Tags: MidPoint | Adam Ereli | Boko Haram | Nigeria | al-Qaida

Ex-Ambassador: US Leads Global Terror Fight, Like It Or Not

By    |   Tuesday, 27 Jan 2015 03:59 PM

Boko Haram in western Africa must be called out for its barbarity and fought with the same fervor that the international community is directing at violent movements such as the Islamic State (ISIS) and al-Qaida in the Middle East, says a former U.S. ambassador to Bahrain.

And the lead role in the campaign against jihadists worldwide falls to the United States, no matter how much Americans might wish otherwise, Adam Ereli, a policy expert and consultant on the Middle East and Africa, told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner on Newsmax TV Tuesday.

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With terrorist groups and subplots proliferating from Iraq to Nigeria, and individual attacks multiplying in the West, "Americans heads are spinning," said Ereli, who was principal deputy assistant secretary of state for education and culture under President Barack Obama.

"And they just want to stick them in the sand and not worry about all this stuff because it's confusing and scary, and they've got all these funny names we can't pronounce," he said.

"Well, we don't have that luxury, quite frankly, and guess what? Being the world's superpower is expensive. It doesn't come for free," said Ereli, vice-chairman of Mercury, a Washington, D.C.-area strategic consulting firm.

"If you are the world's superpower, number one, everybody wants to take a shot at you," he said. "Number two, you better defend yourself. And number three, the best defense is a good offense.

"That's why I would say we've got to go after the Taliban, we've got to go after al-Qaida, we've got to go after ISIS, we've got to go after Boko Haram, because they are all bad and they're all out to get us," he said. "And if you don't believe it, just wait for the bomb to go off."

Boko Haram in Nigeria, which is "massacring women and children, and burning villages to the ground," is at least as much of a human-rights disaster as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, said Ereli.

"Let's [also] look at the strategic importance of Nigeria," he said. "It is the largest country in Africa, with 180 million people. It is the seventh largest population in the world. It is the fifth largest Muslim population.

"If you're worried about Islamic extremism reaching American shores — which is the basic argument of why we need to fight al-Qaida and ISIS — then don't neglect Boko Haram," he said.

Ereli also discussed rising tensions between Israel and Iran, and the latter's threat to retaliate for an Israeli air strike in Syria that killed an Iranian general and several top Hezbollah commanders.

"Iran is very good at asymmetrical warfare and using terror and third-party surrogates to attack their targets," he said. "I would take that Iranian threat seriously. … They're going to respond at a time and place of their choosing, and my guess is it's going to be a place we don't expect."

Meanwhile, the United States is still trying to negotiate an end to Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program, using sanctions as leverage — and accusing other players in the dispute such as Israel and the U.S. Congress of disrupting the talks.

Ereli identified Iran as "the principal threat" to U.S. interests in the Middle East and beyond today and "for the forseeable future."

"We should act accordingly," he said of the United States, "and unfortunately, I don't think the nuclear talks are taking us in the right direction."

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The lead role in the campaign against jihadists worldwide falls to the United States, no matter how much Americans might wish otherwise, Adam Ereli, a policy expert and consultant on the Middle East and Africa, told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner on Newsmax TV Tuesday.
Adam Ereli, Boko Haram, Nigeria, al-Qaida
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2015-59-27
Tuesday, 27 Jan 2015 03:59 PM
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