|The Middle East|
Fox News Channel’s Senior Military Analyst, retired US Air Force Lieutenant General Thomas McInerney, believes that within the next 6-12 months Israel will face a major war on multiple fronts. The war will be instigated by the Iranian regime and carried out by its proxies in Syria, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.
That was a major take away from my comprehensive, 30-minute, interview Friday afternoon CRF Weekdays.
The interview was largely centered around the fallout from the so-called “Arab Spring”, the rise of 3 Shariah compliant Islamist governments in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, as well as the increased belligerence of Iran, the destabilization of Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria and the precipitous withdrawal of US troops from Iraq by the end of this year.
All these factors can be tied directly to the naïve and weak handling of foreign policy in the region and the lukewarm “support” the Obama administration has shown for our only democratic ally in the Middle East; Israel.
President Obama in defiance of the warnings of foreign policy experts, has supported questionable groups that have deposed admittedly bad leaders like Hosni Mubarak and Muammar Qaddafi -- without any concern for who or what would replace them. In this respect Obama has repeated the mistakes of President George W. Bush, who had no plan for post combat in Iraq and did not foresee Hamas' rise to power in Gaza when he demanded democratic elections for the Palestinian Authority.
|Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney, USAF (retired)|
General McInerney pointed out to me during our interview that he “didn’t like Qaddafi, but one thing was sure, he wasn’t a radical Islamist”. He went on to observe, “ I think we’re in a very precarious position and it should be very worrisome to all of us, in addition to the green light we’re giving to Iran by pulling out all US military [from Iraq] by 31 December”.
When I asked him whether the outcome of the US withdrawal from Iraq will lead to a military incursion by Iran or a more esoteric and insidious action, the General replied, “I think it will be more subtle than that, but it’s going to be giving them a green light. Already today in Basrah the Kuds Force, which is the Iranian special operations force, that force today has an enclave in Basrah they’re flying the Kuds Force flag. They’re speaking Farsi and anybody that comes in and takes pictures; they hold them up, take their cameras and destroy the film”.
So clearly the Iranians are already flexing their muscle in Iraq and are positioned to do even more once US troops are out of Iraq at the end of the year.
General McInerney sees this as another example of the United States winning a military victory, only to have a diplomatic loss. He even compared it to what happened in Vietnam.
Looking at the implications for Israel, I asked General McInerney about the possibility of the US ally facing a war, supported by Iran, coming from multiple fronts.
The General replied, “Well this is going to be very difficult for them [Israel]. First of all what I think the trigger will be, when Bashir Assad in Syria looks like he’s going to fail, the Iranians will tell Hezbollah in Lebanon and in Syria to launch a major attack with their 50,000 missiles and rockets to attack Israel. They’ll simultaneously have the Syrian ground forces; Hezbollah ground forces in Lebanon and Egypt attack - simultaneously the Israelis”.
He continued, “The question is now; can the Israeli forces survive this attack with their conventional forces? I think they might be able to, but again we come back to Iraq. The Iranians will be able to reinforce that attack coming through Iraq on the ground as Quds Force as covert force members. And so I’m not sure with the forces that the Iranians can put into the region there, that the Israelis will be able to survive”.
“Now the danger is, if they can’t they’re gonna have to use their nuclear weapons, they’ll have to go nuclear. And that’s something we do not want to happen. It’s in the American interest for stability in the country, just as we did in the ’73 war, to reinforce boldly the Israeli Defense Forces so they can survive with conventional weapons. We do not want to force them, for their own survival, to have to pull the nuclear trigger. And that’s very [a] worrisome issue that’s coming up on this”.
But will the Obama Administration, which has not been helpful in the peace process, and which has – either through incompetence or by design – set the stage for this war against Israel, take decisive action to prevent a nuclear conflagration in the Middle East?
McInerney’s response? “Well I don’t know. That’s the great mystery. If he doesn’t defend them, I believe they’ll be forced to use nuclear weapons”.
It’s important to note -- as confirmed by General McInerney -- that before the fall of the Mubarak government the Israelis repositioned at least two of their Dolphin Class submarines to the Persian Gulf via the Suez Canal, putting them within striking distance of Iran. This eliminates the need for them to utilize aircraft to strike at Iranian military installations -- or Tehran -- should they find the need to do so.
On the question of what happens with Jordan and Saudi Arabia in the event of an Iranian instigated war against Israel, General McInerney noted: “Here’s what is starting to bother me – Jordan -- Prince Abdullah is having to pay more attention to the Muslim Brotherhood, which he does not want because clearly radical Islam is a threat to the king. Saudi Arabia, clearly the Saudis are not interested in the Shiah crescent from Iran that is sweeping across the Arabian Peninsula. They have given the Israelis airbases if they attack using air power that they can land and recover on their way back. One of the advantages of us not being in Iraq is that the Iraqis don’t have an air defense system, so the Israelis could over fly Iraq to get into Iran. But the Saudis clearly do not want this Iranian influence the way it is being projected… They are against that. So we could hopefully count on them – in covert ways – to assist the Israelis”.
General McInerney puts the odds of this Iranian instigated war against Israel occurring in the next 6 months to a year at about 75%. He says there is a high probability of this happening and it all hinges on the failure of Bashir al-Assad in Syria. The Iranians cannot afford to let lose the Shiah controlled government of Syria. The collapse of that government will trigger events and instigate hostilities against Israel as a way to rally the support of the Arab street against a common enemy.
|Congressman Allen West (R) FL-22|
Congressman Allen West (R) FL-22, a retired US Army Lt. Colonel who served in Iraq, agreed with General McInerney's assessment in an interview on Saturday afternoon on Conservative Republican Forum.
Asked if he agreed that what General McInerney was a plausible scenario West replied, "Well of course it's a plausible scenario. If I were Prime Minister Netanyahu and Israel right now I'd be very concerned. Because you see what is happening since we deposed Hosni Mubarak, I mean this country asked him to step down, nothing good has happened there. The strongest political force in Egypt is the Muslim Brotherhood. We know that Hamas controls Gaza.
Now that the United States has said that their going to completely pull out of Iraq -- that was one of the concerns that the Prime Minister [of Israel] had when we met with him at the end of August -- was that there would not be a credible United States military force left there in Iraq to somewhat keep Iran at bay. So now Iran has the opportunity to extend their regional hegemonic dominance. Which means across Iraq, where you already have Muqtada al-Sadr and the Mahdi Army -- very strong -- retrained, rearmed, resourced, refitted thanks to Iran".
He went on to point out though that, "Turkey is allowing the opposition to Bashir al-Assad to be residing there in Turkey and launch their attacks against him back into Syria".
Perhaps the most disturbing comment from Congressman West was when he said, "My biggest concern is I think that the killing fields of Pol Pot -- post the withdrawal from Vietnam -- are going to look like Romper Room compared to what's going to happen in that region of the world".
The Congressman joined General McInerney and I in questioning whether the Obama Administration would stand with Israel in this troubling scenario.
The Obama Administration has displayed incompetence, naivety and weakness in its handling of the so-called “Arab Spring”, increased Iranian belligerence and the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. They have emboldened the Mullahs in Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood throughout the region, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza. In doing so they have left Israel in a precarious position it has not been in since 1973.
The tragedy is it didn’t have to come to this and now it’s too late to undo all the harm that has been done. President Obama has opened a powder keg and any spark could ignite a war that will consume the region -- and possibly have far-reaching implications for the United States and our allies.