United states president Barack Hussein Obama has been criticized by his former Chief of intelligence of having been more interested in his re-election and as such, ignoring Daesh because facing up to the threat as required did not fit his withdrawal narrative.
“Obama’s former top military intelligence official said Tuesday that the White House ignored reports prefacing the rise of ISIS in 2011 and 2012 because they did not fit their re-election “narrative.”
“I think that they did not meet a narrative the White House needed. And I’ll be very candid with you, they just didn’t,” retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “The Lead.” –CNN
The rise of Daesh was no surprise. The White House had received numerous reports over the years describing the rise of Daesh in Iraq and the need for the US to stabilize the region it had displaced of Saddam in.
At a point with over 40 suicide bombs a month, it was glaring that Daesh had became a full blown threat to Iraqi sovereignty and integrity, but the White House ignored the warnings.
Notably then Iraqi Primi Minister Nouri Al Maliki actually went to the White House to see Obama to request the US urgently sent officers back to Iraq to provide the Iraqi government with intelligence to use to bomb Daesh targets and that the US also supply them needed weapons to defend Iraq, but Obama refused at the time as those would tarnish his withdrawal jingle.
The Daily Beast says,
On November 1, 2013, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki visited the White House, and made a rather stunning request. Maliki, who celebrated when the last U.S. troops left his country in 2011, asked Obama to quietly send the military back into Iraq and help his beleagured Air Force develop targets for air strikes; that’s how serious the threat from Sunni insurgents led by the extremist group ISIS had become.
Twelve days later, Brett McGurk, a deputy assistant secretary of state and the Obama administration’s senior U.S. official in Baghdad since the crisis began last month, presented to Congress a similarly dark warning. ISIS was launching upwards of 40 suicide bombers a month, he said, encouraged in part by the weakness of Maliki’s military and the aggressively anti-Sunni policies of the Shi’ite prime minister. It was the kind of ominous report that American intelligence agencies had been delivering privately for months. McGurk added that ISIS had “benefited from a permissive operating environment due to inherent weaknesses of Iraqi security forces, poor operational tactics, and popular grievances, which remain unaddressed, among the population in Anbar and Nineweh provinces.”
Maliki’s requests were rebuffed; McGurk’s warnings went largely unheeded. The problem for Obama was that he had no good policy option in Iraq. On the one hand, if Obama had authorized the air strikes Maliki began requesting in January, he would strengthen the hand of an Iraqi prime minister who increasingly resembled the brutal autocrat U.S. troops helped unseat in 2003. Maliki’s heavy handed policies—such as authorizing counter-terrorism raids against Sunni political leaders with no real links to terrorism—sowed the seeds of the current insurrection in Iraq.
“It’s simply not true that nobody saw a disaster like the fall of Mosul coming. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I literally predicted this in verbal warnings and in writing in 2010 that Iraq would fall apart.”
But while Obama committed to sell Maliki’s military nearly $11 billion worth of advanced U.S. weaponry, he was unwilling to use that leverage in a meaningful way to get him to reverse his earlier reforms where he purged some of his military’s most capable leaders and replaced them with yes men. As a result of this paradox, the Iraq policy process ground to a halt at the very moment that ISIS was on the rise.
Two months later, ISIS captured the strategically important city of Fallujah in Anbar province. Five month after that, Iraq’s second-largest city—Mosul, in Nineweh province—fell to ISIS and an army of Sunni insurgents. At the time, senior Obama administration officials went out of their way to proclaim just how impossible-to-predict the collapse of Mosul was. But interviews with a dozen U.S. and Iraqi intelligence officials, diplomats, and policy makers reveal a very different story. A catastrophe like the fall of Mosul wasn’t just predictable, these officials say. They repeatedly warned the Obama administration that something like this was going to happen. With seemingly no good choices to make in Iraq, the White House wasn’t able to listen.
“It’s simply not true that nobody saw a disaster like the fall of Mosul coming,” Ali Khedery, who served as a senior adviser at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, told The Daily Beast. “I can’t speak for anyone else, but I literally predicted this in verbal warnings and in writing in 2010 that Iraq would fall apart.”
“I and a zillion other people said in 2014 that we needed to do more than the very slow and inadequate reaction,” added James Jeffrey, a former U.S. ambassador to Iraq. “If [ISIS] could move in and seize Fallujah and they were on the offensive, and they were active in Mosul and Nineweh [province] too, the army was lethargic and not doing very well, at that point there was a possibility for us to provide air strikes and advisers.” Read full report from 2014 on DailyBeast