TEHRAN - A U.S. scholar believes the neo-conservatives who pushed for the invasion of Iraq in 2003 are responsible for the emergence of extremist groups like ISIS (ISIL) in Iraq.
Stephen Zunes, a professor of politics and international studies at the University of San Francisco, says it is “ironic” that these neo-conservatives are now criticizing President Obama for the chaos in Iraq.
“It is ironic that some of the very neoconservative officials who have helped create many of Iraq’s problems which have encouraged Salafi extremists like ISIS, are now criticizing Obama, who opposed the invasion,” Zunes told the Mehr news agency.
The U.S. invaded Iraq in March 2003. Obama, who at the time was not senator, opposed the war. In February 2007, Obama said, “Even at the time, it was possible to make judgments that this would not work out well.”
Dick Cheney, a vice president under George W. Bush, in an Op-Ed and a YouTube video recently, said that Obama had emboldened jihadists by mishandling the crisis in Iraq, where insurgents have rampaged across northern cities.
Former President Bill Clinton told NBC News on June 26 that Cheney’s recent remarks on Iraq amounted to “attacking the administration for not doing an adequate job of cleaning up the mess that he made.”
Deep division in Obama administration on Iraq
Professor Zunes also says there are deep divisions among officials in the Obama administration on how to deal with the ISIL terrorists in Iraq.
“There are major divisions within the administration as how to respond,” Zunes says.
Stephen also said, “There are serious concerns about ISIS.” However, he argues that the policy adopted by the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri-ali Maliki has even angered the “moderate Sunnis” which in result has helped advances by the ISIL terrorist group in Iraq.
“There is also an awareness, however, that the Maliki regime has pursued certain policies which have alienated even moderate Sunnis and helped make possible the ISIS advance, so they do not want to exacerbate sectarianism and other problems.”
Senate leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, has said he would not “support in any way” getting American troops involved in the Iraqi “civil war”. He has also expressed opposition to any possible cooperation between Tehran and Washington in countering ISIL.
But, Zunes says, the developments in Iraq may entail cooperation between Iran and the United States.
“It would be difficult politically for the Obama administration to cooperate with Iran, but there is a growing awareness that it may be necessary.”