Richard Haass: Iran Is The Most Likely Setting For A Major New War In 2019


Council on Foreign Relations president and author of "A World In Disarray" Richard Haass warns MSNBC's 'Morning Joe' that despite U.S. troops withdrawing from Syria and victory against ISIS, the Middle East is still the most dangerous flashpoint in the world:

RICHARD HAASS: One of the basic laws of the Middle East is things have to get worse before they get even worse. I think we're going to see that. If I were going to place a bet on 2019, where there could well be a serious new war in the world, it wouldn't be North Korea, it wouldn't be the South China Sea. You never know what Mr. Putin will do in Ukraine, but I would bet on Iran, whether it is Israel vis-a-vis Iran or it is the Saudis doing something, perhaps hoping to change the conversation so we don't see Saudi Arabia simply as the murderer of a journalist, but we see them as a necessary partner against Iran, or Iran will do something because of the pressure they're feeling on sanctions.

That is the space I would watch. Even if I'm wrong and that doesn't happen, I think over the next couple of years, we have to imagine there will be the reconstitution of terrorism. Syria will never become a normal country again. We could see increased fighting there.

Sooner or later, I think the possibility of other countries thinking of nuclear weapons, countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey, I wouldn't rule that out.

So again, I don't think anyone lost money betting against the Middle East. I would think that almost all the trend lines are bad right now so rather than seeing the Middle East somehow, having been exhausted moving towards peace or anything like that. I think you are looking at a part of the world where borders count for very little. Where there is no serious negotiation. Where countries are beginning to break down from within and if you are not worried about this part of the world, you are not paying attention. And what happens there won't say there. It ain't Las Vegas. The bad things when they happen in the Middle East have a way of spreading around the world.

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