Tags: Emerging Threats | Iraq in Crisis | ISIS/Islamic State | Middle East | Syria | War on Terrorism | Lindsey Graham

Lindsey Graham: 'Mythical' Arab Army Cannot Defeat ISIS

By    |   Tuesday, 16 Sep 2014 08:21 PM

Sen. Lindsey Graham says he is skeptical that an Arab army will be put together to battle Islamic State (ISIS) forces on the ground, and says that if it is, and loses the fight, ISIS will become stronger.

"There's supposed to be a mythical Arab army formed sometime in the near future that will go in on the ground and destroy [ISIS] without any substantial U.S. help," Graham said Tuesday on Fox News Channel's "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren."

"I don't believe that's possible, and the worst outcome is to send an Arab army into Syria and [have ISIS] beat them."

Graham said Senate testimony earlier in the day by Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, left him "dumbfounded."

Graham said he agrees that ISIS must be destroyed, but added, "I just don't know how we destroy [ISIS], given what I heard today."

CNN's Wolf Blitzer earlier asked Gen. Philip Breedlove, NATO's supreme allied commander, about President Barack Obama's plan to defeat ISIS in Iraq and "degrade" it in Syria, where it has its headquarters.

"Wolf, I'm not real clear on that," Breedlove said, adding that he would have to talk to Gen. Lloyd Austin, head of CENTCOM, to ask why that distinction was made.

"Clearly, it means a difference of mission type," Breedlove said.

Graham told Van Susteren that ISIS must be wiped out in Syria because that is where its base of operations and two-thirds of its troops are.

He said he is OK with training members of the Free Syrian Army as part of the ground attack, "but it would take a lifetime to train enough of them to defeat [ISIS]."

Graham has said he would like to see Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia contribute ground forces, but he doesn't want to be unrealistic in expecting them to sign on.

Breedlove told CNN that NATO forces are unlikely to join the battle, as they did against the Taliban and al-Qaida in Afghanistan. More likely, he said, some individual nations will contribute personnel.

Graham said the military is "in a box" created by Obama for political rather than strategic purposes.

"This is not a military plan. This military strategy won't destroy [ISIS]," Graham said. "It's designed to protect the promise made by President Obama as a politician."

Graham was referring to Obama's campaign promise to get America out of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Graham called Obama "stubborn" and "vain," and said he will end up leaving troops in the battle longer than necessary, inflicting additional U.S. casualties.

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Sen. Lindsey Graham says he is skeptical that an Arab army will be put together to battle Islamic State (ISIS) forces on the ground, and says that if it is, and loses the fight, ISIS will become stronger.
Lindsey Graham, skeptical, Arab, army
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2014-21-16
Tuesday, 16 Sep 2014 08:21 PM
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