Michael O’Hanlon told Fox News’ KT McFarland that al Qaeda taking over the Iraqi cities of Fallujah and Ramadi is “tragic” but “there are still a lot of good Iraqis” and “you have to get the Iraqis working together again, Iraqis of good faith, and many of them are, but unfortunately their politics are fundamentally fractured and polarized right now.”
“I’ve become a little bit more persuaded,” O’Hanlon said, “that Prime Minister Maliki just cannot again be a candidate for prime minister when the April elections occur this year and he should say so now. And the United States government should be willing to call on him to make such a decision. … So that would be the beginning of how I would make progress here.”
Noting that the Obama administration tried to keep forces in Iraq in 2011, an offer rejected by the Iraqi government, O’Hanlon said that “I’d be willing to see several hundred Americans or even a couple thousand of special operations persuasions, of intelligence backgrounds, go and help the Iraqis if the Iraqis can decide they want that help.”
O’Hanlon, a senior fellow and director of research for Foreign Policy at Brookings, also spoke about the porous Iraq-Syria border as it concerns al Qaeda forces.
No vetting system is perfect, but if you look at those who have been arrested for suspicions of being linked to the Islamic State, for example, the vast majority have been American citizens.