msnbc | November 17, 2012
>> this crisis. joining me is military analyst general mccaffrey. is there a danger this could turn into a larger middle east war?
>> no question. i think we're one step shorter of an all out ground operation in the gaza. i don't see how the israelis could top rate continued threat to huge parts of the civilian population . and then in the background, of course, we have the iranians and hezbollah on the lebanese southern border. the israelis are quite vulnerable to these rocket strikes. fit went to all-out war there would be significant israeli losses.
>> all right, general, would the u.s. get involved militarily if this does escalate?
>> i don't think so. i think the iranians would be loathe to actually start firing their long-range missiles at israel . if they did that would be the ultimate red line and we would get engaged. my guess is they're going to cap this in one way or the other. clearly the provocation is coming out of hamas . and they are insensitive to their own civilian casualties . so it's a very tricky situation. but i think they back off at some point.
>> you bring up iran. it has been suggested that hamas is triggering all of this back and forth try to divert attention to iran's nuclear program. does that make sense to you at all?
>> yes. although i think there's a terrible malignancy in the gaza strip in the west bank and the hatreds that have been generated are literally multigenerational. that's independent. but i think the iranians have manipulated particularly hezbollah but also hamas . they've equipped them with significant amounts of rocketry. one of the unclassified figures was 120,000 rockets in either southern lebanon or gaza in the range of israel . so the iranians are actively promoting trouble in syria and lebanon and gaza strip .
>> general, all the money that we've invested in egypt as they go to the table, are they representing the american voice there appropriately?
>> no. i think there's a great problem right now. mersi is trying to sort out where does he come down on all this? one could argue that mubarek and the military dictatorship were the only ones in egypt who supported continued peace with the israelis . they didn't want the egyptian army in the sinai, didn't want a ground war with israel . this has been good for both countries. but mersi and the brotherhood when they came into office had no such commitment. if he looks at his own electorate, there's widespread feeling among the egyptians that doesn't support the treaty. this is bad news. somehow our diplomacy, secretary clinton and the president, this is i think one of their primary purposes. how do we substitute diplomacy for war?