Small Wars Journal

General James Mattis (USMC Ret) On Middle East Policy

Sat, 07/20/2013 - 11:02pm

Legendary General James Mattis Just Gave One Of The Best Talks On Middle East Policy We've Ever Seen by Paul Szoldra, Business Insider. Includes excerpts and full speech video.

... Although he didn't directly address having a timeline to leave (as is the case of a 2014 Afghanistan pullout), Mattis said that you "don't ever tell the adversary in advance what you're not going to do."

He's now retired, but as servicemember on active duty, he could only offer advice to policymakers, not orders. "I don't write policy for my government," Mattis said. " ... I just carry out the last 600 meters of my President's policy."

Mattis also warned that Admirals and Generals need to "stop sucking their thumbs and whining about sequestration, telling the world we're weak" because it sends a signal to nations such as Iran and North Korea, and they may start to believe it...

Read on and watch the full speech video.


Madhu (not verified)

Wed, 07/24/2013 - 9:52am

<blockquote>Mattis made clear that without the support of the Iranians, Syria's Bashar al-Assad "would have been overrun" by rebel forces. The reason Iran props up the regime, Mattis reasoned — is that if Assad falls, it would be Iran's biggest political setback in 25 years.</blockquote>…

<blockquote>Mattis's appeal for a third carrier came at a time of heightening tensions -- when Iran was threatening to attack U.S. warships near the Strait of Hormuz. According to the article, Mattis wanted to make a show of force to deter Iran from further escalation.</blockquote>…

<blockquote>"The US$10 billion, 6,000 kilometer pipeline is set to start in Iran's South Pars gas field (the largest in the world, shared with Qatar), and run via Iraq, Syria and ultimately to Lebanon. Then it could go under the Mediterranean to Greece and beyond; be linked to the Arab gas pipeline; or both. Before the end of August, three working groups will be discussing the complex technical, financial and legal aspects involved. Once finance is secured - and that's far from certain, considering the proxy war in Syria - the pipeline could be online by 2018. Tehran hopes that the final agreement will be signed before the end of the year.</blockquote> - Pepe Escobar in ATimes (via Pat Lang)…

The poor Syrian people.

And the forever-and-ever-and-ever nature of the US-Saudi-Gulf entanglement, not to mention the not altogether rational feelings about other allies in the region.