McCain, Graham Split on Working With Iran in Iraq

Image: McCain, Graham Split on Working With Iran in Iraq

Tuesday, 17 Jun 2014 09:08 AM

By Melanie Batley

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The possibility of a joint U.S.-Iran response to the violence in Iraq has created a rare division between Republican foreign policy hawks Sens. Lindsey Graham and John McCain, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Graham told CBS' "Face the Nation" on Sunday that the United States may be forced to collaborate with Iran out of necessity.

"We're going to have to have some dialogue with the Iranians that says let's coordinate our efforts but put a red line to the Iranians: Don't use this crisis to take territory from the Iraqi people," Graham said.

He said the situation would be similar to World War II, when the United States worked with Joseph Stalin against Adolf Hitler.

McCain, however, is completely opposed to involving Iran in any American response to the situation, saying it would be the "height of folly" to think the country could be helpful.
He believes Iranian involvement would encourage deeper sectarian divisions and increase Iraq's reliance on Tehran, the Journal reported.

"The longer we wait to act, the more our Iraqi partners grow dependent on the Iranian regime. That is neither in our interest nor consistent with the values for which we stand," McCain said in a statement, according to the Journal.

McCain on Monday indicated he felt reassured that ISIS, which has seized chunks of Iraq, would not take over Baghdad, following a conversation with White House Chief of Staff, Denis McDonough, Politico reported.

"I don’t believe Baghdad will fall," he said. "What they can do is orchestrate bombings, assassinations, create turmoil, shelling in different places. But I am pretty confident that they won't take Baghdad."

McCain proposed that the Obama administration re-engage the architects of the 2007 Iraq surge to orchestrate hard-hitting military action. He named Gen. Jack Keane, Gen. David Petraeus, and former Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker as the top people that should be sent to tackle the situation.

"I would look to see us strongly urge that they carry out airstrikes," McCain said, according to Politico. "Remember, we're not talking about bombing towns and cities. There are long stretches of that desert that [the ISIS] have to travel across."

President Barack Obama announced Monday that he will send 275 troops to protect the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad as he considers other possible responses, including air strikes, to halt the violence.

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