The Threats in the Middle East

The “Threat Panel” of the House Armed Services Committee heard Wednesday from experts on the Middle East as it pressed forward with its so-called Committee Defense Review. According to Threat Panel co-chair Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.) none of the threats emanating from the region have “any short term answers.” Complicating the panel’s efforts, according to Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, is the fact that there is “no reliable data on the total military efforts in the region, but it clearly is still massive.” Both Cordesman and Daniel Byman of Georgetown University and the Brookings Institute, noted that the lavish military spending in the region does not necessarily translate into military effectiveness. However, Cordesman said, the nations in this region know their military limitations, so the real threat will come from “asymmetric capabilities” that “continue to grow.”