Tags: Exclusive Interviews | Iraq in Crisis | MidPoint | state | department | adviser

Ex-State Dept. Adviser Whiton: Obama Let Iraq Disintegrate

By    |   Wednesday, 02 Jul 2014 06:09 PM

A State Department adviser under President George W. Bush told Newsmax TV on Wednesday that Iraq is finished as a nation of three disparate populations — Shias, Sunnis and Kurds — because the Obama administration lost interest in maintaining a fragile, but enforceable, peace.

"It's important to remember how we got here: At the end of the day, [President] George W. Bush handed President [Barack] Obama an Iraq that was becoming more secure, where civilian casualties had decreased massively — essentially an Iraq that was relatively peaceful, and that has fallen apart because of Obama's precipitous withdrawal [of U.S. troops in 2011]," Christian Whiton told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner.

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Expanding on an article he co-wrote for National Review Online, Whiton said the region formerly known as Iraq will likely consist of three pieces: an independent Kurdistan in the north; an entity coalescing around Shiite-dominated Baghdad in the south; and, in between, a Sunni stronghold that may or may not become the jihadist "caliphate" dreamed of by radical Islamist insurgents.

Whiton said the task now for the U.S. and regional players including Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia is to keep that Sunni province from turning into a terrorist state.

Whiton, author of "Smart Power," said the collapse of Iraqi borders imposed in 1920 by the League of Nations is nothing to cheer, given the carnage that might follow as three would-be nation-states fight for position and territory, encircled by countries with their own regional interests to promote.

"This is the reason why those much-defamed and much-criticized borders in the Middle East nonetheless are ones that the West has tried to preserve," said Whiton. "This isn't some imperialist game because … when you redraw those lines, thousands — and potentially hundreds of thousands — of people die."

Whiton said another full-scale U.S. military intervention is unlikely, even as Obama orders a small number of advisers and combat-ready troops back into Iraq.

"We are now on the hook to defend the Baghdad airport, which you better believe will at some point come under insurgent attack," said Whiton.

But he added, "The bigger issue is not so much mission creep but the lack of a mission — this belief that goes back to Obama's inaugural that we can have some sort of ill-defined partnership with Iran, and that'll help us out in Iraq."

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A State Department adviser under President George W. Bush told Newsmax TV on Wednesday that Iraq is finished as a nation of three disparate populations — Shias, Sunnis and Kurds — because the Obama administration lost interest in maintaining a fragile, but enforceable, peace.
state, department, adviser
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2014-09-02
Wednesday, 02 Jul 2014 06:09 PM
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