Tags: Emerging Threats | Exclusive Interviews | Iraq | Iraq in Crisis | Middle East | MidPoint | Syria | War on Terrorism

Security Analyst Van Dyke: Focus on ISIS, Forget Iraq

By Sean Piccoli   |   Tuesday, 12 Aug 2014 04:11 PM

With Iraq poised to break into separate nation-states, the chief goal of U.S. foreign policy should be to make sure none of those new states is ruled by the Islamist terror group ISIS, international security analyst Matthew Van Dyke tells Newsmax TV.

Routing ISIS from the Middle East territory its leaders have seized for a caliphate — the Islamic State — will take an effort on the scale of the U.S. response to 9/11, Van Dyke told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner on Tuesday.

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"We're looking at a multi-yearlong war, another war on terrorism, simply because we didn't act quick enough to snuff this out when it first started," said Van Dyke, a documentary filmmaker, Huffington Post blogger and former prisoner of war in Libya who joined the rebellion against dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

Van Dyke said that while a clear-cut victory against the violent strain of Islamic radicalism that ISIS represents "may not be possible in our lifetimes," the fight still has to be taken up.

Eliminating ISIS also means expending less energy on holding modern-day Iraq together, he said.

"These were borders that were drawn by the British a long time ago; why we continue to try to insist that these borders should remain is beyond reason, really, at this point, and we can't control it anyway," said Van Dyke. "Iraq is on its way to breaking up into two or three different countries."

Van Dyke argued that Iraqis themselves — Shia, Sunni and Kurd — would not be devastated by the split.

"They don't have a lot of identity wrapped up in their nationality anymore," he said.

"Every day, Iraq becomes more and more divided — every conflict between the militia, every death, every political intrigue and backstabbing, and everything that they do incessantly in Iraqi politics, it just never ends," said Van Dyke.

"More and more Iraqis are saying they're fed up with it and they're going to try to survive and do what's good for their tribe or their sect, and forget about Iraq," he said.

Van Dyke — who has lived in Kurdish Iraq, in the now-threatened city of Irbil — said that U.S. support for an independent, post-Iraq Kurdistan is essential.

"Kurds were asking me, 'Why is the United States not supporting us? Why are we using old Russian weapons fighting ISIS, who are using U.S. weapons that they stole out of Mosul?'" said Van Dyke.

"It's about time that we step up and support our ally," said Van Dyke, adding that "support" also means getting modern armaments to the Kurds while the U.S. continues airstrikes against ISIS.

Van Dyke said that on the "chessboard" of Iraq, with all its complications and moving parts, the U.S. is being "badly" outplayed by the likes of Iran.

"We do not have a good chess player in the White House, and this is the result," he said.

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