June 16th, 2014
06:00 PM ET

Haass: Idea of Iraq that's united is essentially over

Fareed speaks with Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq from 2007 to 2009, and Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations and director of policy planning at the U.S. State Department during George W. Bush's first term, about how the U.S. should respond to the recent advances made by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Watch the video for the full interview.

What are the dangers, and what would you do?

I think the horse has left the barn. And by that I mean I think it's too late for the kind of diplomacy that Ryan Crocker is talking about as desirable as it might have been months or years ago. I also think essentially the idea of an Iraq that's a united functioning country – good idea, but again I think that's essentially over.

So at this point, what I would focus on is making the best of a terrible situation. I would put pressure on this ISIS group in Syria. It's long since time to provide serious help to alternative opposition elements in Syria so they don't have the luxury of just focusing on Iraq.

I would accept the fact that the Kurdish area of the north is now effectively an independent state. I would make sure they had essentially what they need. I would provide economic support for Jordan, which is staggering under the enormous refugee burden. I would rethink our policy towards Afghanistan, the last thing we want to do now is not have a residual force there. We ought to have learned the lesson here in Iraq.

And I think we could use airstrikes, as Ryan says, but quite honestly, the most it's going to do is delay things. It's not going to be decisive, it's not going to be lasting.

Post by:
Topics: GPS Show • Iraq

soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. Joseph McCarthy

    Joe Biden had the right idea back in 2006!

    June 16, 2014 at 7:55 pm | Reply
    • Ferhat Balkan

      Joe Biden hasn't been always right when it comes to foreign affairs, but in this case it appears he was right when he predicted Iraq was going to breakup along sectarian lines. He had suggested that Iraq should grant greater autonomy for Kurds, Shia and Sunni and was met by ridicule at the time. Given the failures of Iraq's current government, I can see no other alternative. Hopefully it isn't too late.

      June 16, 2014 at 8:53 pm | Reply
      • j. von hettlingen

        Indeed, Iraq has a Shia majority. Sunnis make up only 15% of the population. They are tribal minded. Besides they support the die hard Baathists, remnants of Saddam Hussein's regime. They have been backing the ISIS fighters in taking over territories. Without the Baathists, the ISIS – mostly foreigners – wouldn't have made territorial gains. The Sunnis won't accept to be ruled by a Shia majority, with or without Maliki.

        June 19, 2014 at 11:07 am |
  2. chri§§y

    And which idea is that @ Joseph? He did say "the whole world is better off with Saddam gone, but if this war results in trading a dictator for chaos in the heart of the Middle East, then we will have failed." I believe this qualifies as chaos dont you?

    June 16, 2014 at 8:11 pm | Reply
    • Ferhat Balkan

      Saddam was a ruthless dictator, but the Gulf War was completely unnecessary and based on false pretenses. The war destroyed Iraq's infrastructure and stability, caused hundreds of American soldiers and thousands of Iraqi civilian lives. Not to mention the rise of ISIS (formerly Al-Qaeda) in the region. During Saddam's reign, Al-Qaeda was unheard of there.

      June 16, 2014 at 9:06 pm | Reply
  3. chri§§y

    Spot on @ Ferhat! And he his thoughts on the risk of "creating a culture of dependency" seems to be fairly accurate today, wouldnt you agree? And he was also quite accurate when he said "few other countries around the world will share much of our burden."

    June 16, 2014 at 9:12 pm | Reply
    • Ferhat Balkan

      Indeed chri§§y, Biden was right in the end. I have to admit, I was skeptical at first, but time proved otherwise.

      June 17, 2014 at 6:47 pm | Reply
  4. Debbie

    Oh dear God chrissy. Chaos is what it is. Those poor people. Where will they be in twenty years?
    So true Ferhat. It was "completely unnecessary" I agree. But hypothetically speaking, if the war had gone different...and today there would be stability and a strong economy as well as democracy in Iraq, don't you think we would all feel different about the war and former President Bush?

    June 16, 2014 at 9:15 pm | Reply
    • Ferhat Balkan

      If things had turned out in a positive way, I'm sure the war would've been seen in a different light. That said, I personally believe war is not the right answer. All political avenues must be exhausted and even then we must proceed with extreme caution. It should be a last resort in all cases. Unfortunately, Bush did not exercise that caution.

      June 17, 2014 at 6:52 pm | Reply
  5. chri§§y

    Oh yes i know first hand @ Debbie. I live 5 blocks from the largest Arabic community in the US and my next door neighbors are refugees from Iraq. Ive heard plenty of horror stories from my friend! No one should ever have to live the way these people have been forced to live.

    June 16, 2014 at 9:46 pm | Reply
  6. Debbie

    So sad..they must have been through so much..you see pictures of Middle Eastern children and their parents on the media. It breaks your heart. I wish them well...
    May the Lord look after them and bless you for your kind heart chrissy....

    June 16, 2014 at 10:21 pm | Reply
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

      What a beautiful post, Debbie! I have to stop reading and tell you right now that you almost made me cry.
      Again, your heartfelt musing wold be wonderful in the final round of the Miss America Pageant.
      I'm sure that you would win.

      June 17, 2014 at 5:39 am | Reply
  7. chri§§y

    Thank you @ Debbie. And my friend Zinnah thanks you also. She just read your post.

    June 16, 2014 at 10:57 pm | Reply
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

      Oh, Dio, non posso sopportarlo...

      June 17, 2014 at 5:53 am | Reply
      • dazzle

        Etes-vous le vrai Joey ou le troll?

        June 17, 2014 at 11:44 am |
      • Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

        @ dazzle is a splendid psychologist, in addition to other achievements.
        I'd bet money that she could treat a patient successfully by just asking questions,

        June 17, 2014 at 6:51 pm |
      • Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

        Salut, dazzle.

        June 17, 2014 at 6:59 pm |
      • dazzle

        Merci pour le compliment @JIF

        June 18, 2014 at 1:50 pm |
  8. Dave Dawson

    So, I think Joe Biden was going along the right lines however unlikely. The best thing the Iraqi government could do at this time would be to carve out a piece of Northern Iraq for the Kurds and grant them independence. They would immediately gain an ally against the rebels and could parlay the action into gaining support from Turkey, a big gainer if the Kurds have a homeland to go to. Airstrikes from the U.S. base un Turkey may then become more possible. A win all the way around .

    June 17, 2014 at 9:10 am | Reply
  9. The Entire GOP Platform In A Single Paragraph

    The GOP Prayer/Mantra/Solution: Dear God...With your loving kindness, help us to turn all the Old, Sick, Poor, Non-white, Non-christian, Female, and Gay people into slaves. Then, with your guidance and compassion, we will whip them until they are Young, Healthy, Rich, White, Christian, Male, and Straight. Or until they are dead. God...Grant us the knowledge to then turn them into Soylent Green to feed the military during the next "unfunded/off-the-books" war. God...Give us the strength during our speeches to repeatedly yell........TAX CUTS FOR THE RICH!!!..........and........GET RID OF SS AND MEDICARE!!!
    In your name we prey (purposely misspelled, or is it?)........Amen

    June 17, 2014 at 9:20 am | Reply
  10. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    Like Joseph said above, Joe Biden had the right idea back in 2006 about Iraq, but what gets me is that people were just too stupid to see that. This is the same kind of stupidity that culminated in WW1! Being stupid can't only hurt you but is killing people every day!

    June 17, 2014 at 10:38 am | Reply
  11. palintwit

    Q: Why did the chicken cross the road?
    A: To get to the other side.

    Q: Why did the tea party patriot cross the road?
    A: He forgot where his trailer park was.

    Q: Why did Sarah Palin cross the road?
    A: To get flattened by a Peterbilt.

    June 17, 2014 at 11:35 am | Reply
    • So true

      Poor Peterbuilt. Now it needs to be washed.

      June 17, 2014 at 2:29 pm | Reply
  12. Matt

    That's what people said before, was not true then not true now. Why because we said no to it and it works when applied as directed. On sending Kerry one it is too damn hot and al-Maliki does not listen, the VP gave up on that long ago he was the point man on Iraq. Save the carbon credits and fuel look into a mirror ask question and lie back to your own face. It is the same thing and just as useful. Look at comments in the last few hours. Sure the US can stop the funding and only they can, they have turned a blind eye as they have to the crackdown. The funding is limited and fairs, fairs. He cannot play ball on the crackdown and ignore the requests on sectarianism and expect any favors on the purse strings. Justice has to be applied equally.

    June 17, 2014 at 1:42 pm | Reply
  13. chri§§y

    The funding not only is limited...its non existent! We simply do NOT have the funds!

    June 17, 2014 at 2:06 pm | Reply
    • greg

      True, chrissy. The only reason we've been able to finance the current Iraq government is because of the money we borrowed from China. Until Iraq is split ito three different states, there can be no peace there and it's time to realize that simple fact!

      June 17, 2014 at 2:15 pm | Reply
  14. chri§§y

    Agreed @ greg! Unfortunately there are too many hard headed people in this world! Turns out Joe Biden was quite correct in 2006 wasnt he?

    June 17, 2014 at 2:22 pm | Reply
  15. Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

    Why can't we just tax the rich more punitively?
    They've got money to burn, and there are too many billionaires.

    June 17, 2014 at 7:10 pm | Reply
  16. chri§§y

    Lol im with you on that @ Ferhat! He was never one of my favorite people for sure! And ive often thought a tremendous amount of favors had to have been called in to get him elected because not only was he like a bull in a china shop...he was also not the brightest crayon in the crayola box either!

    June 17, 2014 at 7:20 pm | Reply

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