“… the most significant threat to our national interests.”
by Yochanan Visser September 23, 2016
This has been another bad week for the Obama administration’s Middle East policy. First, as Western Journalism reported Tuesday, Obama was caught red-handed lying about money transfers to Iran. The president had always defended the transfer of $1.7 billion cash to Iran in three installments as inevitable because the U.S. could not wire the money due to sanctions levied on the regime.
But last week, a U.S. Treasury spokesman revealed the administration had wired almost $10 million to Iran on two occasions over the last 14 months.
Then there was the collapse of the new Syrian ceasefire agreement that had been negotiated with Russia by Secretary of State John Kerry that should have paved the way to renewed peace negotiations in Geneva.
However, despite Kerry’s claims to the contrary, the ceasefire never materialized and was finally blown to smithereens by U.S. warplanes that incidentally bombed a Syrian airbase in eastern Syria and by a brutal airstrike on a UN humanitarian aid convoy near Aleppo by what appeared to be Russian and Syrian airplanes.
Twenty UN aid workers were killed in the two-hour bombardment on the convoy that was on its way to the besieged city and had UN marks on all of the trucks.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, the Russians, who Obama and Kerry were increasingly treating as partners in the Syrian war, spat in the face of the administration by sending their only aircraft carrier to Syria the moment Kerry demanded a no-fly zone in the war-torn country to save the “ceasefire.”
What happened next would have been unthinkable in the United States before Obama.
During a hearing Thursday on the U.S. security problems, Gen. Joseph Dunford, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, announced the U.S. military would refuse to execute a central element of the administration’s new Syria policy.
Dunford was talking about U.S. intelligence sharing with the Russian Central Command in Syria.
That would be a bad idea, the general said.
“The U.S. military role will not include intelligence sharing with the Russians,” Dunford told lawmakers on the Senate Armed Services Committee, according to the Washington Free Beacon.
“I do not believe it would be a good idea to share intelligence with the Russians,” Dunford, who was accompanied by Defense Secretary Ash Carter, added.
The Pentagon has been opposed to the idea of intelligence sharing with the Russians from the outset when Kerry waspushing hard to make a deal on cooperation with Russia in the war against ISIS and Jabhat Fatah al-Sham.
Dunford now told lawmakers that Russia posed “the most significant challenge” to the U.S. national interests and said Russia is carrying out military operations not seen “in 20 years.”
“When I look at Russia’s nuclear capability, when I look at their cyber capability, when I look at their developments in undersea warfare, when I look at their patterns of operations — how often they’re operating, the locations they are operating in — these are kinds of operations that we haven’t seen in over 20 years,” Dunford told the committee.
“When I look at Mr. Putin’s activities in Ukraine, in Crimea, in Georgia, that causes me to say that a combination of their behavior as well as their military capability would cause me to believe that they pose the most significant challenge, potentially the most significant threat, to our national interests,” he added.
Dunford also contradicted the State Department’s assessment that the Syrian ceasefire was “very fragile” but had not collapsed.
When he was asked if the ceasefire was holding, Dunford responded, “That would not appear to be the case over the last 48 hours.”
Dunford’s statements during the hearing marked the first time a Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff informed Congress that he would not carry out the stated policy of the government he is serving, according to Liberty Unyielding analyst Jennifer Dyer.
“I don’t think even MacArthur did this. He exceeded his authority and complained publicly about Truman’s policy, and ended up being fired for it. But he didn’t inform Congress in advance that he had no intention of executing the policy the administration was working to implement,” Dyer told Western Journalism.
In 1951, President Harry Truman fired Mac Arthur after he repeatedly made statements that contradicted the administration’s policies.
Source: Western Journalism