Senior strategist urges US to make Russia 'pay'

Michael Doran, former National Security Council expert, tells Arutz Sheva what US should do about budding Russia-Iran alliance.

Yoni Kempinski ,

Michael Doran
Michael Doran
Yoni Kempinski

Arutz Sheva recently got the chance to speak with Michael Doran, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute who served as a Middle East expert on the National Security Council under former US President George W. Bush.

Doran, who had spoken about "US Policy Towards the Eastern Mediterranean" at a Begin Sadat Center conference at Bar Ilan University focused on Strategic Challenges in the Eastern Mediterranean, elaborated on the threats in the Middle East.

He explained that a key emerging threat is how Russia is aligning with Iran, especially in Syria where both states are militarily involved to prop up the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

Doran argued that the US ideally should be opposing the Assad regime, but at the very least it should be "imposing costs" on the Iranians and the Russians for their behavior in Syria and elsewhere in the region.

These "costs" do not even need to involve a military confrontation, he explained, noting that America can begin with sanctions and stepping up its arming of moderate Syrian Opposition forces.

While US President Barack Obama's administration is "saying you can ignore Iran and fight ISIS (Islamic State)," Doran argued that "you have to treat the Iranian question and the ISIS question simultaneously."

"I don't actually believe they (Iran and ISIS) are enemies, I believe there are areas in which they're in conflict, but Russia and Iran on the ground are not fighting ISIS in Syria," he said.

Doran emphasized that Russia's airstrike campaigns are "not directed against ISIS."

Explaining the dangers of Russia's involvement, he noted that while Obama has claimed that the "Russians are going to come our way" and work with the US in stabilizing Syria, there are no signs of that being the case.