Hoekstra: Iraq Instability Could Affect Entire Region

Thursday, 12 Jun 2014 11:39 AM

By Melissa Clyne

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The rapidly deteriorating situation in Iraq could destabilize the Middle East and lead to the creation of an Islamic state, according to Pete Hoekstra, former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

"Instability in this part of world is our enemy and it spreads very quickly," Hoekstra said on Newsmax TV’s "America’s Forum."

The Michigan Republican compared the current situation in Iraq to Libya, where jihadists had a hand in destabilizing that nation.

"You get rid of the stabilizing forces, evil as it was, with Gadhafi, you have an Islamist function, an Islamist capability to develop in that country. You destabilize northern Africa, that then spreads south into other parts of Africa, Mali, and then also threatens the southern border of Europe because that's the soft underbelly of Europe where jihadists can easily cost that border and get into western Europe and create all kinds of problems," he said.

Moammar Gadhafi was the leader of Libya. He was deposed and killed in 2011.

The al-Qaida affiliated ISIS organization, or Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, gained extensive battle experience in Syria and are putting it to use in Iraq, according to Hoekstra.

"A few weeks ago, this group took over Fallujah … earlier this week, they captured Mosul, they've captured Tikrit, they’re on the border of Samara, they are attacking outposts and police stations as near as 31 miles to Baghdad," he said. "It is clearly a significant and deteriorating situation in Iraq."

ISIS is taking to social media to encourage violence and, according to Hoekstra, the Iraqi army is in chaos since U.S. troops departed.

"We left there cold turkey, we said, 'The war is over,'" Hoekstra said. "We forgot to tell the Islamists that the war was over."

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