Analyst Boot: Iraq Instability 'Spilling Over Into Other Countries'

Monday, 16 Jun 2014 12:04 PM

By Wanda Carruthers

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The instability in Iraq caused by Islamic militant insurgents is "spilling over" into neighboring countries such as Saudi Arabia and Jordan, Max Boot, foreign policy analyst and senior fellow with the Council on Foreign Relations, said Monday on MSNBC.

According to Boot, the United States has a "real dog in this fight" due to oil interests in Iraq. He said the Iraqi conflict, where al-Qaida-inspired militants have overtaken huge chunks of the country, was "not just something which is happening on the other side of the world that we can afford to ignore."

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"That is a disaster for American interests in the region, and it's been spilling over into other countries," Boot told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Monday. "It's going to spill over into other states, including places like Saudi Arabia, Jordan, other [Persian] Gulf states."

Because of the crisis, the United States has an "an opportunity right now to get rid of [Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-] Maliki's disastrous leadership," Boot said. He maintained President Barack Obama needed to "roll up his sleeves" and "get involved in Iraqi politics" among the rivaling tribal factions.

Paul Bremer, former U.S. ambassador under President Ronald Reagan, led the occupational authority of Iraq following the U.S. invasion in 2003. He told the "Morning Joe" panel on Monday it would be a "major catastrophe for American interests" if the Middle East's political structure collapsed.

"There is a broader problem, which is the collapse of the 100-year-old political structure in the entire ex-Ottoman empire area here, from Lebanon through Syria, Iraq, and over into Jordan, and even as far as Saudi Arabia," he said.

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Bremer said he could foresee American troops in Iraq and doubted the United States could plan air missions without intelligence on the ground.

"I can well imagine that we would have to have some troops on the ground. For example, collecting intelligence, some special operators helping the fire control, and identifying targets for air strikes," he said. "I don't see how those military objectives could be achieved without having us have some people on the ground."

Bremer also said al-Maliki needs to resign.

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