Retired U.S. Army Gen. Paul Vallely tells Newsmax that President Barack Obama's previous reluctance to provide military support to the Syrian rebels is an example of the administration's "ineptness" in international affairs.
The expert on Syria also says he agrees with Sen. John McCain that imposing a no-fly zone in Syria would be a "positive step."
Vallely retired from the Army in 1993 as Deputy Commanding General, Pacific. He is the co-author of the book "Endgame: The Blueprint for Victory in the War on Terror," and the founder of the Syrian Opposition Liaison Group, which was created in conjunction with the Free Syrian Army and Stand-up America.
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The White House is now planning to offer military support to Syria’s rebels after confirming evidence of chemical weapons.
In an exclusive interview with Newsmax TV, Vallely was asked how he views the administration's decision.
"It's hard to comment right now because I don't know who they're going to be dealing with," he says.
"There are five or six factions over there that are included in what they call the Syrian Opposition, all the way from the Muslim Brotherhood to al-Qaida. Now Hezbollah has come in from Lebanon to assist the Assad regime.
"The question is will they support the ones we have vetted out, which is the Free Syrian Army, which controls most of the land that has been taken over by the opposition forces. They're the secular part of the opposition groups and that's who we want to deal with.
"Unfortunately when Sen. McCain went over there, he did not meet with people that he should have. All he had to do was ask our group and we would have given him entrée to the people who are really the future as we see it for a free Syria."
As to why it took so long for the administration to acknowledge the use of chemical weapons in Syria and agree to provide support, Vallely observes: "There seems to be an inclination to fall back, stay out of the affairs over there in the Middle East, which a lot of Americans would probably agree with.
"But the chess board is laid out there with an avowed enemy of the United States, which is Iran, supported by Russia and anti-U.S. Hezbollah, and they will do everything they can to turn the tables on a future free Syrian government and country.
"Obama has been pointed out even by President Clinton calling him basically a wussy for not wanting to at least covertly support the Free Syrian Army, for example. It's ineptness. They don't seem to have knowledgeable people, diplomats, or military people or intelligence people at the higher levels that can deal with these international situations. They all seem to get messed up and then they get covered up, so we are not on a good track in America for dealing with international affairs, that's for sure."
Discussing the possibility of enforcing a no-fly zone in Syria, Vallely says: "They could, and that would prevent the Syrian forces from bombing and creating most of the deaths in Syria — almost 90,000 now, many of those caused by air strikes on the towns and cities and villages of Syria.
"Being able to provide at least air cover for the Free Syrian Army, that would be a positive step, as well as arming them with the right type of weapons system and providing humanitarian aid, which we have said in a report sent to the government is what they really need very badly."
Hezbollah forces are in Syria helping the Assad regime battle the rebels, and Iran is their chief sponsor.
"Hezbollah was created by Iran way back in the early 1980s and [Iran is] the main proxy force, providing anywhere from $300 million to $350 million a year in support to Hezbollah for rockets, missiles," Vallely tells Newsmax.
"Then you have Russia who is supporting Iran and also supporting Assad, and so when you look at that chessboard over there, you find out everything really begins and starts with international terrorism and the spread of tyranny from Tehran."
Asked if Russia will make good on its threat to fulfill arms shipments to the Assad regime, Vallely says: "They have been [sending arms] for years, and part of the Soviet fleet is based out of Tartus, which is on the Mediterranean Sea. The fleets from Russia, they dock there, they offload the weapons systems – we've tracked that by satellite and with intelligence on the ground.
"At the same time, you have aircraft coming in from Russia and also from Tehran weekly, bringing in advisers, bringing in technicians, and of course supplies of armaments, communications equipment. And then the missiles that were put in two years ago were moved from Syria into the Beqaa Valley of Lebanon. So this has been ongoing.
"We at Stand Up America and our intelligence apparatus have been tracking this now for over three years and it's all been validated, including the chemical weapons."
Vallely also says the conflict in Syria is "absolutely" part of a regional war.
"We've seen it spread from Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, on up to Syria. You'll see the next occurrences happening in Jordan. So it definitely is a regional war. It's an expansion of the global caliphate control of that region using and implementing the ideology of Sharia.
"So that's [President Mohamed] Morsi in Egypt. Their intentions are to work with the Muslim Brotherhood, and we know the U.S. government is working with the Muslim Brotherhood and was responsible for helping them gain power in Egypt. So Obama and his crew are supporting the wrong people, and they've never asked to meet with and support the Free Syrian Army, who certainly are the ones that I've been dealing with — some nine generals who defected from the Assad army, as well as about 70 other commanders.
"It looks like I'll probably be going back over there in about two weeks into Turkey as well as on the Syrian border again."
The Israelis are very concerned about the conflict in Syria," according to Vallely.
"It's continued threats for Israel. I had a call from an Israeli last week, spent about an hour on the phone from him from Tel Aviv. They're very concerned about the maneuvering over there and what support they're going to get from anybody. They certainly don't want to deal with the Russians because the Russians are really supporting Tehran and the Assad regime, which are diabolical and historical enemies of Israel.
"We're trying to get them to support and get arms to the Free Syrian Army because they in fact will settle for some negotiated situation on the Golan Heights, which they cannot do with any other group over there."
As to how he would advise the Obama administration regarding Syria, Vallely explains: "I would tell them to move a group over there, intelligence as well as diplomatic, that can go into southern Turkey, meet with the commanders of the Free Syrian Army, but do not meet with the Muslim Brotherhood, do not meet with representatives that are tied to the opposition forces that are looking for the spread of Sharia law.
"And as you see in the riots in Turkey right now, the young people, that's what they're saying: We do not want tyrannical Sharia law to rule the future of Turkey. We want it to be secular. And that's what the Free Syrian Army is all about in Syria."
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