News / USA

US Closely Monitors Iraq Violence but has Few Options

US Closely Monitors Iraq Violence but has Few Optionsi
January 08, 2014 5:19 AM
President Barack Obama and his advisers are keeping a close watch on Iraq, where government forces are confronting al-Qaida-linked militants. Analysts say the U.S. has few options. Senior White House correspondent Dan Robinson reports.
US Closely Monitors Iraq Violence but has Few Options
President Barack Obama and his advisers are keeping a close watch on Iraq, where government forces are confronting al-Qaida-linked militants. Washington is sending surveillance drones and missiles and is urging Iraq's Shiite-dominated government and Sunni tribal leaders to unite against the militants. However, analysts think the U.S. has few options.
In Ramadi and Fallujah, in western Anbar province, Iraqi government troops face off against Islamist militants linked to al-Qaida. In the most serious threat to central authority since U.S. troops withdrew from Iraq in 2011, the Sunni militants have taken over parts of both cities.
The current insurgency appears similar to what U.S. troops faced after the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has urged tribal leaders in Anbar to expel the al-Qaida elements.
However, observers such as Brookings Institution national security analyst, Michael O'Hanlon warn that the violence could spiral out of control.
"If you go in brutally and you suppress one group in one neighborhood at one time, you may be simply stoking the resentments and angers of other groups of the same sectarian background. And so you generate new enemies even as you have neutralized or killed others," said O’Hanlon.
President Obama considers the withdrawal from Iraq among his major accomplishments, although the two countries failed to agree on keeping a residual U.S. military presence.
Obama has ruled out sending combat forces back to the country, but is sending air-to-ground missiles and surveillance drones. 
Responding to renewed criticism on Iraq from Republican lawmakers, White House spokesman Jay Carney said that there's no reason to think that U.S. troops could have prevented sectarian conflict.
"There was sectarian conflict -- violent sectarian conflict -- in Iraq when there were 150,000 U.S. troops on the ground there.  So the idea that this would not be happening if there were 10,000 troops in Iraq, I think, bears scrutiny," said Carney.
Military analyst Anthony Cordesman said that the violence in Anbar province is part of a wider struggle between Sunni and Shiite Muslims in the region.
Cordesman believes the U.S. needs to find the least bad option.
"A lot of what we can do is simply to, very quietly, try to bring the factions together, to push the Maliki government to take a more balanced view, to treat the Sunnis, give them more respect, to stop this kind of series of political purges," said Cordesman.
Nearly 4,500 U.S. soldiers died in Iraq between 2003 and 2011. 
Polls show the conflict was among the most divisive for Americans, with many still questioning what was accomplished.

You May Like

800-Pound Man Determined to Slim Down

Man says he was kicked out of hospital for ordering pizza; wants to be an actor More

Australia Prepares to Resettle 12,000 Syrian Refugees

Preference will be given to refugees from persecuted minorities, and the first group is expected to arrive before late December More

S. African Miners Seek Class Action Suit Against Gold Mines

The estimated 100,000 say say they contracted the lung diseases silicosis and tuberculosis in the mines More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: MikeBarnett from: USA
January 10, 2014 2:18 PM
Mr Carney understated the case that 10,000 troops might succeed when 150,000 troops failed "bears scrutiny." In addition, the 10,000 troops would have become combat soldiers whether they intended to be or not because the enemy always gets a vote in any war. The insurgents wanted to kill US "trainers" and "advisors," so we were wise to remove them before we suffered more casualties. This is Iraq's uncivil war; we can help them with arms and munitions; but they must fight their war for themselves.

by: Edward Marek from: Wausau, WI
January 08, 2014 1:36 PM
What is unclear here is who will fly the drones and launch the missiles? Americans?

by: phillipp from: Afrque du Suid
January 08, 2014 5:11 AM
I am now starting to realise why the US ddn't attack Syria for he knew the trouble was coming somewhere. He wasvjust trying to rectify the Iraq mistakes but at the cost of poor Syrians lives. Let Assad and Karzai go for peace sake.

by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Somalia
January 08, 2014 4:44 AM
USA considers Sunnis in Iraq as terrorists while Shiites as good people. In Bahrain, minority Sunni rulers , Americans believe as friends while majority Shiite considers as semi-terrorists. In Lebanon, US thinks that Sunnis are civilized creatures while Shiites as if they are religious fanatics. In Syria, USA sees both the government and all rebel factions as the enemies of Western countries.
I'm little confused about USA's policy toward middle east.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemeni
Henry Ridgwell
October 12, 2015 4:03 PM
The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemen

The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video No Resolution in Sight to US House Speaker Drama

Uncertainty grips the U.S. Congress, where no consensus replacement has emerged to succeed Republican House Speaker John Boehner after his surprise resignation announcement. Half of Congress is effectively leaderless weeks before America risks defaulting on its national debt and enduring another partial government shutdown.

Video New Art Exhibit Focuses on Hope

Out of struggle and despair often comes hope. That idea is behind a new art exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. "The Big Hope Show" features 25 artists, some of whom overcame trauma and loss. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy as US Holiday

The second Monday of October is Columbus Day in the United States, honoring explorer Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the Americas. The achievement is a source of pride for many, but for some the holiday is marked by controversy. Adrianna Zhang has more.

Video Anger Simmers as Turks Begin to Bury Blast Victims

The Turkish army carried out new air strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets on Sunday, a day after the banned group announced a unilateral cease fire. The air raids apparently are in retaliation for the Saturday bombing in Turkey's capital Ankara that killed at least 95 people and wounded more than 200 others. But as Zlatica Hoke reports, there are suspicions that Islamic State is involved.

Video Bombings a Sign of Turkey’s Deep Troubles

Turkey has begun a three-day period of mourning following Saturday’s bomb attacks in the capital, Ankara, that killed nearly 100 people. With contentious parliamentary elections three weeks away, the attacks highlight the challenges Turkey is facing as it struggles with ethnic friction, an ongoing migrant crisis, and growing tensions with Russia. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Afghanistan’s Progress Aided by US Academic Center

Recent combat in Afghanistan has shifted world attention back to the central Asian nation’s continuing civil war and economic challenges. But, while there are many vexing problems facing Afghanistan’s government and people, a group of academics in Omaha, Nebraska has kept a strong faith in the nation’s future through programs to improve education. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Omaha, Nebraska.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Davis Guggenheim’s documentary "He Named Me Malala" offers a probing look into the life of 18-year-old Malala Yousafsai, the Pakistani teenager who, in 2012, was shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up for her right to education in her hometown in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Guggenheim shows how, since then, Malala has become a symbol not as a victim of brutal violence, but as an advocate for girls’ education throughout the world. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Paintable Solar Cells May Someday Replace Silicon-Based Panels

Solar panels today are still factory-manufactured, with the use of some highly toxic substances such as cadmium chloride. But a researcher at St. Mary’s College, Maryland, says we are close to being able to create solar panels by painting them on a suitable surface, using nontoxic solutions. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs