June 23rd, 2014
11:59 AM ET

Grenier: Iraq needs change of leadership

Watch "Fareed Zakaria GPS," Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN

Fareed speaks with Robert Grenier, the CIA's Iraq mission manager from 2002 to 2004 and director of the CIA's Counterterrorism Center from 2004 to 2006, about Iraq’s future.

Robert, you've dealt with these people. Is it possible for the Sunnis of Iraq to trust the al-Maliki government, even if he did make some concessions, even if he did make some outreach? If you were a Sunni leader in Iraq – you've watched what Maliki has done for the last four or five years – are you going to buy it? Are you going to be willing to get in bed with him? It just feels to me like the prospect of national reconciliation, at this point, is remote.

I agree with that. I think it's going to be very, very important for a replacement to be found for Nuri al-Maliki. And I think it's very important for the Americans to be speaking quietly with the Iranians. You know, former U.S. ambassador to Iraq Jim Jeffrey has a very nice phrase for this. He says that the Iranian interest in Iraq is to keep the Sunnis down, the Kurds in and the Americans out. And right now, al-Maliki is not serving any of their agenda items.

I think that they will agree, once the current crisis has past, that this man needs to be replaced. I think we have to have a substantial presence on the ground to give us the influence that we need to work, again, indirectly, in conjunction with the Iranians who share some interests with us to make sure that there's a change of leadership in Baghdad.

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Topics: GPS Show • Iraq

soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. The Entire GOP Platform In A Single Paragraph

    Rick Perry spouts the GOP Platform:

    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 23, 2014 at 1:06 pm | Reply
    • Gullible White Cattle

      Looks like Washington DC needs change of leadership.

      June 25, 2014 at 4:17 pm | Reply
  2. Joey Isotta-Fraschini@

    Mr. Grenier's viewpoint is quite rational.

    June 23, 2014 at 1:37 pm | Reply
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini

      Grenier has it wrong, Joey. What Iraq sorely needs is not a change in leadership, but to be divided into three different states by giving the north to the Kurds, the south to the Shiites and the west to the Sunnis. Otherwise, there will be no peace in Iraq!

      June 24, 2014 at 11:12 am | Reply
  3. Joey Isotta-Fraschini@

    President Obama's calm, efficient handling of the situation in Iraq, especially in his consideration of the opinions of all USA citizens, is magnificent.

    June 23, 2014 at 1:42 pm | Reply
  4. Cyrusz

    John Kerry thinks that with Keeping of Al Maliki as prime minister country's stability would be maintain!?
    Wrong decision! Almaliki is the issue.
    He calls all the Sunni oppositions "terrorist"! and wanted to get troops from Iran regime to expand the Mullah empire.

    June 23, 2014 at 2:55 pm | Reply
  5. zcyrus

    Why you do not look at danger of Shia terrorist groups like Bdaar, sadr, mahdi, Ghods that all armed with rockets and all anti west?!

    http://www.entekhab.ir/fa/news/168636

    June 23, 2014 at 7:50 pm | Reply
  6. zcyrus

    ,....... indirectly, in conjunction with the Iranians!!!!
    They are the issue! they supported Shia Nouri Maliki against the Sunni.
    They supported Al assad in the Syria against the Sunni to make the civil war and tension to make their nuclear bomb faster!

    June 23, 2014 at 7:58 pm | Reply
  7. j. von hettlingen

    Al-Maliki has to go, but is he willing to leave? He banks on Iran's support, as he had lived there in exile. If Tehran does realise Maliki is only a burden, it will persuade him to step down.

    June 24, 2014 at 9:06 am | Reply
  8. The Great Middle East

    To create peace, prosperity, democracy in the Great Middle East – Washington DC – needs start working on a PEACE PLAN.

    June 24, 2014 at 9:29 am | Reply

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