Cambridge: The top US general in the Middle East said yesterday that if the world does not find a way to stem the rise of Islamic militancy, it will face a third world war.
Army General John Abizaid compared the rise of militant ideologies, such as the force driving Al Qaida, to the rise of fascism in Europe in the 1920s and 1930s that set the stage for the Second World War.
“If we don’t have guts enough to confront this ideology today, we’ll go through World War Three tomorrow,” Abizaid said in a speech titled The Long War, at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge.
If not stopped, Abizaid said extremists would be allowed to “gain an advantage, to gain a safe haven, to develop weapons of mass destruction, to develop a national place from which to operate. And I think that the dangers associated with that are just too great to comprehend”.
Abizaid said the world faces three major hurdles in stabilising the Middle East region: Easing Arab-Israeli tensions, stemming the spread of militant extremism, and dealing with Iran.
“Where these three problems come together happens to come in a place known as Iraq,” said Abizaid. “The sacrifice that is necessary to stabilise Iraq, in my view, must be sustained in order for the region itself to become more resilient,” Abizaid said.