Monday, September 13, 2021

Biden won't be able to pull US forces from Middle East - ex-Mossad chief

The US will not be able to leave the Middle East even if this is the stated goal of the Biden administration, because Middle East events and crises have a mind of their own, according to former Mossad chief Shabtai Shavit.

“The Middle East will not let you leave,” he said.
Shavit’s view was contrasted on a panel with three other former intelligence chiefs, who debated the impact of the Biden administration’s withdrawal from Afghanistan on global security issues, US staying power in the region, and threats from Iran and Hamas.

Speaking at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) in Herzilya on Sunday, the former heads of the Mossad, Shin Bet and IDF intelligence expressed a wide range of views.
Whereas former IDF intelligence chief Maj. Gen. (res.) Aharon Zeevi Farkash and former Shin Bet director Yaakov Peri said that the US was moving toward further reducing its involvement in the Middle East, Shavit said the US would remain, and former Mossad director Efraim Halevy said the US has not really decided.
“Everyone in the Middle East is waiting for the US to leave,” said Zeevi Farkash, pointing out that the US had already reduced its role in Syria, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the region, and that Afghanistan was a dramatic continuation of Washington’s global drawdown, whether from the Middle East or elsewhere.
Peri agreed with Zeevi Farkash, saying that the withdrawal of the West in general and of the US specifically from global security issues beyond their closer spheres of influence are encouraging terror groups to be more aggressive.
Shavit responded that he respects others’ views on the issue, but that while many US administrations had talked about withdrawing from the region, “if the US wants to be No. 1, it cannot leave.” READ MORE