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Mideast Expert: Fractured Syria Becoming a Terrorist Base

By    |   Monday, 26 Jan 2015 07:28 PM

American-led airstrikes on Islamic State fighters in Syria are disruptive to the militant army that is trying to build a caliphate on seized territory, but airstrikes alone won't preserve a crumbling Syrian state from turning into a haven for jihadi terrorists, says a former Defense Department senior analyst.

"There's a very real possibility that we're going to be stuck with a fragile and fragmented Syrian state for many years to come," J. Matthew McInnis, a foreign and defense policy scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner on Newsmax TV Monday.

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Commenting on Syria's many-sided civil war and the emergence of the Islamic State, McInnis said that absent a "very dramatic intervention by the U.S. or by Turkey, or by some other major player," Syria will become a "broken-up state" and "a base for terrorists worldwide."

McInnis said the Syrian government's army and embattled dictator Bashar al-Assad are not up to the job of ridding the country of militants, he said.

"Bashar al-Assad recently has frankly admitted that, that they're not in a position any time soon to be able to retake the rest of the country from the Islamic State or Jabhat al-Nusra, the al-Qaida affiliate there," he said.

A better-case scenario might be a military stalemate leading to a cease fire among the warring parties, said McInnis, "but otherwise I'm very unhopeful for any good resolution to this situation."

McInnis also discussed U.S. nuclear talks with Iran, and said he is "very frustrated" because American negotiators have leverage they are not using: a plunge in global oil prices that is draining Iran's treasury on top of losses caused by economic sanctions.

"Iran is in a very dire economic situation that … we could really leverage to push for, if not full capitulation, a very, very good deal that would keep Iran from ever being able to produce" nuclear weapons said McInnis.

Instead, he said, the U.S. is unfreezing some Iranian assets as part of the negotiation.

"We're probably in a situation, given Iran's history, where they are probably cheating and we are probably getting screwed here, frankly," said McInnis.

"Everything we know about the Iranian nuclear program we have found out through people revealing it — through secrets being exposed," he said. "They never come forward willingly about anything regarding the nuclear program."

With the Iranian economy on its knees, now is the time for U.S. negotiators to demand, and get, a very heavy and intrusive monitoring program to ensure that Iran's nuclear program remains peaceful, said McInnis.

"There are ways that we could push this and to our advantage," he said. "I just really doubt this administration is going to do that."

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American-led airstrikes on Islamic State fighters in Syria are disruptive to the militant army that is trying to build a caliphate on seized territory, but airstrikes alone won't preserve a crumbling...
islamic, state, isis, airstrikes, syria, jihad
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2015-28-26
Monday, 26 Jan 2015 07:28 PM
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