Raymond Tanter, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, Alhurra TV, Arabic

alhurra sep 1On 24 August 2014, Raymond Tanter was on Alhurra an Arabic TV.channel.

Tanter used for his discussion on Iraq, Iran, and Syria the following talking points. He called for a regional strategy that incorporated the porous borders of the Iraq and Syria as a point of departure and to support moderates in these three countries.

Turning to Tehran to help stabilize Iraq would be like asking an arsonist to help put out the fire. So the road to stabilizing Baghdad does not run through Tehran. The road to Baghdad runs through a coalition of moderates in the region and in Iraq. And the road to Baghdad bypasses Damascus to provide more robust support to “moderate” Syrian rebels.

Likewise, Washington needs to take action to relieve the plight of Iranian refugees held in prison-like conditions in Iraq. Called the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI), these Iranian dissidents are the core of the prodemocracy movement and largest unit within the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).

The NCRI/PMOI provided intelligence to Washington that helped save American lives in Iraq and continue to expose Iranian cheating on its nuclear weapons program. Hence, Washington should help resettle them to third countries, including the United States.

To watch the complete interview please go to: http://youtu.be/lCu3FaAWszI

Raymond Tanter on Bloomberg TV

26 agosto 14Boots on the Ground: Obama’s Options in Iraq.

On August 25 University of Michigan Professor Emeritus Raymond Tanter and Bloomberg’s Phil Mattingly discuss President Obama’s strategy for combating Islamic State in Iraq. They speak on “Street Smart.”

U.S. boots on ground in Iraq & Air Surveillance over adversary Syria an ally of Iran that pressures Camp Liberty.

To watch the complete interview please go to:

 

Stopping the Islamic State Might Be Obama’s Chance to Salvage His Middle East Policy

453868884_720The social media-produced execution of journalist Jim Foley released on Aug. 19 focuses attention on whether President Obama will stay the course in Iraq or take necessary actions to defeat the Islamic State (IS).

Now, in the context of Foley’s execution, will the president stick to hisstrategy of defensive containment or adopt a mini-surge, sending additional military advisors to Iraq in a rollback strategy to defeat IS? The latter, however, makes sense only if the president authorizesconduct raids into Syria, or America’s partners do, because IS forces may flee there as they are attacked in Iraq. And unless Special Operations spotters were deployed to identify IS targets in Syria as spotters do in Iraq, widening the battlefield space would not be as effective.

According to a report in the Washington Post on Friday, the administration has prepared options for legal authority to use force against IS across both Iraq and Syria. They include temporary justification under the War Powers Resolution, constitutional authority for emergency action to protect U.S. citizens, and consulting with the Congress for open-ended authorization to fight IS. But the same article states that the president has not requested to see contingency plans for broader airstrikes in Syria. If the administration goes the open-ended consultation route with Capitol Hill and the president ignores the contingency plans, it might be a signal that he is not serious about defeating IS.

But if the president does adopt a strategy to include Syria, the American people can be persuaded with an Obama-like 2008 address — such a midcourse correction is optimally-timed to save his presidency from further ignominy. As Daniel Pipes wrote, however, “I do not customarily offer advice to a president whose election I opposed,” I also hesitate to make suggestions that might save the Obama presidency. But the national interest in preventing IS from using Iraq and Syria as launching pads to execute attacks overrides political concerns.

According to Real Clear Politics, the president’s overall popularity is quite low: Between July 29 and Aug. 20,  42 percent approved and 52 percent disapproved of the overall job he was doing across nine different polls. The numbers were worse for his handling of foreign affairs, which, between July 29 and Aug. 12, only 35.8 percent of those polled approved versus 53.8 percent who disapproved over six polls.

A poll by Pew-USA TODAY taken Aug. 14 to 17 — prior to release of the execution video — indicates support (54 percent approve, 31 percent disapprove) of U.S. airstrikes in Iraq, but concern about getting too involved (51 percent worry about mission creep, 32 percent worry Washington will not do enough to stop the Islamists). Responsibility to act in Iraq increased between July and August, suggesting the assassination will result in greater support for airstrikes and responsibility to act in Iraq.

Read more:

The War Over How Washington Should Think About Iraq

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A grand debate is gaining traction in a virtual war for the eye of Washington policy analysts about the nature of the threat facing Iraq. The stakes are high: Whoever can define the threat can help shape the policy response.

On one side are counterterrorist analysts. Because of risks, they are unable to conduct field research embedded with terrorist groups. In the other camp are those who emphasize political factors in Iraq among Sunni Arabs, Kurds, and moderate Shiites.

The press defines the threat to Iraq as the Islamic State (formerly the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham. If the threat is mainly the Islamic State, then military options, such as airstrikes, are feasible, though risky because Islamic State fighters embed within populated areas.

Indicative of those whose focus is on the Islamic State is our Shadow colleague Paul Miller. He states that, “The Middle East is now a more favorable operating environment for jihadist groups than ever before … [and they operate in] a wide swath of territory across Iraq and Syria that is essentially safe haven for jihadist militants.” Miller is correct; at issue, however, is emphasis.

Read more:http://shadow.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2014/07/10/the_war_over_how_washington_should_think_about_iraq

 

Video

Stabilizing Iraq— Refrain from Coordinating with Iran Pressure Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) by Arming Syrian Moderates Condition U.S. Arms and Airstrikes on Inclusive Political Coalition

The following talking points are the basis of two media appearances by Raymond Tanter on 18 June 2013: BBC World Service Newsday, Radio, 2205 EDT and World Service TV, 2215 EDT

Thanks to Michael Eisenstadt for insights on which some of these bullets are based.

First, stop the loose talk about meeting with Iran to discuss the situation in Iraq.

Turning to Tehran to help stabilize Iraq would be like asking an arsonist to help put out the fire.

So the road to stabilizing Baghdad does not run through Tehran.

The road to Baghdad runs through a coalition of moderates in the region and in Iraq.

Second, the road to Baghdad passes through Damascus via moderate Arab rebels.

The White House has debated whether to train and equip the moderate opposition in Syria long enough. Now is the time to do so. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has an important presence is in eastern Syria. It is critical to threaten it there: The regime in Damascus seems to have a quiet understanding to refrain from attacking ISIS so long as it is fighting moderate rebel forces.

As Washington reaches out to moderate Syrian rebels with arms, the United States also needs to send a signal to Tehran that Washington is paying attention to Iranian dissidents. In this respect, the road to Tehran may go through an alignment of moderate Arab rebels and Iranian dissidents.

Third, make U.S. arms and airstrikes conditional on an inclusive political coalition.

Build an alliance with Kurds and Sunnis opposed to ISIS. The goal would be to recreate the coalition of moderates that defeated al Qaeda in Iraq in 2007. Because Prime Minister Maliki is unlikely to concur, quietly work with other politicians to create a majority able to select a new prime minister that reaches to minorities.

Condition expedited delivery of U.S. arms on whether there is a cross-sectarian strategy of inclusion of Sunnis and Kurds.

Continue refraining from launching American airstrikes until a political coalition of moderates is in place in Baghdad, preferably without Maliki.

Not by Sanctions Alone: Using Intelligence and Military Means to Bolster Diplomacy with Iran

The U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74), steams alongside the British Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious (R 06) in the Persian Gulf on April 9, 1998.  DoD photo by Airman Robert Baker, U.S. Navy.

Stringer/Iran/Reuters – Military personnel place a flag on a submarine during the Velayat-90 war games by the Iranian navy in the Strait of Hormuz in southern Iran December 27, 2011. Iran is rapidly gaining new capabilities to strike at U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf, amassing an arsenal of sophisticated anti-ship missiles while expanding its fleet of fast-attack boats and submarines.

 

In “Not by Sanctions Alone: Using Intelligence and Military Means to Bolster Diplomacy with Iran,” Michael Eisenstadt of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy recommends ways to reinforce American diplomacy regarding Iran, and thereby diminish the prospects of military confrontation with Tehran. He suggests the United States intensify intelligence operations and use the military instrument in ways it has not been willing to thus far:

Successful diplomacy may well depend on the administration’s ability to convince Tehran that the price of failed negotiations could be armed conflict. To make this threat credible, Washington must first show Tehran that it is preparing for a possible military confrontation—whether initiated by Iran or a third country—and that it is willing and able to enforce its red lines regarding freedom of navigation in the Gulf and the regime’s nuclear program.

Eisenstadt concludes:

If nuclear diplomacy with Tehran is to succeed, Washington must be prepared for the kind of brinkmanship it has not engaged in since the Cold War. This means ratcheting up pressure, while, backstopping diplomacy with preparations that underscore its readiness for a confrontation, in order to deter Iran from additional steps toward a nuclear breakout. To this end, Washington should reinforce three key notions in Tehran: that the Iranian nuclear program has been penetrated by foreign intelligence services, that the regime would not be able to conduct a clandestine breakout without getting caught, and that if it does try to build a nuclear weapon, the United States will destroy its nuclear infrastructure. In this way, the administration would make clear to Tehran that the only way to obtain sanctions relief, escape from its growing isolation, and avert the possibility of war is through a diplomatic solution—one that meets Iran’s desire for peaceful nuclear technology without allowing for the possibility of a breakout.

While IPC research is in line with most of the recommendations of Eisenstadt, the research also suggests:

Removal of Iranian opposition groups, such as the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), from the U.S. foreign terrorist organizations list to send a signal to Tehran that survival of its regime is on the table.

Enhanced use of Iranian dissident information as “lead intelligence” to complement surveillance information based on United States, Arab Gulf States, and Israeli services to make it more difficult for Tehran to plan or implement retaliatory action in the event of Israeli or American military strikes.

MAR 2012, Image of police presence in Camp Liberty

Employment of maximum diplomatic and economic pressure on the Government of Iraq for it to implement minimum humanitarian life support requirements to facilitate departure of residents from Camp Ashraf to Camp Liberty, Iraq. The residents are members of the largest unit with the NCRI—the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK), and it is critical for them to survive as an indication the Iranian regime’s survival is at stake.