Thursday, August 16, 2012

EXCLUSIVE: GBTV's Erick Stakelbeck on Global Terror Trends


This afternoon, I had the opportunity to speak with Erick Stakelbeck of CBN and GBTV about events in the Middle East and repercussions they could have in the United States.  Unfortunately, I pressed a wrong button on the phone, so there's no recording.  The following write up is from my notes.

Israel and Iran

Erick has been saying for months that he expects Israel to strike the Iranian nuclear program sometime soon. If you look at the history of modern Israel, they always launch pre-emptive strikes when faced with existential threats.  They did it in 1967, they did it in 1981, and they did it in 2007.  A nuclear Iran would be the greatest existential threat to Israel in modern history.

The biggest question we face is when the Israeli strike will happen.  Erick Stakelbeck thinks there is "a good chance" it will occur BEFORE the U.S. Presidential election, possibly October.  The reason for this is that Israeli leaders fear striking Iran in a potential Obama second term, and want to get the strike behind them while Obama is still accountable to U.S. voters.

Another possibility: What if Iran strikes first?!?  Methinks, I've read about this somewhere....

Iranian Retaliation

Hostility between Barack Obama and Bibi Netanyahu notwithstanding, the Iranian regime believes Israel and the United States are joined at the hip; they're the little Satan and we're the Great Satan.  Thus, when Israel strikes the Iranian nuclear program, we should expect some sort of retaliation against U.S. interests.  That could take several forms, including attacking U.S. embassies abroad or terror attacks on U.S. soil.

An open question is how the Islamist groups that have infiltrated the U.S. government during the late Bush and Obama administrations would impact U.S. policy in response to potential attacks.

Iran as the epicenter of Global Islamist Terror

The longer I study Global Islamist Terrorism, especially the work of Yossef Bodansky, the more I think everything boils down to Iran; Erick Stakelbeck agrees.  Iran and all the other various Islamist bad guys have all worked together in the past.

One point that hasn't drawn nearly enough attention is Iran's role in 9/11.  Last year, a Federal Court in New York found Iran guilty of aiding and abetting the 9/11 attack.  That's DIRECT Iranian complicity in 9/11.  Additionally, the 9/11 commission found that the Iranian government let several hijackers pass through Iran unmolested.  Additionally, Bodansky's work makes clear that Iran played a major role in the growth of Usama bin Laden's network in the 1990's.

The bottom line is that Iran has its tentacles in EVERY Islamist operation around the globe.  They're the keystone of global terror.  Dealing with any other Islamist entity before dealing with Iran is pointless.

Syria

Which brings us to Syria.  Syria is an Iranian client state.  If Assad goes, it weakens Iran.  On the other hand,    we shouldn't maintain any illusions about what would replace Assad.  It's a choice between Islamists allied with Iran or Islamists allied with Al Qaeda.  Its a bad choice either way.

One thing to keep in mind:  Assad could decide to go out in a final orgy of sour grapes blaze of glory, and launch chemical weapons at Israel.  Erick Stakelbeck thinks Israel would retaliate directly against Damascus.  Once again, I think I've read about that somewhere.

Afghanistan

Erick Stakelbeck believes we're never going to win the hearts and minds of the Afghans; they'll always be Islamist and tribal.  Furthermore, the rules of engagement our troops are facing are ridiculous.  Erick Stakelbeck believes we need to dramatically lighten our Afghan footprint and focus much more closely on killing Al Qaeda and Taliban.

Conclusion

There are three major global terror trends to watch over the next 6 to 12 months:

  1. Iran, Iran, Iran.
  2. How will Assad go out?!?  Will he engage in an orgy of sour grapes?!?  Will he launch chemical weapons?!?
  3. The Muslim Brotherhood consolidating power in Egypt and 'tweaking' the Camp David accords.
War is coming; be prepared.

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