Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing on Iraq, Day 2, Panel 1
SEN. BIDEN: Yesterday the Foreign Relations Committee began what I hope will be a national discussion on Iraq. Let me say again how pleased and grateful I am for the cooperation of my Republican colleagues, starting with Senator Helms in absentia, and his staff, Senator Lugar, Senator Hagel, for putting these hearings together. This has been a team effort. This is not me sitting down with a witness list and saying, "Here we go."
As of yesterday, we've coordinated these hearings closely with the White House. Let me explain what I mean by coordination. We're a separate and equal branch of the government. We're not asking permission of anybody to have any hearings. But we did ask them for their input. We asked them for their input as we debate and discuss this very difficult question the president has to resolve. And they have been very cooperative.
We're honoring their desire not to testify at this time, but I do not want to put the president in the position of having to make any of these critical decisions prematurely. I take him at his word, their word, the administration, that this is a process that's in train, and hopefully our hearings can help them elucidate their discussions and their decision process as well.
Yesterday we addressed three critical questions, among others: First, what is the threat from Iraq? Second, depending on the assessment of that threat, what is viewed as the appropriate response to the threat? And third, how do Iraq's neighbors and our allies see the problem in Iraq?
We need -- we had excellent, excellent testimony from our panels yesterday. But the one area which I think we need considerably more discussion as well is how Iraq's neighbors and our allies view the problem of Iraq. We heard a wide range of views from an exceptionally thoughtful group of witnesses, spanning the spectrum on points of view. I'm not sure we reached many definitive conclusions, but I'm convinced we're asking the right questions. And to get the answer, you have to ask the right question first.
We are, I hope, shedding some light on an important and complex problem that the president faces, as well as the Congress and the American people. Again, I'll reiterate, I truly believe, and I think all of my colleagues do, that a foreign policy will not be sustained, particularly when it calls for the expenditure of American treasure and blood, potentially, without the informed consent of the American people.
Today we'll address a fourth question, and it's not to suggest that our incredibly qualified panel of witnesses is not free to speak to any other issue as well. We've attempted to ask the panels to come to address a specific question, not because we think that's the only question they're competent to respond to, but because we want to order this some way at the outset.
And one question that I think is the least explored -- and as a matter of fact, spontaneously, two witnesses yesterday said they thought it was the least explored as well, and perhaps the most important -- if we participate or if we are the only participant in the departure of Saddam, what are our responsibilities, if any, the day after?
This is an issue we've already been grappling with, and you heard discussion in the executive committee meeting on Afghanistan. We are openly discussing it after a successful military action in Afghanistan. As I've said many times before, our military did a remarkable job in prosecuting the war in Afghanistan. But, as you could hear from the discussion here today and the vote here today, there is at least a consensus that in some part, we may be falling short, maybe falling short of the mark in winning the peace.
The peace is a lot harder to win than the war. We're not doing nearly enough, in my view, to secure Afghanistan so that it can be rebuild and so that it does not again become a haven for terrorists. I'm pleased to announce, however, that what you just noticed a few minutes ago, that I think we've got a pretty strong consensus here to encourage the president, knowing that he has our support, to go beyond Kabul with the international security force.
In Iraq, we can't afford to replace one despot with chaos. The long-suffering Iraqi people need to know the regime change would benefit them. We heard that from every witness yesterday. So do Iraq's neighbors. And the American people will want that assurance as well.
Already yesterday, many of our witnesses talked about the critical importance of thinking through the day after, well in advance of the day of, and even the day before we act in Iraq. Today we'll look at this issue in greater detail. We want a better understanding of what it would take to secure Iraq and rebuild it economically and politically. I don't mean all by ourselves, but that may be the position we put ourselves in. So what does it mean if it's all by ourselves?
We need to know how many U.S. forces will be required to stay, how long and for what purpose. We should consider the prospect of establishing a stable and democratic state, but maybe a stable and not so democratic state, and a democratic political order in Iraq, and what role the Iraqi opposition might play in that and what role might, as I've had the great pleasure of having some of the witnesses here today brief me privately over the last month, as I did several panels before, and I know there's some discussion among them and among experts in the region as to the prospect of participation with the civil service that exists within Iraq, the military that exists within Iraq, how willing they'd be -- some argue that this could be done very readily because we'd have overwhelming help. Others suggest that it would not be done very readily at all. Others suggest that it didn't have to be paid for by us. Iraq's a wealthy country; they could fund this themselves. Our presence they could fund there, and so on.
So these are all questions that are vitally important to our interest. And we have, I think, put together, with the help of Senator Helms's staff and the White House, requests from them, as well as our staff, some very, very significant witnesses today. So I welcome them.
And I would now ask Senator Hagel if he would like to make any opening statement. And after that, I would move to introduce the witnesses and begin discussion.
SEN. CHUCK HAGEL (R-NE): Mr. Chairman, thank you. I do have a statement which I will ask to be included in the record. And since we are on a limited track here with votes coming, I would suggest we go right to the witnesses. Thank you very much.
SEN. BIDEN: Well, a couple of our colleagues indicated, because they weren't able to be here yesterday, they'd like to make a, quote, "brief statement." And I would yield to any colleague who feels they want to do that right now.
SEN. PAUL SARBANES (D-MD): Well, Mr. Chairman, I'll be very brief, because I'm, along with everyone else, anxious to hear these witnesses. I just want, again, to commend you for scheduling these hearings. I know this --
SEN. BIDEN: You can take more time then. (Laughter.)
SEN. SARBANES: I know this is a very busy period before the recess, but I think it's extremely important that we've undertaken this effort. The New York Times, only a couple of days ago, had an editorial entitled "Filling in the Blanks on Iraq." And it began with this sentence: "With the Bush administration openly threatening to overthrow Saddam Hussein, a public airing of the pros and cons of intervention is long overdue. Thanks to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which has planned hearings about Iraq this week, that national discussion may finally commence." And it has indeed commenced.
And that editorial concluded, and I just want to read this into the record, because I think what's being done here is very important, and I think your efforts in bringing this about are extremely significant. "Wisely, Senate Republicans have worked closely with the Democratic committee chairman, Joseph Biden, in planning this week's hearings. The White House has been similarly cooperative. Further exploration of these issues will be needed after the Senate returns from its August recess. Before any major decisions are taken, the nation needs to learn as much as it can about the available choices on Iraq and their likely consequences."
And these hearings, which you've launched, are obviously intended to do that. In fact, you and Senator Lugar had an article in the New York Times yesterday, just yesterday, and in the course of which you said, and I quote, "Without prejudging any particular course of action, we hope to start a national discussion of some critical questions."
And I think it's very important to have that national discussion. I think the way you've structured it, in terms of the questions that have been outlined to be addressed, provide a structure and a format for this discussion. I'm very happy to participate in it, but I'm particularly pleased to acknowledge, I think, the very significant leadership you're exercising on this very important issue.
SEN. BIDEN: I thank you, Senator. Senator Dodd.
SEN. CHRISTOPHER DODD (D-CT): Mr. Chairman, I just want to make sort of the same comments. This is -- I've been on this committee 21 years, and this is what this committee was designed to do. And unfortunately we haven't done it enough over the years. And the fact that we're doing it here is tremendously worthwhile and valuable. It's the reason why there is a committee process. It's the way that foreign policy ought to be conducted, in a partnership with the Congress.
And so I want to add my voice to that of Senator Sarbanes in thanking you and Senator Lugar and others in the administration for allowing this to go forward and doing it in such a cooperative fashion. And it was tremendously instructive yesterday.
I found the hearings -- I couldn't attend, unfortunately, some of the afternoon, but the ones that I watched on television and the ones I participated in, I just think, were tremendously worthwhile and already is having, I think, a very worthwhile and beneficial impact on the decision-making process. I'll ask unanimous consent to have a longer statement here, Joe, included in the record.
But just -- while conclusions, obviously, we haven't formed any firm ones, but I thought some conclusions about how we ought to approach this were tremendously worthwhile. And just very briefly, I wrote down some of them; first, that we shouldn't underestimate the capability of the Iraqi military. I think we all agree with that today.
Secondly, we should understand that the undertaking of any effort to oust Hussein will be extremely difficult without the support of the international community. I mean, I think, again, we all sort of agreed. That's a given. Third, that the U.N. inspections, when it was functioning, was successful and having some effect on the quality and quantity of weapons of mass destruction that Iraq had accumulated; that efforts to contain Saddam Hussein through the reintroduction of U.N. weapons inspectors is still worth trying, particularly if Russia and the French, but particularly Russia, would be involved; that seriously exploring the reinstatement of the inspection option may build in national support. We shouldn't abandon that idea. We don't necessarily have to jump to it, but I thought that was very worthwhile and tremendously helpful.
And finally, once the inspections option is no longer perceived by our allies to be a viable response to Saddam Hussein, then the international community would be more amenable to come together and support the use of force, if that's the decision.
So I just want to thank you and thank others; thank our witnesses as well. We had terrific witnesses yesterday. I'm assuming nothing less than that today from the panel that's here. And I think the question we're raising about the day after is very, very important. And the debate and discussion that preceded this, I think, makes the point, as you've said already.
SEN. BIDEN: Knowing this panel, I can assure you that they are as competent and as good.
SEN. DODD: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. BIDEN: Thank you very much. I want to thank again, again in absentia, Ambassador Butler for getting on a plane and flying 24 hours to show up at a hearing from Sydney, Australia, which was very worthwhile. He has been always -- sometimes controversial, always incredibly straightforward. I thought his testimony was a good leadoff yesterday.
Today we have a very significant panel. Dr. Phebe Marr has spent 40 years as a scholar and analyst of Southwest Asia and is a leading U.S. specialist on Iraq. Until 1998, she was a senior fellow at the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University. She retired from the U.S. government in 1997.
She is the author of "A Modern History of Iraq." I recommend it to you. I have not read it all. I have read giant chunks of it. I must tell you, there's nothing like an appointment to focus one on the mission. She was kind enough to come in to brief me with others last week, and I spent time trying to make sure I knew what she had written before she came in. And I didn't get all the way through it, Professor, but I got close -- or Doctor.
Ms. Rend Francke is a founding member and the executive director of the Iraqi Foundation, a non-profit organization that promotes democracy and human rights in Iraq, and we thank her for being here as well.
And Dr. Al-Shabibi -- am I pronouncing it correctly? You can call me Biden (pronounces name "Bidden") if I'm not, Doctor -- is an expert on the Iraqi economy; currently serves as an adviser to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. He served as Iraq's planning minister (sic) from 1997 (sic) to 1980 and in Iraq's oil ministry from 1975 to '77.
Dr. Al-Shabibi has traveled from Geneva, Switzerland to testify, which puts him right up there with Butler for having made the long- distance effort to be here. We appreciate you traveling such a distance and to share your experience and your thoughts with us, Doctor, and we're anxious to hear you.
And Colonel Scott Feil. He served in Desert Storm from '90 to '91. He received a Purple Heart. He was chief of the strategy division of the Joint Staff from '99 to 2000. He's now executive director of the Role of American Military Power program at the Association of the United States Army. His responsibilities include co-directing a program for post-conflict resolution.
I welcome you all here today. And we have just -- actually, gentlemen, we've just had a 15-minute vote start. Rather than us do this piecemeal, in respect to the witnesses, maybe we should all go and vote and then come back. It'll take us about seven to 10 minutes to do that, and then we won't have you seeing us get up and in and out. We're like Pavlov's dog. When that bell goes off, we have to go and vote. So we will recess for 10 minutes, be back, and we'll start with you, Dr. Marr, when we come back.
SEN. BIDEN: (Gavel.) The hearing will come to order. Thank you for your indulgence. Hopefully we won't have many interruptions, as we did yesterday.
Dr. Marr, again, welcome. And the floor is yours.
MS. MARR: Thank you, Mr. Chairman and the committee both, for the invitation to testify. And I would like to add my voice to others to thank you for this wonderful opportunity to generation a public discussion on the issues involved in this critical foreign policy decision.
Our panel has been asked to -- to examine what we can expect in Iraq after Saddam, if the U.S. should be successful in achieving his fall. I would like to focus on two key issues that will be critical for U.S. planning in the post-Saddam Iraq. The first is the potential for fragmentation or fracturing once Saddam's regime is decapitated, and along with it the potential for outside interference from Iraq's neighbors. The second is the issue of providing alternative leadership for Iraq.
Let me say at the outset that I regard the replacement of Iraq's leadership as a serious and very ambitious project. The decision is difficult, because the potential benefits to Iraq, to the U.S., to the region are substantial. But so too are the possible costs and unintended consequences. If the U.S. embarks on this project, it needs to be prepared to see it through to an acceptable outcome, including if necessary a long-term military and political commitment to ensure a stable and more democratic government. If it is not prepared to do so, the intended benefits could vanish.
Now, let me turn to this issue of fragmentation. And, incidentally, in my prepared remarks I have a map on the back which might be helpful, and a great deal more information than I am going to give you here. As we know, Iraq is a multi-ethnic, multi-sectarian country with boundaries that were imposed by foreign powers at the time of its formation in 1920. It has three main demographic components, consisting of the Kurdish-speaking population in the north, about 17 percent; the Arab Shiia in the south, about 60 percent; and the Arab Sunnis in the center, somewhere between 15 and 20 percent. These are sketched on the map.
For over 80 years these communities have co-existed, and to varying degrees have participated in the process of building a state and a nation. That process, while well under way, is still incomplete. Under the current regime, a narrowly based Arab Sunni community uses repression to enforce its rule over all communities. Hence the fear that if the regime is removed the country will fragment into its ethnic and sectarian components. How accurate is that assessment? First, in my view it is very unlikely -- indeed inconceivable -- that Iraq will break up into three relatively cohesive components -- a Kurdish north, a, Shiia south and an Arab Sunni center. None of these communities is homogeneous or shows any ability to unite. Moreover, in many cities -- Baghdad, Mosul, Basra, Irbil -- the communities are thoroughly mixed. Most important of all, the overwhelming majority of the population, except possibly for a few Kurds, has consistently shown a strong desire to keep the state together and profit from its ample resources. However, the removal of the regime under certain circumstances could result in a breakdown of the central government and its ability to exercise control over the country. There are two dangers here. The first is short-term. If firm leadership is not in place in Baghdad on the day after, retribution, score-settling, blood-letting, especially in urban areas, could take place.
On a broader scale, without a firm government parochial interests could take over both in the north and the south and the center. The Kurds for instance could seize Kirkuk with its oil fields, establishing a new reality in the north. The Arab Sunni clans who control military units might struggle for power in Baghdad. The Shiia party, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, SIRI, located in Teheran, could send units of the Better Brigade across the frontier and attempt to gain control of areas in the south. Such a collapse of authority could trigger interference from neighbors. Turkey could intervene in the north, as it has done before. Iran, through its proxies, could follow suit. There could even be a reverse flow of refugees as many Iraqi Shiia exiles in Iran return home, possibly in the thousands, destabilizing areas in the south.
and over the long term if a new government in Baghdad fails to take hold, if it is not more inclusive of Iraq's communities and acceptable to the population, Iraq could gradually slip into the category of a failed state, unable to maintain control over its territories and borders. This is not the most likely scenario, but is a little more likely than a decade ago.
While most Iraqis do want the unity and territorial sovereignty of their state, their sense of identity as a nation has eroded under the Baath, and in my view is weaker than at any time since 1945.
In some respects the state is already in the process of failure and needs revival. The Kurds have been governing themselves for over a decade, for example. While the Kurdish leadership is realistic about its prospects for independence -- they are nil -- and willing to live in Iraq under some federal arrangement, their Kurdish identity and aspirations for self-government have increased. In a post-Saddam Iraq it is going to be more difficult to integrate the Kurds into Iraq proper. The Shiia population has been in a constant state of decline for over the past two decades -- from wars, revolution and government repression. The 1991 rebellion, which was widespread in the south, showed the extent of Shiia alienation. And since that time Shiia identity has increased.
However, despite considerable alienation from the government, the Shiia have no discernible leadership or organization inside Iraq, unlike the Kurds. Moreover, there's no real Shiia desire for separation. Rather, the Shiia want a greater -- indeed a dominant share of power in Baghdad, commensurate with their numbers.
While the Shiia are not likely to break away, holding Iraq together will require new leadership in Baghdad capable of incorporating all communities into the decision-making body in Baghdad. How likely are they to get it?
Now, I would like to turn to the issue of the center and the issue of alternative leadership.
It is generally assumed that if new political leadership emerges inside Iraq it will have to come from the center. That's a term that's used to denote the central government in Baghdad, but is often used in a geographic and demographic sense to refer to the Arab Sunni triangle, stretching from Baghdad to Mosul in the north, and the borders with Jordan and Syria in the west, the region from which the regime recruits its leadership. It's this center and this Arab Sunni minority that has dominated Iraq for decades in a pattern that is difficult to break. I think the issue of alternative political leadership is critical -- probably the critical in post-Saddam Iraq. At the moment there is no visible alternative leadership inside Iraq. There may be potential leaders, but they cannot emerge or demonstrate their leadership for reasons that are obvious. So we can only speculate on the sources and the constituencies they could mobilize. One problem is already clear, however. If this leadership emerges from inside the regime or its support system, the coup for example, will this change of leadership bring real change in orientation, political culture, or even foreign policy? Will it be sufficient to get the bulk of the population to support it or even to meet U.S. requirements? Or will they simply bring us a modified version of what we already have.
The outside opposition has a multitude of leaders vying for one another, and they have been doing so for years. The key figures and groups are fairly well known to you, I think. They include Ahmad Chalabi and the Iraq National Congress; the Hashemite Sharif Ali (ph), the Iraq National Accord, presumably closest to the Baathists; Siri (ph), the main Shiia contender in Teheran; numerous generals who have defected; and the two main Kurdish parties in control of their real estate in the north of Iraq.
The main problems with the outside opposition are also clear: they are fractious, they have been unable to coalesce under a mainstream candidate, and they have little or no organization inside Iraq. The Kurds do have an organization, but they are unwilling and unable to take a leadership role in Baghdad. Their interest is self- government in the north. The main constituency of the outside opposition, as has been often remarked, is Washington. This raises a paradox. Many of these outside leaders have demonstrated leadership skills. They are Westernized. They generally support U.S. aims, and they are the most likely to bring change in Iraq. But they will have to be put in by the U.S., and supported by us over some considerable time if the changes they and we envisioned are to be maintained; and, as Western-supported elements, their legitimacy may soon be questioned.
Now, briefly I would like to switch to the inside leadership. And in order to give us some sense of what we may get, I'd like to briefly describe the three current pillars of the regime from which this leadership could emerge.
The first is the kin and clan network that dominates most institutions, particularly those of security and the military. Saddam, as we know, has maintained power by putting his kin and clan in these functions. Neighboring clans from the Sunni Arab triangle have develop an ever-thickening network of kin and clan relations in these leading institutions. Even when Saddam's immediate family is removed, these clan groups will remain, and so will the kinship ties that bind them. Alternative leadership may indeed arise from these related clans. The key issue here is whether such a leader will be able or willing to go beyond clan politics, or whether such a change will be acceptable to the non-Sunni population, and even the educate urban city middle class that functions outside this system.
The second pillar of the Saddam rests on institutions of state: the Baath Party, various components of the military, the bureaucracy and the educational establishment. These are recruited from a broader base, and include Shiia and Kurds as well as Sunnis. At secondary levels these institutions are peopled by an educated middle class. Some are potential sources of leadership. The Baath Party is one. It may not survive Saddam's collapse, but the party cadre will. The problem here is that amongst this group is a deeply ingrained attitude toward power and authority that will persist. And so too will the strong nationalist attitudes that have been their backbone.
The military is the most likely source of change, although the military is not a single institution. The regular army is probably the military component with the greatest sense of independence and distance from the regime. Unfortunately, it's also the weakest. Republican Guard units, though presumably more loyal to the regime, may welcome a regime change as well. Both the Republican Guard and Army officers may provide alternative leadership. But here too the question is how much change will they bring? How willing will they be to embrace U.S. requirements?
The bureaucracy and the educational establishment will inevitably provide leadership for any new regime, but only at secondary levels. They are unable to provide the leadership at top political levels. They do not have the muscle to effect a change, and they both represent a cadre that is used to obeying orders, not giving them.
The education establishment in particular has been Baathized. The bureaucracy can be used by whatever leadership is installed. Indeed, it will have to be used. But it may take several years of reeducation and redirection.
The regime is also supported by an economic elite, often referred to as an economic mafia. It is the product of the state's control of oil and other resources which the regime distributes through a patronage system. While this group may provide some support in reviving the economy, it cannot be expected to provide alternative political leadership. In fact, it is not a true private sector independent of the state. Indeed, one of the best changes that could be introduced would be to separate this economic class from the state and move towards the creation of a true and more independent private sector.
Now, I would like to conclude. This survey of Iraq's current political direction leads me to several conclusions. One is that after years of repression the Iraqis are ready, indeed eager, for change. And they seek the preservation of their state and its future development as a nation. But they have had no experience of democracy, only of a police state. And the building blocks of democracy will have to be created, including a reorientation of attitudes and practices. This will take time.
I suggest that that there are three potential options open to the the U.S. to achieve this leadership change. The first is to pressure those inside to change the regime themselves. The most likely source of this, if Iraqis are left by themselves to accomplish the deed, as I've indicated, will come from the center, from kin and clan, from the military or less likely the party. This will be the least expensive option for the U.S. in terms of troops and political investment. But it will probably bring the least change.
It is also likely to be the most destabilizing. It could lead to a struggle for power in Baghdad, the erosion of central control, and a gradual breakdown of national unity. Inside leadership is most likely to move against Saddam if it decides the U.S. is serious about occupation. But the U.S. will need to support this leadership to prevent fracturing. The U.S. is unsure of the new leadership. If it cannot give immediate support, the U.S. could lose control of the situation.
Identifying the potential inside leaders now and making U.S. requirements clear and public beforehand would help avoid this slippery slope.
The second option, as I've indicated, is introducing the outside opposition as alternative leadership. This would produce the most change inside Iraq in the direction the U.S. desires. But this is the most difficult and costly option. The U.S. would have to install and support this opposition with troops over some considerable period of time.
There is a third option. If the U.S. occupies Iraq it will have the best opportunity in the short term to provide both law and order, prevent retribution, and begin the processes by which Iraqis inside and outside can refashion their political system and move towards democratic reforms. Most Iraqis would welcome that prospect. But it represents a considerable commitment by the U.S. over several years and some troops on the ground, preferably in conjunction with allies. And before too long the U.S. will be viewed as a foreign occupier. Thus the institution of new leadership and the procedures for establishing a new government need to be fairly expeditious -- say, within six months -- and the U.S. military greatly reduced thereafter. Nevertheless, if the U.S. is determined to replace the regime, it's better to take a firm hand in the beginning to help in providing the building blocks for a new and more democratic regime. In this case it will have to keep some forces on the ground and strong advisory teams in place to assure that the new regime gets a solid footing.
Iraq has a military and a bureaucracy which can be used to defend and administer the country. But it will require effort to reorganize and reshape these institutions in the desired direction. This is no small task. If the U.S. is going to take the responsibility for removing the current leadership, it should assume that it cannot get the results it wants on the cheap. It must be prepared to put some troops on the ground, advisors to help create new institutions and, above all, time and effort in the future to see the project through to a satisfactory end.
If the United States is not willing to do so, it had best rethink the project. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. BIDEN: Doctor, thank you very much for a very clear statement. I am going to -- just for my colleagues -- put your entire statement in the record so its made available to all senators. And I thank you.
MS. FRANCKE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have a longer written statement, and I will simply highlight some areas of it.
SEN. BIDEN: The entire statement will be placed in the record.
MS. FRANCKE: Thank you. First of all, of course I would like to join my voice to all those who have thanked you for starting this national debate on Iraq, and I would like to take the liberty, Mr. Chairman, to say that I admire your stamina. I was listening yesterday all day, and I got exhausted, but you did not. So, congratulations.
Now, I think this panel is --
SEN. BIDEN: I would just say when you become a chairman, as Senator Sarbanes can tell you, it entitles you to two things. One, you get to turn the lights off, because you're the last one out -- the staff is actually last -- and, secondly, you have to be the one at the hearing. (Laughter.) So, but I enjoy it.
MS. FRANCKE: Well, it's very good of you. Thank you for this particular panel, because, very sadly, my impression is that not enough thinking has been going on in Washington to date about the issue of the day after. It appears from the press that there is a great deal of thinking going on about military operations. But what to do after is not thought about much. And whether it is a question of lack of interest or lack of people, I don't quite know, but I think the situation has to be remedied, and remedied quickly.
I am an Iraqi American, and my ambition is to see my native Iraq free and that there are good relations between Iraq and the United States. This is what I fervently hope for.
In the event of a military campaign to remove the regime of Saddam Hussein, the United States will have a unique opportunity to influence the political outcome in Iraq in a way that is good for Iraq, good for the region and good for the United States. I might say that the United States will not have had such an opportunity since the end of World War II. This will be probably the first time that the U.S. will really be able to have leverage. I would like this leverage to be for the good.
I have spoken to Iraqis over the past 10 years -- it is my business to speak to Iraqis every day. And there is a unanimous desire for pluralism, representation, participation, accountability in government. In short, all the things that we call democracy.
The U.S. should seize this opportunity in the event of the removal of the regime to press for sweeping change of the political system, and a new foundation for democracy in Iraq.
I would like to say at this point that the subject of Afghanistan was mentioned earlier today, and I would not like to see Afghanistan as a model, by which I mean -- and to put it crudely, and you will excuse me -- I do not think we should have a hit-and-run operation in Iraq.
Historically Iraq has set the tone for the Middle East, and Iraq's future political shape will affect the region either in a positive or a negative direction. Intervention and regime change should not be the beginning of U.S. commitment to assist and support Iraqis, but should be the beginning of a commitment towards nation- building in Iraq. And U.S. involvement should be sustained. I do not mean necessarily just a military involvement, but at all levels the U.S. commitment to see Iraq through this difficult period should be made up front and should be -- (inaudible).
The day following regime change in Iraq will be largely determined by the message the United States sends to Iraqis now, before military action, about U.S. intentions and about U.S. visions for Iraq. I have to tell you Iraqis desperately want to be freed of Saddam Hussein and they also know that the only country that can help them with this is the United States. And they are ready to welcome the U.S. as liberators. But equally, because of the history of the Gulf War, and because of its aftermath, and because Iraqis believe that the U.S. abandoned them in 1991 and later, there is, unfortunately, a deficit of trust among Iraqis of U.S. intentions.
I have spoken to Iraqis who were in Iraq only in the past few months. They are apprehensive. First of all, they understand that there is a real likelihood of the U.S. conducting a military campaign in Iraq with the purpose of changing the regime. And I can tell you, many Iraqis that I have spoken to have said that regime change is often discussed in Baghdad as a likely possibility, but they are apprehensive about the destructiveness of the war that will come, and they are apprehensive about what the U.S. will do after the regime is gone. We must make clear that the United States comes to Iraq as a friend and not as an occupier and that the U.S. will help the Iraqis rebuild the country from the devastation of 20 years of war.
Mr. Chairman, what is likely to happen on the day after, specifically. First, we will not have a civil war in Iraq. This is contrary to Iraqi history, and Iraq has not had history of communal conflict as there has been in the Balkans or in Afghanistan.
Second, I would agree with Dr. Marr, Iraq will not fall apart and will not be dismembered. The Kurds have spared no words or effort in explaining and stressing that they want to be -- to remain part of Iraq. The Shi'ia, far from wishing to secede, see themselves as quintessential Iraqi patriots. But what both of these groups want is a bigger role in Iraq, bigger -- a bigger role in Baghdad and in the center of government, not separation from Iraq.
Third, provided the U.S. has put forth a reassuring message, Iraqis will join U.S. forces in dismantling the regime, and Iraqi military force in particular will defect and cooperate with U.S. troops. There will be a measure of confusion, but I do not believe that there will be chaos, and particularly there will not be chaos in those parts of Iraq where there are American troops. I do believe, by the way, that there is a very likely chance of an 11th hour military coup, once military officers and army generals are aware that the U.S. troops are in fact in Iraq and they are advancing on Baghdad and the intention is in fact to remove the regime, there is a very strong likelihood that some group of army officers will stage a coup.
Fourth, the humanitarian situation will deteriorate badly because of war casualties, population displacement, the disruption of systems of distribution of food and medical resources.
Fifth, the system of public security will break down because there will be no functioning police force, no civil service and no justice system.
Sixth, there will be a vacuum of political authority and administrative authority. Surviving senior officials from the old regime will have fled or will remain in hiding. Meanwhile, military officers who have cooperated with U.S. forces will be vying for recognition and privilege from the United States. The U.S. must be very cautious about who it gives authority to in this situation of a vacuum.
This is on the very first day after regime change, but within a few weeks, there will be problems that will emerge. One, there will be a need to eradicate the remnants of the old regime. There will be a need to develop the administrative structure and institutions of Iraq. The infrastructure of vital sectors will have to be restored. An adequate police force must be trained and equipped as quickly as possible. And the economy will have to be jump started from not only stagnation but devastation.
In other words, a very large number of U.S. and international civilian groups will be needed alongside any military group -- troops that are in Iraq -- not only from the U.S. but from the European Union, from the United Nations, from the NGO community. There will be a great need for expertise and resources to build Iraq. And this has to be -- has to happen quickly, not on day one, but perhaps on week five, or week six, or week seven.
But, no matter how many troops and civilians there are, there will be a dire need for Iraqi participation in this effort. I believe an Iraqi partnership is indispensable both for political and for practical reasons. Therefore, who are the likely candidates for an Iraqi partnership with the United States? And (further ?), the question who are the successor's to Saddam's regime who might emerge from this partnership?
Again, I agree with Dr. Marr that after 30 years of repression, there is no political life in Iraq outside Saddam's leadership and Saddam's family. The urban middle classes, professionals and intelligentsia have been crushed, and it is unlikely that on day one, or week one, a new leadership will emerge from outside this tight circle of existing power now. I believe that in the aftermath there will be in fact two circles that might emerge as possible, or who will certainly clamor for partnership with the United States. The first circle, of course, is the military officers, the defected military officers who will have cooperated with the United States, and the second circle will be the Sunni provincial clans of central Iraq.
But as I explained in my written statement more thoroughly, there is almost a total overlap between these two circles. The Sunni clans of central Iraq were the power base that Saddam used, and in fact, they supplied the manpower to not only the military but the military and the security apparatus of the state. And so to talk about a separation between this clan system and the military security organs, the military security complex, is in a way a false differentiation. The military security complex identification with the clan system of central Iraq was precisely the model that Saddam Hussein used for his regime. And the question is, if we actually choose our partners from these two circles, we will be replicating the model that was used by Saddam Hussein.
I should also mention the Ba'ath Party because there is a notion that perhaps the Ba'ath Party could come up with a potential leadership. I do not believe that there is such a thing as a functioning Ba'ath Party in Iraq. It's been eviscerated. It was never a good institution in any case, and it was a chauvinistic ultra- nationalist institution, but even so, the regional command of the Ba'ath Party really is a tool and an instrument for Saddam Hussein, and without Saddam, there is no such thing. We are not likely to see a leadership emerge from there.
In the confusion of the first few weeks, there will be a great deal of temptation for the United States to rely on military, army generals, and perhaps this clan system. And I want to suggest why this would be a great mistake. To begin with, many of the military officers who have achieved sufficient seniority in Iraq, are probably implicated in war crimes and crimes against humanity. I am not sure that we should be partnering with people who have other's -- other people's blood on their hands.
The clan system has no acknowledge hierarchy, and none of them can command allegiance of all the others. Each clan believes it should inherit power after Saddam. The competition for power among these clans will be intense, and if there is a nascent warlord class in Iraq, it is in fact these clans of the center who are actually much more fractious, have much more rivalry among them, and because of the their association to the military security complex, have access to arms.
Next, a military regime will establish the logic of force as an instrument of gaining power and keeping power in Iraq, and therefore it will start the rationale of cycle of military coups and counter- coups which will in fact return Iraq to the way that the Middle East functioned in the 1950s and 1960s, and this is hardly a stable model.
And finally, and importantly, the Iraqi people will simply reject a military regime or a regime that is modeled on Saddam's paradigm of Sunni clans plus military security complex. They will actively resist it. They will raise -- this will raise the level of dissent and instability, and it could encourage foreign intervention and centrifugal forces.
I believe it's essential to break this pattern of militarization and regressive government by ensuring that Iraq has a modernizing, civilian government and that the military stays out of politics. I am almost done. In due course, Iraqis will gain confidence that a new order is taking shape, and candidates for leadership will emerge within the country, especially from the urban, educated classes. However, I submit that the United States can't afford to wait that many months until this happens. It must find an Iraqi partner sooner rather than later, and it must find an Iraqi partner before a war is launched.
And I will here make a bold and controversial proposal. For the past 11 years, the United States has been working with the Iraqi opposition groups in northern Iraq and in the diaspora. It is fashionable to disparage this opposition and say that they are useless and worth nothing and represent nothing. And yet these groups have shown tenacity and vibrancy, and the represent a wide spectrum of political opinion in Iraq. They not only represent Kurds, Shi'ias and Sunnis, they actually represent political opinion, and political currents, and political beliefs. Without exception, they have a modernizing, democratizing outlook, however imperfect this might look in the Western eyes. Their relations with the United States and with each other have not always been smooth, I grant that. But I would say, by the way, that this has not always been exclusively their fault. In any case, I think it is time to change all that.
I would suggest that the U.S. take the bold step of partnering with this opposition and creating at least the nucleus of a future political structure. This structure should be prepared and enabled to take charge immediately of administrative and management needs of the country on the day after regime change. I am not by any means suggesting that this opposition can be the whole story --
SEN. BIDEN: Would you say that again, please? About taking -- I lost -- I didn't catch the first part of your --
MS. FRANKE: I'm saying that this nuclear political structure should be prepared and enabled to take charge of immediate administrative and management needs of the country.
SEN. BIDEN: Can you explain what you mean by "prepared and enabled"?
MS. FRANKE: Would you like me to explain now or when I am done?
SEN. BIDEN: Whenever it's convenient for you, or whenever you think it fits best in your statement.
MS. FRANKE: If I may at least finish this paragraph.
SEN. BIDEN: Please, oh please.
MS. FRANKE: I am not suggesting by any means that this opposition can be the whole of Iraq's political structure. Quite the contrary. It should form no more than an open circle, to be augmented and completed as leaders emerge within Iraq in the months after regime change. Without such a partnership, and without such a partnership being built right now, or beginning right now, the U.S. is likely to find itself with no civilian framework to rely on in Iraq for a long period of time.
Mr. Chairman, my idea for an administrative and management structure is that the Iraqis groups in the opposition have to be able to come to Iraq with U.S. troops and at least put together the remnants of the civil service in Iraq, come in with perhaps a group of -- a core group of people who are trained in policing by the United States so that this core group can go into Iraq and work with the remnants of the police force. In other words, and also, by the way, be in charge or at least create a sort of an overall structure for managing humanitarian services --
SEN. BIDEN: Can I say it another way to make sure I understand it, because the Iraqi National Congress coming to see me not long ago -- and I apologize to my colleagues for interrupting, but I hope this is clarifying, not disruptive, made the same statement to me that you've just made. If I can give an example so I -- to see if I understand it. Assume American forces went in. You are suggesting that the United States government work with members of the Iraqi National Congress here in the United States --
MS. FRANKE: The Iraqi opposition.
SEN. BIDEN: The Iraq -- well, okay, there's four different opposition groups that don't fit into your little scheme, all four of them, but let's assume whatever it is, that we essentially come in with a police commissioner who is an Iraqi from abroad, in the diaspora. We essentially come in with a water commissioner. We essentially come in with a commissioner -- think about running the city of Chicago, you know, we come in with a, you know, someone to run the department of public works, someone to come in -- so we have, in a sense, what you're suggesting is, as we come in, instead of having, in addition to NGOs, in addition to American civilians who are helping set up the infrastructure or maintain it, you're suggesting that there be an Iraqi in the diaspora who comes in who is named, at least temporarily, by us, as the person who is going to run this police department, who is going to run this -- the water department, who is going to be the commissioner of electricity. Is that the kind of thing you mean? Is it that literal?
MS. FRANKE: Senator, you are putting it rather starkly, and maybe it should be put that starkly. My idea is that there should be Iraqis who come in with the U.S. who are in these functions as at least liaison between whatever is left of the civil service in Iraq and the United States.
SEN. BIDEN: The reason I ask that, I have gotten so deep in the weeds in Bosnia, then in Kosovo, and now in Iraq, which is not the usual role a senator should play. But I've actually taken scores of hours to go there myself. And what I find is unless you are literally literal, literal, none of this matters much. This is about making practical things happen. In Kosovo, without someone who turns on and off the streetlights, you have a problem. And I am just wondering if that's what you're talking about.
MS. FRANKE: And precisely, I'm afraid that in the first few weeks, certainly, and perhaps even for a few months, that all the senior people who are in charge of turning the lights on will be in hiding, or will have fled Iraq.
SEN. BIDEN: Okay, thank you. I apologize for the interruption.
MS. FRANKE: I have one final point, which I'll make very brief because in fact my esteemed colleague Dr. Shabibi will take it up.
My final point, Mr. Chairman, is that the Iraqi economy has been devastated and the Iraqi people have lived in deprivation for at least 12 years. It will be extremely important, both politically and operationally, to jumpstart the Iraqi economy as quickly as possible, and create opportunities for employment and to raise the standard of living in Iraq in a visible way. I cannot stress enough how important it is for Iraqis to see that their lives are better and not worse in a tangible, material way. An important message the U.S. can send now and confirm the day after regime change in Iraq, is that the U.S. is prepared to put together an international Marshall Plan for Iraq, and help Iraq overcome its heavy financial burden and rejuvenate its economy.
The final message is the U.S. must stay the course. This is not -- should not be a campaign to change the regime, it should be a campaign to rebuild Iraq. And unless we understand that and are prepared for it, then our preparations are really very feeble. It's not simply a military operation.
SEN. BIDEN: Thank you very much. Dr. Shabibi. Dr. Shabibi was worried I named him as the minister before. I said -- I want to make it clear, Doctor, you are in the ministry of, not the minister. I want to make it clear.
MR. AL-SHABIBI: Thank you very much, Senator.
I really would like to thank you for inviting me to speak in this hearing.
SEN. BIDEN: Yes, if you pull that very -- you have to speak almost directly into it so people in the back can hear you.
MR. AL-SHABIBI: Thank you very much for inviting me to participate in this hearing to speak about what I think about what is needed for the Iraqi economy. I am going actually to be brief despite the fact that actually the subject is not at all brief. And what --
SEN. BIDEN: I'm sorry, Doctor, you really have to keep your mouth almost on that thing. You have to pull it very close. As Senator -- as the distinguished senator from South Carolina, Senator Thurmond, says, you've got to talk into the machine. Thank you.
MR. SHABIBI: Thank you. I just actually want to give an idea about the characteristic of the Iraqi economy today. I'm not going actually to go into detail on this, but I'm going to enumerate certain characteristics in order to move on a certain strategy, what is needed to be done in the short term; in the longer term, then the short term, which is actually medium, and long term.
Iraqis now are living under a situation where actually there is huge resource deficit due to sanctions. There is actually, to a certain extent, negative or low growth rate, despite the fact that the growth rate has increased, but this is basically due to the increase in oil production, which is actually not real, because, I mean, what we mean here is the growth in the non-oil sector.
There is actually a deteriorating social situation and human development in general, characterized basically by the disappearance of the middle class, once-vibrant middle class. There is a collapsing exchange rate. There is rampant inflation and huge external debt and big bill of war reparations. All these things are -- we can, of course, speak in detail about these things, but they are actually the characteristics of the Iraqi economy.
Those characteristics did two things to the Iraqi economy. First, they made the Iraqi economy unstable, unstable in economic terms, because, I mean, my colleagues are talking about political instability. I'm talking now, I mean, when you have inflation, when you have deficit, when you have all these things, we are actually talking about economic instability. And they are actually retarding growth. And, of course, the political situation is a constraint -- is a general constraint on all these things.
So what is actually needed to be done? In order to grow, you need actually to do certain things immediately. (Inaudible) -- the day after, but immediately and in the very short term. And in order, actually, for Iraq -- and I'm going to read part of things which I have done before -- for Iraq to resume growth, it must first restore economic stability and create the conditions to sustain this stability.
Restoring economic stability. Top priority must be given to raising the external value of the Dinar, the Iraqi Dinar, the national currency, and controlling high inflation, because of the adverse effects, social and political consequences of this. In other words, the immediate priority is to restore macroeconomic stability.
If inflation is not reduced, it's likely that political protest will take place. Repressive measures must not be used to quell those protests in a new set-up. A resolute effort to address the question of inflation, I've explained below, should help stabilize the situation.
So what is needed in this regard? Basically, what is needed, mobilization of substantial volume of financial resources. This mobilization has two dimensions: International and regional and domestic. What is needed on the international and the regional level, after the lifting of the sanctions, Iraq should be allowed to reach or approach its maximum oil export capacity.
Its re-entry into the oil market should be accommodated without adversely affecting the oil price level. This will require maximum cooperation by OPEC members, even though many of them are suffering from budget deficits. These countries are certainly aware of the suffering the Iraqis have gone through and should also be aware that the economic and political stability of Iraq will have favorable repercussions on regional security.
Agreement on a new oil production level in Iraq should be a process of dialogue and negotiation with other OPEC members, a process by which Iraq can reintegrate into the region and the international community.
Secondly, a (stand-still ?) should be granted to Iraq on the payment of debt reparation. Actually, Iraq is not paying debt now, but, I mean, if conditions arise, I mean, probably there will be some questions in order to pay that debt.
SEN. BIDEN: Doctor, can you tell us if you know what the total amount of reparations owed is, roughly, by Iraq? In other words, what is the nature of the debt and reparations you're referring to? The magnitude, roughly.
MR. AL-SHABIBI: Well, the debt actually is divided in two parts. I mean, there is actually a debt owed to Gulf countries, which is interest-free, and there is also a debt which is to non-Gulf debtors, creditors. And, I mean, estimates vary. The only official estimate about this is actually an Iraqi statement in 1991, submitted to the U.N., which said it's about $42 billion.
SEN. BIDEN: Forty-two billion. Thank you.
MR. AL-SHABIBI: Yeah. But, of course, I mean, because it is not paid, it has accumulated.
SEN. BIDEN: Yes.
MR. AL-SHABIBI: So reparation, of course, I mean, is a different thing. I mean, there are the -- (inaudible). And there is a web site, a very good web site that claims there's about $300 billion. But, of course, I mean, these are verified, and what is paid is very much less. But the claims are still there.
SEN. BIDEN: Thank you.
MR. AL-SHABIBI: So there should be a (stand-still ?) on these things. If this is not done, then Iraq may remain in deficit. While sanctions are currently causing the resource deficit, payment of debt reparation may later become its principal cause.
The question is, of course, is that even when you lift sanctions and you give all exports back to the country, but there is a payment of debt reparation, then, of course, there is another leakage in the economy. Therefore, actually, you might go back to a deficit situation, and it's the deficit that is causing inflation and causing the low value of the Dinar. So it's actually a package.
What Iraqis need, what Iraqis need is lifting of the sanctions, coupled with relief from debt and reparation. Okay, experience shows that high debt-service payment engenders economic instability and to fuel inflationary pressure.
Third, the regional and international community should extend substantial financial assistance to Iraq. This assistance, which should be on concessional terms, or preferably in the form of grants, would assume particular importance -- (inaudible) -- the re-entry of Iraq into the oil market was only partially accommodated or if there is actually no (standstill?) agreement arrived at in terms of debt reparation.
Those three measures actually are related to the fact that they are part of financing. They do not relate -- they are measures by the international community. They do not relate to actual production or trade. A lot of countries, I mean, go through financing before they start their growth policies and adjustment policies, and the situation is no different in Iraq.
So these measures will actually indicate that there is a commitment and there should be a commitment on solving all the debt problem and the reparation problem. And, of course, the financial assistance will depend -- the volume of financial assistance will depend on the extent to which these problems are solved.
I have an estimate here. I mean, the question of financial assistance depends on the deficit of resources. I have actually an estimate which, in the next five years, the annual deficit could be about $7 billion, I mean, depending on the payment of debt, depending on how much the country will get in terms of exports. And as you know, I mean, all these variables are subject to many assumptions.
Therefore, I mean, this is one of the estimates. And this will indicate how much the international community should actually make available to Iraq. But if there is a solution to the other problems, like debt and reparation and the re-entry of Iraq into the oil market is guaranteed, I mean, the picture will be changed.
Therefore, the question of actually negotiation, of a question studying the figures very well, but this is actually something of the order of magnitude. These measures, if undertaken, would indicate good will, which Iraq needs, on the part of international community towards Iraq and would contribute, in an important way, to assist stability. Success in the mobilization of resources depends on Iraq's creditors in the region and outside the region, the U.N. and other oil-exporting countries.
What I mean to say here is actually that it's a process of dialogue, a process of negotiation, which actually brings back Iraq into the regional and international -- it's not only actually the financial merit of it, but the fact that Iraq will again sit down with all those stakeholders and actually discuss all these issues.
This is actually on the international and regional scale, which is very important, extremely important in the beginning. And, as I said, it doesn't require production or trade because Iraq doesn't have the capability to go into, in the first six months, let us say, into production and trade. And then this will help give Iraq a breathing space in order to proceed for growth policies.
But still, on the domestic level, Iraq should complement the actions of the international community by refraining from money printing to finance its expenditures, since it does not have, at this stage, in the short term, the productive capacity to back this additional money supply. Money printing, however, can be tolerated if foreign exchange flows into the country, but it should be carefully synchronized with the growth in the domestic production and foreign exchange.
Now I want to jump -- where should we use these resources for, the resources which are mobilized from the relief, from the obligations, from financial assistance, from oil exports? What are actually the outlets they are used for?
First, they should be used for imports, especially of consumer goods and food as a matter of priority. This is not inconsistent with the policy of supporting agriculture, because I suggested also supporting agriculture. The latent demand for agricultural products and food in Iraq is almost certainly so huge that supply from imports and domestic production will be needed during the short term.
For the provision of social services, especially in the fields of health and education -- (inaudible) -- the poor state of hospitals and the shortage of medicine and medical equipment and school materials, for the construction and rehabilitation especially of power and water plants, sanitation, sewage facilities and telecommunication. And I want to give an idea about actually some figures which I saw about reconstruction bill.
There is an official figure, written in Arabic -- one of the ministers mentioned that -- it's about $400 billion. If we want actually to estimate, this is very difficult to estimate it while you are not on the ground. The question is -- there is, of course, in the oil sector, the lost output of oil from 1980 -- because, I mean, since the war with Iran -- up to now, it was estimated to about $150 billion. I mean, we have to take it in this -- what would Iraq have produced if there was no problems, no war, and these things?
And then what -- this is as far as the oil sector, as far as the foregone oil output, which actually needs to be recouped.
SEN. BIDEN: (Laughs.) Good luck.
MR. AL-SHABIBI: Huh?
SEN. BIDEN: I said good luck.
MR. AL-SHABIBI: Yeah. Well, I mean, this is actually -- well, that's why I'm mentioning actually about the reintegration of Iraq into the oil market and the cooperation from other oil-exporting countries. Then, of course, the non-oil sector, which is almost the same level, because it represents about 50 percent of output in Iraq. So, I mean, we are talking about a reconstruction bill estimated, in a methodological way, not actually actual way, about 300 billion. But, of course, this needs actually to be verified on these things.
So the other outlet for the spending of the resources for a new program of human development and technological rehabilitation, so that Iraq can bridge the technological gap as far as access to information technology is concerned, this gap has been caused by sanctions and government policies, which prevents access to information in general. Information technology will be an essential prerequisite for growth in the next decade.
Of course, when you restore -- I mean, these measures should restore economic stability. Then we will have -- I have only four or five minutes -- then we will have, actually, when we restore the economic stability, we will have to maintain that stability. And this will depend, actually, on actions basically by Iraqis. I mean, the first phase action by the international and the regional community is a phased approach, is a sequenced approach, it's a cooperation by the regional and the international community.
Now, actually it is basically a proactive policy by Iraqis. Here in this phase, which is a phase to maintain the economic stability is Iraq should cooperate with all OPEC, should initiate cooperation with OPEC to maintain a stable price level that guarantees good level of revenues but yet doesn't hurt actually the consumers of oil.
In the first phase, we agreed on a (standstill?). Then Iraq should propose negotiation of the claims, whether it is debt or reparation, which means actually negotiation with their creditors and negotiation with the U.N. And this, of course, you need a very well- integrated government in order to discuss all these issues.
Then, of course, after you maintain stability, economic stability, you have the preconditions now and the conditions to resume an orderly growth. And this is, of course, not related to the short term. In this case, actually, you have to -- in Iraq, before, because of the availability of oil revenues, the government and the authorities were not actually using and relying on economic policies to mobilize resources.
We are suggesting here the policies first to create stability, but we are suggesting policies, macroeconomic, like monetary, fiscal and these things, to mobilize resources for growth. And in this way, actually, the government should rely on macroeconomic policies, because in the past, because of the fact that oil revenues were available, the thinking is that there is resources; why should you need policies to mobilize resources? And this is wrong, because mobilization of resources through policies is a capacity-building process in Iraq.
And then, on redefining the priorities, the sectoral priorities, both in terms of production sector and ownership -- and, of course, here we are suggesting that Iraq use agricultural potential. It should concentrate on human development. It should concentrate on telecommunications sector, because these actually are sectors which help Iraq to integrate and to, from a development point of view, to integrate it into the globalization process.
Lastly, Mr. Chairman, is that this program, which I haven't actually explained totally, but the thing is, this program really runs counter to a war against the Iraqi people. I mean, this is very important. All of us actually would like to end dictatorship and end repression. There is absolutely no question about that.
But all these assumptions, all these proposals, will break down if we have a scenario where there is war against eventually the Iraqi people or a war that destroys the infrastructure. So, actually, this is very important, because we don't want actually to increase all the increase all the (bills ?) which we need to mobilize in order to get actually economic stability and economic development.
I thank you very much, and I would be very happy to take your questions.
SEN. BIDEN: Thank you, doctor. Colonel?
MR. FEIL: Mr. Chairman, thank you and members of the committee for providing me the opportunity to comment on potential post-conflict reconstruction efforts in the wake a U.S.-Iraqi conflict. While I am co-directing a project concerned with this issue, jointly conducted by the association of the U.S. Army and the Center for Strategic International Studies, the views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the parent organizations and my colleagues or our commission, which has several members of Congress and the Senate on it.
I have a statement for the record, sir, and I would like to make a few brief comments.
SEN. BIDEN: Your statement will be placed in the record.
MR. FEIL: Thank you, sir. Any post-conflict reconstruction effort taken in the wake of an American-led conflict with Iraq will require broad international support, significant human and materiel resources, and an unwavering political commitment over time. As you have heard, the United States has a number of national interests at stake in Iraq that would require significant and sustained involvement. First and foremost, the United States must make certain that Iraq no longer poses a threat to its neighbors or the world. We cannot tolerate weapons of mass destruction possessed by a regime that operates outside the bounds of civilized behavior.
Second, the United States must prove its commitment to securing peace in the region. Iran's perceptions of U.S. objectives and the reactions to having U.S. forces engaged within both Iran's eastern and western neighbors must be seriously considered.
And, third, the Iraq that follows the conflict must be both viable and capable of self-determined behavior in consonance with generally accepted norms of international and domestic order. It must neither be a basket case nor a bully.
I think the international community will hold the United States primarily responsible for the outcome in the post-conflict reconstruction effort, but we can expect significant international involvement in any post-conflict situation in Iraq. Due to the vacuum expected to exist at the end of an Iraqi war, the notable centrifugal tendencies in several regions of the country, and the significant economic potential which may be realized in a successful reconstruction of the country, the coordination of international actors is extraordinarily important.
The international community should begin now to implement planning mechanisms and align tasks, actors and resources to accomplish this effort. Key tasks should be clearly delegated to various actors based on their relative comparative advantages. I note that we began to discuss the situation in Germany and what it would look like for the end of World War II, beginning as early as 1942. The United States needs a strategy for Iraq that integrates post- conflict reconstruction efforts with the political military campaign to accomplish regime change. U.S. planning efforts should avoid the false dichotomy of conflict and then post-conflict operations, and our strategy and operational plans must define a seamless progression of tasks, responsible actors and the resources applied to those tasks that accomplish the national objective.
The planning for post-conflict reconstruction must commence now rather than after hostilities have commenced or, worse, ended. I think Iraq will need international support in four major areas: security, governance and participation, justice and reconciliation, and social and economic well-being. And I would like to provide a little bit more detail on the security requirements.
First, there are indications which are arguable that removal of the current security forces and apparatus, without significant capabilities to immediately replace them, may result in reprisal and retribution killings in Baghdad and other large cities. Public order and the protection of the populace and the humanitarian relief effort is paramount in this regard.
A second important aspect of security will be obtaining guarantees from the neighboring states to refrain from trying to control or unduly influence events in Iraq. This leads to a requirement that the Shatt al-Arab and the Iraqi oil fields must be protected.
Disarmament, demobilization and reintegration efforts will demand special attention. With the Iraqi forces, including the reserves, equalling about 700,000 personnel, and another 60,000 in the various security services, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration efforts will dwarf anything that we have previously attempted. Iraq's large and organizationally diverse security forces will require integration into organizations that are visible, transparent and responsive to a legitimate government.
And finally, and one of the most important ones, the control of the weapons of mass destruction and their facilities associated with production and storage must be a top priority.
I have -- I would propose the following security force, and I posit this in sort of U.S. force equivalence, because I think that we will be the lead dog in this pen, Mr. Chairman, and I think that if we get coalition partners to add to this effort that is additional capacity that may allow us to leave or reduce our presence at an earlier rate, but I don't know that it is a substitute for a core American presence in the region, in the country.
The requirements are providing the core security for the largest cities -- about 10 million in population in the largest eight, which is about 40 percent of the total population -- and the humanitarian effort; securing the WMD and their associated facilities; patrolling the Iranian border areas and the Kurdish areas; protecting the Shatt al-Arab and the oil fields, monitoring the region the region of the Tigris and the Euphrates, and the Syrian border, which the Tigris and Euphrates contain the bulk of the population. And then conducting an integrated disarmament and demobilization process that is coordinated with the reintegration efforts -- you heard my colleague just previously talk about the economy, and releasing some several hundred people back into the economy as a result of a demobilization effort has to be integrated well with your efforts to provide employment and useful things for idle hands to do; and, lastly, and reform of the security sector.
These missions place a premium on intelligence, mobility, maneuverability and boots on the ground, quite honestly. And therefore I would propose a post-conflict security force of about 75,000 personnel. This does not, as I said, count coalition contributions. And I would also point out that for many of the things that are called for in this type of a situation, the U.S. may be the only provider of that capability.
I would organize this -- and this is a notional sort of force list with a corps headquarters. And I think that the entire force has to have a significant aviation capability so that you can retain y our mobility with a smaller number of presence -- number of soldiers make their presence felt around the country using a mobility advantage. A corps headquarters, two U.S. divisions, one of which I think should be the 101st Airborne Division because of its aviation capability. The second division is situation-dependent as to whether the neighbors, especially Iran, are -- how their behavior is evaluated. If the evaluation of their behavior and their attitude towards what we are doing is relatively complacent, then I think a light division with more infantry to use within Iraq is probably appropriate. If, on the other hand, the Iranians are threatening or there is a problem with the brigade that is located of the Iraqi diaspora that is coming back into the country, then perhaps an armored division or a mechanized division would be more appropriate to help secure Iraq's eastern border. Two U.S. cavalry regiments. They have a significant aviation capability, and they are organized, trained and equipped specifically for a role that would allow them to do border surveillance and also patrolling in certain areas. A core aviation brigade, once again to plus-up the aviation. I think a special operations group, an SF group, would be required -- initially for securing the weapons of mass destruction. And then they could transition into what they are also very, very good at which is security sector reform and training of a new Iraqi military. A core support command for logistics support. An additional engineer brigade to help work on the infrastructure. And then 4,000 police monitors. The standard that has been used ever since the end of World War II and is adopted by the UNDP is about one policeman for every 450 to 500 citizens. And then the standard that we have arrived at in the Balkans is that you have about one monitor for every 10 policemen in order to achieve round-the-clock monitoring capability. And so that winds up being about 4,000 international police monitors. And I would strongly recommend that those come from the moderate Arab states and those along the North African literal that we might be able to encourage to participate in this.
There will be a requirement for some limited U.S. Air Force tactical air lift, but I think that that -- a lot of that can be based in Turkey, Kuwait, and perhaps some of our other partners as time goes on, and reduce our presence within Iraq.
The total cost of this force, once again based on U.S. equivalence, and there's wide variation in counting -- could range up to about $16 billion for that first year for a force of 75,000 to operate within Iraq.
And lastly the duration of that force. I think that in the past we have probably been a little bit overly optimistic. I think that force would have to stay within Iraq performing its f unctions for approximately a year, as Professor Marr pointed out -- a national constituting process that could take place within six months and that was legitimate might reduce some of that requirement, and we might be able to begin drawing down that force a little bit earlier. But I would see a significant force, one above the level of 5,000 people -- some sort of decline in that force going on. But I would see a significant force of about 5,000 people remaining in Iraq for a good five to six years. We would try to reduce that presence consonant with the progress in developing their own legitimate security sector, and also with progress in the other four areas of reconstruction, or the other three areas of reconstruction, which are the economic and social well-being, the justice and reconciliation and the governance and participation. I have included in my statement for the record some policy recommendations that we've made for those three areas, but I have made it to the bell, and so, sir, I will now be happy to answer any questions. Thank you.
SEN. BIDEN: Let me say, colonel, I think it's a very thoughtful and very detailed statement, and my first question to you as a professional -- obviously you cannot speak for -- you are not speaking for CSIS, you are not speaking for the military -- but yo have had considerable experience in the military in these planning processes. Do you have any reason to believe that this kind of detailed planning that you have submitted to us as your -- I'll use -- I'll oversimplify it -- your ballpark estimate -- it's more than ballpark -- estimate of what would be needed -- do you have a sense that as we speak right now in the Pentagon there's someone crunching similar numbers? Do you think that at the Pentagon at this moment there is -- there are a team, and we have incredibly qualified people -- there is a team over there saying to the secretary, Look, this is what we think the bottom line number is for you, for us, when you make your recommendation to the president? Do you think the planning has gone that far? Do you have any reason to believe that? I am not asking you for any access, because you don't have any, to classified information -- just trying to get a sense of where you think it is.
MR. FEIL: From my knowledge of the planning processes -- and, sir, I have got to say, you know, once you retire your access seems to go up, but your credibility may be suspect, because you get farther and farther away from things and get stale. I would have to believe, knowing my colleagues in the military, that people are taking a look at this effort. I cannot say with any reason to be confident at all that they would necessarily come up with the same number that I --
SEN. BIDEN: Oh, I'm not suggesting that. I am just -- I am trying to get a sense that -- you know, one of the things here that I discussed privately with Dr. Marr in my office, and others, is us trying to get a handle on how far along the process is and the detail is in the administration before the president is presented with the one or two or three or however number of options that there are, for as were any of us sitting there as president we would want to know the answer to these questions.
MR. FEIL: The formal planning process does call for an annex to a contingency plan to have a post-conflict sequence of events and resources, tasks, et cetera. So I would have to assume that in the generation of the plan for whatever options are out there that each one of those options would contain an annex that would have this type of analysis in it.
SEN. BIDEN: Now, you all approached this from a slightly different perspective, but you all approached it thoughtfully from your area of expertise and interest as to what would be needed the day after and subsequent days. And I would like you -- any one of you -- to correct me if I misrepresent what seems to be a consensus that has emerged on this panel -- and others I might add. And that is that there -- in order for any of the scenarios you all -- you individually have suggested are preferable or possible, international support for the effort is important. Some of you I think you would argue is critical. How important is international support; i.e., the region, the European Union, the Japanese, others -- whether it relates to -- and we are not talking about relating to force structures going in or relating to force structures afterwards, or relating to economic cooperation afterwards. You said, colonel, that you believed -- or one of you said that there would be a -- it would be clear that the international community would want to come in after the fact, because they'd see opportunities, but they'd also see the necessity to stabilize. I mean, how certain are you that if we successfully initiated a military operation that caused the present government in Iraq to be ousted, regardless of what immediately followed, how certain are any of you that the international community would respond to what you have all identified in varying degrees as minimum needs that would present themselves the day after that occurred? Doctor?
MS. MARR: I have one thought before I get onto whether we are going to get a lot of burden-sharing, which is what I think your question is, from other folks. I think lots of folks would want to go in and get the benefit of Iraq's oil resources and so forth, and that may be the hook. If you want to get the future benefits you are going to have to pony up something initially. So I think there's a good deal to be made there. But I don't usually see international folks -- it is going to be difficult in Iraq, because Iraq is considered a rich country. And I do agree with my colleagues here that in fact there's going to have to be some up-front money before Iraq can get the economy going. And it may be a little more difficult to persuade people to come in.
I would like to say that not so much on the money side but if the United States involvement with troops is at the level and the time that we are talking about here, we had better have some Arab regional folks with us, because my perception is that there is a downside here. The more presence we have, the longer we're there, the anti- Americanism that we are concerned about and you heard about yesterday, I am sure, is going to increase among a portion of the area.
SEN. BIDEN: That was going to be my next question. I mean, in other words, how important is it that this be internationalized, including Arabs? And when you gave us your very useful testimony and your map -- and, by the way, the bell went off at five minutes -- we had agreed we were going to go to seven minutes, which will go to 10 probably --
SEN. : (Off mike.)
SEN. BIDEN: No, I didn't tell you that. That's not your fault -- it's mine. And so I am just going to continue for a few more moments here. Is that -- let me back up. The map you gave us -- and I wish we had it up here behind us for everyone -- for the television audience to see -- essentially divides Iraq, or characterizes Iraq as sort of three distinct regions, and you talk about how it was -- I'm trying to find it here -- how it was a consequence of putting together a country after the fact after World War -- thank you. Actually I was looking for mine, but the one you gave me -- it doesn't matter now -- and I want to make sure I understand -- I do understand, but I want to make sure it's on the record that we are talking about Kurds who are Sunni. We are talking about Sunni Arabs -- and the Kurds are not Arabs. And we are talking about Shiia Arabs. So two out of three of these regions are Arab. Two out of three are Sunni. But they are not the same. All Arabs aren't Sunnis. And the question is: Is the religious tie tighter than the ethnic tie? In other words, in terms of putting together a government that encompasses necessarily all three sectors participating at least in -- to the degree that they think their share of participation is commensurate with their impact on the country -- is there a closer tie between the Kurds and the Sunni Arabs, because they are both Sunni, or is there a more ethnic and cultural tie between the Sunni and Shiia Arabs? And does it -- or does it matter? Is it at all relevant?
MS. MARR: Personally, the religious element may be increasing a little bit, but in my own sense -- in my own experience the ethnic tie, the Arab tie and the Kurdish tie -- Arab tie between Sunni and Shiia and the ethnic tie with the Kurds -- is stronger than the religious ties between and among the Sunni Kurds and Arabs and Shiia.
But I wish we could get away from regarding the map as controlling, because --
SEN. BIDEN: I am not suggesting it is.
MS. MARR: Yes, I realize -- the -- what -- the identity that must be encouraged is Iraqi.
SEN. BIDEN: I understand --
MS. MARR: There is an Iraqi identity, and to a very large degree if it is encouraged by new leadership these ethnic and sectarian divisions and the way in which people identify themselves as Arab versus Kurd, Shiia versus Sunni, will be reduced, and you will have a better chance of getting a viable state. The Kurds are a problem in a sense because they do speak a different language. And the language distinction, I think, is a -- is, of course, a very -- a very important point.
SEN. BIDEN: I will end with this because I have gone over my time, and because I want to get back to the larger question I asked in the second round, or if others don't cover it. We -- the reason I ask is that the Kurds have another unifying factor, that they're Kurds. That's also a factor of division. There has not been the willingness or the kind of unity one might expect. And you cannot see this map, but this map is colored. The border of Iraq ends here. As you all know better than I do, that this pink color is where Kurds live, people who call themselves Kurds. A whole bunch of that pink is in Turkey. A significant part of it is in Iran. Every Kurdish group that has come to see me over the 30 years I have been a senator has not talked about Iraq, has talked to me and others about Kurdistan, about the Kurds. And so, are we to -- can we -- and I'm not being facetious now -- can we easily dismiss the notion that we are seeing right now and hearing explained from Northern Iraq as we speak, the newspaper articles, the television programs on American television and American news, where the Kurds are basically saying, so it's being portrayed, "Whoa, hold up a minute. This is as good as it's ever gotten for us, right now. We essentially have our autonomous region here in the north. We're just doing just fine. The economy is starting boom. We're starting to move. Nobody's being shot or killed. Things are working out pretty well. So, United States, what do you have in mind here? Explain to us before you come what our rights are going to be before we get here." Now that's what's being projected. My -- it's really a question rather than a statement. As an expert in the area, do you believe -- and I think I've accurately characterized the essence of the newspaper and television articles and programs Americans have seen over the last two, three, four weeks, as discussion of Iraq has sort of ratcheted up, is -- does that play any factor that Kurds at the moment think things are better than they've been at least in the last 20 years, and maybe are okay. I mean, could you all speak to that for a second?
MS. MARR: I know Rend will want to say something. Yes, it is a factor. I think there's no, you know, there's no doubt about it. And this is -- this is an ongoing factor, which is why I said it is going to be more difficult to integrate the Kurds back into a post-Saddam Iraq than it would be otherwise.
The situation is not bad up there, but without being a Cassandra, I would like to point out that it's not quite as good as the Kurds may say. For one thing, they're not unified. They're split in two between the two main Kurdish parties because they couldn't agree on a unified government. They're -- they cannot maintain that position without American support and protection and mediation in their disputes. They are not in control of their borders, and hence, as I have indicated, the Turks have to keep coming across. And I'm not totally informed, but on the eastern border with Iran, there's a no- man's land, which the PUK does not control, and from our perspective, it's open not only to Iranian influence but other outside influences, even terrorist influences, that is precisely the kind of thing that we don't want. And even though they like what they've got, the Kurds don't have a future in northern Iraq and they know it. They have difficulty in getting the middle class to come back and so on, and so they understand that within some framework they have to stay within Iraq and they have said they'd do so.
And, senator, I would like to send you at some point, and your staffers, a couple of Kurds who may have a little perspective, because I think it's also --
SEN. BIDEN: I don't want to over-state what I've been exposed to in the last 30 years.
MS. MARR: No, I understand. I understand.
SEN. BIDEN: I'm trying to get a sense that basically what some have suggested to us, not Kurds, some have suggested to us that in order to make this all work, we're going to have to make some commitments to the Kurds, but make some commitments to the Turks as well. And, but that -- that -- I'm way over my time. I'll come back to that. Let me yield to Senator Lugar.
SEN. LUGAR: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Ms. Franke, you point out that the Iraqis will welcome the United States as liberators initially but then ominously in your second paragraph, the humanitarian crisis will become acute, and then the system of law and order will break down. There will be a vacuum of authority, intense jockeying for power, and several of the neighbors may attempt to influence the process and preposition themselves to -- (inaudible) -- of the outcome. I think that's sort of the logical sequence, but all pretty dismal. Both you and Professor Marr have suggested that the identification of leadership beyond that will be extremely difficult. If it's imposed by the United States without roots in Iraq, one set of difficult problems, but there's not, both of you point out, great experience, in fact very little experience of democracy, liberal institutions, quite a time factor for institution building in all of this. And all of you, including Colonel Feil, who really goes into much more detail trying to outline exactly how many American troops and/or civilian personnel and so forth are likely to be required to meet the problems of law and order, humanitarian distress, general disestablishment in all of this.
Now, the importance of this hearing is really for this testimony to begin to sink in. Whether you are accurate to the last paragraph or not, the fact is that our experience in American foreign policy in Somalia after American were attacked and dragged through the streets was to get out. That was the debate on the Senate floor, immediate withdrawal. No sense of nation-building. In fact, nation-building, in quotes, became something we definitely as a policy were not going to be engaged in. A tremendous debate then when we tried to intervene in Bosnia with our NATO allies, because this was perceived once again as sort of the thin end of the wedge of nation-building. And likewise, a debate on this in Kosovo.
And finally, of course, we have some experience in Afghanistan, but it's instructive that at the time of our military operations in Afghanistan, we sort of simultaneously began entertaining what was going to happen after we had a national emergency and we moved rapidly. And fortunately Chairman Karzai was available, or the king was available -- a good number of able people used a lot of agility in trying to think through how the loya jurga could be supported and we're still at that point.
But just before the testimony today, as you perceive, we had a business meeting in which we adopted a very significant resolution with regard to assistance to Afghanistan, $3.5 billion over three years. Now, that's a fairly modest sum, given what we're talking about today on Iraq, any way you parse the figures, what you're suggesting. And this is just a bill coming through the Foreign Relations Committee. It has not passed the Senate as a whole. The administration may or may not support such an idea, and in fact this appears to be a debate as to really how extensive American forces, either military or others ought to be in Afghanistan. But that's sort of front and center. This is a war in which we have been engaged as opposed to one in which we might be engaged.
So, I mention all of that to say that as now the public focuses, through your testimony, through this hearing, on what you have said, this is a very daunting process. Any way you look at what is being suggested today, there is enormous expense and commitment of people as well as treasure, for a number of years, and for just one country. And it's one country in the middle, as we heard yesterday, of a neighborhood of countries that may in fact feel very threatened by democracy if it did evolve in Iraq, and that democracy doesn't necessarily prevail all around this new Iraq.
And it's not clear to me where the leadership is going to come from. Now, some of you have suggested a coalition of forces, and that makes sense, and in away the Afghanistan government is based upon that idea. But, it is not clear to most of us who are not scholars in the politics of Iraq as you are, as to who conceivably might be in that coalition.
Now, you can think of various factions and parties and elements, but physically, do any of you have any idea about personalities, people, individual leaders in Iraq now or outside of Iraq, that might in fact be a part of a coalition? If you were asked in the midst of hostilities with Iraq who should the United States back, in terms of trying to put together a coalition that might work, that might be this transition, do any of you have know who it is and who has the experience of doing this sort of thing? And if not, what do we do? In other words, do we try to identify persons in advance? Do we sort of hope that some were from the military, or from the Ba'ath Party, or from the opposition to the Ba'ath Party, or from anybody, people may emerge, identify themselves, coalesce?
In other words, I don't see in my mind's eye how this happens, even though I see the daunting circumstances that you have described. Can any of you give an idea as to who physically might offer leadership? Or, if you don't want to name somebody for fear that person would be jeopardized, can you give some sense of confidence that there are such persons who might have some sense of democracy, some semblance, finally, of our foreign policy objectives, which after all we got into this war to get rid of weapons of mass destruction, who in fact are going to lead us to the caves or the tunnels, or wherever it is so we can destroy it, as opposed to somebody in Iraq who says, "Now I'll have a second thought about this. As a matter of fact, Iraq may need some of those weapons to deal with Iran, or to be a great power, or what-have-you." And here we fought a war to get to these weapons of mass destruction and we're busy trying to rehabilitate Iraq and suddenly we have a government that says "Iraq first. We're nationalists. And, as a matter of fact, we want to progress with weapons of mass destruction. This is where the big people are playing in the world."
Now, is there anybody in this picture that can give us some hope that a war is worthwhile, if in fact our objective is to get rid of the weapons of mass destruction, and that a government would be consistent with our policies sufficient to at least achieve that one basic item of foreign policy? Does anyone want to respond to that? Dr. Marr?
MS. MARR: I think Rend will -- will -- has addressed it, and I've tried to address that in the paper. I have to say that that's why I think this is the most critical unknown in the whole issue. And if we don't have some good answers to that, we should go back and re- think. We do know who is available outside. The outside opposition is clear. They will go all the way in fulfilling our objectives, weapons of mass destruction, and so on. But as has been made perfectly clear, we have to bring them in militarily, and others may disagree, but I believe we have to support them militarily.
Now, when it comes to inside, it's anybody's guess because leaders cannot emerge inside. Now, we could certainly -- that's what we pay an intelligence establishment for, and, of course, there are other intelligence establishments overseas that might have some indication, we should have contact with people, we should be working through the outside opposition to identify people who will be coming over. I don't imagine we're going to have trouble once we do this of getting, if we're serious, getting people to come over.
But as I have -- and Rend has pointed out, the folks that are in charge now who might, you know, provide potential leadership raise real questions. They are Ba'ath-ized. Do we want that? Army generals? Well, I mean we don't want -- we really don't want a general in charge of the political system, and we don't know whether this individual may be a member of the clan, the family, a Ba'ath. There may be plenty of generals and others who are fed up with them and have some democratic instincts. There's an education establishment producing doctors, all sorts of scientists, and so on. They, too, have been Ba'ath-ized. So, we have a problem here in terms of not getting people who may come forth, not getting people who will be -- will be willing to change, but that change is not a military job, and it's going to take time.
And one last word that hasn't been mentioned here in all the things we need to do and think about is the -- the constitutional, the political mechanisms that need to be put in when, to identify this leadership -- the mechanisms by which the process comes together. And once we start to think this way, if we have a direct administration, the U.S. military picks some people and does this, the bureaucracy, I think, can do the job, but the political process by which you bring the people together, they not only identify leadership but agree on the process. I would throw in a constituent assembly, maybe as soon as six months, which can, you know, obviously draw up a constitution and get ready for some kind of an election. Iraqis are sophisticated people. They're -- it's not warlords like Afghanistan. They can -- they can handle this. But you've got -- we've got to think now about these processes, which will identify the leadership for the future.
SEN. LUGAR: Well, from that answer I gather first of all that the Iraqis exiles with whom our government is meeting outside, you believe would satisfy our foreign policy problem. That's going to be a very strong argument before our administration backs those people. Now, whether they are able or not, if in fact they're reliable, and we're fighting a war and we're going to have an army there, but what you're also saying is you'd need almost a Douglas MacArthur to impose a constitution and regime once we get there, and so that is sort of well beyond the bounds of most American thinking at this point.
Now, after MacArthur gets there, or his substitute in the Iraqi sense, then hopefully the constituent assembly begins to identify indigenous leaders who may share the ethic, and we my or may not be able to find them. But I -- I am just trying, in terms of a program that somebody might understand in the American public, it appears to me these are sort of the stages that I identify from the testimony you have. And then we put some dollar figures and amounts of troops and so forth that makes this imposition stick so that it works. But, this is a whole lot more, I think in response to the chairman's question, than I hear anybody in our administration talking about. Now there may be in fact, as the colonel has said, an annex or some appendage to the overall plan that in a hopeful way suggests some things that might occur. But what -- what you're testifying about is a lot of people, a lot of money, and quite a bit of risk in terms of does it work, and does it work in that neighborhood where others don't really share that situation, and that with no precedent, given what we're doing in Afghanistan with a very modest amount, and we -- this committee has passed this legislation to try to up that -- but we can only do so much. At some point, the administration has to come to a conclusion in Afghanistan, which may be a predictor of what would occur in the much more complex country we're discussing today.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for letting me over-run my time.
SEN. BIDEN: No, no. This is obviously very important --
MS. FRANKE: Mr. Chairman, can I answer also some of the senator's questions?
SEN. BIDEN: Yes.
MS. FRANKE: Senator, you raised a whole number of issues, and I wish I had a long time to address them, but I will try and address them quickly. I'll go back to your seminal question about the question of the United States is not in the nation-building business, hasn't done it well, you know, we had -- Somalia was a bad experience and so on. My answer to that really is that we have no option but to do it right in Iraq. If ever there was a country which was a vital interest to Iraq, and a vital security concern to -- to the United States, sorry -- it is Iraq. I'm not saying that we shouldn't have done the right thing in Afghanistan, and so in effect I am a supporter of exactly what went on this morning in this room. But in a sense, in Afghanistan, almost -- we almost have the luxury, apart from the security and the terrorism. In Iraq, we will not.
And the other thing about the region is yes there isn't much of a tradition in the region for what we are asking for, the kind of democracy, but first of all, at some point this region is going to have to join the rest of the world. We cannot condemn it forever to the darkness of the pre-Middle Ages. That's one thing.
The other thing is -- the good point is that Iraq is in fact a trendsetter in the Middle East, and therefore what we do in Iraq, whether right or wrong, is going to impact the Middle East and therefore, let's do it right. This is on the issue of, you know, are we going to do it right? Why should be bother, et cetera, and so on. And I do think that Iraq is central to U.S. interests in the region.
The question about finding a leadership and so on, in fact, I addressed it very briefly in my oral statement, and it's addressed more extensively in my written statement, and that is where I think I mentioned the question or the issue of a transitional government of national unity, a coalition. What I was arguing earlier this morning is that, first of all, you do need this coalition that represents a myriad of political and social interests in Iraq, but that given the fact that there is going to be a period of time when leadership in Iraq will have to emerge, we have to start somewhere.
And I'm suggesting that the kernel that we use is the opposition that is now in northern Iraq -- in other words, the Kurds -- plus the opposition which is outside Iraq. And that is only used as a kernel to be added to -- I've called it the open circle, to be augmented, to be added to, as leadership comes from within Iraq. And I don't want to suggest that we should not include, in that leadership, elements from the army, the military, the Sunni clans. Indeed, we should. All I want to guard against is that all authority and all the power be given to that old model. As for -- also in my written paper, I have talked about the responsibilities of this transitional unity government.
And thirdly -- and we have to have markers, milestones, for this transitional government. It must do the following -- this, that and the other. One of the things that I mentioned is that it must prepare the ground for a constituent assembly. In fact, it should prepare the ground for its own dissolution by organizing elections for a constituent assembly, by having a referendum, by, in fact, then overseeing free and fair elections, and then getting out and allowing a permanent constitution and a permanent government to take place. All of this needs to happen. And I would like to see engagement by the U.S. and by the international community throughout this process.
SEN. BIDEN: Thank you.
SEN. FEINGOLD: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Let me begin by joining in the high praise for you and, of course, Senator Lugar, not only for your stamina, which was praised, but for these hearings; very thoughtful. I've been here for all or at least the majority of each panel -- very thoughtful, well-planned, very important hearings.
I do want to say on the record that I don't believe these hearings can replace subsequent hearings when we hear from the administration, nor do I think anyone can argue that this can be sufficient to make it unnecessary to have a full debate on the Senate floor and a vote on whether to authorize any such action.
I take strong issue with the statements of the minority leader of the Senate yesterday, who indicated that he thought the congressional debate apparently would not be necessary, citing apparently his belief that al Qaeda is operating in Iraq. Now, that may well be true, but I have not seen that evidence. And I believe that Senate Joint Resolution 23, which authorized the appropriate actions we've taken with regard to Afghanistan and al Qaeda, does not permit an invasion of Iraq without that kind of evidence.
But, having said that, Mr. Chairman, I sincerely believe that these hearings are an exceptional basis for what Congress should do, and you've really given a very fine moment in the history of this committee.
SEN. BIDEN: Well, I thank you, Senator. And I can assure -- I think my colleague agrees with me -- these aren't the only hearings we're going to have. This is the beginning of the process. It's not intended to be the end of the process.
SEN. FEINGOLD: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I ask the panelists, could you estimate the scope of the humanitarian crisis within Iraq that would have to be addressed in the post-conflict period? What kind of commitment would be required to address a crisis like that?
MS. FRANCKE: Can I just say very quickly -- and I may not be the most competent person to answer this -- a great deal is going to depend on the conduct of the military campaign. We have a humanitarian crisis in Iraq right now. But in a way, it's sort of stable. It's horrible to use these words about what are the suffering of human beings, but it is stable.
But when we talk about another military campaign and we ask what the humanitarian crisis is going to be, it's difficult -- it depends very much on the level of destruction that goes on and whether the military campaign will target infrastructure that affects civilians, such as water, electricity, and so on and so forth.
But I guess I will cede the point to my colleagues, who might know much more about this.
SEN. FEINGOLD: Yes, Doctor.
MR. AL-SHABIBI: Thank you, Senator. Well, actually, I mentioned in my presentation about the resources that need to be mobilized and actually to address this very one, actually, of the outlets of -- the resources are used, actually, for alleviating the humanitarian situation. I mean, of course, there is actually in Iraq now, I mean, there are problems relating, of course, to availability of medical services. There is -- I mean, reports actually abound about these issues.
But, of course, I mean, what might emerge also, there will be a lot of Iraqis who wish probably to return to Iraq from neighboring countries and all these things. And, of course, there will have to be provision to address all those problems. They will create, of course, a lot of humanitarian consequences.
So definitely this is one reason to pay actually close attention to the fact that the international community should help Iraq to mobilize their resources, to address this very important question.
SEN. FEINGOLD: Yes, Colonel.
COL. FEIL: If I may, sir, I don't have any particular knowledge on the level of the humanitarian crisis that exists, but clearly the one that's ongoing now is obviously a baseline; and then, of course, the creation, as the doctor pointed out, of any additional humanitarian requirements based on the type of campaign that is conducted clearly is a consideration.
I would go back to something that the chairman also said and Senator Lugar, and the idea of trying to find out exactly what all the ramifications are and the fact that there's a post-conflict reconstruction annex or a similar document that's appended to a military plan.
We are currently -- or the military is currently conducting some exercises and simulations down at Joint Forces Command in the Millennium Challenge exercise in which they're trying to come to grips with a better process of integrating both military and inter-agency process. And I would argue that more needs to be done in that area.
So, as an example, you could run a military simulation of a campaign, and then don't let anybody leave the room; put them all in a bus, take them down to the Institute for Defense Analysis and run a simulation that they have down there called SENSE, which is Synthetic Environment for National Security -- I don't know what the last 'E' stands for.
That particular game is something that we have run in the Balkans, in some of the "stans" countries, to bring people back and show them how market economy, with all its ramifications, works, so that if you do something over here to try to reduce unemployment, it causes a repercussion in another area that you have to balance out.
Linking all the disparate parts and all the capacity that we have in our government together is really the key to getting a handle on the cost, and bringing together people who can integrate those efforts, so that those unforeseen circumstances are acknowledged and accounted for in the plan.
I noticed the amendment that was proposed today about doing an assessment in Iraq, or in Afghanistan, looking at the transportation system. Clearly a combination of what damage existed before, what damage we did during the campaign, our assessment could have been done earlier. We would have a better handle on what the cost of that is.
The idea of bringing together all the disparate players to address the entire issue of the conflict and what comes after in an integrated, coherent fashion, I think, would yield some answers. And the day after, as opposed to six weeks for a constituent or six months for a constituent assembly and some of the security force implementation that would take place in weeks, I think a lot of those things could begin on the ground immediately if civilian agencies, both from the U.S. government and our NGO and international partners, had similar planning development capacity to the military.
From my experience in the military, there's 23,000 people in the Pentagon. That's what those guys do all day. They plan. There's no parallel organizations, only small little sections that are way overburdened, and many of the other significant Cabinet agencies that have a responsibility to bring the resources to bear and integrate their stuff with the military.
And so, therefore, the military, which has standing capacity and a great ability to plan, moves in, attempts to do the right thing, often does very well, fills the vacuum, and then has to be, you know, massaged. And part of that filling of the vacuum is why there's a perception that the military doesn't like to do these things, because they feel they get sucked into those sorts of things.
SEN. BIDEN: Well, they do.
COL. FEIL: And, once again, the cost that I listed and the number of troops, clearly with the ability to deploy police monitors, et cetera, et cetera, you could change the slope of your withdrawal if civilian agencies were prepared to pick up the execution of those tasks.
SEN. FEINGOLD: Thank you. Let me ask -- just because my time is running out, I want to ask a different type of question. How realistic is it to believe that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and the means to make such weapons can be secured by either an occupying force or a post-Saddam Hussein Iraqi government before those weapons are moved out of the country?
And part of the question involves thinking about what kinds of reprisals people close to the Iraqi regime or people close to the WMD program might expect from a successor government. Are these people likely to flee out of their own interest? Isn't it likely that those people will take valuable and dangerous materials, as well as knowledge, with them?
COL. FEIL: I hesitate to -- the committee heard from other witnesses that are probably better-qualified than I am to speak to that specific eventuality, Senator. I would say that you've got a range of possible outcomes. Part of the initial campaign, and probably -- and I have no prior knowledge of this, but thinking logically, as you point out, clearly one of our first efforts has got to be to get a handle on all that stuff and all those people, and then that cannot be allowed to sort of slip away into the general population of Iraq.
It is, in microcosm, a much more important and a much -- has to be a very tightly-focused effort to do that, the same as we would not allow some of the general officers and some of the other leaders from some of the clans in the military to just sort of -- you know, they go through the demobilization line and then they're released into the general populace. But I think that's got to be a top priority in our plan.
SEN. FEINGOLD: Yes, Doctor, if it's all right to have the doctor to answer the question. Do you want to make a comment?
MR. AL-SHABIBI: Well, I would like to come back to, actually, the question of governing Iraq and these things. And, of course, I mean, we Iraqis, we speak always about the future, about Iraq and government and these things. But the question here is, Iraqis are very much aware and cognizant about the fact that they have really just a lot of opportunities in terms of simple economic development and growth. And this is since the beginning of the '80s, and even more. And if they compare this with their potential, they realize how much loss they have incurred.
The question here, I want, actually, to allude to is I don't think apart from actually the defense -- legitimate defensive means, that Iraq would like to concentrate in the future on things which are apart from its economic development aspirations. Basically, I mean, they would like probably to follow on a smaller scale the example of Germany and Japan after the Second World War. And they have the potential and the power to do that.
This brings me to the question, I know that politicians actually are very much concerned about governing Iraq and the fact that we have to find people that govern Iraq from the groups existing. But the question here is, actually, Iraq should give opportunity to the people, specialists in various fields, actually, to give higher, say, to the future development in Iraq, technocrats in the field of legal system, constitution, health.
I mean, of course, one can say that these are, of course, management. But they have to actually have a stronger say, and their actually opinion should be heeded by the politicians in future Iraq. This is the only way where actually all the resources that may emanate or will emanate to Iraq will be put into actual economic development, which actually we lost actually in terms of decades of development, and we will have to recoup all these things. Thank you.
SEN. FEINGOLD: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. BIDEN: Thank you. Let me follow up with a few things, if I may. Number one, I don't think any of us should lose sight -- even though we didn't ask you to do this -- any of us should lose sight of what the rationale for going into Iraq is in the first place.
If Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction, if the president of the United States, the Pentagon, the CIA, the Congress, everyone thought they had no weapons of mass destruction, all you'd like to see done in Iraq would not be done.
We would not be going anywhere in Iraq, I respectfully suggest, notwithstanding the fact there would be equally as strong an argument for the economic development of Iraq and the prospects of a prosperous democratic Iraq being not a panacea but opening the gate in a way to the part of the world that needs to, at some point, on their own come into the 21st century. But notwithstanding that, we would be doing nothing.
So let's everybody make sure we understand one thing. If there is not a way and a hope, a prospect to secure those weapons of mass destruction, this is an exercise in futility. So that's the place from which I think all this begins.
Now, one of the things we heard yesterday from several panels -- we had three panels of people like yourselves, with slightly different expertise -- was the concern raised that if Saddam saw himself, using an American euphemism, "going down," if Saddam saw his regime coming to an end and his physical safety in jeopardy, that he would use these weapons of mass destruction not only against an invading international or American force, but there was raised as the overwhelming possibility in the minds of some of the witnesses that he would use them against the Israelis to make this a regional war, but also use them against his own people; that he would destroy the Iraqi infrastructure. He would destroy the Iraqi infrastructure, not unlike he attempted to in Kuwait, when he was withdrawing, with the Kuwaiti oil fields.
And one of the things that I think the average American listening to this -- presumptuous of me to say what I think the average American; every time I say that, my wife points out, you know, when I say, "The American people think," she says, "Don't presume to think for the American people." I don't.
But I suspect, in my experience, anyone listening to this is saying, "Now, wait a minute. We just heard the following. We heard that we have an obligation, if we go in, to stay. We were given figures that ranged about -- it would cost about $16.5 billion, based on 20 -- and I think it's --
SEN. BIDEN: Pardon me.
SEN. BIDEN: -- based on 75,000 troops at a cost per whatever, which I think is pretty accurate stuff. We heard another witness say that, you know, Iraqis have to have an opportunity to recoup $180 billion they lost because of their own government. We have to make sure that oil prices stay stable and that there's no windfall for the United States that oil prices drop.
We have to make sure that we rebuild whatever we may have to damage in order to go in and take out Saddam, because we will be told, they know, by Iraqis, "You blew up this facility. You blew up our airport. You damaged our highways. You ruined our water system. You knocked out our electric grid. You owe us. You owe us."
And Americans are home, I think, thinking, "Now, wait a minute. We're going to risk American lives, we're going to risk American money, we're going to risk American prestige, and we're going to go in and try to take out this thing we view as a threat to us, and in the process, we're going to be told by the world, which it always tells us, "By the way, you did this bad thing to us, and now you should rebuild us." You should, out of the American treasury, take what will amount to several hundred billion dollars before it's over, because we're talking about what the operation would cost roughly, if we did the loan, $75 billion, if it replicated Desert Storm --
COL. FEIL: Yes, sir.
SEN. BIDEN: It doesn't take us quick to get to $100 billion here, and it doesn't take much, if we do all, Doctor, you want us to do to get us up to a couple of hundred billion dollars. And so one of the things that brings me -- the reason I bother to say all that is that I think we have to be able to explain what we're going to do to the American people here -- not what we're going to do to them; what we're going to do, and how it will impact on them. (Laughter.) And it may be, in the minds of some, what we're going to do to.
But let me -- so that leads me, believe it or not, to this point. I think Senator Lugar is correct. We need to find a MacArthur that's on the outside, a Thomas Jefferson that's hiding somewhere inside, a new bank account that we don't have, and a degree of tolerance on the part of the American people that exceeds what we've ever asked any other people to have. That's kind of the worst-case combination.
But let me set out what, as these hearings go on, is beginning to emerge in my mind. And as my young daughter would say, we get a "Get Out of Jail Free" card in this one, because I'm not sure yet of this. But why does it not make sense for us to, as much as you don't like the comparison to or any references to Afghanistan -- and it's a fundamentally different circumstance, I acknowledge -- why don't we have a Bonn meeting now, essentially, where, Professor, we get all of the disparate groups outside and smuggle some of those that are inside out, to have the Bonn meeting before the first American bomb or military person is launched?
Why should we not or should we be insisting or asking, cajoling our allies to be part of that process as well now, when we began in a much more earnest fashion to identify who we will turn to? Does that make sense now, if you were -- if Senator Lugar were president and you were his national security adviser, would you be suggesting that to him now, or what would you -- what about that idea, those two ideas, a Bonn now, the equivalent of a Bonn -- you don't know what I mean -- you all know, but for the public, after we went into Afghanistan, what we did was we got -- we and our allies gathered together the various warlords, representatives, et cetera, in Bonn. We kept them there until they hammered out an interim government.
Fortunately, I think we've got a guy named Karzai who was able to traverse the differences. He was acceptable to all, at least in the near term. And we set up a process. They set up a process for constituent assembly being elected within a time frame, benchmarks, which you're talking about, Ms. Francke, benchmarks that had to occur within a time certain, with an international commitment to dollars which hasn't been kept, but an international commitment of dollars to accommodate this interim government's capacity to move to the next step. Should we be doing something that detailed now before we move on Iraq, assuming the military situation doesn't change drastically and we don't find tomorrow that he's hoisted a longer-range version of a Scud with a nuclear weapon on top of it? I mean, should we be doing that kind of thing now?
MS. MARR: Yes, if you could. In fact, the point is you can do this with the opposition which is outside. Good luck on getting them together, but certainly you can do that. The problem we have is that a vast number of people are inside. It's not easy to identify them. It's not easy to get them out for -- you know, Saddam's security system is pretty unparalleled. And at the end of the day you can try to identify those people, you can try to have links with them. I am a little less optimistic than some of my colleagues on the platform here, because I think that what you have got inside is going to be more entrenched than we think -- the clans, the military with their own specific interests, this economic mafia -- maybe not the party, and so on. And when you have got your Bonn meeting, which is going to be mainly outsiders, you are still going to have to bring them inside, which is one of my suggested scenarios. But you are going to have people with entrenched interests and different ideas, some of whom may want to keep a nuclear weapon in tow, and may not be quite so friendly to the U.S. and so on. And whoever it is comes out in Bonn is going to have to deal with that inside situation.
SEN. BIDEN: Well, we have had some sort of escalating experience in this area in the last 10 years, starting with Bosnia. Very different situations, but escalating experience of the role of the international communities, our role. And I would, if I had to -- and I don't -- but if I had to, I would predict that what will happen here is if we do not do a heck of a lot of this ahead of time, what will happen is we will find exactly what you don't want, Mrs. Francke -- we are going to go in, and you are going to find that the most organized faction that is available after we walk in, secure the streets, will be the military. We are going to find -- we will have had the cooperation from some of the military -- maybe even a few in the Republican Guard possibly -- and we will find that the military, who gets dropped on them all the time, everything from setting up the hospital tent to making the lights one to writing the constitution de facto on the ground -- they are going to turn to the people with whom they can cooperate with and work with the quickest and the most rapidly. And then we are going to have -- it doesn't mean it can't be undone or it can't be redone or it can't be made better after that. But I don't know -- I have not heard anything yet in practical terms --
MS. FRANCKE: Senator, can I --
SEN. BIDEN: -- to how that gets avoided.
MS. FRANCKE: The idea of a Bonn meeting is of course an excellent idea, and I would endorse it, and in fact I have discussed it with a number of people in Washington. The important thing is to make sure that whoever comes to Bonn -- and they are going to be necessarily only people who are in Iraqi Kurdistan, northern Iraq -- all people who are outside Iraq -- that they do not form the sum total of this transitional authority or government, that there is room left for people emerging from inside.
SEN. BIDEN: Well, as you will recall, again, it is not the same thing, but the model which was very difficult to put together, but nonetheless easier than what we are talking about here -- the Bonn model in Afghanistan did in fact insist that that be left open. And it was left open. It was left open so the loya jirga in effect filled in the pieces here. But I -- let me just -- there's two more questions I wanted to ask -- there are many more, but I have gone beyond what should be your patience.
Oil. Yesterday we heard significant testimony -- a significant amount of testimony -- that if in the process of "dealing," quote/unquote "dealing" with Saddam we had the acquiescence or cooperation of the Russians and the acquiescence or the cooperation of the French -- they are the two mentioned -- that a whole lot of other things that created problems and dilemmas would be marginally or significantly easier to deal with down the road as we went through this whole process. And I raised yesterday -- some of you may have heard -- the question -- and it related to reparations and it related to debt, as Dr. Shabibi has mentioned -- that the Russians believe they are owed somewhere around $11 billion by the Iraqis, and they assume they have -- they have contracts that they assume are worth -- I have heard various numbers put on it, but are in the range of $30 billion in terms of contracts to develop -- do you know where the oil fields are on the map? (Aside.) Where? Mainly in the south in the Shiia region, I am told. There are some in the north, but the bulk of it is in the south -- and that they believe that this is a contractual obligation that is that they have, and they believe -- it is a contractual obligation they have with Saddam, and that they are owed money from the past.
Now, if in fact we were to work out with the Russians a deal that said basically development of those oil fields, that the new government -- we will insist that the new government, whatever it is, honors those contractual commitments with you, and that it be done in some consortia where you play a significant part or not the only part. Will that -- would that be viewed by the Iraqi people, who are initially going to embrace us, as a matter of grand larceny, whereby we, the United States, had orchestrated an agreement whereby the Russians are able to along with us I suspect in consortia develop those oil fields? I realize I am being very precise. I realize I am very almost pedantic about how I am approaching some of these things. But at the end of the day I found whether I am standing in Pristina or Sarajevo, or wherever I am -- or in Kabul -- it gets down to a military guy standing with a gun on a corner, a diplomat sitting in an office, an indigenous person making a demand, and someone having to make a decision on things like this. So what happens? What happens in that -- would you think that a fair thing, doctor? Or do you believe that the contractual obligations of the Russians, for example, is in fact null and void because made by Saddam who has already ravaged and raped that country economically?
MR. AL-SHABIBI: Well, senator, this is indeed a very specific question. The question has of course -- will have to be studied to see whether it will have to be compared with Iraqi oil capacity, whether the two countries should be involved in the development of the oil sector. And of course in my presentation I put as one of the points whereby the resources are mobilized is Iraq will have to reach its maximum capacity of oil, because you know Iraq is one of the countries which actually did not produce a lot of oil, because a lot of past conflicts and these things. And I think -- I mean, these things will have to be looked at, where different countries can be evaluated in order to raise the capacity of Iraq on these things.
I don't know of course politically what will the situation. I mean, this of course will have to be decided. But I think that the Russians -- if they want, I mean probably if they want to trade their debt with their investment, this is another question. I mean, the question is of course there will be a situation where Iraq can win, if for example Iraq can get foreign investment, which actually brings technology and at the same time the debt relief, because the country is allowed to invest --
SEN. BIDEN: I am not talking about the debt being relieved -- the debt being paid. That's the point they would want. It won't be relieving the debt -- that's the very point I'm making. The Russians have made it clear they wanted that paid.
MR. AL-SHABIBI: Well, then, this is -- yes, this is a matter of of course negotiation. This is what we call -
SEN. BIDEN: You see, that's my point -- and I am going to end with this. It is not a matter of negotiation. It is not a matter of negotiation. No president of the United States can sit and say, by the way, we are going to figure this out after the fact. We are going to negotiate this after the fact. If a deal had to be made to get Russia in, then a deal is a deal and no one is negotiating it. It is being imposed. It is being imposed.
My point I am trying to raise here is that there's a lot of things that cannot be negotiated. If we wait to negotiate all of these things, then we find ourselves in a situation where we are imposing upon the parties involved at least a temporary chaos, and little likelihood of anything happening. One of the things we found from Bosnia to Kosovo to Afghanistan is the greater degree you allow the warring factions you are trying to liberate to have a say on the outcome, the less successful it was. The closer you came to imposing at the front end, This is how it is going to be -- We are going to do this if we go the following way -- we have had the greatest success. To the degree to which we internationalize it and say we will talk about it afterwards, like we did in Bosnia, the degree to which they still are not together in Bosnia -- Kosovo is actually further along than Bosnia is in my opinion. But, at any rate, so I just want to -- again, this is about going in with our eyes wide open. I am not proposing this. I am trying to make sure that we understand that there are certain things. The idea that the United States is going to march into Iraq, save itself by doing away with the nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, liberate the Iraqi people in the process, stay to the tune of tens of billions of dollars a year until the Iraqi people sort it out for themselves as to how they want to get things going, and do it all without having to make agreements with the international community before we went in I think is not likely to happen. It would be nice if it would.
But I have gone way over my time, and but I can't resist one last question. What about Iran, what about Turkey, and what about Saudi Arabia in terms of their reaction to overwhelmingly and primarily a U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, and at a minimum a requirement that a significant -- you have all agreed there is going to be required an American presence, military presence required, minimum of a year for 75,000 to a maximum of 20 years for a whole lot of people. No, you -- by the way, yesterday that was the argument. Yesterday the argument was 20 years. I believe that was Mort Halperin who made that argument, 20 years. He just happened to be sitting where you are sitting -- I pointed -- (laughter) -- to something in between.
And what we are also told is that the one thing the Iranians are most concerned about is a permanent U.S. military presence in Iraq. And we are told that the likelihood that Teheran will make a distinction between whether we think it's temporary and they think it's temporary and they think it's permanent is not likely, that they will presume if there are large -- and, by the way, as Scott -- as the colonel can tell you, if we move in temporarily with 75,000 people, meaning a year or more, we are building Bondsteels -- we are building Fort Bondsteel. We are building major, major U.S. military installations in the context of that region of the world, even if we only intend to stay there a year or 18 months or thereabouts. And so how is that going to be viewed? You all are familiar with Bosnia and Kosovo -- we have this place called Bondsteel. It's a fort. It is a base. It is significant, and it sits there, and we invest it -- anybody know how many money? I imagine it's a couple billion dollars for the whole process. And we -- this administration, the last one, has no intention to stay in there permanently -- doesn't want to stay there permanently -- has no vital interests to stay there permanently -- and we still did that. What happens when you put up a Bondsteel? Do you think the footprint -- we keep talking about the footprint. I mean, that's a pretty big footprint if we are going to have to have 75,000 people, even for a year or two in there. There's going to be a footprint.
And if we do what I think Scott is saying -- excuse me, the colonel is saying -- and I haven't heard anybody say something fundamentally different -- and that is what is the mission of those people -- hold on just a second, because -- the mission is providing core security for the largest eight cities. The mission is securing WMD and the facilities -- we are going to be going around looking for them. The mission is patrolling the Iranian border and the Kurdish areas, securing the oil field, monitoring the region of the Tigris and Euphrates along the Syrian border -- because there's a lot of smuggling, a lot of things going on there; conducting integrated disarmament and demobilization -- which I have ever heard anybody suggest we can fail to do; and securing sector reform -- even forget that. It's not like we're going to have a force sitting outside of Baghdad in one fort. We are going to have people on the Iranian border, down on the oil fields, up on the Tigris and Euphrates, on the -- you know, on the Turkish -- well, maybe not the Turkish border. We are going to be all over the place. That's a pretty big footprint -- even if it's only for a year. How does that get -- that is my last question -- how is that viewed if it is predominantly American, and even though we announce ahead of time all things working -- we are only going to be there with this kind of footprint for a year or so --- what happens in Syria? What happens in Iran? I mean, what is the -- is there any predictable response from those countries?
MS. MARR: I would like to take a crack at the Gulf. I have been out in Qatar in the Gulf for the last five or six months and listening to much of this, and what I am hearing is that those folks would like to see a change of regime in Baghdad, if it could be done quickly and easily. Their greatest fear is that we are -- we are going to go in, change the regime and get out, and they will be stuck with the following-on mess.
But the kind of presence and bases and et cetera, which I haven't looked at, that we heard about today, will certainly arouse the anti-American feeling in the area, which is about the worst I've heard in about 40 years, and I think that has definite repercussions on potential for terrorism, and so it is certainly going to be viewed with suspicion by Iran. But I don't know what Iran can do about that. I frankly am not -- I don't see Iran taking a major role, except to interfere and try to destabilize, and to do some of the things I suggested with the Shi'ia, with the Kurds, and so on. If the presence looks -- instead of relying sooner on a reshaped Iraqi military, which would be my way to go, it has to be retread -- has to -- its officer corps has to be somewhat different. But they do have a military whose job is to guard the border with Iran and the border with Syria. So, I would prefer that our presence be pretty substantial immediately after this because of keeping things together, how long it would have to be there in this -- in this visible presence is a question. And any visible presence of the U.S. military in the region bothers me because I think inevitably it does encourage -- (inaudible.)
SEN. BIDEN: Well, that's -- that's the conundrum the president is going to have here. All the folks in the region say don't come and go. Don't come and get out. And they say, and by the way, don't stay. Don't come and leave it a mess, but don't come and stay. And then we leave guys and women wearing uniforms sitting there and saying, "Whoa, what's my job here?" Anybody think we can come put Humpty-Dumpty back together again and get out of there in months?
MR. FEIL: No.
SEN. BIDEN: Anybody? Anybody think we can do it in one to two years? Anybody think we're in a three to five-year range?
MR. FEIL: Sir, I'm just speaking, as I -- as I think I said at the beginning, you know, sort of the benchmark -- first of all, referring to the nation-building, as my colleagues have pointed out, Iraq is a nation, so it is a qualitatively different problem than Afghanistan or putting together a Bosnia-Herzegovina, that sort of thing. The --
SEN. BIDEN: Do you consider Germany nation-building after World War II, or Japan nation-building?
MR. FEIL: There was -- there was -- there was a German nation there. It --
SEN. BIDEN: I'm not being argumentative. I want to make sure --
MR. FEIL: No sir. I -- I would not consider that nation- building.
SEN. BIDEN: Okay. Good.
MR. FEIL: I consider that, you know, a defeat in a conventional war and a reconstruction of the civil administration, the governing processes, it's -- and the security sector, and the economy, clearly through the Marshall Plan.
SEN. BIDEN: (Inaudible) -- define our terms.
Mr. FEIL: Absolutely. Because there is wide variation. And each -- although we try to draw some generalizations, each case has its own very significant sort of gradations.
I think that -- that unfortunately what we've done in the decade of the '90s a lot of times is tried to look for the 50th percentile plus one and just nudge a process over the edge, and what we've wound up doing, I hate to say it, is -- is I think in some -- in some instances is low-balling that, and then you're in the problem of we can't -- we can't put more in because we had a bad experience with that in the 1960s in Vietnam, and so therefore we hope and we try to cobble together and patch something that will get us farther on down the road where we know, I think -- at least I feel in the depths of our gut, if we had gone in there hard, or large, I guess, Secretary Perry's statement when we went into Bosnia, we're going in as the lead dog, we're the toughest guys on the block, don't mess around with us. We got a response -- the response that we wanted at that time.
I think that applying that kind of logic, it looks, in post- conflict reconstruction it has some compelling aspects to it. It looks bad at the outset, but if you can demonstrate, if you went in with -- if you took my figures and went in with 75,000 and you had a Bonn-like process and a Tokyo-like process to get the national constituting things together, and get the donors together and figure out who is going to do what to whom, and are we all at the start line appropriately, based on our comparative advantage, when -- when the thing tumbles, then that slope would be very, you know, if you're there for six months and then all of a sudden you say, look, I came in with 75,000 guys -- or I came in with whatever the campaign was, and I immediately, because the civilian agencies were with them, I withdrew down to 75,000. And then three months later I'm pulling out 10,000 guys, and three months after that I'm pulling out 10,000 guys. If you can demonstrate progress, I think that may allay some of the fears of my colleagues are, and the concerns that the regional nations might have.
SEN. BIDEN: (Inaudible) -- direct proportion to how well you got a plan going in, who you got on the --
MR. FEIL: I think absolutely.
SEN. BIDEN: -- field at the end. Senator Lugar, sorry.
SEN. LUGAR: Mr. Chairman, let me just say that the testimony has led me to believe, first of all, that probably the need for planning in other parts of our government, in addition to the Defense Department, is extremely important. I say that because I suspect from the testimony we heard yesterday, we identified Saddam Hussein, almost all the witnesses, as a unique menace -- that there are bad leaders everywhere all over the world, but this is really by far the worst, that he has successfully brutalized the country that he is leading, created enormous problems in terms of nutritional deficiency for the children, the lack of income for most of the population, in essence, and is -- and is trying to maintain power trying to maintain power, created a lot of problems for the Iraqi people, quite apart from the menace that he presents to the neighborhood.
So, having established that as an extraordinary circumstance that might justify authorizing the president of the United States to go to war, then, it seems to me, we try to identify the fact it would be best if we want to war with a lot of other countries, including the neighbors, including NATO allies and including the Russians, matter of fact.
Now it seems to me that, at least as I heard the testimony today, we've identified the fact that Iraq has great resources, among them oil, and that's an obvious one. What if, in our planning, whether it's the United States Department of Commerce or the Treasury Department or whoever is involved, we really think through why some of our allies have been lukewarm about our military planning; namely, that they have either debts that Iraq owes, that they want to have oil concessions, that -- in other words, even while we are doing the difficult work, "business as usual" might be created, not only for the Iraqis, but for them.
But we would say, "That's not really the way this is going to work; this is not economic imperialism, but in fact as a part of our plan for Iraq, in addition to identifying the political leadership and the coalition and building democracy, we're going to run the oil business" -- just one for sake of example -- "we're going to run it well, we're going to make money; and it's going back to help pay for the rehabilitation of Iraq, because there is money there.
"Now, furthermore, if you want to be involved in that business, whether you're Russians or French or whoever, you're going to be with us on the beginning of this business. We're going to set up the business together. We are going in together, because once we get there, we're going to control the oil business."
I take that as a good point of departure because that gets people's attention.
SEN. : Darned right.
SEN. LUGAR: But there is no point whatsoever in our going to rescue all the people of Iraq, the Russian debt, the French oil concession, everybody who wants peace and quiet out there and doesn't want us, as the chairman has identified, once we've done the job, "Get out!" That is a very bad idea on our part, our national interests.
So, I'm just suggesting, to be provocative today, that we do have a plan. It's much more than a military plan, if we are wise, and it results in getting a pretty broad coalition. And I would guess that if our statesmanship is adept, we will have the Russians aboard, the French will be with us, so will a lot of other people. And then, we will deal with the country together, all of us. And we will have a much greater success, rather than being identified as the unique invaders, the unique enemy.
Now, it may be that Arab sentiment will end up disliking the Russians, disliking the French, disliking the Germans, the English, all of us, the whole collective kit and caboodle. Maybe. But it could be, as a matter of fact, that if the oil business makes money and we pump five million barrels a day as opposed to two, and the Iraqi people begin to thrive, that some people might like this idea, that, in fact, this new incipient democracy will have something to work with, as opposed to poverty and destruction and rehabilitation that may or may not occur.
Now, given that provocative idea, does anyone have a comment?
MS. FRANCKE: Senator, yes. I would suggest that a lot of hard horse trading go on prior to any military action. And it has surprised me actually that none has been going on. And the advantages of it can be seen in the smart sanctions issue, where, in fact, we did do some hard bargaining and some horse trading, and we got the thing through the U.N. Security Council.
And I think your suggestion is perfect -- that one should encourage the administration to go and bargain harder, say, "We'll give you this if you'll give us that" and so on and so forth.
Now the other issue is that lifting sanctions on Iraq and getting oil flowing, getting business in Iraq is actually going to have an enormously beneficial economic impact in the region -- not just Turkey. We hear about Turkey only, but there are many, many companies -- in Jordan, in Syria, in the Gulf -- that can benefit from this economic opening up in Iraq. It's actually going to be a bonanza in the region, to be honest, and there is plenty of room for everyone to benefit -- not just from developing the infrastructure of the oil industry, but from building roads and hospitals and so on and so forth. There's everything to be done, and the Iraqis can't do it all on their own. So there is that economic benefit.
But I want to address another issue that the chairman also raised, and that is the perception of the U.S. in the region. And to this extent, I think the colonel was absolutely right: If we can show that we are diminishing gradually, there will be a great sense of relief. However, I don't want to open a new subject, but we have to be honest: There are many other problems in the Middle East that we need to be addressing. It is not just U.S. policy towards Iraq that makes Middle Easterners angry; in fact, this is very much of a secondary issue. And it's a byproduct of other issues. And so we should not simply look at U.S. presence in Iraq as being the one that inflames Arabs and so on. It is -- there are many issues that are older, broader and more entrenched in the Middle East that we need to look at.
So after the first Gulf War, there was an opportunity to put together the Madrid Conference on the Middle East. And I wonder whether, in fact, Iraq would present such another opportunity for a global look at the Middle East and its problems.
SEN. LUGAR: It might. And you make a very good point. My only thought would be that it is conceivable that there are issues in the Middle East, including Israel and Palestine, what -- that might take many, many years. One reason we're having these hearings is that we may be on the threshold of a war now. So ideally it would have been desirable to have cleared everything out.
MS. FRANCKE: Yes. Thank you.
SEN. LUGAR: But that, I suspect, is not really in the cards.
SEN. BIDEN: In our generation there was a guy who was a rock singer, I think his name was Clyde McFattern (sp). He sang a song called "Timing" -- "Tick-a-tick-a-tock, timing is the thing". This is all timing. We don't control this timing -- (laughs). We don't control the timing. We're talking about -- as the senator said, we're here because the administration and others are saying "in the very near term". And I don't know anybody who thinks "in the very near term" we are going to find a solution that will satisfy the region relative to Israel and the Palestinian question.
But you're been very, very kind with your time. We will -- we'd like to -- with your permission, some of our colleagues may have some questions to submit to you in writing. We will not overburden you, though. We're not going to make this a summer project for you, an August project. But -- and we'd also like to know, I would like to know if you would be available to the committee in the future as well. As I said, this is not the end of this process, this is the beginning. And you've helped us get off to, I hope, an auspicious start. I hope people view it -- I think it is -- in beginning to delve into, for the first time at least in the fora like this, on some of the really difficult questions. But because they're difficult does not mean that they are not answerable, because they are difficult and because this presents us with great problems.
We've faced more difficult problems before and we've overcome them, and so I'm optimistic. I have a view that if we in fact discuss it and debate it and reach a consensus, that there isn't anything we can't do, including dealing with Saddam Hussein.
I thank you all very, very much for your indulgence. And we are recessed until 2:00 when we have a second panel. As a matter of fact, I'm going to -- well, 2:00, the second panel. (Sounds gavel.)