David Petraeus apologizes again for affair, lays out vision for Iraq and Syria | us news

David Petraeus apologizes again for affair, lays out vision for Iraq and Syria

22 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

David Petraeus Urges Stronger U.S. Military Effort in Syria.

David Petraeus, the former commander of the US war in Iraq, urged Barack Obama to credibly threaten Bashar al-Assad’s air force as a way through the bloody morass in Syria on Tuesday.

Former CIA Director David Petraeus testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015, before the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Middle East policy. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (Evan Vucci) Retired Army Gen. In a formal return to the Washington foreign-policy stage, Petraeus, the retired army general who led the US occupation of Iraq through its greatest period of tactical success, told a Senate panel that the US would not be able to persuade Syrian fighters to work with it against the Islamic State (Isis) unless it offered them protection against Assad’s air-launched barrel bombs. Petraeus, in his first testimony since resigning as director of the C.I.A., told Congress on Tuesday that the United States should establish enclaves in Syria where a moderate rebel force could operate and where displaced Syrians could find refuge. Obama was unpersuaded, but in 2014 authorized the Pentagon to do so after the rise of Isis, a plan that yielded only “four or five” active fighters, the general in charge of Central Command – the US military command in charge of forces in the Middle East and South Asia – testified on 16 September.

He called Syria a “geopolitical Chernobyl,” saying the crisis there was “spewing instability and extremism over the region and the rest of the world.” “Like a nuclear disaster,” he said, “the fallout from the meltdown of Syria threatens to be with us for decades, and the longer it is permitted to continue, the more severe the damage will be.” In Iraq, Petraeus said, the U.S. must step up its support for Iraqi Security Forces, Sunni tribal forces and the Kurdish peshmerga. He said U.S. advisers should be embedded in Iraqi units down to the brigade headquarters level and said the administration should explore the “use of Joint Tactical Air Controllers with select Iraqi units to coordinate airstrikes for those units.” Committee Chairman John McCain has long heralded the 2007 troop surge in Iraq that Petraeus oversaw as top commander there as a turning point in the war.

His recommendations to Congress go far beyond the steps the White House, which has been cautious about using military power in Syria and Iraq, has embraced. The Arizona Republican also sent a letter last year to the Justice Department calling for its two-year investigation of Petraeus to be “brought to resolution” in a “fair and timely manner.” “At this critical moment in our nation’s security,” McCain wrote, “Congress and the American people cannot afford to have this voice silenced or curtailed by the shadow of a long-running, unresolved investigation marked by leaks from anonymous sources.”

Petraeus did not suggest significant alterations to the US mission in Iraq, principally calling for US forces on the ground to spot for airstrikes and questioning whether the rules under which pilots can fire on targets were “too restrictive”. Army reserve officer who met Petraeus while researching a book about his wartime leadership in Iraq and Afghanistan. “Four years ago, I made a serious mistake – one that brought discredit on me and pain to those closest to me,” Petraeus said. “It was a violation of the trust placed in me and a breach of the values to which I had been committed throughout my life.” “There is nothing I can do to undo what I did. Petraeus, who followed his Iraq generalship by helming Central Command and then the Afghanistan war, also offered a mixed and qualified assessment on the Iran nuclear deal.

I can only say again how sorry I am to those I let down and then strive to go forward with a greater sense of humility and purpose, and with gratitude to those who stood with me during a very difficult chapter in my life.” The retired four-star general was sentenced to two years of probation and fined $100,000 for unauthorized removal and retention of classified information he shared with Broadwell. Assad and facilitate a political resolution to the bloody conflict. “It is frequently said that there is ‘no military solution’ to Syria or the other conflicts roiling the Middle East,” Mr. Members of the committee welcomed Petraeus back to the congressional witness chair, praised his governmental service, did not mention the incident and limited their questions to Iraq, Syria and Iran.

For, in every case, if there is to be any hope of a political settlement, a certain military and security context is required, and that context will not materialize on its own. Central Command, which oversees the war effort, told the committee that only a handful of U.S.-trained Syrian rebels are still on the battlefield fighting the militants. Most recently, Petraeus offered a widely mocked proposal for working alongside “moderate” members of al-Qaida against Isis, presenting the idea as a 2015 version of the 2006-07 Anbar Awakening, in which Sunni tribesmen turned against al-Qaida in Iraq.

Petraeus suggested several steps to strengthen the military effort, including embedding American advisers with Iraqi forces at the brigade level and exploring the use of American teams to call in airstrikes on behalf of Iraqi forces. Obama also made in arguing for the nuclear accord with Iran. “The most immediate test for the credibility” of the United States’ policy to contain Iranian power in the wake of that deal, Mr.

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