Tags: America's Forum | Exclusive Interviews | ISIS/Islamic State | Middle East | Ted Cruz | Political | battle

Walid Phares: Obama Waging 'Political Battle' Against ISIS

By    |   Friday, 12 Sep 2014 12:23 PM

President Barack Obama's campaign against the Islamic State (ISIS) is largely a "political battle," because it would be difficult for his administration to admit they were starting a war, Middle East expert Dr. Walid Phares told Newsmax TV's "America's Forum."

"This is really a political battle, because the president and members of the administration committed that they are here to end war. It would be difficult for them to admit that they are opening a very large war," Phares said Friday. "What is happening right now is the administration wants to begin this campaign, but really doesn't know how to end it."

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Support from Arab nations to Obama's plan has been lukewarm because the president did not enforce his "red line" threat last year against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's use of chemical weapons against his own people, Phares explained.

The president's commitment to withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan was also a consideration that led to doubts among Mideast leaders about Obama's determination to follow through on the effort to destroy the ISIS threat, he said.

"There is little trust that this administration would put a full-fledged support for a long period of time," he said. "Without a determination that will [result in] the absolute defeat of ISIS, not just to pushback, not just the weakening of ISIS, but a full determination, our allies needs to see more, including mostly Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and other countries in the neighborhood."

Egypt "has problems with the administration," Phares said, adding they were unresolved and Egyptian officials were "waiting to settle these problems" before committing to the campaign against ISIS.

Phares said a conference, In Defense of Christians, held in Washington to deal with the issues of persecution of Christians and other minorities in the Middle East, drew patriarchs and politicians from the region to discuss the problem with U.S. government officials.

This was the same conference where Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz was invited to deliver the keynote address on Tuesday and was booed off the stage after speaking in defense of Israel.

Phares said the hostility toward Cruz was due to militants sympathetic to Syria who were in attendance.

"Militants, who are very close to the Syrian regime, to Hezbollah and to the Iranian regime, who were very present at the conference, booed him," he said. "When Sen. Cruz attacked Hezbollah and said Hezbollah, al-Qaida, and ISIS are all terrorist organizations, it provoked them to react. That is the deep reason for why this incident occurred."

In the Middle East, "those who are in charge of politics are mostly on the Syrian, Hezbollah, Iranian side," Phares said, and suggested in the future, members of Congress should be better briefed about "who is organizing these conferences."

Christians and other minorities in the region who had been persecuted at the hands of Islamist militants "do not trust anybody anymore to protect them after this ethnic cleansing" by ISIS fighters, Phares said, adding that the United Nations needed to step in to help protect them.

"They need to be recognized by the U.N. They need to be protected by the U.N. And, they need to be armed and organized as communities, so that in the future, other attacks by ISIS or by other jihadists won't ethnic cleanse them again," he said.

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President Barack Obama's campaign against the Islamic State (ISIS) is largely a political battle, because it would be difficult for his administration to admit they were starting a war, Middle East expert Dr. Walid Phares told Newsmax TV's "America's Forum."
Middle East, Ted Cruz, Political, battle, ISIS
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2014-23-12
Friday, 12 Sep 2014 12:23 PM
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