Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Bruce Riedel: U.S. Iraq Invasion Paved Way to Regional Divide, Syria, Libya to Disappear | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Bruce Riedel

London- 30 years after serving at the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) , senior former national intelligence officer for the Mid-East and a member of President Obama’s transition team Bruce Riedel has come to be a renowned counter-terrorism expert.

Serving four different U.S. administrations, Riedel has many published works on his days spent dealing with Middle East, Eastern Asia, Gulf security and Arab-Israeli struggles. Riedel’s companions cite him as a man of high intelligence, who is well informed and poised.

Spending most of his years in the Middle-East, Riedel reiterated deep disappointment with bearing witness to great cities like Damascus and Baghdad being reduced to battle arenas.

In his first interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, an Arabic printing daily, Riedel said that Iraq’s 2003 invasion had paved the way to take apart Arab states. He added that the Lebanon 70’s war was a taste of what is to come.

The intelligence expert highlighted that Syria and Libya are underway to dissolution and that Iraq will be losing its Kurdish North.

Riedel said that what Iran promotes to be an Islamic revolution in truth is sectarian-based upheaval—so long Iran-backed Shi’ite Iraqi militias roam, there will always be ISIS, he said.

Riedel says that Iran’s genuine ‘affection’ for Iraq is so great that it wishes to see three states rise within the country; a Shi’ite Iraq, a smaller Sunni Iraq and a Kurdish Iraq.

The separation of Iraq would facilitate Iranian exploitation of the territory.

Effectively, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) pushes forward with the separation of Iraq, deploying militant units to the heated zone and throwing off national balance.

The IRGC is a branch of Iran’s Armed Forces devoted to serve Iranian religious-founded political agenda with a military leverage—the entity actively carries out Iranian orders beyond national borders partaking in wars in the Middle East.

On that note, Riedel failed to see the current Iranian President Hassan Rouhani flashing out the red card on IRGC operations.

When asked on whether the Middle East is having its borders redefined by U.S. and Russian power, Riedel said that with the evident chaos engulfing the whole region, it is not clear whether the Russians or the Americans are doing so.

He believes that the destruction and mayhem are playing the chief role in shifting territories even more than foreign influence is.

Riedel asserted that the Middle East is being set off from within. For two chief reasons, the Middle East is being self-destructive.

The first reason is that U.S. former President George W. Bush and British former Prime Minister Tony Blair made the monumentally disastrous decision to invade Iraq, the second reason being the failure of the Arab Spring.

As to whether the first brought about the other or vice versa, Riedel believes that the invasion of Iraq was the first step taken towards breaking down the power balance in the region, while the Arab Spring regrettably fast-tracked the process.

As for the redefined topography, Riedel believes that Syria and Libya heading towards absolute dissolution. Iraq would lose its Kurdish North– the rest of the areas will be at a better aligned state not by peace but in arms, he said.

Riedel made the serious notion that it would not be surprising for him to see parts and parcels of Libya join other countries.

Whether the Libya broken-off territory will be joining its neighboring country, Egypt, he said the possibility is present—yet the annexation will not be official at the beginning, Riedel added.

Moreover, Riedel forecast a different future for the orthodox uniformed Yemen known. He believes that South will separate from its North once again and will fall under Saudi protection.

Syria’s forecast did not look any brighter in Riedel’s opinion, the state will dissolve into smaller states according to sect. All future Syrian states exhibit Islam as a main feature; however, according to Riedel some would prove to be more extreme than others.

Riedel labeled the future of Syria as a country not to only be dangerous but rather short to horrific.