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Wrong Mideast Choices Will 'Reverberate for Generations'

Top US Army Lieutenant Colonel speaks to Arutz Sheva about Iranian nuclear program, Syrian crisis, American influence and future of Mideast.
By Eliran Aharon, New York
First Publish: 5/7/2013, 10:29 PM

Ralph Peters
Ralph Peters
Arutz Sheva

“Israel, obviously, must do everything necessary to protect itself,” a top United States Army Lieutenant Colonel told Arutz Sheva in an exclusive interview.

“For Washington, Iranian nuclear weapons are a strategic question. For Israel, Iranian nuclear weapons are an existential question,” said Ralph Peters, who spent ten years in Germany working in military intelligence and later became a Foreign Area Officer, specializing in the Soviet Union.

He was later assigned to the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence.

“My fear is that strategic circumstances will force Israel to act unilaterally and as brave and as capable as the IDF is, the IDF has the ability to start a fight with Iran. It does not have the ability to finish it,” Peters told Arutz Sheva, speaking about the ever-growing threat of Iran obtaining nuclear weapons.

Reflecting on America’s role in the Middle East, the retired lieutenant colonel said that Obama’s “charm didn’t work.”

The president, he said, came to office with a “messianic sense” that he would be able to resolve the Mideast conflict. Upon taking office, however, Obama realized that the situation did not coincide with his previous beliefs.

Peters said that he does not believe that Obama has the “strategic depth, background, or vital instincts of insight to really grasp the complexity of what is going on in the Middle East right now.”

“When you don’t understand what a fight is about- stay out of it,” he said, commenting on the Syrian crisis. He said that while American may have been able to get involved in the early stages of the conflict, at this point it is too late.

We should “stand back and watch and wait,” he said, adding that the situation is “so Multi-faceted and so complex.”

The consequences of getting it wrong, he said, have the ability to “reverberate for generations.”

“I have no good answers because there are no good answers for this,” he concluded.