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Petraeus: “Roll Back Iran’s Malign Activities” – Amir Oren (Ha’aretz via Daily Alert)

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Jan. 8, 2016

Petraeus: “Roll Back Iran’s Malign Activities” – Amir Oren (Ha’aretz)

Former CIA director Gen. David Petraeus told Ha’aretz in an interview:

 

  • “We live in a world where we must combat non-state actors, like the Islamic State, that have genocidal and totalitarian ambitions, while simultaneously countering nation-states that have hegemonic ambitions and that seek to overturn key tenets of the existing international order, like the Iranian government.”
  • “I think there is a perception in a variety of geographies today that the U.S. over the past few years – particularly after the frustrations of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars – has been weary of war; and, in turn, this has probably emboldened some actors to try their luck at challenging the international order. It is going to be very important for the U.S. to address this problem and to restore a sense of certainty and confidence – among friends and foes alike – in America’s security commitments.”
  • “I think it would be a significant mistake to assume that the Iranian nuclear program will be dormant under the JCPOA. Perhaps the Iranians really will adhere to their obligations under the agreement. But if they do so, it will be among the few times in a quarter-century that they haven’t tried to cheat on their nuclear commitments.”
  • “That is why it is so important for the United States and our allies to use the JCPOA to pursue the most robust possible inspections and verification, and for us also to signal clearly to the Iranians that any violations – especially on the margins of the deal, which is where such activity will inevitably begin – will prompt a very firm and credible response.”
  • “We must recognize that it has been Iranian expansionism that has helped fan the flames of Sunni extremism – whether by enabling Bashar Assad’s campaign of slaughter in Syria or backing sectarian elements in Iraq or Yemen. That is why, at the same time that we step up our campaign to combat the Islamic State, we also need a reinvigorated effort to counter and roll back Iran’s malign activities across the region.”
  • “I think it is increasingly clear that the old notion that the path to peace and stability in the Middle East runs through a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is mistaken. There are multiple interlocking conflicts unfolding across the region right now – and to be blunt, the Israeli-Palestinian issue is peripheral to all of them.”
  • “I think we also need to be very clear that – whatever the frustrations and disappointments of the current situation – there is simply no excuse or rationalization for terrorism, nor for moral equivalence between those who set out to kill innocent civilians and those trying to prevent attacks. Beyond that, clearly, incitement and glorification of violence against civilians constitute a moral and strategic dead end. This is, frankly, a lesson that should have been learned long ago.”

 

  • “From an American perspective, Israel has proven itself to be an exceptionally capable, resourceful and valuable ally to the United States in a very important and treacherous region. We share many fundamental interests, and we face enemies that wish to do both countries harm.”
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