Tags: Iran | Iraq | Middle East | MidPoint | Derek Harvey | Iraq | prime minister

Ex-Petraeus Aide: Mideast Allies Fearful of US Waffling

By    |   Wednesday, 04 Feb 2015 07:07 PM

A U.S. administration that is "cozying up" to state terror sponsor Iran is causing deep worry among America's actual Middle East allies, who wonder about the Obama White House's attentions and its posture toward violent jihadism, says a former Army intelligence officer and analyst who served in Iraq.

"There's real doubt in the region about U.S. commitment, resourcing and dedication to this effort," retired Col. Derek Harvey told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner on Newsmax TV Wednesday.

"It seems to be that we are focused more on just showing that we're doing something for political purposes at home: A little bit of activity, a little bit of rhetoric, and hope that this crisis also passes."

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With the Islamic State (ISIS) still entrenched in Syria and Iraq, and still filming barbaric executions, Harvey said the fight to rid both countries of the terror group will require more determination and concrete action — and less belief in Iran — than the administration has entertained so far.

Harvey, who served with Gen. David Petraeus when Petraeus commanded all multinational forces in Iraq, did not call for a fresh invasion.

"That's unrealistic and it's not necessary to the task," said Harvey, a professor and researcher at the University of South Florida Global Initiative on Civil Society and Conflict.

"We do have capabilities to address this," he continued. "Declare no-fly zones — no-go zones — in Syria, and actually be committed to arming and working with people that are going to fight ISIS and al-Qaida in Syria."

The U.S. must also reject Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad as an ally of convenience against jihadists, said Harvey: "We should not be on the side of someone who's committing atrocities."

Lastly, Harvey said that President Barack Obama's fixation on negotiating an end to Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program has had the damaging effect of "acknowledging Iranian hegemony in the region, and that is alienating our friends and creating tremendous doubt."

Harvey also took issue with an opinion piece in The New York Times, "ISIS Is Losing in Iraq," by Kenneth Pollack of the Brookings Institution.

"Their campaign has had some attrition, but only to tactical effect," said Harvey. "They are doing reasonably well."

He said the larger picture in Iraq is troubling, too, as renewed Shia-on-Sunni violence under new Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi threatens another sectarian bloodbath.

"Increasingly, the Abadi regime in Baghdad that replaced Maliki is looking to be acquiescent in supporting the Shiite militias' atrocities — led by the Quds forces in Iran — against Sunni communities in the areas around Bagdad,"said Harvey.

"That is not going to bode well for rallying Sunni Arabs to the side of the [Iraqi] government or to work with the United States," he said, adding, "It looks like we're clearly cozying up to Iran both in Iraq and in Syria. That alienates the Sunni Arabs across the region, and it feeds into a narrative that bolsters ISIS."

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A U.S. administration that is cozying up to state terror sponsor Iran is causing deep worry among America's actual Middle East allies, who wonder about the Obama White House's attentions and its posture toward violent jihadism, says a former Army intelligence officer and...
Derek Harvey, Iraq, prime minister, Iran, violence, allies, worry
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2015-07-04
Wednesday, 04 Feb 2015 07:07 PM
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