Iraq Crisis: Republicans Warn Of ISIS Threat, Call For US Action

As the crisis in Iraq continued to develop, congressional Republicans took to the Sunday morning airwaves to criticize President Obama and warn of the threat posed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

On CNN’s “State of the Union,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said that “a disaster awaits us of monumental proportions” should Baghdad fall to the insurgents. He also pointed to the role played by Iran.

“We should have discussions with Iran so they don’t use this as an opportunity to seize control of parts of Iraq,” Graham said. The hosts seemed incredulous that a Republican was calling for direct talks with the Iranian government, but Graham made clear he thought it was justified given the stakes.

“Do you realize what’s happening here?” he asked. “If Baghdad falls and the central government collapses in Iraq, the Iranians are the biggest winner and we’re the biggest loser.”

Graham also pinned the blame for the crisis on Obama, who he described as “stubborn-headed” and “delusional.”

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times reports that Gen. Paul Eaton also pointed to Iran as a potential ally while appearing on the CNN morning program, calling the country a “natural ally.” Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani, as the Times also reports, said in a rare press conference Saturday that such cooperation could be possible given the concerns both countries share about the consequences of the Iraq crisis spiraling out of control.

But not everybody is keen to work with the Iranians in the conflict. As we reported yesterday, some veterans of the Iraq war have taken to social media to express their anger at the possibility and Obama’s leadership (or what they perceive as a lack thereof).

Iraqi officials claimed Sunday that they had been successful in slowing down ISIS’s advance, with reports that government forces had killed almost 300 insurgents just in the past day. But while the short-term news might be good, or at least somewhat better than it was just a few days ago, several Republicans besides Graham spoke of the threat posed by the former Al Qaeda offshoot in dire terms.

On “Fox News Sunday,” Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), chair of the House Intelligence Committee, called the crisis “as dangerous as it gets.”

Former Air Force pilot Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) echoed that charge on “State of the Union,” calling the Iraq crisis is a “worst-case scenario” for the U.S. but that airstrikes are not a “panacea” and a political solution has to be reached by the different parties.

photo credit: isafmedia via photopin cc

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