Depending on the Iraqi government to act as a partner in the fight against the expansion of the Islamic State is not working, and it is time “to go back to basics,” Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass said Friday.
“The caliphate is not just verbiage; it’s real,” Haass said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program. “We have not had a strategy in Syria … and the administration thought we had a strategy in Iraq, and I think what we’re seeing increasingly exposed is that we don’t.”
Part of the problem is, Haass said, is that the “border’s irrelevant” when it comes to Iraq and eastern Syria, and the lines drawn years ago really no longer exist.
“We don’t have a partner in Syria,” said Haass. “The partner we thought we had in Iraq, the Iraqi government, isn’t a partner. We have got to think seriously about an alternative strategy.”
But, meanwhile, ISIS now controls at least half of Syria and the momentum in Iraq has switched the other way.
“This is not working and these guys will not stop there,” said Haass. “When they call themselves the caliphate, they’re interested in the entire region and places like Saudi Arabia and the rest are not immune.”