Defcon 3 7-25-2012
Is Assad’s regime in Syria on the brink of collapse? Plus – We’ll analyze who is behind recent attacks against Israelis abroad.
- Duration 27:23
- Date Jul 25, 2012
Is Assad’s regime in Syria on the brink of collapse? Plus – We’ll analyze who is behind recent attacks against Israelis abroad.
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And -- country this -- time each week.
On foxnews.com live that we do about looking deeper into the national security issues of the day.
We're gonna have and around the world tour but we're gonna start today.
-- talking about Syria and Iran.
-- Iran's nuclear weapons program and joining me is ambassador Mark Wallace former United Nations ambassador a man who's decided.
That he's so -- -- salvadorans -- rare weapons program that he is in fact.
Founded an organization for united.
Against a nuclear Iran right let's -- what is our web -- they were supposed to.
You want me dot com UA and I don't come and thank you prime minister OK it's a great pleasure ambassador Mark Wallace now I also weren't showing you.
In the conversation to -- you have any questions for the investors send them to me.
By a Twitter KTR -- Or join -- -- -- -- the ambassador.
What -- instruct you about when you the United Nations one of the things that you word -- about was around and nuclear around.
Me up to date on where are we with a nuclear where -- -- when it was first become worried about it what we've and the south.
Even though the problem of the nuclear armed Iran has been around since really the start of Iranian revolution and its commitments have been nine.
And through the course of that time we've -- Iran slowly ramp up its capability in the area.
And now I think is it is a really key time.
We've seen Iran and begin to enrich uranium to a highly -- point that is only a few yards away if you will.
Perfecting -- -- train for nuclear bomb my friend Graham Allison he -- well uses a football analogy says.
If -- if he's if you start on your own twenty yard line -- the travel eighty yards to get to the end zone to use the football analogy.
Iran is now in the red zone meaning there on our ten yard line.
And -- if the goal line is is a nuclear weapon they are far away because the the practical and intellectual difficulties in news in developing -- -- nuclear bomb they're getting very close.
So what do you need for nuclear problem can -- -- grand -- Richard Reid -- there and Randy -- but you know if you're any -- you real weaponized that you need to get rapid delivery system.
Those -- the key parts but from our perspective the most challenging aspect of that is obviously perfected nuclear fuel cycle.
In such a manner that you can turn.
Uranium -- -- the ground in the highly enriched uranium into fissile material thing from the -- Gasol who has actually -- into a bomb and then.
The delivery mechanisms in the missile systems Iran -- has a pretty.
Developed missile capability to secure -- so while Iran launches all new I don't you know.
As a threat for the the the difficulty aspect of that is what position miniaturization.
Putting it on to a missile.
And -- and the -- key technical challenges have always been that nuclear fuel cycle.
In Iran is getting very close.
Are Howard had sanctions you're part of initial sanctions when Europe the United Nations and we have more sanctions.
Now do you think -- factor.
Do you think that they're effective.
And I think it's important to look.
Any serious foreign policy related to Iran costs include four things.
And you know there's a lot of bickering back and forth about you know preparing for military option or -- and all this business.
Any serious foreign policy would have a diplomatic component we use them to have reached out -- a sanctions pressure components in order to pressure them.
Special operations weather it's and the computer viruses that we -- so much about even some of the accident for the fallen nuclear scientists and Iran and frankly military plan.
So I believe that any serious policy regarded -- some administration should include those four areas so I think as we exclusively -- sanctions because for private group.
The sanctions will only be the silver bullet I do not -- -- do you think that the economic pressure and the economic the rest of the regime has been under.
Has certainly push it back to the negotiating table whether will be successful or not.
I remained skeptical but hopeful.
-- -- our way to say like there average should be joined by Dominic didn't Italians Fox News.
Work correspondent brave guy who we usually see and -- flak jacket and a helmet he's not wearing announced today which makes me a little nervous.
But -- is joining us to talk about that back to their new concerns that al-Qaeda might be infiltrated the ranks of the -- Opposition in Syria.
The fighter jets are bombing Syria's largest city Israeli officials are concerned about.
Syria's chemical weapons and artillery shells -- -- dangerously close to that Israeli Syrian border in the Golan Heights.
Our on Dominic didn't attack is there to tell us the latest -- -- Without getting flak jacket tell us let's go right out on the Syrian border.
-- that Katie good to see let's talk about al-Qaeda first and how easy it could be for al-Qaeda -- to infiltrate the rebels.
Basic fact is the majority of the rebels -- cities that are actually flight seeing what is effectively as she relate to that regime and given the amounts of and animosities sectarian wise it is easy -- al-Qaeda to drum up some degree of support -- the kind of attacks we've actually seen.
In Syria the suicide bombings and things -- that these are all keep spiteful attacks and tactics.
By al-Qaeda who see him down in Damascus -- -- and elsewhere around the country it's not clear.
Just what -- -- Al kind of pointing force might be that.
I've seen -- -- -- -- I would say a handful perhaps half a dozen of al-Qaeda style.
It depends how -- -- we'll see in the future depends how much support really the -- amongst the rebels.
All prepared to give them but today just an incredible counter strike from the -- -- regime.
In the northern city of the left this is the largest city it's the commercial hub.
Is a large support network or saudis when he gets -- -- -- money from has been able to prop up the machine.
You've been talking -- The fight to get it the first time I believe that -- -- chance of actually being used.
Against the people using guns we've -- video the points chase using guns the little loud explosions and the city yesterday when nor shall whether they would dropping.
-- we weaponry on those sites that we do know a lot of the point is -- focused a brand the old citadel.
That is -- -- a world heritage site it is nice if that will supplied.
But the -- side of the demons in eradicating the rebel presence that because basically.
If elect a -- the regime will full much false that it will lose that money lonely -- it will lose that crucial support network.
Down in Damascus is well we've seen a resounding response is well heavy artillery waking people up at 3 o'clock in the morning.
But as it -- the remaining rebel positions -- -- the rebels swept through the city.
People hundreds of families.
Fleeing for their law -- heading for the borders.
Big problem now Turkey has plays did -- KT often and we -- simple supply trucks would hit.
By some -- attack whenever there's refugees.
Left to get its heading into a colossal crisis snapped the civil war out of control 181000 dead said -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- I -- Syria admitted this week that it does have weapons of mass destruction chemical weapons.
That it would use.
Against any kind of foreign intervention.
Can you tell us about a report from where you are on the Golan Heights which is the Israeli.
Syrian border are they really distributing gas -- to the residents in that region.
-- -- to this region but down in Jerusalem we are hearing bits out from the government that requests the gas masks have doubled.
In the -- 24 -- is pretty quick a lot of rhetoric and quite frankly -- mongering -- Israeli politicians is being drummed out about the fact that.
If Syria -- its weapons to the likes of Hezbollah and other Islamic extremists -- It will be forced to -- now the -- right now the Israeli government does.
Policy -- -- -- to those because of tensions in the policy.
It doesn't really have enough money to get every single Israeli citizen but -- mosque and I think.
That is actually get into what every people hairy staring at the degree of panic and especially well that.
One of the long standing Al -- all of the -- regime -- He's saying he will be unacceptable if Syria used as chemical weapons I think that's really just going to add more remorse the anxiety and apprehension in the region Katie.
All right -- down on it didn't tell I and and the Golan Heights which is that -- supposedly demilitarized zone.
Between Israel and Syria and -- part of the world has been fought over for 3000 years stay safe Dominic.
We're gonna -- breaking -- come back with ambassador Bremer applauds.
I welcome back to -- country again please join -- conversation and send us your comments or questions.
By at Twitter at KT McFarland or the live chat ambassador Mark -- your guy who's been following Iran Iran's nuclear weapons program but particularly.
The Iran Syrian connection.
Syria looks like it's about to fall according to -- in Italian is right there on the border could be a matter of days weeks maybe months what happens.
If Iran loses its main strategic ally in that region.
Well there's -- so -- talk about Syria and whether or not he -- -- -- fall.
With a little bit overlooked is the fact that -- Fight for serious in many ways about a much far larger fight in the region and that's the growing presence and roll over Iran.
Who has been intent upon regional had to me.
Hegemony and to dominate that region and obviously it's close ally in Syria has been a proxy for Iran interest that's -- you -- in Iran funding.
Other support to the Asad regime so as.
Many -- -- states are calling for a sought to step down Iran -- -- continuing to supply and support that regime.
So if you saw -- -- and falls but -- -- all accounts we all hope that that will happen.
I think you'll see.
-- -- look for other outlets for its regional domination.
It is already had a presence in and a well known presence in Lebanon through its terror proxy Hezbollah which is the dominant political party and and Lebanon right now.
And I think you've read of late -- -- ran.
-- what was once really is a relationship to support Hezbollah.
Has now become -- some idiotic Horan needs Lebanon and Hezbollah even more because it's key ally -- it is no longer is reliable.
So I think you'll see.
Ran -- -- to Lebanon in order to have other.
Methods of dissemination of its bad activities throughout the -- -- want to -- in the neighborhood absolutely.
That we got it as you know the great thing about this is that everybody is in this conversation again or.
And we've gotten several comments and and questions -- from David Larson.
He says -- Syria if it does and that's -- civil war what's the threat to Israel you've talked about a proxy fight between Shiite Sunni Iran and the other -- the city countries in the region wars Israel.
And you know it's a tough obviously it's a tough issue for Israel Israel's is surrounded by.
Historically by countries and have not always been friendly to -- and it's a real problem.
-- and I think Israelis have grappled with the Asad regime.
Potential fall initially.
Were quiet about it right because as difficult as this -- regime isn't as terrible -- leader he was.
Syria was basically stable and there was.
Less conflict between Israel and Syria and -- the Assad regime doesn't mean he's a horrible leader horrible dictator.
Obviously Bullington to -- his own people.
But Israel's definitely come around and said it is much better for -- -- to fall now so the question is what's next.
If Iran continues to have a proxy in Syria and its unstable and and allows weapons and fighters to.
To impress on Israel to distract from the problems of -- you -- of the major problem for Israel so the question is.
We're not sure we hope that something stable a democratically elected government in Syria that is a responsible government.
Replaces Islam regime on the -- and you know hopefully honor from the peace accords have been out there and a true negotiating in a -- -- -- with Israel.
I worry about sound very optimistic it's -- very if you we were both in the Israeli government I think -- be truly worried.
And so when I I was stripper what you said about Iran's goal is a Gemini in the region and it was -- tough guy.
In the -- -- ever had really from the Mediterranean to the Persian gulf.
The -- our nuclear weapons.
A separate goal part of that call I do one without the other.
But I think it's absolutely part of it if you think about the last 3537.
Years during the time of Iranian revolution.
There's been no more intractable state -- more sponsorship of terrorism and out of Iran.
You just recently in Bulgaria and it's -- horrible drive up the bomber killing a much Israeli -- even here in the United States and attempted there was an attempted assassination on the Saudi ambassador.
You've seen this happen and a variety of places through its proxy Hezbollah.
And what they're trying to do is through money.
Because of the Petro dollars a weapons and other -- things.
Spread their influence in order to dominate the region they view themselves as preeminent culture -- -- they want regional domination.
Now if you're willing to engage in terror cell weapons provide money in financing to back groups.
And willing to flex her muscles in the region to become emboldened her lesson bold and if you're -- nuclear weapon imagine how embolden Iran becomes when they.
When and if -- obtain a nuclear weapon.
Truly a dangerous circumstances -- circumstance because -- we believe won't be far more emboldened and I think you'll see that there that activity only increase.
Our last question -- week's getting to the point where we have just two lousy options bomb Iran let Iran get the or is -- still time for some third option.
Well I think that right now you know let us know when we were talking earlier.
You know I think that you have to have the military option on the table right and I other otherwise -- draft.
And I think it's important you know as I said the Syria's foreign policy contains.
Military planning a credible threat of military action particularly an intractable him real economic pressure on regimes that are vulnerable to it we've seen.
The impact of sanctions and -- a profound effect on the Iranian economy.
We track the reality -- -- right our web site.
And even just after the swift campaign which were which was Belgian society -- provided banking systems.
Once that was taken away in sanctioned the -- currency fell by some 67%.
Inflation enormous -- in the country the international business is fleeing.
Future that the -- regime thugs controlled out economy such an extent that you can come up -- off the lifeblood of of the money and support you can potentially pressure them to change their behavior.
They change every -- you get the Iranian people out and -- the streets and change their regime yes.
Either one either one I think that that's why.
Military planning and asked -- credible and with my friends in the Obama administration I would respectfully say.
The president has to speak to a credible -- military threat of -- that of his administration.
I think there was too much politics involved in the -- -- famously gives out there and answer right.
No I think that he should have said that in it at the same time said some of the things he said about a credible military threat now that that he actually said then.
Because the Iranians need to hear and believe it and we need to continue to pressure them we've called for full economic blockade of four will -- -- -- on Iran.
And we've debated that in the United States and European Union how credible is it just a few months ago eight months ago we were unwilling to sanction the central bank of Iran.
We've now sent -- the central bank of around because we thought it would have no systemic effect on a global.
A financial system.
If you're not willing to take the top step of sanctioning the central bank of Iran.
You think that the mullahs believe that we would bomb -- -- Africa so I think you have to do all these policies in concert and be serious.
And avoid the partisan bickering.
And you know focus on the serious policy that would who'll hopefully have -- change its behavior -- non.
You're prepared if god forbid for military action okay cerner is they've got to become convinced that theater very next -- minutes before they get repayments more their economic -- so I think you're during the economic index now we can do much better for example why don't we have an economic blockade was any oil being shipped -- Iran since the since.
The oil sanctions on Iran.
Libya has come back online and Iraq is pumping more a barrel for oil that have been around ever did and Saudi Arabia is committed to -- the morals of the world markets can handle it.
Okay well thank you very much ambassador Mark -- thanks for.
And wrapping that and make -- Think Robin thanks a lot -- it again you're gonna have a break and then come back and talk about the Olympics.
Welcome back to Defcon three now joining me is admiral.
Former admiral just -- act and he's a guy that always wanted to have on the show because he's wears three -- talking about anything.
He's a former three star had my -- maybe.
And a former White House director.
For anti terrorism -- -- a guy who knows about an awful lot of stuff in great detail so we're thrilled to have you back.
Admiral suspect welcome back to -- country.
Skinny lady -- -- first portion of what I hear White House counterterrorism half.
We have seen in the last well really in the last year but in the last couple weeks especially.
An increase of Hezbollah attacks.
Against Israeli citizens worldwide I mean it's it's India Singapore Thailand Bulgaria even Washington DC.
What do you make of it what I kept him.
Well I think that we're trying to go tit for tat for.
Their suspicions right suspicions probably that Israel has been involved in taking down quite a number -- need to the scientists within the borders -- I ran.
He can't go against.
Israel within the borders of Israel they'd done pretty good job of having homeland defense -- mechanical -- and against those outposts.
Of diplomats there embassies -- pretty secure so now they're going.
As you saw Bulgaria against a less protected threat and that's the civilian that's out there there's report that there's our -- and hit squad somewhere in Europe.
That is bent upon having the -- -- anniversary of the Munich assassination of Israel's.
Delegation and -- athletes.
Be one where they once again are able to take them down.
I think that London has done a superb job thus far of preparing for that Israel itself has sent its own private.
Guards for these.
This delegation that at the end of the line.
As you well know KT for your own defense experience.
It's how well we can track the intelligence they munitions the terrorists themselves because of they get to that last moment right there where they're able pull the trigger in that small defense bubble at least 90% -- has been there.
And I think that's why intelligence gathering is still -- much like I saw at the White House.
Are so in other words there you think that there is a hit squad headed trying to figure out a way to get to London to take out the Israeli athletes -- -- -- I don't know that I only know that I think it was the BBC that gave reports.
That there was intelligence that was being bandied about that there was one but look we need to make the assumption.
That there will be on this anniversary the fortieth anniversary.
An attempt to try to make a name once more that I ran supporting.
Hezbollah and others is about.
The power that -- can -- As a Persian nation and so I think that we have to be on our guard extremely high right now.
Won't have to -- it's not it's a tit for -- yes but is there is Iran and they must realize that if they.
Do something against say Israeli athletes at the Olympics if they do more and more of these at some point the Israelis are going to retaliate.
-- against Hezbollah which is -- rainy and and terrorist proxies hit squad group if you well or dance around -- cell debate is Iran really trying to pick a fight that they expect to have to fight.
Well I think what they are trying to do is to recognize that right now the biggest item.
On the plate in the Middle East region is its pursuit I rants -- -- -- weapon much like you had the ambassador just on with you.
That's what it's really all about.
And right now as you saw by the prime minister of Israel Netanyahu where initially he said we will take care of this.
Because it's I -- and that -- backed off.
No there isn't going to be anything over but much cycled in my -- did in 1972 we're still gonna get them overtly those who did it he doesn't want to upset.
Tenuous moment in in history out there.
-- these sanctions had any possibility I can't yet say probability.
Of how mean I -- stop its pursuit of -- weapons.
In the meantime it is able to do these last major types of damage out there.
Knowing that everything right now is on the table for the United States to lead the world to bring about a peaceful resolution.
So I think it's able to do a little bit more damage on a lower level right now knowing that no one wants Israel or anyone else to strike I ran and get these talks.
Well talks when they occur but these sanctions.
To look like they have no potential benefit of stop and -- -- pursuit.
Our our last question out -- your -- had your three star naval officer service worker officer you've looked at the Persian gulf -- looked at a possible conflict.
The United States and -- honoree is very United States and -- -- all the countries in the region might have.
Think through what happens in the Strait of Hormuz if there's some kind of -- -- a rainy and blockade of the Strait of Hormuz we saw just two weeks ago there was a fishing vessel.
That -- an American vessel what happens if that was on a rainy and revolutionary guard vessels that came up to US military vessels.
What we -- what happens quick fast -- No this is if there was to be a conflict.
About the closure of the streets -- removes.
-- would be -- days in fact long in months and heavy in assets very heavy and assets.
I rant has what you know are called a symmetric weapons that is.
But can do a lot of damage in a lot of delay.
Before you can do further types of warfare for example over 2000 sophisticated minds they can lay in the streets of removes.
That is only four miles wide -- the -- a global portions of it.
And it can lead to 34.
Ships go through think it is still clean and it explodes on the fifth or sixth one.
All of a sudden the streets is -- are closed.
It would take us months to clear those straits and if we do sell.
Just twenty miles away are scores of mobile anti ship missiles that we would have to protect against.
We would probably have to take them down and -- take them down we would then have to take it down.
Air defense systems that I -- has purchased from Russia.
This isn't Libya this is and I -- they have some fairly.
Capable systems there.
As well as the ability to send hundreds of missiles.
In -- Israel Saudi Arabia the golf cooperative states that may give us bases so the air force can do their job along with the naval forces as well as southeastern Turkey.
Can we do this yes.
But this is would be one where the consequences.
The dimension of the consequences of how hard this would be isn't well -- one.
And so therefore that's why you see we are being prudent to put.
Make sure we have to aircraft -- -- -- groups there we already have mine sweeping vessels as well as he helicopters but to do this well to keep those straits open.
Would take a -- under warfare conditions would take quite a bit of time as the economy of the world suffers.
Gas so all of -- who were talking about a potential.
Israeli attack against Iran Iran counter attacks.
By -- in the Strait of Hormuz we clean up the Strait of Hormuz and everything's over and I have a handy dandy two days or two weeks that's not gonna happen you're talking about a protracted regional war.
That really brings him a number of countries in the region including the United States.
Absolutely right look.
There are easy it is why you see that and X Rayed.
Radar has been placed in the United Arab Emirates in our daughter I'd forgotten which one.
It will be the third one out there to better.
See these missiles as their launch from a short distance away in order to have a probability of should mean at least many of them down and we don't have a perfect defence system out there against scores and scores of missiles being shot now.
I ran may decide just to -- -- and do nothing else but then how comfortable do we feel to have our.
-- -- so my sweeping vessels there along with other nations where.
We won't feel that in a moment they could just press a button and take down a few of those ships and so this is the dilemma.
That we have to try to at first why not take in the military option off the table has been said earlier.
Tried to resolve it by tough even tougher economic financial sanctions that hurt this country to dissuaded from any type of aggressive activity.
Okay -- time for one quick last question.
Your congressman hat sequestration cuts were talking about major cuts in the United States defense budget.
Potentially affecting everything for all the services as well as military equipment and benefits for retirees.
And medical benefits for existing.
-- current active duty personnel what do you think big mistake.
Well I look at it that this is -- unique opportunity for the military first off when the Vietnam War ended when the Korean War ended in even the Cold War ended.
Defense was cut by 30%.
This sequestration with the other cuts that have occurred will only be half of that about 15%.
To things to keep in mind.
I think that the Defense Department can be a lot more accountable.
In how look for cures -- weapons systems.
As you might well no hobby -- from your background in 2000 any programs that year alone in its programs we had a 300 billion dollar cost overruns because when they come to congress to when I was there and said.
We need and -- another aircraft carrier it will cost eleven billion dollars.
The confidence factor that it was to be eleven billion dollars was less than 15%.
The 50% that that was the -- price ICM this cost overrun that we have to get under control what's likely want.
HHS and and -- and NASA and all to get -- cost control that second.
Is we have to change warfare to knowledge base we know the adversary is you can take him out with less quantity and that's the real change to have.
Okay well thank you so much for that whirlwind tour -- -- your hats.
Yeah I just can't he had -- -- for everyone joining -- -- -- whirlwind tour around -- flashpoints around the planet.
We have talked to some of the leading experts in the field brought you into the discussion with your questions.
At for -- country this week.
National security crisis are no -- gonna continue but in -- week.
-- -- around trying to figure amount.