Rod Reuven Dovid Bryant and Jerry Gordon bring back Ken Timmerman, veteran Iran and Middle east watcher, New York best-selling author of “ISIS Begins”. Timmerman is a renowned investigative journalist with access to the Trump national security team that antedated the current Administration. In this fast-paced conversation interspersed with banter, we address the conundrum of Trump’s withdrawal from Syria and Afghanistan, truculent relations with the US intelligence community over threats from Iran, North Korea and Turkey to the Kurds in Syria and Israel. We noted the comment of Lenny Ben-David former high ranking diplomat with the Israeli Embassy in Washington, now with the JCPA in a recent Jerusalem Post commentary on this issue saying: “[Secretary of State Mike] Pompeo and [National Security Adviser John] Bolton [who both recently met with Netanyahu] see the need for U.S. troops to be in Syria, period”. Timmerman agreed with Ben-David pointing out Trump’s team will likely maintain the large strategic base at Al-Tanf at the apex of the Iraq, Jordan and Israel borders in Southern Syria to monitor Iran and its Iraqi proxies. He noted that in the case of Trump’s commitment to maintain US Troops in Iraq that even members of the Iran-controlled Hashd Al-Shaabi militias he met with in northern Iraq recently expressed concerns about Iraq’s future with Iran’s deepening presence in the Country. In terms of a safe zone for protection of the Syrian Kurds against the threat of control by “Caliph” Erdogan he said that proposals such as a mixed Arab Iraqi Peshmerga or French, UK led effort with Syrian Democratic Force or possible Syrian Kurdistan National Guard would be acceptable alternatives. We discussed as an example the French G-Force in West Africa fighting the Islamic State in Bukino Faso and Sudan -backed Jihadists in Chad, where he had visited as a Paris based correspondent. Timmerman noted that the G Force has more troops and supporting air units than US forces in Syria covering five countries in the Sahel region. He scoffed at comments from a Deputy Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander threatening Israel with “annihilation” following an alleged successful test on the 40th Anniversary of Islamic republic of a precision missile capable of reaching Tel Aviv. Timmerman cited Iran’s recent space shot as to what the regime’s real objective is. That while it failed to reach an orbit for a satellite, nevertheless it clearly sent a message that the Islamic republic was intent on developing an ICBM capable of attacking the US. When the matter of a high member of Iran’s judiciary rejected an EU plan that would finance business while evading US sanctions, Timmerman laughingly said “now the US had an agent in Tehran”. When we brought up attacks on IRGC and Paramilitary Basij bases by ethnic minorities -such as Kurds, Ahwaz Arabs and Balochis – against the Islamic regime, Timmerman made this observation. That fully 55 percent of Iran’s population are non- Persian minorities. That if these groups joined with opposition groups in Tehran and other major centers, it might foster regime change. Something, he suggested that Netanyahu and the Trump national security team understood as possible leverage. That possibility might be coupled with economic and financial sanctions that has given rise to roiling domestic protests across the country over inflation and unemployment. When asked whether Trump National Security Advisor Ambassador Bolton had developed an alliance of Latin American and European Countries supporting the interim Venezuelan President Juan Guaido to replace illegitimate dictator Nicolas Maduro, Timmerman chuckled, “Imagine that, John Bolton is now a multilaterist!” For more on Timmerman’s views on Netanyahu’s survival under threat of a possible Attorney General indictment, and Trump’s elusive Middle East Peace Plan and Trump’s 2020 re-election prospects listen to the Podcast.
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