President Barack Obama's Middle East policies have "backfired," leaving the region "more dangerous and unstable," Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio charges.
In an assertive foreign policy commentary for the Washington Post
that went online Friday night, the GOP candidate for president says what's needed is "a reassertion of U.S. leadership in the region and specifically in the fight against the Islamic State."
"The fall of the Iraqi city of Ramadi to the Islamic State and recent gains by the group in Syria are the latest signs that President Obama’s strategy to defeat this brutal terrorist group is failing," he writes. "But the problem is far bigger than that. The president’s entire approach to the Middle East has backfired."
"The Middle East is more dangerous and unstable than when Obama came into office...[.]"
Rubio argues Obama's "disengagement from the region" is to blame for much of the instability, slamming the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq in 2011.
"The vacuum created by America’s pullback has been filled by bad actors, including terrorist extremists, both Sunni and Shiite, who have flourished in the absence of U.S. leadership," he writes.
Rubio urges the building of a coalition of regional partners to fight the Islamic State (ISIS), including the Kurds and Sunni tribes and Persian Gulf countries like Egypt, Jordan and Turkey.
"The current coalition is suffering because our allies and friends doubt our commitment to this effort," he writes.
Also needed are more troops in Iraq; a lifting of restrictions on their ability to embed with the Iraqi units, and more airstrikes aimed at ISIS, he says.
Rubio also argues against "a bad deal with Iran" that would give the regime with "billions of dollars of sanctions relief to fuel its export of terrorism and further its regional expansionism, including its efforts to undermine Iraq’s stability."
Further, he demands an aggression effort to keep ISIS from taking hold in "other failed and failing states" like Libya, where Rubio blamed Obama's "'lead from behind' approach to the effort to topple Moammar Gaddafi" for opening "a growing haven for the Islamic State."
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