Former Ambassador to Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Kuwait and Lebanon, Ryan Crocker, was my guest in hour two of today’s show.
HH: So pleased to welcome to the program for the first time Ambassador Ryan Crocker. Ambassador Crocker has served as our ambassador to Afghanistan, or ambassador to Iraq, our ambassador to Pakistan, our ambassador to Syria, and our ambassador to Kuwait and to Lebanon. He is now the dean of the Texas A&M University’s George Bush School of Government and Public Service. A real honor to speak with you, Mr. Ambassador, welcome to the Hugh Hewitt Show.
RC: Hugh, thanks, glad to be on.
HH: I want to begin with David Kirkpatrick today in the New York Times. He’s replaced John Fisher Burns as sort of the go-to reporter on the ground. And he writes today that after six weeks of American air strikes, the Iraqi Government’s forces have scarcely budged Sunni extremists of the Islamic State from their hold on more than a quarter of the country in part because many critical Sunni tribes remain on the sidelines. And he continues, the government struggles on the battlefield as the absence of the resistance of many of the Sunni Muslim tribes that officials in Baghdad and Washington hope will play a decisive role in the course of the fight. Mr. Ambassador, you worked with a lot of those tribes, and a lot of those sheiks. What’s it going to take to get them into this battle?
RC: Well, Hugh, they already are in the battle. Out in the province of Anbar, Western Iraq, the Sunni tribes, particularly the Dulaim have been in the fight since the spring. And they are the main force holding onto the provincial capital of Ramadi against ISIS. In the north around Mosul, it’s a somewhat different story. But you know, I do talk to these folks. I can tell you that the Sunnis up in Mosul have lost a huge amount at the hands of ISIS – property, lives, possessions. What they are looking for us to do is demonstrate that we really are all in on this, and we are going to stay all in. You know, for us, it’s will we or won’t we, how much is it going to cost and so forth. For them, it’s their lives. And just as we saw in 2007 with the awakening of Sunni tribes who turned against al Qaeda, they did it because they knew we had their backs. And I don’t think we’re quite there, yet in Iraq. Continue Reading