Gen. Allen: Obama Should Strike Iraq Insurgents With ‘A Hard Blow’

ISAF commander U.S. Marine Gen. John Allen in Afghanistan on Monday May 7, 2012. 
National Journal
Stephanie Gaskell, Defense One
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Stephanie Gaskell, Defense One
June 13, 2014, 1:51 a.m.

Pres­id­ent Barack Obama needs to or­der a mil­it­ary strike against the Ir­aq in­sur­gency soon, be­fore things get worse in Ir­aq and the re­gion, said one of the top former United States mil­it­ary com­mand­ers of the war.

“I vote for soon­er and we must strike them with a hard blow,” said Re­tired Mar­ine Corps Gen. John Al­len, who was deputy com­mand­ing gen­er­al of Multi-Na­tion­al Forces-West in An­bar province from 2006 to 2008, and helped lead the An­bar Awaken­ing, which turned the tide of the Ir­aq War. Al­len said the U.S. has “an ob­lig­a­tion” to help the Ir­aqis now that ter­ror­ists from the Is­lam­ic State in Ir­aq and Syr­ia, or IS­IS, have taken over large swaths of Ir­aq more than two years after the war of­fi­cially ended and U.S. troops left.

“The U.S. will have to act to stop this on­slaught. After all we’ve in­ves­ted in Ir­aq’s sta­bil­ity, in­clud­ing nearly 4,500 Amer­ic­an lives, we have an ob­lig­a­tion, and in­deed we have the cap­ab­il­ity, to help now,” Al­len told De­fense One.

“We did not ask for this emer­gency, but it is upon us, and this is a mo­ment for U.S. stra­tegic lead­er­ship. The Ir­aqis badly need our help, and our friends and part­ners in the re­gion are, once again, turn­ing to the U.S. for lead­er­ship and de­cis­ive ac­tion,” he said.

Al­len, who was also top com­mand­er of U.S. and NATO forces in Afgh­anistan in 2011 and also served as act­ing com­mand­er of CENT­COM in 2010, said that events are un­fold­ing so quickly in Ir­aq that the U.S. na­tion­al se­cur­ity team needs to ap­prove “rap­id ac­tion” to com­bat the wider se­cur­ity threat of IS­IS and oth­er fac­tions spread­ing in the re­gion.

“This is­sue is not solely about Ir­aq,” he said. “It’s about the broad­er spread of al-Qaeda and IS­IS and ISIL (the Is­lam­ic State of the Le­vant) in the re­gion, which is in­tent on top­pling the As­sad re­gime in Dam­as­cus and the [Ir­aqi Pres­id­ent Nouri] al-Malaki re­gime in Bagh­dad. These groups aren’t cas­u­al ji­hadists, they’re a scourge upon the re­gion as a whole. Their ac­tions have reached the mag­nitude of be­ing a ma­jor re­gion­al se­cur­ity threat, and in Ir­aq, their de­pred­a­tions are cre­at­ing a massive hu­man­it­ari­an crisis that is spill­ing over in­to the Kur­d­ish re­gion and could spill over in­to Ir­an, for­cing Ir­a­ni­an in­ter­ven­tion in Ir­aq — something we don’t want.”

Al­len said U.S in­ter­ven­tion would send “a power­ful sig­nal” to the ter­ror­ists that “the U.S. will not tol­er­ate this at­tack on Ir­aq, but more im­port­antly send the mes­sage their na­ked ag­gres­sion and wan­ton crimin­al­ity will not be tol­er­ated in the re­gion.”

The Ir­aqi gov­ern­ment has asked for U.S. as­sist­ance as mem­bers of IS­IS cap­tured the stra­tegic cit­ies of Mo­sul and Tikrit, mak­ing their way to­ward Bagh­dad.

Al­len said he was also deeply con­cerned about Baiji, Ir­aq’s ma­jor oil pro­du­cer, loc­ated just north of Tikrit — where IS­IS fight­ers have taken over. “If the en­emy ele­ments ““ and I use the word en­emy de­lib­er­ately as these ele­ments are the en­emy of all hu­man­ity ““ cap­ture Baiji, we have lost con­trol of Ir­aq’s prin­cip­al oil hub. This en­emy already has cap­tured sev­er­al pop­u­la­tion cen­ters and hun­dreds, per­haps thou­sands of pris­on­ers, many among the Ir­aqi se­cur­ity forces. As well the en­emy has re­portedly stolen mil­lions of Ir­aqi dinars from banks along their in­va­sion route.”

Al­len said Obama needs to send a strong sig­nal that even though the war in Ir­aq is over, the threats to the re­gion and to U.S. na­tion­al se­cur­ity are not.

“I strongly en­dorse Pres­id­ent Obama’s un­am­bigu­ous sig­nals that the U.S. will act,” he said. “This isn’t re­fight­ing the last war, this is about pre­vent­ing the col­lapse of a ma­jor Ar­ab part­ner and vi­tal oil pro­du­cer. It’s about check­ing the mo­mentum of one of the most hor­rendous groups to emerge from the Syr­i­an civil war. Time is not on our side, not is it on Ir­aq’s. This ma­lig­nancy, IS­IS, is on the march and the re­gion is be­ing threatened and we will have to deal with it soon­er on our terms, or later on theirs. I vote for soon­er and we must strike them with a hard blow.”

What We're Following See More »
ASSAILS FORMER PRESIDENT, STAFF
Trump: Obama Likely Behind Leaks
33 minutes ago
THE LATEST
PARTY UNITY
Perez to Be Ellison’s Guest at Trump’s Speech
1 hours ago
THE LATEST

Only three days removed from their race for the Democratic National Committee chairmanship, Rep. Keith Ellison and former Labor Secretary Tom Perez are burying the hatchet at President Trump's address to Congress. Late Monday afternoon, Ellison announced that Perez, who defeated him for the DNC job, will be his guest at the speech. "I look forward to joining Keith in the days and months ahead to show the American people that we stand with them against Donald Trump and his billionaire boys club that couldn't care less about the plight of working people," said Perez.

WOULD HAVE BROUGHT MORE WATERWAYS UNDER FEDERAL CONTROL
Trump to Sign Order Undoing Obama Water Rule
1 hours ago
THE DETAILS
RSC OPPOSITION
House Conservatives Balk on Obamacare Replacement
7 hours ago
THE LATEST

"The chairman of the influential Republican Study Committee said Monday he would vote against a draft ObamaCare replacement bill that leaked last week. Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC), head of the 172-member committee, said Monday his opposition stems from the draft bill's use of refundable tax credits." He said the current plan simply "kicks the can down the road" rather than attempt any real reform.

Source:
ENLISTS THEIR HELP IN REPEAL/REPLACE
Trump Meets with Health Execs
7 hours ago
THE LATEST
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login