New Middle East war on the horizon, says veteran journalist, foreign policy adviser
By Peter Duveen
PETER'S NEW YORK, Monday, June 1,
2009--In a revealing and informative interview, journalist and foreign
policy expert Arnaud de Borchgrave said today there is no relief in
sight for what ails the Israelis and the Palestinians, and that a war
involving the two parties was all but inevitable. He also said Iran was
close to obtaining a nuclear weapon, but that military action against
that country by the United States or Israel was not a realistic option.
"I think we're a long, long way from a
Palestinian state," de Borchgrave, Director of the Transnational
Threats Project for the Center for Strategic and International Studies
in Washington, D.C, told viewers of the cable news network
C-SPAN. De Borchgrave, who is also editor-at-large for the Washington Times
and wire service United Press International, said a new war would break
out in the Middle East "when people understand that there isn't going
to be a Palestinian state." The United States, he said, would not force
Israel to withdraw from the occupied territories because of the close
relationship between the two countries. "Israel is tantamount to the
51st state," he said.
Peter Duveen Photo
De Borchgrave: military intervention in Iran would be "madness."
He said that an Israeli attack on Iran
would not set that country's nuclear program back for more than two or
three years, and that Iran had "formidable asymmetrical retaliatory
capabilities," including a
natural alliance with a Shiite Moslem population strategically
distributed throughout the region. Iran, he noted, also controls the
Strait of Hormuz, through which a major portion of Middle East oil must
pass to get to market.
"To intervene (militarily) in Iran I think would be madness," he said.
During almost an hour of air time on
early morning television, De Borchgrave was peppered with questions
from C-SPAN's viewers on a broad array of topics, from the Iraq war to
Osama Bin Laden.
The Iraq War, De Borchgrave noted, was
in the planning stages as early as 1996, when a "white paper" penned by
former defense department officials Richard Perle and Douglas Feith
called for the United States to "try to establish democracies around
Israel," a move that the authors maintained would secure peace for that
country for a quarter of a century. "That was the overall idea," De
Borchgrave said. Part of the plan, he said, was for Israel to keep its
settlements in the West Bank.
The decision to invade Iraq, de
Borchgrave said, had already been made a year before the first shots
were fired across Baghdad. The war was a "huge distraction from the
real problems of the world," he said, adding that then-Iraqi President
Saddam Hussein was "a threat to his own people only" and certainly not
to the United States.
De Borchgrave said Iran is close to
developing nuclear capability, adding that it would be naive to think
otherwise, as that nation has had the know-how to produce a nuclear
weapon for many years. "They've been at it for a quarter of a century."
he said. Israel, he said, has been a nuclear power since 1960 or 1961.
He said that, in light of a country as young as Pakistan having
obtained nuclear arms, Iran was not likely to understand why it should
not have them as well.
He noted that Iran was a great power,
a great civilization, and had legitimate worries about its
security. It is "incumbent upon us...to talk about their concerns
and our concerns," he said. De Borchgrave said there was no military
solution to the problems of either North Korea or Iran.
On other matters, when asked if Osama
Bin Laden, the titular head of Al Qaeda, is alive, he said, "Oh yes, I
have no doubt that he is."
Another listener cited a scientific
paper demonstrating the presence of a high-tech explosive he called
"advanced thermitic material" in the dust from the collapses of the
World Trade Center towers on September 11, 2001. The
listener asked de Borchgrave what the implications for foreign
policy would be if it were determined that the buildings were brought
down by explosives rather than by the airliners that collided with them
on 9-11. De Borchgrave indicated he was not familiar with the report.
"I take your word for it for the time being and will check on it
later," he said.
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