Hoekstra: US Left no Footprint in Iraq

Tuesday, 10 Jun 2014 12:03 PM

By Melissa Clyne

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The level of violence in Iraq has returned to the peak before the surge in 2006 and 2007, Pete Hoekstra, the former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said on Newsmax TV’s "America’s Forum."

"The Sunni extremists, the radical extremists, the jihadists, they've really got free rein in Iraq," he said, referring to recent attacks on Mosul and earlier ones in Fallujah and Baghdad.

Story continues below video.

According to The Associated Press, residents of Mosul this week said militants had raised black banners — symbolic of the Islamic state — in several parts of the city.

The Iraqi government has also been unable to wrest back control of Fallujah, in western Iraq, since militants seized it months ago. Mosul and the surrounding Ninevah province, according to CBS News, is a more "strategic prize" as it a "major export route for Iraqi oil and a gateway to Syria."

Hoekstra said that for the foreseeable future, the Sunnis and Shias will continue to fight.

"The current military structure coming out of Baghdad, the central government isn't strong enough to cap down and to overwhelm the Sunni extremists," he predicted. "So that fighting is going to continue. Kurdistan, the Kurdish region, they are going to continue to push for more and more autonomy. You know you're in trouble when the central government in Baghdad threatens to take the northern part of the country to the U.N. to confront them with the oil that is being shipped out of the Kurdish region."

Despite nine years of a U.S. presence there, instability in Iraq continues, Hoekstra said. The United States departed with "absolutely no footprint" and "left the Iraqi central government totally on their own."

"We couldn't coach them on how to govern, we couldn't help them to maintain stability and control in Iraq and so the whole thing has basically disintegrated," Hoekstra said.

The problem has spilled into Pakistan, where for the second time in three days there have been attacks on the airport in Karachi, leaving dozens dead and talk of a civil war there.

"The Pakistanis elected a new president roughly two years ago," Hoekstra said. "The strategy was, 'Let's negotiate with the Taliban'...You can't negotiate with these folks."

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