Gen. James Jones: US Should Aid Kurds, Stop Calling Them Terrorists

Sunday, 10 Aug 2014 01:45 PM

By Greg Richter

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The Kurds in Iraq are some of America's best friends in the region and should be receiving aid, says retired Gen. James Jones, President Barack Obama's first national security adviser and former Supreme Allied Commander in Europe.

"The Kurds have been our best friends for years, yet we still list them as a Tier III terrorist organization, which is in my mind ludicrous," Jones said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."

The Kurds should be given more autonomy as Iraq chooses a new prime minister under a coalition government, Jones added, and Sunnis should be given their own areas.

Still, he said, it will be difficult to put the fractured country back together.

"It doesn't mean that it can't survive as a state, but I think it's going to be a different state with more power to the regions," Jones said.

The Kurds, who control the northern region, should be supplied with weapons to fight the terror group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, he said. ISIS has taken over a large swath of northern Iraq and eastern Syria, and it is using American weapons seized when Iraqi fighters fled.

"We cannot let Kurdistan fall to ISIS," Jones said. "That would be a strategic disaster."

Whatever is done must be done quickly, he added.

"I think time is not on our side," he said. "It certainly isn't on the Iraqis' side."

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