Tags: hayden | arab | coalition | legitimacy

Gen. Hayden: Arab Coalition Provides 'International Legitimacy'

By    |   Thursday, 25 Sep 2014 12:04 PM

Getting five nations to participate in Syrian airstrikes is a critical first step in a broad strategy to defeat the Islamic State, retired Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden said Thursday on Newsmax TV.

He characterized the group effort as “expanded legitimacy, showing “that it's just not an American effort.” European allies need to get on board as well, he said.

“Give this an international legitimacy that it's going to have to have over the long-term,” he said. “Secondly, these guys are good. They know what they're doing. It's additional firepower so this would be a happy outcome.”

Whether Turkey will join the coalition is an unknown, according to Hayden, who thinks the Turkish government wants to create a safe haven in northern Syria in order to avoid millions of refugees fleeing to Turkey.

“This is about Turkish policy and Turkish policy frankly has been muddled,” Hayden said. “We're trying to bring along an ally who would be very valuable for this, but their own approach, the Turks own approach to this problem, hasn’t been all that clear and certainly hasn't been all that consistent. There's reason to believe that they were a bit indiscriminate in who they allowed to cross their border, what they allowed to cross the border to whom earlier in the conflict. Now they've been bitten by ISIS, I mean they had their diplomats as hostages in Mosul for the longest time. Turks are still sorting this out on their own as to the best approach. The more we can get them on side the easier this becomes.”

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Telling Americans in Turkey to be on high alert for a terror threat makes good sense, according to Hayden, who noted that Turkey’s borders are porous.

Hayden, the former director of the National Security Agency and the CIA, said that airstrikes alone won’t win the war.

“Airstrikes disable and degrade ISIS, but you don't win this at the strategic level over the long-term unless you change the reality, unless you change facts on the ground,” he said.
The way to handle the “close fight” influences whether you’re successful with the “deep fight -- the production rate of people who want to come kill us,” he said.

“So it's just not about the tactical considerations of putting that weapon on that target,” he explained. “You've got to consider the strategic implications of this as well and so again, I don't know the details I can't judge, but I understand where you want to be precise with your targeting and exquisite with your intelligence because making mistakes there might – not might, will make it difficult to achieve the ultimate objective which is to make this problem go away.”

Americans should expect a “sustained campaign against ISIS” from the air while trying to merge the reminder of the Iraqi Army with the Kurdish Peshmerga and “some modest ground presence in Syria.”

“I don't think that's enough,” he cautioned. “We should've been doing more and we should've been doing more sooner.”

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Getting five nations to participate in Syrian airstrikes is a critical first step in a broad strategy to defeat the Islamic State, retired Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden said Thursday on Newsmax TV. He characterized the group effort as "expanded legitimacy, showing "that...
hayden, arab, coalition, legitimacy
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2014-04-25
Thursday, 25 Sep 2014 12:04 PM
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