Iraq is still a country but is "in a process of completely falling apart" while the White House that withdrew U.S. troops helplessly watches it unraveling, a national security analyst told Newsmax TV's
"Midpoint" with host Ed Berliner on Thursday.
The huge investments of blood and treasure that America made to stabilize Iraq after toppling dictator Saddam Hussein are being wiped out as a result, said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer (Ret.), a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research.
And with the U.S. militarily disengaged from the mess it helped create, the Obama administration appears to have been blindsided
by the violence and has little leverage over Iraq's vicious internal conflicts, Shaffer said in a harsh appraisal of U.S. policy toward Iraq.
Iraq's Shiite-dominate central government, with its U.S.-trained national military in retreat, is now pleading for new U.S. help
, including drone strikes, against Sunni Islamic insurgents who control two Iraqi cities
and are said to be advancing on the capital, Baghdad.
"What we should have done is stay there for several more election cycles to allow for the central Iraq government to get its own legs," said Shaffer. "We didn't do that. We decided, based on President Obama's own personal political timeline, to cut and run."
Shaffer said Iraq rates as much strategic consideration as South Korea, where U.S. forces have been stationed for decades to help keep a hostile neighbor, communist North Korea, at bay.
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But Shaffer described an administration
that has preferred to deal with an unoccupied Iraq, having failed to ensure that "the Iraq government was able to do what it said it wanted to do: protect the Iraqi borders, protect the Iraqi people," he said.
"Now we're finding out that they couldn't, and probably would not have [been able to protect their people] for at least a while," said Shaffer. "This could have been done but, again, if you depart halfway through the process of fixing things, it's not going to get fixed."
Shaffer put Iraq's disintegration on the current administration's national security team.
"We have idiots in charge — I'll just be that blunt," said Shaffer. "You have, like, the high school debating team in charge of our national security right now. They are full of theories, they are full of highfalutin degrees, but have no actual experience."
Meanwhile, the regional jihadi group, ISIS, leading the Sunni insurgency is fighting with armaments provided with U.S. assistance
, said Shaffer.
"The sad thing here is my sources tell me that we've actually helped arm these guys," he said.
In aiding the rebellion against Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, the administration was also, it turned out, arming Islamist extremists within the rebels' ranks. Some of those fighters then moved on from Syria's civil war to pursuing the creation of a regional Islamic "caliphate."
An independent jihadi state
carved from two adjoining countries may be a distant dream, but in the meantime the region is a hub for the ISIS insurgents who are routing Iraq's army.
"Realistically now, our only option is the Kurds," said Shaffer.
Kurdish forces, seeking to protect their homeland in Iraq's semi-autonomous and oil-rich north, on Thursday took control of their de-facto capital,
Kirkuk, after Iraqi national troops had fled the city, according to news reports.
It's a development that signals even more splintering of Iraq along the old political, religious and tribal fault lines which were supposed to have been smoothed over, if not eradicated, by the elected national government that succeeded Saddam Hussein.
But Shaffer said the Kurds offer some hope for U.S. interests, as they "seem to be the most well-organized military force left in Iraq that's friendly to us."
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