Tags: Iran | Iraq | MidPoint | Tony Shaffer | yemen | iraq | iran

Tony Shaffer: US Lets Yemen, Iraq Go Over Iran Deal

By    |   Thursday, 26 Mar 2015 09:57 PM

The Obama administration wants a nuclear accord with Iran so badly, it's willing to let the hostile Tehran regime have its way in Yemen and Iraq, defense policy analyst and former Special Ops warfare veteran Tony Shaffer told Newsmax TV on Thursday.

In Yemen, where Shiite rebels backed by Iran have prompted the country's elected, U.S.-allied president to flee, "you see us kind of sitting on the sidelines," Shaffer, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel and senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research, told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner.

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"This is notable because what I believe is going on behind the scenes here in Washington is that the Obama White House is so set on making a [nuclear] deal with the Iranians, they're willing to give up literally everything else just to get that deal," he said.

"That's why we've seen the Iranians with extensive influence in the Tikrit offensive,which we have seen has ground to a stop," said Shaffer, referring to an Iranian-led military campaign to oust the Islamic State from one of its strongholds in Iraq.

"The Iranian commander there failed; now we've had to step in," said Shaffer. "And I don't think we wanted to do it: The Pentagon told me two weeks ago they did not want to get involved in Tikrit because they felt it was an 'Iraqi situation' where the Iranians were helping."

An Iranian militia fighting in Iraq, even against the Islamic State (ISIS), has raised fears that the Obama administration is allowing Iran, a state sponsor of terrorism, too much influence and too free a hand in a country where the U.S. has critical interests, and which it has paid dearly to try to secure.

The conflict in Yemen has several moving parts: the government's besieged military forces; the Houthis, backed by Iran as well as Yemenis loyal to a former president; the terror group al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP); and, most recently, ISIS — which took credit for mosque suicide bombings in Yemen last week that killed and injured hundreds.

"ISIS is going to try to subsume al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula," said Shaffer. "It's almost like a hostile merger, if you will, of the two. They both have similar goals. ISIS has been much more effective in planning and operations and frankly, many of the al-Qaida splinters like al-Shabab, Boko Haram, are all signing aboard [with ISIS]. So I would predict here in about six months you'll probably see al-Qaida and the Arabian Peninsula sign aboard to join ISIS."

"The biggest concern here," he said, "is making sure that Yemen does not become an ungoverned space."

As in Libya, Syria, and Somalia, he said, "any time you have an ungoverned space, terrorists are going to jump in there."

Shaffer also said Yemen will continue to be the site of an escalating proxy war between Shiite Iran, which is arming the Houthis, and Sunni countries, including Saudi Arabia and Egypt that supported the collapsed government of President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and want order restored in Yemen.

"While I don't think that the Saudis and Iranians will be fighting each other physically, the proxy war will expand and get worse, and we have to do something to support the Saudis and the Egyptians and them going in to stabilize Yemen," he said, "because I don't think the Houthis can govern. As much as they can push Hadi out, I don't think they can govern the country."

Shaffer also discussed an alarming Los Angeles Times report that Houthis seized files from Yemeni security detailing local American intelligence operations — including names of confidential informants — and plans for U.S.-backed counterterrorism strikes.

He said the looting of those secret records by Iranian-backed insurgents puts the U.S. in "great danger."

"Terrorists don't just want classified information — as a matter of fact, I don't think they really want that," said Shaffer. "They want, how do we function as an organization, as the United States, so they can target specific parts of how we operate."

"What's important here to remember is that this abandonment of those resources … was done politically," said Shaffer.

The commander of the Marine Corps told Congress last week that Marines who evacuated from Sana'a, the capital, along with U.S. embassy officials were following orders from U.S. Central Command and the State Department.

[Marine Corps Commandant] Gen. Joe Dunford "rightfully said, 'Wasn't my call,'" said Shaffer. "It was a political call."

"So what we're seeing is everything in our current national security policy and execution is a political narrative," said Shaffer. "The president is not allowing the leaders who are appointed to run the military to run the military."

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The Obama administration wants a nuclear accord with Iran so badly, it's willing to let the hostile Tehran regime have its way in Yemen and Iraq, defense policy analyst and former Special Ops warfare veteran Tony Shaffer told Newsmax TV on Thursday.
Tony Shaffer, yemen, iraq, iran
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2015-57-26
Thursday, 26 Mar 2015 09:57 PM
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