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Henry Kissinger Iran ISIS James Foley Steven Sotloff

‘Iran is bigger threat than ISIS’

1 Jan, 1970

Kissinger says Iran poses a bigger threat than ISIS:

There has come into being a kind of a Shia belt from Tehran through Baghdad to Beirut. And this gives Iran the opportunity to reconstruct the ancient Persian Empire — this time under the Shia label — in the rebuilding of the Middle East that will inevitably have to take place when the new international borders [are] drawn. Because the borders of the settlement of 1919-’20 are essentially collapsing. That gives Iran a very powerful level from a strategic point of view. I consider Iran a bigger problem than ISIS.

Iran has a greater opportunity to build an Islamist empire:

ISIS is a group of adventurers with a very aggressive ideology. But they have to conquer more and more territory before they can became a strategic, permanent reality. I think a conflict with ISIS — important as it is — is more manageable than a confrontation with Iran.

He says the U.S. should conduct strikes on ISIS in retaliation for the murders of Sotloff and Foley:

They have cut the throat of an American on television. This is an insult to the United States, which requires that we demonstrate that this is not an act that is free. I would strongly favor a strong attack on ISIS for a period that is related to the murder of the American.

In the long term, cooperation is key to addressing the threat the group poses:

Then, we have to go into the long-range problem. I think when we are dealing with a unit like ISIS, we should not get into a position where they can lead us by establishing ground forces. But we should set strategic objectives where we thwart any goal they set themselves, which we should be able to do by superior air power. And then, if we can enlist other countries, or other more local groups to do the ground fighting, we might actually destroy them.