Page 46 - IACC Newsletter March-April 2014 Issue 03

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McCain
: I understand the limitations to the patience of any country that is why after 9/11 attacks we told the Taliban
and Afghan govt either turn these people over or we are invading, people forget why we went to Afghanistan, it was
because of 9/11. So I cannot tell or even advice or council the govt of India to sustain these kinds of attacks and not do
anything in retaliation. But I do believe that former PM Singh was very statesman like by not escalating and causing a
real huge... what could have escalated into a very serious situation.
Smita Sharma
:
Right. But as far as the Mumbai attacks are concerned, India considers Hafiz Saeed as the mastermind of
those attacks, what really does the purpose of an American bounty on Hafiz Saeed serve if he is able to move around
freely in Pakistan. Some reports suggest that he was recently spotted very close to international border in Jaisalmer.
What purpose does it really serve to have such a bounty?
McCain
: I think that we have to carefully engage not only our ability to capture that individual but what impact that has
on the sovereignty of the country we are going in and the circumstances surrounding that. We would love to see other
people capture him and turn him into us, that would be the ideal situation. But I also believe that putting bounty on the
heads of people who are responsible for the deaths of American citizens is entirely appropriate and has had some
benefit.
Smita Sharma
:
Before, I turn my focus into the situation in Iraq, one quick question on Afghanistan. You have mentioned
that India possibly sees it as a source of tension as long as bilateral issue is concerned because incase of Americans leave
with their job unfinished, it will lead to a huge problem. Do you also see perhaps more terror being exported to Kashmir
after troop’s pullout there?
McCain
: I am absolutely convinced that if we don't leave a residual force we will see the same situation in Afghanistan
that we are seeing now in Iraq. I predicted that if we didn't leave a residual force in Iraq that we will see what's
happening today. And of course now, this begins to become a very serious matter, Afghanistan becomes a national
security interest of the Indian govt.
Smita Sharma
:
How do you really view, coming to the Iraq situation, the threat from ISIS or ISIL and this entire renaming
into caliphate? How serious a threat is it today?
McCain
: I think we are left with no good options because of this decision and it was the President's decision and no one
else's not the Iraqi's, it was just his to withdraw our troops from Iraq and now we are paying the price for that. It is a
very serious price and we still are not acting. We should be conducting air strikes right now against ISIS in the open
territory, we are not doing that. So what's happening, Russian airplanes are coming and Russian pilots would be
conducting air strikes, Iranians, the head of the revolutionary guard are coming into Iraq and while we sent only 350-400
advisors. We are now looking at a caliphate of India, Iraq and Syria, the richest and largest terrorist base in history that
are not only causing enormous difficulties in Iraq but also in Syria. They are moving back and forth in Syria, I met with
the Syrian freedom fighters, Free Syria Army yesterday and some of the equipment that ISIS captured in Mosul is now
coming back into Syria to kill the Free Syrian army.
Smita Sharma
:
But coming to those meetings, you had those secret meetings sometime back and infact now there are
some pictures of your meetings with the free Syrian army leaders are being circulated on social websites and ISIS
themselves are using it as a PR tool, saying that you actually met with the likes of General Idris, Moaz Mustafa when you
were in Syria who were supposedly then a part of the Free Syrian Army but are now very much a part of ISIS? how do you
make that distinction?
McCain
: They are not part of ISIS...General Idris is a man know today, there is nothing wrong with General Idris He left
Assad and still is an advisor to the Syrian national council. All I can say is that your information is totally false.
Smita Sharma
:
So you wouldn't say that what you call a legitimate opposition in Syria is a part of the ISIS in Iraq?
John McCain:
Of course not. There is no connection. Infact Assad is not attacking ISIS, Assad is attacking Free Syrian
army, he leaves ISIS alone. Now these Free Syrian Army, these brave courageous people, they are fighting and dying for