CBS News Quotes FPI Policy Director Robert Zarate on Terrorism Crisis in Iraq

In "With Focus On Ukraine And Gaza, Washington Watches Other Crises Simmer," reporter Stephanie Condon writes at CBS News:

Both the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee this week will hear from Brett McGurk, the deputy assistant secretary of state for Iraq and Iran, and other government officials about the administration's response to the conflict in Iraq.

Mr. Obama has been committed to removing U.S. troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, but his administration has sent forces with military capability there to deal with the crisis.

The nonprofit Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI) has written a set of proposed questions for lawmakers questioning McGurk this week that touch on the threat ISIS poses, the role the U.S. should play there and the political situation in Iraq. Robert Zarate, policy director for FPI, said 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 to CBS News 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, Robert 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.

Mission Statement

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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