Clinton: Don’t provide military aid to Iraq
By Rebecca Shabad - 06/13/14 10:35 AM EDT
Hillary Clinton on Thursday said the U.S. shouldn’t provide military assistance to Iraq despite the threat from an Islamist militant group that has captured major cities. [READ MORE]
“I agree with the White House’s rejection and reluctance to do the kind of military activities that the Maliki government is requesting, mainly the fighter aircraft to provide close support for the army and also to go after targets,” the former secretary of State said on BBC’s “Newsnight.”
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki reportedly asked the Obama administration to launch airstrikes against militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The group, with ties to al Qaeda, has seized control of a swath of the Middle East including part of Syria through central Iraq.
The White House, however, has so far refused to provide direct military help, even with a number of lawmakers calling on Obama to launch airstrikes as ISIS advances toward Baghdad.
Obama said Thursday that he is considering all options, but administration officials ruled out troops on the ground.
Clinton said that al-Maliki must step up and defuse sectarian tensions by creating a broader governing coalition.
“That is not a role for the United States,” Clinton said. “There needs to be a number of steps that Maliki and his government must take to demonstrate that he’s committed to an inclusive Iraq — something he has not done up to date.”
Al-Maliki must demonstrate that he is a leader for all Iraqis, and “not just a sectarian slice of the country,” she added.
Clinton also said that sending U.S. ground forces back to Iraq “is not going to happen.” But added she would “never say never, the world is unpredictable ... but not in any foreseeable future.”
Clinton, the Democratic front-runner for president in 2016 if she runs, called her vote for the Iraq War a “mistake” in her new memoir Hard Choices.
“I deeply regret the consequences,” she said.