Lindsey Graham: Don't Bother Talking About Jared Kushner And Peace Process, Middle East Is On Brink Of War


Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, discusses the American strategy in Syria, the extent of Iran's influence, and the roles of Russia and Israel in the region with 'Face The Nation' host Margaret Brennan.

In response to a question about "senior advisor to the president" Jared Kushner having his security clearance reduced, Graham said: "The last thing on my mind right now is the peace process, we're about to have a war between Israel and Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, Iran is winning and we are losing."

"I went to Israel and Jordan," Graham reported. "The King of Jordan is under siege because we have no policy as the United States about the Russian-Iranian axis. Southern Lebanon is a rocket-launching site against Israel... So I would focus on containing Iran rather than pushing a peace process that is broken."

"If we don't come up with a strategy against Iran we're going to make Israel go to war here pretty soon with the Hezbollah elements in Southern Lebanon," he warned.

GRAHAM: I'm very confident in H.R. McMaster. I think he's learned as much about the war on terror from fighting it than anybody that I know. I think he's really smart on North Korea and Iran.

I hope the president will keep him around, but it's up to the president. He can fire anybody he likes, but I have lot of confidence in General McMaster.

And John Kelly, to me, has created order out of chaos initially. It's kind of back sliding now. But I think John Kelly is the right guy to continue to help the president organize his agenda. Have a lot of faith and trust in John Kelly. Hope he stays.

BRENNAN: You just came back from the Middle East. Given the concerns about Jared Kushner's security clearance level being downgraded, do you think that he can possibly lead this Middle East peace policy push without the full security clearance?

GRAHAM: The last thing on my mind right now is the peace process.

We're about to have a war between Israel and Hezbollah in Southern Lebanon. Iran is winning, and we're losing. So, I went to Israel and Jordan. The king of Jordan is under siege. Plus, we have no policy regarding, as the United States, the Russian-Iranian access.

Southern Lebanon is a rocket-launching site against Israel. They are developing precision-guided weapons. So, I would focus on containing Iran, rather than pushing the peace process that's broken.

If we don't come up with a strategy against Iran, we're going to make Israel go to war here pretty soon with the Hezbollah elements in Southern Lebanon.

BRENNAN: Well, you're referring there, though, to the outgrowth of the war in Syria.


BRENNAN: The president was very clear. We're there just to get rid of ISIS and get out.

Does he need to reconsider that policy? How do you fix the problem you identified?

GRAHAM: Well, he said he didn't want to turn Iran over -- Syria over to Iran. We don't have a strategy to contain Iran. They are about to take over Damascus.

He's done a good job fighting ISIL. But Iran is now dominating the Mideast. Hezbollah elements being supplied by Iran have over 100,000 missiles pointed at Israel. The king of Jordan has suffered mightily from the Syrian civil war.

If we don't push Iran out and come up with an agreement in Geneva that gives Syria back to the Syrians, this war never ends.

So, Mr. President, it is just not about defeating ISIL. If you leave Syria in the hands of Russia and the Iranians, this war never ends and our friend in Israel are in a world of hurt.

BRENNAN: Do you know where the president's red line is on chemical weapons, which the Assad regime continues to use?

GRAHAM: I thought I did. But I don't any longer.

Clearly, he did use chemical weapons yet again. What I'd like to see is a no-fly zone inside of Syria, where people could go back to Syria from the surrounding neighborhood, and we would train Syrian Democratic Forces to take Assad on and tell the Russians and the Iranians, if you bomb these people, you do so at your own peril, and try to level out the chaos in Syria, go to Geneva to get a peace agreement.

You will never get an agreement in Geneva as long as Assad is winning on the battlefield. Our policy in Syria is a complete mess. We're AWOL when it comes to containing Russia and Iran and Syria. And that's a real threat to the region.

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