Fox News

Fox News 3 Jan 2020

General Keane on US-Iran tensions amid airstrike fallout

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Fox News senior strategic analyst Gen. Jack Keane reacts to the US airstrike that killed IRan Quds Force leader Qassem Soleimani.


Tensions between the United States and Iran escalated in early January after US President Donald Trump ordered the killing of top Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani.

The attack also killed Iraq's Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy commander of Iran-backed militias known as the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF).

In response, Iran fired more than a dozen missiles at two US bases.

All of that was happening on Iraqi soil, a nation once again caught up between a regional giant and a military superpower.

Trump is adamant that the attack was "self-defence" and that Soleimani posed an imminent threat - which was contradicted by Iran and the Iraqi prime minister.

And Iran says it's delivered "a slap in the face" with a missile strike which will usher in the end of US presence in the Middle East.

So is the latest US-Iran crisis really over? Will the US heed calls for its forces to leave Iraq?

Al Jazeera was given rare access to the sprawling Ain al-Assad base after the Iranian strike. We asked the US-led coalition if the threats from Iran-backed militias still loom. And in a rare TV appearance, Mohammad Mohie, spokesman of the Iran-backed Shia paramilitary group Kataib Hezbollah, talks to Al Jazeera.

Asked about the US government calling Kataib Hezbollah a threat to Iraq's peace and security, Mohie says: "We are Iraqis and from Iraqi soil. We have confronted US troops; they were occupation troops according to the UN. After 2003, the US troops were occupation troops so it was the right of the Iraqi people to resist. And with our joint efforts we expelled US troops. So the return of the US troops to this area is stirring problems by inciting violence and supporting terrorist groups and Takfiris. Those groups threaten the security of the region, this is the main reason for instability in the Middle East and it is the main threat to everyone's security. We are the sons of this area, we have the right to defend it, to live in it peacefully."
Four Iraqi soldiers have been injured after rockets were fired at Balad airbase on Sunday night.
The facility, north of Baghdad, also hosts American forces.
It comes amid heightened tensions between the United States and Iran, and the Iraqi parliament now wants to expel all foreign troops.
But in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq, there are fears any withdrawal could lead to a resurgence of ISIL (ISIS).

Al Jazeera's Hoda Abdel-Hamid reports from Qara Chokh mountain range in northern Iraq.
Pope Francis on Thursday warned that increasing tensions between the US and Iran were setting the stage for a broader conflict in the Middle East while jeopardising efforts to rebuild Iraq.
#PopeFrancis #USIranCrisis
Dozens of Iraqi Shiite militiamen and their supporters broke into the U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad on Tuesday, angered over deadly U.S. airstrikes targeting the Iran-backed militia. (Dec. 31)

… show captions ↓
>> THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.
>> ALSO WITH US THIS EVENING.
CHAIRMAN OF THE INSTITUTE FOR
THE STUDY OF WAR AND FOX NEWS
SENIOR STRATEGIC ANALYST.
GENERAL, GOOD TO SEE YOU THIS
EVENING.
GOOD TO BE HERE.
I WANT TO START WITH THIS.
THIS IS A SOUND BITE FROM THE
FORMER CIA DIRECTOR MIKE MOREL.
HERE'S WHAT HE SAID ABOUT WHAT
WE CAN ALL EXPECT NOW.
WATCH.
>> THE PROBLEM IS THAT COMES IN
A VERY HIGH COST.
NUMBER ONE, THERE WILL BE DEAD
AMERICANS, DID CIVILIAN
AMERICANS AS A RESULT OF THIS,
POSSIBLY OVER THE NEXT FEW DAYS
IN ANY PLACE WHERE IRAN HAS ITS
PROXIES, IRAQ IS THE MOST LIKELY
PLACE.
BUT ALSO LEBANON, BAHRAIN, OTHER
PLACES IN THE MIDDLE EAST.
>> Martha: DO YOU AGREE WITH
THAT?
>> I THINK THE IRANIANS ARE
GOING TO RETALIATE, THAT'S FOR
SURE.
WHAT'S GOING ON WITH THE
IRANIANS SO OUR VIEWERS CAN
UNDERSTAND THE, THE CIVIL UNREST
DRIVEN BY THE SANCTIONS HAS
REALLY GOT THE IRANIANS BACK ON
THEIR HEELS.
IT SPIKED IN NOVEMBER.
THERE IS NOTHING MORE
THREATENING TO THE REGIME THAN
THEIR OWN PEOPLE.
THAT HAS WHAT HAS GOT THEIR
CONCERN.
THEY ARE DETERMINED TO CREATE AS
MUCH CRISIS AS THEY CAN FOR THE
INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY TO PUT
PRESSURE ON PRESIDENT TRUMP TO
BACK OFF SANCTIONS AND THAT IS
WHY, AS YOU MENTIONED IN THE
INTRODUCTION WITH OUR FORMER
PREVIOUS GUEST, WHY THEY HAVE
BEEN ESCALATING MILITARY ACTIONS
THAT CREATE THAT CRISIS TO
PRESSURE THE PRESIDENT.
BUT THE PROBLEM IS THEY CROSSED
A RED LINE WITH THIS PRESIDENT
WHEN HE EXERCISED ENORMOUS
CONSTRAINT IN NOT TAKING
PROVOCATION BUT SAID DON'T KILL
ANY AMERICANS.
WHEN HE DID, HE ACTED VERY
STRONGLY AS WE'VE SEEN.
>> Martha: THE SUGGESTION THAT
THERE IS NO STRATEGY IS WHEN YOU
HEAR A LOT.
STARTED HEARING IT LAST NIGHT
AND ALL THROUGH TODAY, BUT IT
STRIKES ME THAT IT WAS OBVIOUS
THAT IN THE PRIOR
ADMINISTRATION, STRATEGY WAS TO
NEGOTIATE A DEAL.
AND TO TRY TO CREATE AN
ENVIRONMENT THAT THE ESCALATED
THROUGH THAT AVENUE.
BUT CLEARLY THIS PRESIDENT HAS A
DIFFERENT WAY OF GOING ABOUT IT.
AS I SAID AT THE TOP, HE IS THE
FIRST ONE TO TAKE OUT SOLEIMANI
BUT SOMETHING THESE OTHER
PRESIDENTS, PRESIDENT OBAMA,
PRESIDENT BUSH HAD, I'D IMAGINE.
>> IT'S A DEFINITE STRATEGY
HERE.
THIS TRUMP ADMINISTRATION LOOK
AT THE APPEASEMENT STRATEGY AS I
WOULD DEFINE IT, THAT
PRESIDENT OBAMA HAD AS A SEMINAL
FOREIGN POLICY OBJECTIVE, HIS
NIXON MOMENT GOING TO CHINA IS
WHAT HE WAS TRYING TO ACHIEVE.
HE THOUGHT BY APPEASING THE
IRANIANS, THE NUCLEAR DEAL THE
CENTERPIECE OF IT, THAT THEY
WOULD ACT RESPONSIBLY AND JOIN
THEIR COMMUNITY OF RESPONSIBLE
NATIONS AND WHAT DID WE GET?
WE GOT $130 BILLION PUT IN THEIR
HANDS, FUELING THE CIVIL WARS IN
SYRIA AND YEMEN, HUNDREDS AND
THOUSANDS OF ROCKETS IN LEBANON.
THE MIDDLE EAST WAS PUT ON FIRE
AND AS A RESULT OF IT, THIS
ADMINISTRATION CAME IN AND FOR
THE MENTALLY REJECTED THAT
STRATEGY AND WITH OUR ALLIES
DEFINITELY HAD AS A STRATEGY.
AS TO CONFRONT THE IRANIANS
USING DIPLOMATIC AND ECONOMIC
MEANS TO THE BRING THEM BACK TO
THE NEGOTIATING TABLE TO CURB
THEIR BEHAVIOR IN THE REGION.
THAT IS A SOUND STRATEGY.
THAT'S WHAT THIS ADMINISTRATION
IS ABOUT.
TO SAY THEY DON'T HAVE ONE IS
NONSENSE.
>> Martha: WE ARE GOING TO
HAVE TO LEAVE IT THERE BUT WE
NOTICED WE HAVE OUR MILITARY ON
ALERT IN ITALY FOR THE
POSSIBILITY OF POTENTIALLY GOING
INTO PROTECT OUR ASSETS AND
EMPHASES IN LEBANON AND YOU SAY
RETALIATION IS LIKELY --
>> THEY ARE GOING TO GO IN AND
IN THE EVENT THERE HAS TO BE AN
EVACUATION AND PRESSURE IS PUT.
GOING TO LEBANON TO EVACUATE THE
EMBASSY AND THE 82ND WOULD GO TO
EVACUATE THE EMBASSY.

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