Remember Iraq? Remember all the claims that the violence there was due to the US troops helping to rebuild the country? Well, apparently not.
With US troops out of Iraq, Al-Qaeda has “returned with a vengeance” according to a letter sent by US Senators to President Barack Obama. And Al-Qaeda’s not just killing Iraqis at a stunning pace not seen since 2008. The Senators fear American interests and allies could be next.
Noting Al-Qaeda’s gains in Iraq and neighboring Syria, the Senators wrote, “We are deeply concerned that Al-Qaeda could use its new safe haven in Iraq and Syria to launch attacks against US interests and those of our friends and allies.”
The Senators’ letter was sent to Obama and released by Senator John McCain’s office as Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is meeting Obama this week. In addition to encouraging Obama to step up counterterrorism intelligence sharing with Iraq, they also urged that Maliki get a clear message: heal ethnic and religious divisions in Iraq to stop Al-Qaeda. Basically, Al-Qaeda is using a divide and conquer approach that Maliki’s divisive actions are making even worse.
Implied in this message is that continued US financial aid to Iraq will be conditional on how Maliki governs and brings unity to his country. The Senators noted that if he doesn’t properly include the different religious and ethnic groups in Iraq into the country’s government and economy, “no amount of security assistance will be able to bring stability and security to Iraq.”
“We must see more evidence from Prime Minister Maliki that US security assistance and arms sales are part of a comprehensive Iraqi strategy that addresses the political sources of the current violence and seeks to bring lasting peace to the country.”
The Senators also weren’t happy about Iraq allowing themselves to be influenced by Iran.
Basically, the letter boiled down to one message to Iraq: govern fairly and democratically and stop helping Iran, or risk losing American dollars. Because if Iraq doesn’t take these steps and Al-Qaeda takes advantage, American interests could be at risk.
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, October 30, 2013)