Iraq Crisis Sees Obama Foreign Policy Questioned

With the United States evacuating Baghdad embassy staffers as Islamic extremists continued their bloody march on the Iraqi capital, the latest international crisis is pushing foreign policy to the forefront of the 2016 presidential campaign with calls intensifying for an alternative to the global withdrawal strategy that propelled President Obama into office in 2008.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant yesterday claimed to have killed 1,700 Iraqi Air Force recruits, while the United States moved an aircraft carrier into the Persian Gulf but stopped short of committing to any military actions.

“I’m not sure that anybody wants the U.S. to be the world police, but if we don’t get a foothold in some of these situations, someone else will, as we’re seeing right now in Iraq,” said Ford O’Connell, a Republican operative in Washington, D.C., who advised John McCain’s presidential campaign and studied Iraq at The Heritage Foundation. “Foreign policy is definitely creeping into the three or four issues for either nominee. The War on Terror is not over.”

ISIL terrorists posted graphic photos yesterday that appeared to show gunmen massacring captured Iraqi soldiers. U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki called the militants’ claim “horrifying and a true depiction of the bloodlust that these terrorists represent.” The State Department said yesterday some Baghdad staffers will be “temporarily relocated” to the Iraqi cities of Basra and Erbil, and Jordan.

The strife in Iraq — much like crises in Ukraine, Syria and Libya — is putting pressure on President Obama to ramp up U.S. response.

Read more from Jack Encarnacao at The Boston Herald

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