to monitor illegal logging. This is the first time an indigenous group has used this type of model to save their land. He has gone to 33 countries to talk about a new type of indigenous conservation.
Disclaimer: Articles linked in the Update are intended to provide a dashboard view of newsworthy and topical issues from popular news outlets that will be of interest to readers of the Update. The articles are an information sharing vehicle rather than an advocacy tool. They are in no way representative of the views of InterAction or the U.S. NGO community as a whole.

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