WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – After a nine-year war with trillions of U.S. dollars spent, many fear the gains made in Iraq could be lost with the new crisis in the country.
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria extremists have taken over Tikrit and Mosul and it is feared that Baghdad could soon be next. Some say it is now more than ever that Americans should be extremely concerned with what is taking place in the troubled country.
“There are consequences to this conflict and Americans need to be concerned,” Dan Reiter, a political science professor at Emory University, told CBSDC. “I think the long-term consequences for American national interests are something to be concerned about. It’s certainly possible that they could control Iraq and Syria and could use the area to host terrorists who might launch attacks against Americans.”
Reiter, who has been teaching for more than 19 years, explained that ISIS extremists could take over the country.
“A worst-case scenario is that they seize Baghdad, massacre the Shiites, Iran could try to intervene and then we have another Iran and Iraq War on our hands. The worst-case scenario would be pretty bad,” Reiter added. “Another is that they could take control over the government, (and) then a radical Islamic extremist group would be in control of the largest oil production.”
Former U.S. Ambassador to Spain, Alan Solomont, said there are many dangers present with this terrorist group threatening the gains made during the Iraq War where thousands of American troops died.
“The danger is that ISIS will gain a safe haven, which they can plan terrorist activities that will threaten us,” Solomont told CBSDC. “That’s why we fought the war in Afghanistan over and we can be helpful to Iraq, but they have to take some responsibility here. We cannot solve the sectarian conflict that exists in Iran and that is one of the things that I think is a huge challenge.”
Solomont continued on by explaining that training security forces in Afghanistan was a success and that President Barack Obama is weighing options on how to support the government against terrorists.
“One of our successes in Afghanistan is that we trained the security forces so they can take responsibility for the security in their own country,” Solomont stated. “As we wind down our involvement, we believe we are leaving them able to maintain their own security and it will not be a safe haven and hide out for terrorists, which allowed them to plan attacks for 9/11. That’s the U.S. interest here and Obama is weighing the options on how we can support Iraq against the terrorists. At the same time, however, we have to make it clear that it’s their responsibility to solve the division relies within the Iraqi government itself.”
Dr. Larry J. Sabato, the Center for Politics Director at the University of Virginia, said this terrorist group is “led by the worst of the worst” and that Americans should be concerned as well.
“Of course Americans should be concerned,” Sabato told CBSDC. “ISIS appears to be led by the worst of the worst; some experts have actually said the group makes al Qaeda look moderate by comparison–and we all know al Qaeda isn’t moderate. That’s why air strikes would likely be supported, but to have our troops go back into battle is beyond the tolerance level of most Americans, not to mention a large majority of the president’s own party.”
Solomont explained that the U.S. certainly has an interest in trying to stabilize Iraq once again.
“Certainly we have an interest in preventing horrible things form happening to the Iraqi people, but we can’t act in place of the government there,” Solomont stated. “At the end of the day, this is a terrorist problem and that’s the threat here. Our preventing the spread of terrorism is what’s key. I think that’s really why Americans need to be concerned for what happens there. Americans don’t want troops to be sent again and I don’t think that’s the solution to anything.”
Sabato said that those who served in Iraq might feel that “it was all in vain” if a total meltdown in Iraq does happen.
“If there’s a total meltdown in Iraq and Americans–especially those who have served in Iraq–begin to think and say, ‘It was all in vain,’ the president will come under a great deal of criticism,” Sabato said. “Of course, there will be pushback from the White House and others that an unraveling was baked into the cake of the Bush administration’s handling of the Iraq War. It’s impossible to say just yet whether the effect on Obama’s job approval will be minor or major.”
Reiter added that the current crisis in Iraq will be used by Republicans against the president.
“Obviously the Republicans are going to use the current crisis to make an argument that he withdrew forces too quickly and that’s what going on in Iraq is a foreshadowing with what will happen in Afghanistan,” Reiter said.