Retired Army Gen. David Petraeus, one-time CIA director and former commander of American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan has finally broken his silence concerning Obama, the failed war in Iraq, stating that The Presidents failures would possibly lead to “ISIS 3.0.”
Petraeus goes on in an Op-Ed piece in the Washington Post tacitly criticized Obama’s policies in the Middle East, saying that American forces “obviously lack the authority, remit and sheer numbers” that they did during the Bush administration.
Petraeus does acknowledge that the U.S. support of Iraqi forces had made some difference in the conflict — most notably successes in the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul — he also fears that the sectarian challenges created could throw recaptured cities back into Islamist violence and create a new, more potent strain of the Islamic State group.
In his Op-Ed Petraeus writes:
“There is no question that the Islamic State will be defeated in Mosul; the real question is what comes afterward? Can the post-Islamic State effort resolve the squabbling likely to arise over numerous issues and bring lasting stability to one of Iraq’s most diverse and challenging provinces? Failure to do so could lead to ISIS 3.0.”
Petraeus went on to recounted his experience leading the 101st Airborne when they went into Mosul during the occupation of Iraq back in 2003. He said that their “first task, once a degree of order had been restored, was to determine how to establish governance.”
That was very challenging task in a place where sectarian squabbles, numerous militias and decades of built-up acrimony existed. During the time of the original occupation, they had the ability to control this with American occupation forces, whereas Obama has been reluctant to even consider the idea of using American influence to help guide the political elements in Iraq towards any kind of peaceful solution.
Petraeus continues with:
“U.S. forces today obviously lack the authority, remit and sheer numbers of the U.S. elements in Iraq in 2003. They also do not have the mandate that we had in the early days. But the enabling forces that the U.S.-led coalition has provided for Iraqi elements over the past year — intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets, advisers, logistical elements, and precision strike platforms, in particular — have been instrumental in the successes enjoyed by the Iraqis in Ramadi, Fallujah, Tikrit, Baiji, Qayyarah and a host of other battle sites. The most significant challenge in Mosul will not be to defeat the Islamic State; rather, it will be the task we faced there in 2003: to ensure post-conflict security, reconstruction and, above all, governance that is representative of and responsive to the people.”
Petraeus concluded that if and when the Islamic State group is defeated in Iraq, America “will have considerable influence over the resolution of the issues. It will have to exercise that influence.”
Several jabs like this were taken towards Obama’s inability to actually do anything other than let the people of Iraq figure things out on their own. Petraeus is not one to mince words and he didn’t this time either. I for one am grateful the he chose to speak up.