Destroy Hamas? Something worse would follow: Pentagon intel chief

ASPEN Colorado Sat Jul 26, 2014 10:37pm EDT

Defense Intelligence Agency director U.S. Army Lt. General Michael Flynn testifies before the House Intelligence Committee on ''Worldwide Threats'' in Washington February 4, 2014.        REUTERS/Gary Cameron

Defense Intelligence Agency director U.S. Army Lt. General Michael Flynn testifies before the House Intelligence Committee on ''Worldwide Threats'' in Washington February 4, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Gary Cameron

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ASPEN Colorado (Reuters) - A top Pentagon intelligence official warned on Saturday that the destruction of Hamas would only lead to something more dangerous taking its place, as he offered a grim portrait of a period of enduring regional conflict.

The remarks by Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, the outgoing head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, came as Israeli ministers signaled that a comprehensive deal to end the 20-day-old conflict in the Gaza Strip appeared remote.

At least 1,050 Gazans - mostly civilians - have been killed, and 42 Israeli soldiers and three civilians in Israel have died.

Flynn disparaged Hamas for exhausting finite resources and know-how to build tunnels that have helped them inflict record casualties on Israelis. Still, he suggested that destroying Hamas was not the answer.

"If Hamas were destroyed and gone, we would probably end up with something much worse. The region would end up with something much worse," Flynn said at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado.

"A worse threat that would come into the sort of ecosystem there … something like ISIS," he added, referring to the Islamic State, which last month declared an "Islamic caliphate" in territory it controls in Iraq and Syria.

Confined in the crowded, sandy coast enclave of 1.8 million, where poverty and unemployment hover around 40 percent, weary Gazans say they hope the battle will break the blockade that Israel and Egypt impose on them.

Israeli officials said any ceasefire must allow the military to carry on hunting down the Hamas tunnel network that criss-crosses the Gaza border.

Flynn's comments about the conflict came during a gloomy, broader assessment of unrest across the Middle East, including in Syria and Iraq. Flynn said bluntly: "Is there going to be a peace in the Middle East? Not in my lifetime."

(Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by Ron Popeski)

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Comments (36)
NewEnglandBob wrote:
It is a good thing he is the outgoing head of the Defense Intelligence Agency. Fool.

Jul 26, 2014 11:28pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Trichiurus wrote:
So what is the general saying? Leave Hamas alone? This is an incredibly irresponsible statement that has no real basis other than making an excuse for letting Hamas attack Israel and then expecting Israel to capitulate to keep a pseudo-peace so Kerry and Obama can be candidates for the Nobel Peace prize (something Billy Clinton tried at all cost to get).

Doing nothing is the worst thing that can be done. History is the teacher on that. The 20th Century has a marvelous example of what happens when nothing is done. Nevil Chamberlain, the Jewish ship of refugees that no one wanted including the U.S., 9-11, etc. History repeats itself because of gutless wonders who call themselves national leaders and generals whose only interest is the next step.

Jul 26, 2014 11:30pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Universalist wrote:
Absurd remarks to say the least. So he is saying that Hamas creates a balance? Hamas has gotta go, quite simple. Any successor will have to be extinguished as well. The Jews have the green light for the 3rd temple–quite simple.

Jul 26, 2014 11:43pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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