Former US Official: Iraqi Army Will Protect Baghdad

Monday, 23 Jun 2014 06:36 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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The tentacles of the Islamic States of Iraq and Syria have a powerful reach — but it's unlikely they are strong enough to seize control of Baghdad, says David Tarfuri, former Rule of Law coordinator for Iraq.

"ISIS has its designs on Baghdad. It's interested in taking Baghdad. That's pretty unrealistic,'' Tarfuri told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

"The Iraqi army is still strong enough to protect the capital city, and certainly Iraq has also been recruiting new people . . . Shiite-led militias, which in their own right would be very strong and powerful.''

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That makes the likelihood of Baghdad's being captured — as other smaller cities throughout Iraq have been — a slim one, said Tarfuri, a partner at Patton Boggs, an international legal practice with 44 offices in 21 countries.

"My guess is that Baghdad is safe, although there may be fighting on the outskirts of Baghdad if ISIS truly does make a concerted effort to try to take Baghdad. But ISIS would lose that battle,'' he said.

Tarfuri says Iraq is involved in a bloody internal struggle with ISIS in part because the Shiite–led government overseen by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has failed to incorporate Sunni Arabs into the government and into the security forces and to give them a political voice.

"Therefore, they feel disenfranchised, left out of the government, left out of sharing in the resources, and that's one of the things that has laid the framework for this type of intervention by an al-Qaida, ISIS-related group,'' he said.

"So, they are correct that the bigger problems in Iraq need to be solved, and so, there needs to be some tough medicine given to Prime Minister Maliki.

"That is what the president and Secretary Kerry are trying to do, and . . . there needs to be a change in policy in Baghdad to do a much better job of involving the Sunnis and, frankly, compromising with the Kurds. That hasn't happened yet.''


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