Mike Rogers: US Can't 'Humanitarian-Aid' Itself Out of Iraq, Syria

Sunday, 31 Aug 2014 05:02 PM

By Greg Richter

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President Barack Obama's inaction so far against ISIS is a strategic decision in itself, and portends trouble in other areas of foreign policy, says Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

"You're not going to humanitarian-aid ISIS out of Iraq and Syria," the Michigan Republican said on "Fox News Sunday."

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Rogers noted that America's Arab League partners asked more than a year ago for help in dealing with the terrorist group now calling itself the Islamic State, but Obama rejected the idea of giving help in the form of coordination and intelligence.

The situation got worse, so the Arab League acted on its own, without the best coordination and intelligence, Rogers said. The result was a stronger ISIS, he said.

Obama was asked about his strategy to deal with ISIS in Syria last week, and said he didn't yet have one, sparking criticism from Republicans and some members of his own party.

But lack of action is nothing new to Obama, Rogers said.

"That is a decision. That is a policy. That is a strategy," he told Fox News' Chris Wallace. "And it's not working."

The U.S. on Sunday conducted 118 airstrikes against ISIS forces in Iraq and dropped humanitarian aid to minority groups being targeted by the militants.

President Obama "authorized these airstrikes in support of an operation to deliver humanitarian assistance to civilians in the town of Amirli," U.S. Defense spokesman Mark Wright said in a statement.

Fighter aircraft destroyed three Humvees, an armed vehicle, a checkpoint and tank operated by Islamic State, the Sunni militant group also known as ISIS, he said.

Australia said Sunday it would help the United States in an international effort to transport weapons to Kurdish forces fighting Islamic State militants in Iraq.

With hundreds of Americans, Brits and Canadians thought to have spent time training with ISIS and returned to their home countries, there are increasing fears of terror attacks on the homeland. Rogers said that while it isn't necessarily wrong to take time to develop a strategy, America's options decrease the longer it waits.

"The clock didn't start with the beheading of the American journalist. That was just a symptom of what was a long and growing problem for the United States," he said.

And many now fear ISIS and al-Qaida are competing for dominance as the world's top terror organization, putting them in a race to see who can first attack America on its own soil.

Rogers said Obama's inaction on ISIS follows a pattern that paints America as weak.

"It shows, it exemplifies that his foreign policy is in absolute free fall, Rogers said. "If you look at China, if you look at ISIS, you look at Russia, you look at Iran, North Korea, we have a serious host of problems presenting itself. Our traditional allies are now standing up and saying maybe America is not the best ones to lead us through the troubles. This is an issue we have to deal with."

Obama's policies, Rogers said, have emboldened Russian President Vladimir Putin to invade eastern Ukraine last week.

"It's hard to argue that Russian troops with Russian armor crossing the border into Ukraine doesn't fit the definition of an invasion," Rogers said. "I don't think they're there on a sightseeing tour."

If the world perceives that the United States does not have a consistent foreign policy there will be more pressure, he said.

Ukraine, like the Arab League, was asking for logistics, training and arms a year and a half ago, he said, and the United States and its NATO allies refused to help.

"If we don't do small and effective now, you're going to get very big and very ugly later," he said.

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Information from Reuters and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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