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Former DIA Chief Gen. Flynn Ridicules Obama Statement that Putin Moved into Syria out of Weakness

Oct. 4, 2015 (EIRNS)—Former Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) head Gen. Michael Flynn—who had earlier blasted President Obama for pursuing a Syria policy of arming anti-Assad rebels that created the Islamic State and the Nusra Front—was interviewed by Fox News last week and continued his strong criticism of the President’s Middle East policies.

Fox asked Gen. Flynn about his firing in August 2014 by President Obama, and whether it was triggered by Congressional testimony he delivered debunking the Administration’s war plans against the Islamic State. Flynn responded,

“I believe the intelligence assessments the President has received over the past few years have been pretty accurate. What my agency provided were spot on .... We just saw the Russians reset into the Middle East in a big way and I don’t agree with what the President said today. It’s not out of weakness, it showed a lot of savvy and cunning. It’s for a variety of reasons.”

Flynn added,

“The other thing we just learned are the unmentioned red lines that Putin has had in the Mideast: the fall of Assad [and] potentially the crumbling of the Syrian Army in the face of ISIS. So we have to decide, what is the greatest threat that we face there.

“And it is those radical Islamic militants. That’s number one,”

he said.

Gen. Flynn questioned the claims that the Russians have killed Syrian rebels trained by the U.S., simply telling Fox, “I don’t know .... we’ll have to wait to see.” Asked what the U.S. should do, he replied,

“Right now, we have one enemy that we know we have in common and that is the radical Islamists that are in ISIL or ISIS ... We have to decide that that is the greater threat now, despite all the problems of a guy like Assad.”

Asked by Fox how he would respond to [unconfirmed] reports that Putin had told the U.S. to get out of Syria, Flynn answered,

“I don’t think we should listen to Putin at all when it comes to that. I think we should, in no uncertain terms, tell him how we’re going to operate, what we need to do, and all this business about no-fly zones, we’re sort of past that point. Some of those things can still be discussed, but we just passed a major, a big milestone here in the escalation of conflict in the Middle East, and it is going to grow worse before it gets better. And I don’t think we should be asking Mr. Putin about anything.

“I think we ought to be telling the Russians what it is that we’re going to do in order to accomplish our mission. And I also think at this stage, because the Russians—I think you’re right, the Russians are going to keep Assad in power—and what we need to do is say to the international community, ‘were going to deal with the radical Islamic threat first.’ And internationally, maybe we go after Assad in an international court or something like that, but this situation just changed radically, and there’s not going to be easy answers. In fact, we are actually moving closer to greater conflict, and what that does is, that it limits the number of options we have, it increases our risk, and sadly, increases the cost of trying to solve this problem. Because we really did nothing,”

Flynn said.