California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein says Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki "needs to go" to open a path to stability in a country on the verge of collapse because of the rise of a brutal Islamic extremist group.
Calling for the end to Maliki's government in an opinion piece for Politico Magazine,
the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee said the land grab by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, "cannot be reversed … until the root cause of its ascendance is addressed, and that is Sunni disenfranchisement with the government in Baghdad."
Also known as the Islamic State of Iraq in the Levant, or ISIL, the terror group
"has been successful in Iraq largely because of Sunni animosity" toward the Maliki government, she noted.
"His government has not governed inclusively and has fueled sectarian distrust," she wrote. "Simply put, Maliki needs to go."
"Only with meaningful political reconciliation between Iraq’s Sunni, Shia and Kurdish parties can Iraq move forward, reestablish its territorial integrity and defeat ISIL," she added, noting the extremists — aiming to restore a 7th-century Islamic caliphate from Lebanon through Syria and into Iraq — have already renamed the seized territory "the Islamic State."
She also warned ISIS "could threaten U.S. strategic interests not only because the group has a safe haven to plan and prepare external attacks against the West, but because this crisis could easily lead to horrific sectarian violence."
Meanwhile, as Maliki's government tries to prevent the breakup of Iraq
triggered by the ISIS advance, it faces threats to its security elsewhere, too, The Washington Post reported,
including by Kurds preparing to vote on independence in the north and Shiite dissatisfaction in the south.
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