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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

6/16/2014 (10 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

As fractious situation worsens, Obama should have seen rise of Sunni Muslims, critics say

The rise of Sunni militants in Iraq following the fall of Saddam Hussein should have been high n President Obama's radar, analysts say. The current situation in Iraq, these analysts say, verges on the brink of civil war. The uprising of jihadists there could now pose a very real terrorism threat both within and outside the country's borders.

The current situation is due to either a failure by U.S. intelligence officials in assessing the strength of ISIS, critics contend.

The current situation is due to either a failure by U.S. intelligence officials in assessing the strength of ISIS, critics contend.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

6/16/2014 (10 months ago)

Published in Middle East

Keywords: Sunn militants, Iraq, President Obama, intelligence


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - U.S. officials are now scrambling to respond to the advances by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the insurgent group that seized Mosul last week. The current situation is due to either a failure by U.S. intelligence officials in assessing the strength of ISIS, critics contend. Either that or Obama and his policy team didn't react quickly enough.

"It was very clear to people how bad these guys are." Michael Leiter, a former top counterterrorism official in both the Bush and Obama administrations, says. "I don't know if this was a tactical error or an intelligence error."

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When militants grabbed Fallujah in January, Leiter says, any question about the group's capabilities or intentions should have been answered.

"I think our intelligence has failed us miserably, from not being aware of the threat that we've faced and how this could unfold as quickly as it has. This has been planned for quite some time," Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, on NBC's Meet the Press declared. "My first thing to recommend to the president is get your intelligence group back on track, making sure that we have the intel that we need for whatever options we have, that are going to be accurate."

The White House in the meantime says it has been monitoring the situation closely.

"We have been very aware and have discussed here and in other venues the challenge posed by the war in Syria, and the extremist activity there, and the ISIS as it formed and moved across the border into Iraq," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said at a press briefing. "And that has always been a great concern. That is why we have stepped up the assistance that we've been providing to the Iraqi security forces."

President Obama has long tried to disentangle the U.S. from Iraq. The current crisis has brought attention on Obama's policy toward Iraq. He campaigned in 2008 on ending the war there and removed all U.S. forces in 2011 after failing to reach an agreement with Iraq's government that would have left some troops in place.

Arizona Senator John McCain say Iraq is just the latest in a series of global crises, including Ukraine and Syria, that the administration has failed to aggressively address. They also argue Obama's drawdown of troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan has undermined security situations in both nations.

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