London – United States General Mark Kimmitt accused Iran for ongoing attempts to expand its harmful influence, reaffirming that the President Donald Trump administration fully recognizes the dangers of Iranian sway growing in the region.
Gen. Kimmitt noted that the concern is now spurred not from a ‘Shia’a Crescent’ but from ‘Shia’a banding.’
Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, Gen. Kimmitt underscored strategic US red lines drawn with respect to Iran’s ballistic missiles test-firings, saying that it is not far-fetched for Washington to grant its Gulf-based ships and forces the green light for self-defense.
Addressing Syria developments, Kimmit said that all concerned parties agree that additional US assistance is needed and essential for a Raqqa offensive. He added that US Marines will provide support, however will not have a front line role.
US-backed Syrian forces had announced Thursday that they were closing in on ISIS-held Raqqa , the symbolic ISIS capital, and expected to reach the city outskirts in a few weeks, as a US Marines artillery unit deployed to help the campaign.
Subsequent to retiring from the Army, Kimmitt served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Middle East Policy, responsible for military policy development, planning, guidance and oversight for the region.
When asked about Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford holding a military summit with his Russian and Turkish counterparts to prevent clashes between their countries’ forces and the factions they support in Syria, and to sort out the next steps in the anti-ISIS campaign, Gen. Kimmitt said that the meeting’s details were not disclosed.
However, Kimmitt said that he suspects the counterparts to have agreed or differed on three topics.
First of all being the issue involved with categorizing terrorist organizations. Russians, for a while now, had deemed any movement opposing Bashar al-Assad–the Russian-backed Syria regime head– as a viable target irrespective of it being solely a rebel force or an actual terrorist group.
Hopefully the three parties have agreed to that particular issue, Gen. Kimmitt said.
Second of all, Gen. Kimmitt expressed his hope on principal potential rows during adjacent military operations behind settled as well.
Focus must solely be directed to the fight against ISIS, and any aerial or land-based confrontation might divert efforts away from the chief target, Gen. Kimmitt explained.
Lastly, the three military chiefs could have agreed on a military solution not being sufficient to settle the Syria crisis, and that military operations are a mere mean to an end. The end being a diplomatic Syria settlement.
While in the Army, Kimmitt had command and staff assignments throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, including planning positions within both Allied and Joint service commands. He served in hot zones, such as Iraq, Bosnia and Kosovo.