Dr. Walid Phares to the Washington Times: “Iran’s regime is the other more dangerous ISIS”

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Dr. Walid Phares to the Washington Times: “Iran’s regime is the other more dangerous ISIS”
By Dr Walid Phares
Dec 20, 2014

In his interview with financial expert Charles Ortel, anchor of “On the Money,” a radio show offered by the Washington Times, Dr Walid Phares said “while the US-led coalition is busy containing the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the other more dangerous ISIS of the region that is the Iranian regime, is establishing a greater force in the Middle East with threats rising to strategic levels.”

In his interview with financial expert Charles Ortel, anchor of “On the Money,” a radio show offered by the Washington Times, Dr Walid Phares said “while the US-led coalition is busy containing the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the other more dangerous ISIS of the region that is the Iranian regime, is establishing a greater force in the Middle East with threats rising to strategic levels.” Phares, a Co-Secretary General of the Transatlantic Parliamentary Group on Counter Terrorism TAG is the author of “The Lost Spring” said “news from the region are not good for 2015. Almost all projections are painting a more sinister year. The Iranian nuclear deal is not working. Despite a billion dollar cash transferred by the Administration to the Iranian regime, the strategic weapons program is still on. Moreover the regime is taking advantage of the fight against the Islamic State to penetrate Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and activate terror networks in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. Tehran has been backing a pro-Iranian military uprising in Yemen, known as the Houthis. ISIS is striking in Iraq and Syria and Iran’s regime is devouring the entire region.”

Phares said the Iranians are actively penetrating eastern Saudi Arabia and threatening to set up a revolt in the Ihsa’ region, which has a Shia majority. “The problem obviously is not the Shia but the Iranian backed militant networks. Similar activities are taking place in Yemen where the Houthis have marched from the north and invaded Sanaa the capital. In Lebanon Hezbollah controls the country’s national security apparatus. But the Gulf countries are responding, particularly with the UAE, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia putting Hezbollah and its allies on their terror lists and eventually asking the Security Council to do the same internationally.”

Turning to Qatar Phares noted that “its hosting and backing of the Muslim Brotherhood has been a problem throughout the region particularly towards Egypt, Libya and Syria. Some of these Islamists have moved to become al Qaeda, al Nusra and eventually the Islamic State. The problem however was that the IKhwan lobby in Washington has dragged the US to stand with the Brotherhood instead of with civil societies in the region. It took a revolution by 33 million Egyptians, later backed by a new Arab bloc to bring down the Brotherhood regime and reduce Qatar’s influence. In Egypt, it wasn’t the military that changed the course, it was the people. Unfortunately Washington made wrong choices. Wrong choice in Libya where the Administration backed the Islamists before Libyans rose against them. Libya’s mistakes produced even greater crises across the Sahel all the way to Nigeria with Boku Haram. Another mistake is about to be made in Afghanistan as well with a forthcoming deal with the Taliban. We may see there parallels to the disaster in Iraq and Syria, with ISIS”

Phares was asked if there were any alternatives to the current policies. He said: “In 2012 as I served as a senior advisor on foreign policy to Presidential candidate Mitt Romney the teams had prepared different alternatives to the Administration’s current policies. Even then we calculated that we needed at least two years to change course and prevent the tragic events in Libya, Syria, Iraq and of course regarding Iran. Unfortunately we were not given this opportunity.”

Asked about the single most foe in the Middle East, Phares said “it remains the Iranian regime. Because it is growing without containment, it is expanding and in fact it is obstructing us from ending the ISIS problem faster.”

On his book “The Lost Spring” Phares said “it was an analysis to explain that the initial Arab Spring could have been won but we failed it, and that there is a series of catastrophes approaching fast, and few months after the book was published, everything exploded in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen and Iran took advantage, exactly as we projected in this book.” But Phares said “based on the analysis of the book a new US policy can still avoid further catastrophes if it acts fast, but it needs to change, with this Administration, with the new Congress or with a new Administration.”