Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton looked ahead to America’s diplomacy and national security challenges in 2018 on Thursday’s Breitbart News Daily with SiriusXM host Raheem Kassam.
“I think in the Middle East it’s going to be particularly dangerous because, while the ISIS caliphate has been largely destroyed, ISIS itself has been expanding in many other parts of the world,” Bolton began.
“It’s one of the consequences of the slow-motion approach that Barack Obama’s military offensive against ISIS entailed,” he continued. “A lot of the ISIS people got out to Libya, to Yemen, to Afghanistan. We just saw this morning a major terrorist attack in Afghanistan, claimed credit by ISIS. The terrorist threat, unfortunately, is not diminishing. It’s just spreading around and growing more complicated.”
“Perhaps even more significantly for Israel and for our Arab allies, Iran has come out of this conflict against ISIS the real winner, maybe along with Russia,” he warned.
“The Pentagon—although it was freed from very restrictive rules of engagement imposed by Obama when they were fighting against ISIS, there was a real determination to do what should have been done much earlier, which is destroy ISIS as rapidly as one can prudently do it. Unfortunately, the Pentagon did not change one of the central elements of the Obama strategy, which is support for the government in Baghdad, largely if not completely controlled for these purposes by the ayatollahs in Tehran,” Bolton proceeded.
“The Iraqi army, along with the Shia militia that were also part of the offensive against ISIS, were marching not just to retake Mosul and other areas of Iraq, take them back from ISIS, but to extend Iran’s influence. So now at the end of this conflict, with the ISIS caliphate largely gone, Iran has an arc of military control that extends from Iran through the Shia-controlled areas of Iraq to the Assad regime in Syria and to Hezbollah in Lebanon, buttressed by Russian bases,” he stated.
Bolton pointed to “a new airbase constructed in Latakia, Syria under the Obama administration,” and noted that “just a few weeks ago, the State Duma in Moscow agreeing to substantially expand the longstanding Russian naval base at Tartus in Syria.”
“So while we have just reason to celebrate the destruction of the ISIS caliphate, make no mistake: Iran has increased its threat in the region. That’s only made worse, obviously, by its continuing nuclear program, which barely paused for breath after the 2015 Obama nuclear deal,” he stated.