Former NATO Commander, Adm. James Stavridis Warns of Escalating Middle East War Danger
January 22, 2014 • 1:35PM

Former NATO Commander Adm. James Stavridis, now the Dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts, warned of a general war eruption in the Middle East over growing Sunni versus Shi'ite conflicts. He likened it to the religious wars that ravaged Europe during the Middle Ages. The statements were reported in Stars & Stripes dated Jan. 20.

"I worry deeply about the potential for this Sunni-Shia conflict to widen into a truly regional war," like the European wars of the 16th and 17th centuries, he said. "If we look back on the wars of the reformation in Europe, which pit Catholic versus Protestant, we can see how this kind of inter-religious conflict can consume an entire region."

The article cites the Syrian Observatory on Human Rights, reporting that already this year, 700 people have been killed in fighting between ISIL and more moderate rebel forces, mostly in the Aleppo area. The Al Qaeda affiliate ISIL has also seized control over Fallujah and Ramadi across the border in Iraq, in an effort to establish an Emirate in the 360-mile border region of the two states. AP reported on Monday that the Deputy Interior Minister of Iraq, Adnan al-Asadi, warned that the ISIL has obtained heavy weapons and could launch direct attacks on Baghdad.

Stavridis warned that the conflicts in Syria and Iraq will spread: "It can and will create ungoverned zones of open conflict within easy range of NATO nations in Europe and friends in the region, from Saudi Arabia to the Gulf to Jordan and Israel. While not perfect, the Geneva II Conference on Syria is a step in the right direction. NATO could play a role if authorized in peacekeeping, but we are still a long way from that."

Jacqueline Hazelton of the Naval War College commented on the Stavridis warnings and noted that an estimated 1,200 to 1,700 Europeans have been recruited to go fight with the jihadists in Syria, and will potentially return eventually to Europe as a serious terrorist threat. "The Europeans need to go on the defensive on this one. They face an intelligence and a law enforcement problem as these radicalized youth begin to return home."

Lyndon LaRouche yesterday praised the Stavridis warnings of a general religious conflict like the 150 years of war that destroyed Europe until the Treaty of Westphalia, noting that it is important that he added his voice to that of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in pushing back against the growing danger of general war. As a retired officer, LaRouche noted, Stavridis has broader latitude to speak the truth about the full extent of the danger.