Tags: james stavridis | isis | syria | threat

Ex-NATO Chief Stavridis: Islamic State Remains 'Main Ball' in Middle East

Image: Ex-NATO Chief Stavridis: Islamic State Remains 'Main Ball' in Middle East
(AP)

By    |   Thursday, 06 Apr 2017 08:14 AM

Former NATO commander James Stavridis said Thursday that if he was advising President Donald Trump following this week's chemical attacks in Syria, he'd remind him that the Islamic State remains the main threat in the region.

"We can't take our eye off the main ball here, which remains the Islamic State," the retired admiral and current dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program during a panel discussion.

"We don't want to lose our momentum there," he continued, while agreeing with Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass, also on the panel, that the attack marks an "opportunity" to bring allies together in the region.

"You've already heard support from France and the United Kingdom [about] perhaps starting to put more effort into the Syrian opposition," said Stavridis. "I think a quick reaction would probably entail getting the allies together, notably the Turks, who have the largest army in NATO, looking at a creation of a safety zone, and putting a plan together with our allies to respond to this because we can't let this stand."

And when asked if he'd consider airstrikes against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's air force for dropping the chemical weapons, Stavridis said "that is certainly the plan. It was the plan in the 2013 red line situation."

Airstrikes would probably mark the "most dramatic response" that could be taken, he said.

"You'd want to measure that one pretty carefully and think through what happens after you do that," Stavridis said. He said he also believes if a "specific, immediate" answer is wanted, "that's going to be on the table for discussion at the National Security Council."

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Former NATO commander James Stavridis said Thursday that if he was advising President Donald Trump following this week's chemical attacks in Syria, he'd remind him that the Islamic State remains the main threat in the region.
james stavridis, isis, syria, threat
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2017-14-06
Thursday, 06 Apr 2017 08:14 AM
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