Krauthammer: Iran Aims to Fill the ISIS Vacuum in Syria

By Susan Jones | June 20, 2017 | 7:34am EDT
Fox News political analyst Charles Krauthammer says the "maneuvering" to fill the vacuum left by ISIS in Syria has begun, with Iran, Russia and the Assad regime on one side and the U.S. and its allies on the other. (Screen grab from Fox News)

( - Fox News political analyst Charles Krauthammer says that within a year, ISIS will be defeated in both Mosul (Iraq) and Raqqah (Syria), and the “maneuvering” to fill the ISIS vacuum in Syria has already begun:

“So what's going on right now in Syria is the maneuvering. The Iranians want to inherit the territory that is going to be lost by ISIS,” Krauthammer told Fox News’s Tucker Carlson Monday night.

“And they showed that by launching rockets today over Iraq into Syria, ostensibly at ISIS…but really a really “a demonstration to Saudi Arabia, the Sunni Arabs, and everybody in the region, of their reach.” (As reported, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard announced it fired six missiles from Iranian soil Sunday night, targeting ISIS positions in Deir ez-Zor in eastern Syria.)

Krauthammer said Iran's objective “is to have, inherit the territory of ISIS, which gives them control of the entire northern part of the Middle East, from Iran, through Iraq, through Syria, to the Mediterranean. The Persians have not had that in 2,000 years, and it is within their grasp.”

Krauthammer noted that the Russians, the Iranians and Syria’s Assad regime are “all on one side.”

“And the maneuver is to make sure that they get the territory that ISIS loses. Our interest is to make sure that that doesn't happen. That’s why we attacked the forces of Assad, who are hitting our allies on the ground, who are the Kurds, and there are these Syrian rebels, who together with the Kurds, are closing in on Raqqah. “

A U.S. fighter plane on Sunday shot down a Syrian jet after it dropped bombs near U.S.-backed rebels near the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa.

“You were asking earlier, what is our objective in the region,” Krauthammer told Carlson. “It is simple. We don't want to see Assad have a puppet regime which will be run by Iran and Russia, in control of all of Syria. We don't want them to inherit the ISIS territory. We would like to see that held by pro-Western, pro-Saudi, Sunni forces. 

And that would be -- one settlement would be that you get a rump regime in Damascus running the west side of Syria, essentially, whereas the middle of Syria is controlled by the rebels. That is a far … more advantageous strategic ending to all of this. This I think it's pretty high level chess,” Krauthammer said.

Tucker Carlson jumped in: “So the two sides will co-occupy the country and not continue a civil war? Why wouldn't they be at war with each other perpetually forever?” he asked Krauthammer.

“They might be,” Krauthammer said, “except if Assad and the Russians decide the war is not winnable.”

Krauthammer noted that Assad is an Alawite, a minority sect that is “very much hated in the area.”

“For it to control all of Syria perpetually is perpetual war -- it's not in the Russian interest. The Russians might accept a settlement in which there is a de facto division of the country into ethnic enclaves which would probably be, for the Syrian people and for us, the best outcome.” 

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