Petraeus accuses Putin of trying to re-establish Russian Empire

23 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

David Petraeus apologizes to Congress for sharing classified information with mistress.

WASHINGTON— David Petraeus, the former Army general credited with turning the tide against al Qaeda in Iraq more than eight years ago, told a Senate panel the U.S. should increase military support in the Middle East, including sending combat advisers into Iraq, significantly deepening Washington’s role there.

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. Petraeus, now working for a private-equity firm in New York, recommended the U.S. increase support for the Iraqi Security Forces, Sunni tribal forces and the Kurdish Peshmerga forces, to include embedding American advisers there. Petraeus, Obama’s second director of the Central Intelligence Agency, had joined with Hillary Rodham Clinton, the former secretary of state and current Democratic presidential candidate, in advising Obama to aggressively arm Syrian rebels in 2012. He supported setting up enclaves protected by coalition airpower where moderate Sunnis could be supported, civilians could find refuge and additional forces could be trained.

He argued – in contradiction to the views of Central Command chief Lloyd Austin – that the US military ought to patrol a corridor by air to create a safe zone for Syrian civilians, partly as a staging ground for a Syrian opposition to fight both Assad and Isis, one that includes Syrians who do not take part in the shaky US initiative to train and equip so-called “moderate” fighters. 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”. Petraeus said. “It would demonstrate that the United States is willing to stand against Assad, and it would show the Syrian people that we can do what the Islamic State cannot—provide them with a measure of protection.” The Pentagon’s Syria train-and-equip program has produced only a handful of trained moderate fighters to combat Islamic State, underscoring the Obama administration’s flagging efforts there. 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.

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. 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. 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.

Central Command commander, who was roundly criticized for trying to defend current policy. “Unfortunately, what he had to say about that mission suggests to me—and I think to others on the committee—that it has not accomplished what it was supposed to,” she said. On Iraq, Petraeus told the lawmakers that while there have been significant accomplishments in the fight against IS, “We are not where we should be at this point.” In addition to increasing support for local fighters, he suggested embedding U.S. advisers down to the brigade headquarters level for Iraqi fighting forces; exploring the use of air controllers with select Iraqi units to coordinate coalition airstrikes; and examining whether U.S. rules of military engagement for precision airstrikes are too restrictive. 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.

McCain said. “As in Ukraine and elsewhere, he perceives the administration’s inaction and caution as a weakness, and he is taking advantage.” Mr. Petraeus said, adding that “though it is the Iraqis who must provide the ground forces and achieve reconciliation if the results are to be sustainable.” Ultimately, Mr. Petraeus echoed the fears of many critics of the current approach, cautioning that ignoring the turmoil in the region won’t the problems go away and in fact could contribute to their spillover effects. “The Middle East is not a part of the world that plays by Las Vegas rules,” Mr.

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