Former Trump advisor John Bolton says Gaza war still in early stages

Former National Security Advisor John Bolton speaks to reporters after speaking at a panel hosted by the National Council of Resistance of Iran – United States Representative Office (NCRI-US) in the Willard InterContinental Hotel on August 17, 2022 in Washington, DC.

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Former US national security adviser John Bolton says Israel’s war in Gaza is “still in its early stages” and says it has been complicated by Iran’s involvement.

Framing the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas as “an Iranian war on Israel,” Bolton told CNBC’s Dan Murphy: “The fact that Iran has not yet been held accountable for any of this suggests that we are We are still at the very beginning. stages of the war. »

Israel declared war on Hamas after the Palestinian Islamist group launched a surprise terrorist attack on October 7, killing around 1,200 people, including women and children, and kidnapping more than 200 others. Some 130 people are believed to remain in captivity in the Gaza Strip, controlled by Hamas.

“This is not a war between Gaza and Israel, nor a Palestinian war against Israel, nor an Arab war against Israel. This is an Iranian war against Israel, waged through mandated terrorists,” he told CNBC on Wednesday. Bolton is a noted foreign policy hawk and has previously advocated for U.S. regime change in Iran.

On Monday, Iran accused Israel of bombing part of its embassy compound in Damascus, the Syrian capital, killing seven Iranian soldiers, including three senior commanders. Tehran has vowed to retaliate, while Israel has not publicly acknowledged the strike.

A dominant force in Middle Eastern politics, Iran funds and supports groups opposed to Israel, including Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza and the Houthis in Yemen. The ongoing conflict in Gaza has often been characterized as a proxy war between Israel and Iran. Iran has repeatedly rejected allegations that it was behind the Oct. 7 terrorist attack, and U.S. intelligence has indicated that Iranian leaders were surprised by the attack.

In January, Iran struck several targets in Iraq, Syria and Pakistan, further escalating already high tensions in the Middle East and fueling fears of a wider war. Tehran said the attacks on Syria and Pakistan were not directly linked to Israel’s war in Gaza, but rather an attempt to target anti-Iranian terrorist groups.

As long as the current Iranian government is in power, it will continue to be a source of threat to international peace and security, Bolton told CNBC.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNBC.

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More than 32,900 people have been killed in Gaza since Israel launched its land, sea and air attack on the small Palestinian enclave, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry.

Israel has more recently been accused of deliberately targeting international aid workers from World Central Kitchen who were killed while delivering food to Gaza, where more than 80% of the population is at high risk of death and injury. famine.

Seven aid workers were killed, sparking an international outcry and prompting aid groups to immediately suspend operations. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said their deaths were a “tragic case of our forces unintentionally hitting innocent people in the Gaza Strip.” “This is happening in times of war and we will investigate until the end,” the Israeli prime minister said.

Bolton told CNBC that there was “no indication” that Israel had deliberately targeted them, and that it would be a “stupid thing to do” if they did. “The way to end the suffering in Gaza is to eliminate Hamas, which is the cause of this suffering,” Bolton said.


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