CBS News Quotes FPI Policy Director Robert Zarate on Capitol Hill Iraq Hearings

In "U.S. Officials Clash With Lawmakers Over Iraq Policy," CBS News and the Associated Press write:

The Defense Department's Slotkin said a strong, capable government in Baghdad - and not an Iraq divided into smaller countries - posed the best defense against the extremist insurgency. She implied that what lawmakers proposed might mean the abandonment of territories currently controlled by the Islamic State. "Who's in charge of that western and north part of Iraq in that model?" she asked....

Robert Zarate, a policy director at the nonprofit Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI),told CBS News that he's confident lawmakers on Capitol Hill are taking the conflict seriously, even as other international hotspots compete for their attention.

"It's basically al-Qaeda-stan," he said, explaining how ISIS has spread "like a cancer" in both Iraq and Syria. While the U.S. has sent forces to Iraq, it should also work on repairing its relationships with sectarian leaders like the Sunni chieftans, Zarate said -- groups that have lost trust in Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

"One element of stabilizing what's happening is having a central government in Baghdad viewed as legitimate," he added.

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The Foreign Policy Initiative seeks to promote an active U.S. foreign policy committed to robust support for democratic allies, human rights, a strong American military equipped to meet the challenges of the 21st century, and strengthening America’s global economic competitiveness.
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