Kerry: We may welcome Iraq’s new Iranian overlords, or something; Update: White House reverses course

posted at 12:01 pm on June 16, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

The US and Iran could team up to legitimize an Iranian military presence in Iraq, Secretary of State John Kerry told Katie Couric earlier today.  That’s a far cry from American policy over the past four decades, and a blow to US allies in the region, who have to be wondering just what Washington is thinking. Oliver Knox reports from the Couric interview, in which Kerry said the Obama administration would not rule anything out to prevent Iraq from being ripped apart:

“This is a challenge to the stability of the region. It is obviously an existential challenge to Iraq itself. This is a terrorist group,” Kerry told Yahoo News Global Anchor Katie Couric in an exclusive interview.

Prodded on whether the United States would consider cooperating militarily with Iran, Kerry replied: “Let’s see what Iran might or might not be willing to do before we start making any pronouncements.”

But “I think we are open to any constructive process here that could minimize the violence, hold Iraq together, the integrity of the country and eliminate the presence of outside terrorist forces that are ripping it apart,” the top U.S. diplomat told Couric.

“I wouldn’t rule out anything that would be constructive to providing real stability, a respect for the (Iraqi) constitution, a respect for the election process, and a respect for the Iraqi people to form a government that represents all of the interests of Iraq — not one sectarian group over another,” he said. …

Kerry said Obama was giving “a very thorough vetting of every option that is available,” including drone strikes, and underlined that “we are deeply committed to the integrity of Iraq as a country.”

Note that “wouldn’t rule anything out” seems to exclude the introduction of American troops, which Obama ruled out on Friday (and which couldn’t arrive in time to save Baghdad on its own anyway). Nor are manned air attacks an option either, according to multiple reports over the last few days, so there actually seems to be quite a bit that’s being “ruled out” when it comes to a response to the ISIS penetration after all.

ABC notes that Iran is also open to legitimizing a military presence in Iraq, to the great shock of no one, and that the US isn’t even going to make it a trading point in nuclear negotiations:

Iran’s  Iranian President Hassan said over the weekend that Iran is willing to help Iraq if asked and that is also open to cooperating with the U.S. on Iraq.

“Whenever the United States makes a move on the ISIS, then we can think about cooperation with them in Iraq,” Rouhani said over the weekend. …

A senior administration official told reporters earlier today that Iraq will not factor into nuclear negotiations with Iran in Vienna this week, but that Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns could discuss a political solution in Iraq with his Iranian counterparts on the sidelines of those talks.

It’s a strange interview anyway, offered up this morning on Yahoo News. It starts off with a lengthy intro that practically bathes Kerry in positive spin, lamenting the “smear campaign” of the Swift Boat veterans and providing Kerry’s medal list without acknowledging what the criticisms of Kerry actually involved — his own smear campaign in the early 1970s against his fellow Vietnam veterans, plus some long-held disputes about his service record. It’s practically a campaign introduction without a single reference to anything of substance facing Kerry in his current job until the interview actually gets underway.

Even then, Kerry insists that the issue in Iraq isn’t entirely about terrorism, but also resentment because the balance of power swung in the Shi’ites’ favor at the expense of the Sunnis after the US established a democratic republic in the post-Saddam Hussein period. Of course, that happened because Shi’ites are the majority in Iraq, while the Sunnis are a small minority that only held power because of Hussein’s dictatorship. What else did anyone expect from a majority Shi’ite nation? Besides, while Nouri al-Maliki’s political incompetence is undeniably an issue, it’s hardly the acute issue at the moment.

And if the Obama administration foresaw that problem — which was already manifestly evident by 2009 — why didn’t they negotiate a substantial residual force to give the US leverage with Maliki, as well as give some measure of confidence to our Sunni tribal allies from the surge?

In fact, the acute issue for Kerry and this interview isn’t Iraq, or terrorism, or Iran either. It’s, um, the “Our Ocean” conference at the State Department, which Kerry calls “a very, very important conference”:

“If we do nothing, and it turns out that the critics and the naysayers and the members of the Flat Earth Society, if it turns out that they’re wrong, then we are risking nothing less than the future of the entire planet,” Kerry said.

Kerry’s push on oceans, (and climate change generally) will test the Obama administration’s ability to set the agenda at a time when headline-grabbing crises – Iraq, Ukraine, Nigeria -dominate the discussion of world affairs.

It certainly provides a clear view of the administration’s priorities, and what it views as an acute crisis.

Update: Fred Kagan explains why allying with Iran is exactly the wrong strategy:

That alternative is to act boldly and decisively to help stop the advance of the forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)—without empowering Iran. This would mean pursuing a strategy in Iraq (and in Syria) that works to empower moderate Sunni and Shi’a without taking sectarian sides. This would mean aiming at the expulsion of foreign fighters, both al Qaeda terrorists and Iranian and Lebanese Hezbollah regular and special forces, from Iraq.

This would require a willingness to send American forces back to Iraq. It would mean not merely conducting U.S. air strikes, but also accompanying those strikes with special operators, and perhaps regular U.S. military units, on the ground. This is the only chance we have to persuade Iraq’s Sunni Arabs that they have an alternative to joining up with al Qaeda or being at the mercy of government-backed and Iranian-backed death squads, and that we have not thrown in with the Iranians. It is also the only way to regain influence with the Iraqi government and to stabilize the Iraqi Security Forces on terms that would allow us to demand the demobilization of Shi’a militias and to move to limit Iranian influence and to create bargaining chips with Iran to insist on the withdrawal of their forces if and when the situation stabilizes.

This path won’t be easy, but the alternatives are much worse. Doing nothing means we will face a full-scale sectarian war—Syria on steroids—with millions of refugees and tens or hundreds of thousands more dead, along with a massive expansion of Iranian control into southern Iraq and an al Qaeda safe haven stretching from the Tigris to the middle of Syria.

Throwing our weight behind Iran in the fight against al Qaeda in Iraq, as some are suggesting, would make things even worse. Conducting U.S. airstrikes without deploying American special operators or other ground forces would in effect make the U.S. Iran’s air force. Such an approach would be extremely shortsighted. The al Qaeda threat in Iraq is great, and the U.S. must take action against it. But backing the Iranians means backing the Shi’a militias that have been the principal drivers of sectarian warfare, to say nothing of turning our backs on the moderates on both sides who are suffering the most. Allowing Iran to in effect extend its border several hundred kilometers to the west with actual troop deployments would be a strategic disaster. In addition, the U.S. would be perceived as becoming the ally of the Islamic Republic of Iran against all of the forces of the Arab and Sunni world, conceding Syria to the Iranian-backed Bashir al-Assad, and accepting the emergence of an Iranian hegemony soon to be backed by nuclear weapons. And at the end of the day, Iran is not going to be able to take over the Sunni areas of Iraq—so we would end up both strengthening Iran and not defeating ISIS.

Update: Oh, and there’s this too:

Not just cooperation, but a de facto military alliance.

Update 2:43 pm ET: The White House just reversed course on Kerry:

Does this White House bother to consult with its Secretary of State, or vice versa?


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Libruls are geniusez.

John the Libertarian on June 16, 2014 at 12:02 PM

The desperate grabbing at lifelines. This one is attached to an anvil.

cozmo on June 16, 2014 at 12:03 PM

What a disaster these people are.

p0s3r on June 16, 2014 at 12:04 PM

Incompetent

ORconservative on June 16, 2014 at 12:06 PM

Presidenting is HARD…

ladyingray on June 16, 2014 at 12:07 PM

‘Okay. [sigh] We’ll help you out of this situation, Mr. Kerry. But you need to let Mr. Obama know that all sanctions need to be lifted, as well as any inspections of our nuclear weap… [cough] I mean, nuclear medicine programs need to cease.’ ~Iran

BKeyser on June 16, 2014 at 12:08 PM

Letting Iran in would be like letting your brother in law move in “for a little while” until he gets on his feet. It’s easy to get him moved in but darn near impossible to get rid of him once he’s overstayed his welcome.

tommyboy on June 16, 2014 at 12:09 PM

Obama is giving northern Iraq to Al Qaeda, and southern Iraq to Iran.

I really can’t believe what’s happened to this country, our party, and HotAir.

faraway on June 16, 2014 at 12:09 PM

The Saudis (who are Sunni, and also very disenchanted with Obama) have weighed in against U.S.-Iran cooperation in Iraq, rejecting the idea of “any foreign influence” in Iraq.

Colin Freeman (UK Telegraph) explains:

The statements against “foreign interference” from the Saudi government don’t specify any particular foreign country. But it can be seen as a shot across the bows to any proposed US involvement, especially if it’s carried in conjunction with Iran, which is Saudi Arabia’s arch enemy in the region. Iran is the regional Shia power, Saudi Arabia the regional Sunni power.

Civil war in Iraq? More like a regional war in the ME.

de rigueur on June 16, 2014 at 12:10 PM

ISIS Continues To Execute Members Of Iraq’s Security Forces…
Most groups try to hide their war crimes, ISIS on the other hand is proud of them.

Pic is graphic, beneath fold:http://weaselzippers.us/190044-isis-continues-to-execute-members-of-iraqs-security-forces/

DinaRehn on June 16, 2014 at 12:10 PM

From the Headlines thread:
 

“He seems to care less and less whether he breaks a little china and I think that’s great.”
 
“He’s never really made it a secret that he’s not a fan of this place,” concurred Jamal Simmons, a Democratic strategist. “I think he finds the pettiness of this place annoying. People are focused on tactics not results, and he sees himself as a more results-oriented guy. He’s more willing to do things with a longer lens of history.”

 
Results-oriented. Remember that.

rogerb on June 16, 2014 at 12:10 PM

Who would have ever guessed that we would be partnering up with the same group that has the blood of our troops all over their hands? We should be soooo proud!

obaME baby!

*puke

VegasRick on June 16, 2014 at 12:10 PM

Letting Iran be “greeted as liberators” seems like exactly the kind of thing you would want if you don’t like Iran. But don’t let me stop the neo con d*ck measuring contest…

libfreeordie on June 16, 2014 at 12:11 PM

Kerry was in Viet Nam, dontchaknow?

Wino on June 16, 2014 at 12:13 PM

libfreeordie on June 16, 2014 at 12:11 PM

That is the best you could come up with?

cozmo on June 16, 2014 at 12:14 PM

Bizarro world!

Sven on June 16, 2014 at 12:15 PM

The Saudis, the Gulf States, Kurds and Moderate Syrians who are in conflict with Iran one way or another would be aghast.

Help the moderate Syrians not the Iranians.

KW64 on June 16, 2014 at 12:15 PM

Letting Iran be “greeted as liberators” seems like exactly the kind of thing you would want if you don’t like Iran. But don’t let me stop the neo con d*ck measuring contest…

libfreeordie on June 16, 2014 at 12:11 PM

Your messiah is soooo smart! Yep, he’s got iran right where he wants them! Do you never get tired of being such a boot licking, fluffer moron?

VegasRick on June 16, 2014 at 12:16 PM

The US and Iran could team up to legitimize an Iranian military presence in Iraq, Secretary of State John Kerry told Katie Couric earlier today. That’s a far cry from American policy over the past four decades, and a blow to US allies in the region, who have to be wondering just what Washington is thinking.

Outside of Israel we have no allies in the Islamic world and never have had any.

As for supporting jihad against infidels…I would say Saudi Arabia has done more of that than Iran has by a long shot, although I hope America does not help either party.

William Eaton on June 16, 2014 at 12:17 PM

Update: Fred Kagan explains why allying with Iran is exactly the wrong strategy:

And he instead recommends another exactly the wrong strategy.

WhatSlushfund on June 16, 2014 at 12:20 PM

“If we do nothing, and it turns out that the critics and the naysayers and the members of the Flat Earth Society, if it turns out that they’re wrong, then we are risking nothing less than the future of the entire planet,” Kerry said.

Which is nothing compared to the sun going super nova, so please focus on the biggest issue possible.

Akzed on June 16, 2014 at 12:20 PM

So now we have to ask Iran for help? Awesome.

Ward Cleaver on June 16, 2014 at 12:21 PM

“If we do nothing, and it turns out that the critics and the naysayers and the members of the Flat Earth Society, if it turns out that they’re wrong, then we are risking nothing less than the future of the entire planet,” Kerry said.

Wait a hold it, “this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal” was a long time a go. You mean the oceans are still rising?!

Akzed on June 16, 2014 at 12:23 PM

We are officially through the looking glass….

Whatever comes next in the 2 years ahead won’t be pretty but it won’t be a surprise either.

abobo on June 16, 2014 at 12:23 PM

So much for not negotiating with terrorists…Now we are aligning ourselves with them. What next? Decapitations of those who dare to challenge the Dog Eater and his vision for our ‘fundamentally transformed’ America? Definitely, according to End Times Prophecy…

bimmcorp on June 16, 2014 at 12:23 PM

libfreeordie on June 16, 2014 at 12:11 PM

Are you advocating for Iran to annex portions of Iraq, ala Putin and Ukraine? That certainly would be a welcome development! /s

Fenris on June 16, 2014 at 12:24 PM

Carter lost Iran to the islamists. Obama lost Iraq to the Iranian islamists.

ConstantineXI on June 16, 2014 at 12:24 PM

This would mean pursuing a strategy in Iraq (and in Syria) that works to empower moderate Sunni and Shi’a without taking sectarian sides. This would mean aiming at the expulsion of foreign fighters…

This same thing has been tried, time and time again, and has failed every time in Iraq. Kagan isn’t offering anything new here, just the same old failed tactics of yesteryear.

Kerry and his boss are not interested in fixing what they broke so they are fine with Iran taking over because that gets them off the hook. The United States isn’t willing to install a dictator, so Iran gets the prize.

sharrukin on June 16, 2014 at 12:24 PM

Boy, I bet Killary is happy she’s never had responsibility for foreign policy

Happy Nomad on June 16, 2014 at 12:24 PM

The hits just keep coming.

Let them butcher themselves. What other recourse do we have?

Deckard BR on June 16, 2014 at 12:25 PM

Are you advocating for Iran to annex portions of Iraq, ala Putin and Ukraine? That certainly would be a welcome development! /s

Fenris on June 16, 2014 at 12:24 PM

Unfortunately this is what is going to happen.

Iran is more than willing to kill Iraq sunnis to annex Iraq or create a puppet state.

ConstantineXI on June 16, 2014 at 12:26 PM

This sounds like boatman Kerry is proposing the creation of a “Greater Iran” akin to the “Greater Serbia” once proposed by Slobodan Milosovich. We know how that ended. Does this fool not realize that he is throwing all Sunni arabs under the bus and this includes all of the only non Jewish allies we might potentially have in the region.

Annar on June 16, 2014 at 12:27 PM

unstinkingbelievable

just when you think things could not get any worse with this administration….

SMH

cmsinaz on June 16, 2014 at 12:28 PM

This same thing has been tried, time and time again, and has failed every time in Iraq. Kagan isn’t offering anything new here, just the same old failed tactics of yesteryear.

Kerry and his boss are not interested in fixing what they broke so they are fine with Iran taking over because that gets them off the hook. The United States isn’t willing to install a dictator, so Iran gets the prize.

sharrukin on June 16, 2014 at 12:24 PM

Installing a dictator not afraid to use brutality to put down islamists is the only way to have a west-friendly government in any islamic country.

If you give them the vote they will elect islamists every time.

ConstantineXI on June 16, 2014 at 12:29 PM

BKeyser on June 16, 2014 at 12:08 PM

this right here

cmsinaz on June 16, 2014 at 12:29 PM

Nuke the site from orbit…

Midas on June 16, 2014 at 12:30 PM

So if the Obama legacy in foreign affairs is to be unbridled world war, any bets on the year it first involves a great power (China, Russia or the U.S.)?

MTF on June 16, 2014 at 12:30 PM

If you give them the vote they will elect islamists every time.

ConstantineXI on June 16, 2014 at 12:29 PM

They like it. It’s like a drug addict that keeps doing the drugs until it kills him.

VegasRick on June 16, 2014 at 12:31 PM

“I wouldn’t rule out anything that would be constructive to providing real stability, a respect for the (Iraqi) constitution, a respect for the election process, and a respect for the Iraqi people to form a government that represents all of the interests of Iraq — not one sectarian group over another,” he said. …

Yeah, we could really trust Iran to do all that. Not.
This bumbling secretary of state will assuredly make an evern bigger mess of the situation than the clusterfark that already exists.

bobthm3 on June 16, 2014 at 12:32 PM

John Kerry: ISIS Doesn’t Have Ability To Overrun Baghdad…

Which means that it probably does.

Resist We Much on June 16, 2014 at 12:33 PM

Installing a dictator not afraid to use brutality to put down islamists is the only way to have a west-friendly government in any islamic country.

If you give them the vote they will elect islamists every time.

ConstantineXI on June 16, 2014 at 12:29 PM

An unpleasant conclusion, but nothing else seems to work.

sharrukin on June 16, 2014 at 12:33 PM

Resist We Much on June 16, 2014 at 12:33 PM

This time he is right.

cozmo on June 16, 2014 at 12:36 PM

Kerry and his boss are not interested in fixing what they broke so they are fine with Iran taking over because that gets them off the hook. The United States isn’t willing to install a dictator, so Iran gets the prize.

sharrukin on June 16, 2014 at 12:24 PM

Yep. Remember that exit off ramp they kept mumbling about regarding Vlad’s adventures? Turns out he wasn’t interested. However, I think our very own administration heros would like nothing more than to hand this baby off and move on to concentrate on bankrupting us in the name of climate change.

butch on June 16, 2014 at 12:36 PM

Installing a dictator not afraid to use brutality to put down islamists is the only way to have a west-friendly government in any islamic country.

If you give them the vote they will elect islamists every time.

ConstantineXI on June 16, 2014 at 12:29 PM

Sort of like, oh I don’t know…Saddam Hussein?

libfreeordie on June 16, 2014 at 12:37 PM

Yahoo News with Couric interviewing JFKerry.

Yeah….that about sums it up.

Bishop on June 16, 2014 at 12:38 PM

O/T———-

Sad to hear of the passing of Tony Gwynn…cancer claimed this wonderful man at the tender age of 54….Pray for a cure for that horrendous disease, and pray for the soul of Tony Gwynn…sad, indeed…

bimmcorp on June 16, 2014 at 12:38 PM

Well aren’t I glad Fred Kalgan was not around on tv when the time came to ally with Russia to stop hitler.

I love all those talks of Iran wanting to annex Iraq. Was was the last country Iran annexed? When was the last time Iran invaded a country?

We can do something to stop ISIS now or we can sit and whine about Iran and all the way we don’t want them to benefit from not having a load of psychopaths at their gates? It is not even a Sophie’s choice. It is an easy one.

Let see what the politicians come up with.

coolrepublica on June 16, 2014 at 12:39 PM

Sort of like, oh I don’t know…Saddam Hussein?

libfreeordie on June 16, 2014 at 12:37 PM

Gadaffi, Assad, Mubarak.

butch on June 16, 2014 at 12:39 PM

Sort of like, oh I don’t know…Saddam Hussein?

libfreeordie on June 16, 2014 at 12:37 PM

Or Gadaffi.

Whatever happened to Gadaffi, he like…disappeared.

Bishop on June 16, 2014 at 12:39 PM

I said it yesterday. I’ll say it today. Arc light the jihadis!!!

xkaydet65 on June 16, 2014 at 12:40 PM

Yep. Remember that exit off ramp they kept mumbling about regarding Vlad’s adventures? Turns out he wasn’t interested. However, I think our very own administration heros would like nothing more than to hand this baby off and move on to concentrate on bankrupting us in the name of climate change.

butch on June 16, 2014 at 12:36 PM

Not sure if the US government is in the hands of a bunch of irresponsible frat boys, or that of malicious ideologues. The effects are largely indistinguishable. Either way its not going to be a fun ride.

sharrukin on June 16, 2014 at 12:40 PM

I’m sure Kerry and the rest of the anti-American Obama Regime WOULD welcome Iran into Iraq and would be giddy at the prospect of Iran taking over Iraq entirely. VJAR must be positively moist at the thought.

Meople on June 16, 2014 at 12:40 PM

It’s practically a campaign introduction without a single reference to anything of substance facing Kerry in his current job until the interview actually gets underway.

Hillary is flailing. Warren’s got her own problems. Biden is old news. The next best alternative for the Fascist-Democrats is John Kerry.

rbj on June 16, 2014 at 12:40 PM

Sort of like, oh I don’t know…Saddam Hussein?

libfreeordie on June 16, 2014 at 12:37 PM

If only the Democrats hadn’t voted for war, huh?

sharrukin on June 16, 2014 at 12:42 PM

Sort of like, oh I don’t know…Saddam Hussein?

libfreeordie on June 16, 2014 at 12:37 PM

These dogs have to be put down when they destabilize the region by invading other countries.

But the solution was to replace Hussein with another dictator that didn’t have ambitions outside his borders, not to spend years trying to “nation build” them into a western style Republic. You cannot give barbarians the vote because the result will be barbarism.

(to cite an example close to home look at what kind of “leaders” the inmates in the large cities in the US elect…)

ConstantineXI on June 16, 2014 at 12:42 PM

Letting Iran be “greeted as liberators” seems like exactly the kind of thing you would want if you don’t like Iran. But don’t let me stop the neo con d*ck measuring contest…

libfreeordie on June 16, 2014 at 12:11 PM

You never got back to me about our protest in front of the WH over all this Dog Eater warmongering and such, I didn’t make all these giant paper-mache heads for nothing.

Bishop on June 16, 2014 at 12:43 PM

I’m sure Kerry and the rest of the anti-American Obama Regime WOULD welcome Iran into Iraq and would be giddy at the prospect of Iran taking over Iraq entirely. VJAR must be positively moist at the thought.

Meople on June 16, 2014 at 12:40 PM

To quote a headline thread earlier, I bet that tastes like a urinal.

ConstantineXI on June 16, 2014 at 12:44 PM

So basically between the VA scandal and the insanity of trying to ally with Iran, the Obama regime’s message to US vets is a hearty “F*ck you”.

specialkayel on June 16, 2014 at 12:44 PM

Letting Iran in would be like letting your brother in law move in “for a little while” until he gets on his feet. It’s easy to get him moved in but darn near impossible to get rid of him once he’s overstayed his welcome.

tommyboy on June 16, 2014 at 12:09 PM

It took my sister’s late husband nearly a year to get rid of me.

davidk on June 16, 2014 at 12:45 PM

Kerry: We may welcome Iraq’s new Iranian overlords

Un-frikkin-believable.

Or, as Maha Rushie just said, “Lord help us.”

petefrt on June 16, 2014 at 12:45 PM

Carter lost Iran to the islamists. Obama lost Iraq to the Iranian islamists.

ConstantineXI on June 16, 2014 at 12:24 PM

America lost Iran to the Islamist in 1953 not 1979.

coolrepublica on June 16, 2014 at 12:47 PM

AND lest anyone overlook this little fact, ALL of this turmoil, bloodshed, mass murders, and COMPLETE WASTE of Trillions upon Trillions of taxpayer dollars, has been brought to you by the “peaceful” Cult of Islam.

Meople on June 16, 2014 at 12:48 PM

Letting Iran be “greeted as liberators” seems like exactly the kind of thing you would want if you don’t like Iran. But don’t let me stop the neo con d*ck measuring contest… libfreeordie on June 16, 2014 at 12:11 PM

What?!

Your boy is talking to Iran, moron.

The same Iran he wouldn’t lift a finger to disturb during the attempted Green Revolution.

Akzed on June 16, 2014 at 12:48 PM

We already support the PA, even though Hamas is now a partner in it and Hamas has been designated be the Secretary of State as a foreign terrorist organization. This is just a difference in the level of stupidity.

Attila (Pillage Idiot) on June 16, 2014 at 12:49 PM

This week we spoke with Ambassador James F. Jeffrey, the Philip Solondz Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Ambassador Jeffrey has served as our envoy to Ankara (2008-2010) and Baghdad (2010-2012), where he previously served as chargé d’affaires and deputy chief of mission. Ambassador Jeffrey also served as assistant to the president and deputy national security advisor in the George W. Bush administration, working closely on Iran-related issues. He is also a former infantry officer in the U.S. Army.

First, the construct we (and many Iraqis) struggled and fought for was based on a western concept of individual rights/rule of law/democracy based constitutional system supplanting ethnic/religious identity and winner take all rule. While Prime Minister Maliki with his power lust, paranoia, hatred of diversity, corruption and micro-managing was particularly troubling, most of the other Kurdish, Shia and Sunni leaders, supported by their “flocks,” did not see things all that differently. The result was limited attachment to the Iraqi state, by Sunnis, Kurds and soldiers. Second was the situation in Syria. The United States for the first time since the 1980s allowed a regional Near East crisis to degenerate without any significant role inadvertently helping give birth to a truly lethal Al Qaeda offshoot. It was that movement that gained a foothold in Iraq in the past year. Finally, failure of the Iraqi parties to allow a limited U.S. military presence to operate post 2011 undermined our ability to provide military training as well as the deep intelligence and air support so badly needed now.

http://warontherocks.com/2014/06/5-questions-with-ambassador-jeffrey-on-isis-and-iraq/

People would have known that if they had read the comment at Hot Air.

davidk on June 16, 2014 at 12:51 PM

John Kerry: ISIS Doesn’t Have Ability To Overrun Baghdad…

Which means that it probably does.

Resist We Much on June 16, 2014 at 12:33 PM

ISIS doesn’t have to overrun Baghdad. Just infiltrate it with enough fighters to shut down the city, and the Maliki government. The U.S. will be unable to use airstrikes to dislodge them.

But at the least, ISIS should be able to take control of some Sunni neighborhoods in Baghdad and wreak havoc on the city with IEDs, ambushes, single suicide attacks, and suicide assaults that target civilians, the government, security forces, and foreign installations. Additionally, the brutal sectarian slaughter of Sunni and Shia alike that punctuated the violence in Baghdad from 2005 to 2007 is likely to return as Shia militias and ISIS fighters roam the streets.

de rigueur on June 16, 2014 at 12:52 PM

America lost Iran to the Islamist in 1953 not 1979.

coolrepublica on June 16, 2014 at 12:47 PM

651 actually.

In 1979 Carter put a knife into the Shah’s back just like Obama did with Mubarak in Egypt. There wasn’t an Al-Sisi to roll back that idiocy like we saw in Egypt.

sharrukin on June 16, 2014 at 12:52 PM

The United States faces a triage. If ISIS is able to cut off and besiege Baghdad and other larger Shia cities in the days ahead, the U.S. must use air power and all sorts of other emergency assistance to stave off a collapse of the state or a major Iranian intervention.

At the next level there must be a strategy to prevent a permanent ISIS presence in parts of Iraq and Syria. Absent a U.S. ground invasion which President Obama has correctly ruled out, this will require sophisticated U.S. diplomatic and political steps to stand up local formations that can take on terrorists supported by U.S. assistance, air power and training, along with support from regional allies. To this end, the Baghdad government would have to become much more inclusive.

At the third level, from Pakistan to Mali, it’s now obvious that within the Sunni Middle East when authority erodes, terrorists with an Al Qaeda philosophy will spring up and gain traction. Attempting to stem this by imposing Western institutions and ideals has failed miserably. This is a profoundly troubling phenomenon.

ibid.

davidk on June 16, 2014 at 12:52 PM

Valerie Jarrett is Iranian.

I’m sure this is all just a coincidence.

pain train on June 16, 2014 at 12:53 PM

Theory.

The alliance with Iran is a trap. The Iranians are offering this to us in the hopes that, once we take it, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the rest of the Sunni Middle East will put as much distance between themselves and us as it is possible to do, given we can’t actually move the continents.

The alliance is bait that the Iranians hope we will take, but the ‘hook’ is that, once we are seen to be in bed with Iran, we will lose any effective influence anywhere in the middle east, and Iran will correspondingly gain.

pendell2 on June 16, 2014 at 12:53 PM

John Kerry: ISIS Doesn’t Have Ability To Overrun Baghdad…

Which means that it probably does.

Resist We Much on June 16, 2014 at 12:33 PM

ISIS doesn’t have to overrun Baghdad. Just infiltrate it with enough fighters to shut down the city, and the Maliki government. The U.S. will be unable to use airstrikes to dislodge them.

But at the least, ISIS should be able to take control of some Sunni neighborhoods in Baghdad and wreak havoc on the city with IEDs, ambushes, single suicide attacks, and suicide assaults that target civilians, the government, security forces, and foreign installations. Additionally, the brutal sectarian slaughter of Sunni and Shia alike that punctuated the violence in Baghdad from 2005 to 2007 is likely to return as Shia militias and ISIS fighters roam the streets.

de rigueur on June 16, 2014 at 12:52 PM

I don’t recall the details, but IIRC ISIS/L has taken control of a dam on the Tigris, the distribution point of water to a wide region. Shut off the water in the desert, you win.

Just like the western United States. It is not so much a drought as it is the control of available water.

davidk on June 16, 2014 at 12:56 PM

Update: Fred Kagan explains … blah, blah, blah … This would require a willingness to send American forces back to Iraq.

Fat Freddy Kagan is a demented chickenhawk.

VorDaj on June 16, 2014 at 12:57 PM

Where are our Generals and Commanders? Why the silence?

Key West Reader on June 16, 2014 at 12:57 PM

Time to “Drill, baby, drill?”

pain train on June 16, 2014 at 12:57 PM

Letting Iran be “greeted as liberators” seems like exactly the kind of thing you would want if you don’t like Iran. But don’t let me stop the neo con d*ck measuring contest…

libfreeordie on June 16, 2014 at 12:11 PM

Are you insane? What possible good could come out of letting Iran involve itself there? You do realize that at the very least it is inviting a regional war, right? I’m not even mentioning how much American blood is on their hands. Or are you just saying that to agree with your Dear Leader?

That’s what I don’t get about you Bots. We disagreed many times with what Bush did, but you brainwashed morons can never disagree with a single thing your Leader does, no matter how completely wrong it is. Might as well join a cult

specialkayel on June 16, 2014 at 12:58 PM

That idiot Kerry is contributing to the ultimate demise of this once great nation. Just having this dolt in a high government speaks volumes about the sad state of this poor sick Republic.

rplat on June 16, 2014 at 12:58 PM

Theory.

The alliance with Iran is a trap. The Iranians are offering this to us in the hopes that, once we take it, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the rest of the Sunni Middle East will put as much distance between themselves and us as it is possible to do, given we can’t actually move the continents.

The alliance is bait that the Iranians hope we will take, but the ‘hook’ is that, once we are seen to be in bed with Iran, we will lose any effective influence anywhere in the middle east, and Iran will correspondingly gain.

pendell2 on June 16, 2014 at 12:53 PM

No doubt in my mind. Frog/scorpion.

You further analysis is solid, too.

davidk on June 16, 2014 at 12:58 PM

David Burge @iowahawkblog · 2h

We’re not evacuating the embassy in Baghdad, we’re just letting workers off early to celebrate Al Qaeda Is On The Run Day

davidk on June 16, 2014 at 12:59 PM

Under Kerry…

We let Russia take care of WMDs in Syria and Iran take care of terrorists in Iraq.

Simply amazing!!!

taznar on June 16, 2014 at 1:00 PM

Time to “Drill, baby, drill?”

pain train on June 16, 2014 at 12:57 PM

Way past time.

davidk on June 16, 2014 at 1:00 PM

http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Baghdad

In 1950, 90 percent of the Baghdad’s population were Sunni Muslims. In 2008, Shi’ite Muslims made up 40 percent of Baghdad’s population and most of the rest were Sunni. A sizeable Christian community also has a presence in Baghdad.

So Baghdad has a population of 60% Sunni.

If they join ISIS, then yes… they can take Baghdad.

sharrukin on June 16, 2014 at 1:00 PM

When was the last time Iran invaded a country?

coolrepublica on June 16, 2014 at 12:39 PM

I don’t know but Mexico is invading the U.S. right now and plenty of Americans are helping.

VorDaj on June 16, 2014 at 1:01 PM

Where are our Generals and Commanders? Why the silence?

Key West Reader on June 16, 2014 at 12:57 PM

Many of them are handpicked by obama.

davidk on June 16, 2014 at 1:01 PM

I don’t know but Mexico is invading the U.S. right now and plenty of Americans are helping.

VorDaj on June 16, 2014 at 1:01 PM

Aiding and abetting from the top down.

davidk on June 16, 2014 at 1:03 PM

Time to “Drill, baby, drill?”

pain train on June 16, 2014 at 12:57 PM

Here’s some salt for that wound, if we had started drilling back in 2007 when all the Conservatives said we should, we would have already started reaping those benefits, at least 3 years ago. And it would only be getting better.

Instead, we all live in Obamaville.

Meople on June 16, 2014 at 1:03 PM

Where are our Generals and Commanders? Why the silence?

Key West Reader on June 16, 2014 at 12:57 PM

I think they are all in a meeting planing the next LGBT celebration.

VorDaj on June 16, 2014 at 1:04 PM

From the Headlines thread:

“He seems to care less and less whether he breaks a little china and I think that’s great.”
 
“He’s never really made it a secret that he’s not a fan of this place,” concurred Jamal Simmons, a Democratic strategist. “I think he finds the pettiness of this place annoying. People are focused on tactics not results, and he sees himself as a more results-oriented guy. He’s more willing to do things with a longer lens of history.”

 
Results-oriented. Remember that.
rogerb on June 16, 2014 at 12:10 PM

Um…shouldn’t the lens cover be removed FIRST from that Longer Lens of History?

Newtie and the Beauty on June 16, 2014 at 1:04 PM

Theory.

The alliance with Iran is a trap. The Iranians are offering this to us in the hopes that, once we take it, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the rest of the Sunni Middle East will put as much distance between themselves and us as it is possible to do, given we can’t actually move the continents.

The alliance is bait that the Iranians hope we will take, but the ‘hook’ is that, once we are seen to be in bed with Iran, we will lose any effective influence anywhere in the middle east, and Iran will correspondingly gain.

pendell2 on June 16, 2014 at 12:53 PM

Iran is among the countries you know well. It’s been interesting to hear whispers that Iran might consider working with the United States to combat the threat of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Is this speculation serious? And how would this tie in with the Syrian civil war and ongoing nuclear negotiations?

While our interests in Iraq momentarily coincide (maintaining unity, fighting Al Qaeda) our larger interests do not, be it in Syria, or cooperation with our Israeli, Turkish and Sunni Arab partners, or in trying to win over Sunnis in ISIS dominated areas Too close a US approach to Iran would be fatal.
[Bolding added]
http://warontherocks.com/2014/06/5-questions-with-ambassador-jeffrey-on-isis-and-iraq/

davidk on June 16, 2014 at 1:05 PM

Where are our Generals and Commanders? Why the silence?

Key West Reader on June 16, 2014 at 12:57 PM

Every single general and commander that has been against Obama and the direction the Regime has set, has been forced out and retired.

They have promoted only those Generals that agree with Obama and are on board with the castration of America’s military.

Meople on June 16, 2014 at 1:05 PM

I don’t recall the details, but IIRC ISIS/L has taken control of a dam on the Tigris, the distribution point of water to a wide region. Shut off the water in the desert, you win.

Just like the western United States. It is not so much a drought as it is the control of available water.

davidk on June 16, 2014 at 12:56 PM

Wonder if that helps or hurts the Marsh Arabs?

de rigueur on June 16, 2014 at 1:07 PM

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/2014/06/13/Insurgents-take-two-towns-in-Iraq-s-Diyala.html

Meanwhile, the country’s highest religious authority for Sunnis warned against labeling the “rebels” as “terrorists.”

Religious cleric Rafi’ al-Rifaee stated that the “free rebels” should not be accused of belonging to terrorist organizations such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, and said such allegations will only incite division between these rebels and the cities they are “liberating” from the government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

Rifaee described what is happening in Iraq as a process to liberate Iraq from Maliki’s army.

So the Sunni ‘pope’ is backing ISIS.

sharrukin on June 16, 2014 at 1:07 PM

Um…shouldn’t the lens cover be removed FIRST from that Longer Lens of History?

Newtie and the Beauty on June 16, 2014 at 1:04 PM

Heh. Good one.

davidk on June 16, 2014 at 1:07 PM

I don’t know but Mexico is invading the U.S. right now and plenty of Americans are helping.

VorDaj on June 16, 2014 at 1:01 PM

The invasion you reference has been going on since just after Reagan did the last amnesty. Which he later admitted to be one of his biggest mistakes.

We’re about to make that mistake yet again.

Meople on June 16, 2014 at 1:08 PM

David Burge @iowahawkblog · 4h

Military cooperation with Iran? Does this mean we’ll be sending American 4th graders on suicide missions to sweep mine fields?

davidk on June 16, 2014 at 1:08 PM

Kerry: We may welcome Iraq’s new Iranian overlords, or something

So Kerry has finally found his “global test.”

There Goes the Neighborhood on June 16, 2014 at 1:10 PM

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