Saturday, April 1, 2017

Top U.S. Commander Addresses Congress about Iran and Russia



By Jim Emerson, staff writer

This week, U.S. Central Command Commander Gen. Joseph Votel testified before the House Armed Services Committee. In his opening statement, he declared that "Iran poses the greatest long-term threat to stability in this part of the world."  To this day, Iran has not improved its behavior since the nuclear agreement was signed. In a written statement, the General pointed out, ‘the [nuclear] agreement has led some to believe that we have largely addressed the Iranian problem set and that is not the case.”  
General Votel

Since the nuclear agreement, Iran has been clearly focused on expanding its influence and power throughout the region.  The proxy war in Yemen and against “aggressive acts” by the United States in the Persian Gulf only enhance its image as a major force in the Middle East. The Islamic State has been developing a robust, theater ballistic missile program as they export or support terrorism [including their narco-terrorist proxy Hezbollah]. The have been developing and improving cyber and maritime forces.
 
Recent activities by Iran have prompted calls from political and military leaders to President Donald Trump, recommending that he adopt a much stronger military posture against the Islamic State. It is absolutely necessary that the U.S. get tough when Iran harasses U.S. military assets, interferes with the current governments in Iraq and Afghanistan, or violates the Nuclear agreement by acquiring nuclear material and testing missiles.
 
During the hearing, General Votel accused Russia of providing military support to the Taliban in Afghanistan.  This comes at a time when the Pentagon is reviewing the future of U.S. involvement in the Afghan war.  The U.S. has been in Afghanistan for 16 years and the current administration is working on a long-term blueprint for continued U.S. military involvement.

Russia has admitted having a relationship with the Taliban yet denies supporting Taliban jihadists in Afghanistan as they continue to fight against the U.S.-NATO-led coalition in the war-torn country. Combined with the tense situation in the Ukraine, President Trump and his administration will have to peacefully clean up this mess he inherited from Barack Hussein.
 

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