Home » Events » After ISIS: The Future of Iraq in the Hands of Iran

After ISIS: The Future of Iraq in the Hands of Iran

After ISIS, The Future of Iraq in the Hands of Iran

Michael Pregent

Michael Pregent is a former U.S. Army intelligence officer with more than 28 years of experience working security, terrorism, counter-insurgency, and policy issues in the Middle East, North Africa, and Southwest Asia. He served in Desert Shield and Desert Storm, served as a liaison officer in Egypt during the 2000 Intifada, as a counter-insurgency intelligence officer at CENTCOM in 2001, and as a company commander in Afghanistan in 2002.

Pregent spent considerable time working malign Iranian influence in Iraq as an advisor to Iraq’s Security and Intelligence apparatus, including an embedded advisory role with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s Office of the Commander-in-Chief. He also served as an embedded advisor with the Peshmerga in Mosul 2005-06. As a civilian working for DIA, he served as a political and military advisor to USF-I focusing on reconciliation, the insurgency, and Iranian influence in Iraq from 2007-2011. He was a violent extremism and foreign fighter analyst at CENTCOM from 2011-2013.

Mr. Pregent holds a Masters in Strategic Public Relations from The George Washington University and is a graduate of the U.S. Army’s Defense Language Institute in Modern Standard Arabic and Egyptian Dialect. He is an adjunct fellow at Hudson Institute. He is a senior Middle East analyst, a former adjunct lecturer for the College of International Security Affairs, and a visiting fellow at the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University.

He frequently appears as an expert analyst on Shia militias, Iran, Iraq, and ISIS with appearances on BBC World News, Al-Jazeera International, CNN, CNN International, and Fox News.

Rough transcript:

Robert R. Reilly:

It’s a particular pleasure to welcome our speaker tonight back to Westminster because he was kind enough to speak here about a year year and a half ago so he may be nippin known to to some of the veterans in the room there are some seats over here here great Mike- Michael Pregent is a former intelligence officer who spent considerable time working malign Iranian influence in Iraq subjects but you’d be hard to run out of I’m sure so much of it he served as an adviser to Iraq security and intelligence apparatus included including an embedded advisory role within Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s extra- extra constitutional office of the commander-in-chief which it turns out as we will learn tonight was set up to ensure Iranian-backed Shia military party control of Iraq’s security and political processes. I do remember from when I first had the pleasure of meeting Mike of hearing a story whether it was this embedded or in another occasion when he’s sitting in the room with a group of Iraqis who naturally enough are speaking in the Arabic and they get into a sensitive subject the re and they said no no wait who’s this guy we all want to talk with oh don’t worry he’s a he’s just a stupid American and might being not only an intelligence professional but intelligence sat there as if he hadn’t understood a word they said while of course he’s completely fluent in Arabic. Just a couple quick items aside from those experience he was also an embedded advisor with the Peshmerga in Mosul in 2005-2006. He served in Desert Shield and Desert Storm. He was a company commander in Afghanistan. He served as liaison officer in Egypt during the 2000 Intifada counterintelligence counterespionage a at CENTCOM the list of his experiences and the background for his deep knowledge goes on so without further ado let me ask Mike to come up to talk tonight about, “After ISIS: The Future of Iraq under Iran.”

Michael Pregent:
But first up I’d like to say there is no ‘after ISIS’. ISIS is simply going to ISIS 2.0 or going to the Al-Qaeda mode so- and that’s one of the things we caution is this. There’s a sense that the administration will declare victory against ISIS in Syria in Iraq and say right here that we’ve met our mission, met our requirements, and let’s leave. So thanks for having me. Thank you very much. It’s good to be back here. The good thing about being back here is I was here in March of 2016 before the Mosul, before Fallujah, and warned about what was going to happen and I have something on my Twitter page at to it please if you follow me don’t follow me on Twitter, go to the Hudson Institute. You can see panels right you have an opportunity to say something outside of the constraints of Twitter but I have something up front it’s called the wars dilemma and I don’t know where I came up with this I looked for it I’ve tried to give somebody credit for it I can’t find it anywhere but I’m happy to give it to somebody else but it’s something that I did as an intelligence officer is I’m a warnings and indicators guy what are the indicators of instability what are indicators were u.s. foreign policy and I’ve not applied correctly can actually pour gasoline on the fire you know that it goes against US interests so if you read about something that it doesn’t happen critics will say huh you were wrong you don’t know what you’re talking about right and if it happens you’re regrettably right they don’t want to be right I’m happy to be wrong and I’ve challenged Baghdad I had a panel we can have a go with the Iraqi deputy chief of mission within two minutes in my in my my talk at the Bipartisan Policy Center basically sort of saying I was cuz up okay right okay that kid of mine a big is terrible by the way but I understand 80% of what I’m hearing. I heard enough to say thank God this dumb Texans in here and doesn’t know what’s going on and I was able to get 300 pieces of paper that turned out to be 300 target packets against Maliki’s political opponents and with very weak evidence that said this guy is a terrorist simply because he’s a friend of a person who is a as a known association with somebody who might be a terrorist. That was enough to get people removed. But going back to to what I was saying earlier is that you know you can get attacked right away when you we say things and I challenged Baghdad and I challenged the embassy said show me I’m wrong prove to me along happy to be wrong show me that everything I’m saying is alarmist is is not backed by facts and all. I’ll go and he said I will not invite you, not invite you here, but then his- his aide came up to me afterwards and said of course we’ll invite you and I said yeah I’ll seek alum sure you know can’t compete but the airport as soon as I’ve had in Baghdad because it’s not as it’s not a secret anymore that I’m a former intelligence officer who was working with the Iraqi military and the government is a mustache Odyssey asti a political adviser for General Petraeus and General Odierno this is it’s so refreshing to be outside of that community now and not be constrained by clearances not be constrained by four walls without windows and not to be sitting in a partition with my arms folded upset because I’m not traveling the Middle East to do things that I just made somebody else smart about so this is great one of the best things that’s happened since the time we spoke in March 2016 is the summer bin Laden documents were released and shows a clear operational relationship between Iran and al-qaeda something that I hinted at in March of 2016 but couldn’t get into the details the reason this map is up behind me is this is what Iraq looks like now it’s been updated but let me just talk you through this what doesn’t matter well here it is so when we heard the president talk about you give a speech on a Friday where he designated the entirety of the Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist entity for supporting a general named Qassem Suleimani of the Quds Force. Within 60 hours Qassem Suleimani of the Quds Force had used Shia militias with American equipment to attack an ally, the Kurds, an ally we’ve had for more than a decade and ally that I worked with and we’ve we had successes against Al Qaeda, ISIS, shoe militias could sports in the adversary in Iraq the the Peshmerga and Kurdish Intel have been instrumental in helping us to deal with this also also other Intel from from the Ministry of Interior Ministry of Defense back in the day during the surge but with this map this is the current situation with the exception of another place since I you can now paint this area in Kirkuk as a usable Orange it’s a show where we could rely on Kurdish allies to not only go against ISIS but to halt my rdc land bridge operations everybody here knows about the land bridge it’s one of the things that President ROM talked about there’s there’s two key things that came out of the National Security Council two days before the president had his speech someone was from think tanks were brought in we were briefed the information was embargoed and of course Friday we learned that the president’s main mission is to not only defeat ISIS but to neutralize destabilizing activities from the Islamic Revolution the Revolutionary Guard Corps meaning the Revolutionary Guard in codes 14 soleimani the land bridge is part of that the problem is the Department of Defense in Department of State’s say this land bridge doesn’t exist yet it doesn’t exist in this is the current state of Iran these are the maintenance courts that the IRGC includes force used to arm hue militias as they used lethal aid like explosively formed penetrators and other things against American forces they bragged and they killed more Americans that in Al-Qaeda. Our focus has primarily been on the number of Americans been killed by it’s supposed to be formed penetrators we’re not talking about direct fire sniper operations we’re not talking about Assad’s facilitation of a foreign fighter network into Iraq to kill Americans and the sides Intel options do anything without the the approval or the roger out from the RTC cuts for us so this is Iraq as it stands now inching points here this is all under sheer control this these used to be the areas of course where as you see where it ISIS used to control that so that used to be blind. Now it’s red. It’s not red because it’s under city control. It’s red because this is where we were able to depend on our Sunni allies in the past these Sons of Iraq the awakening the key pillar of our surge strategy in 2007 we were able to depend on those red areas to not only go after Al-Qaeda but sought to also hide the advances of IRGC could source back Shia militias these areas now in red are Sunni areas but they’re actually under the control of the hospital shopping the be malicious and and I’m going to break down the nuance of what the hospital shopping the Shu militias actually are and how many military people do we have here and you retired people anybody familiar with how command and control structures work that’s all I’ll need you to know so this is an area where we were able to depend on our semi-allies and Kurdish allies to disrupt this land bridge the issue right now the strongest tribe is Iran it’s not to central government it’s not it’s not the United States it is Iran and this this discussion is about Iraq post-ISIS post-ISIS first iteration ISIS and it is firmly in the hands of Iran and the land bridge that is so repeated when we’re trying to do in Syria so in this area Qasem Soleimani is deployed Iraqi militia one of those limiters is helicopter Java and it has been attacked by US aircraft for attacking trying to push on our Special Operations training effort in this area of Syria we’re building the force not only to go against Isis but to go against some of the similar problem Assad’s forces as well the all kind entry point is Syria they can use this one they can use this this was the one that was tough until they moved on first time so they secured the the rasta to Kirkuk and now they can go straight into Mosul they now have control of something that to me just demonstrates how much we’re willing to obfuscate the role of Iran in Iraq this area here is called fish come over just north of the hooker it is our key logistical supply line to support our effort in Syria it’s where our special operators it’s where we work with Syrian Kurds and Iraqi Kurds to secure that checkpoint and it is now under the control of particle thank you table visible of the barter core and github is the love from my house little shopping from the Shia militias yeah would you like a bit of a big problem we’re saying that’s not true we’re saying it’s not being controlled by elements of the YPG the problem is the YPG anybody everybody familiar with the YPG our Kurdish allies our Kurdish temporary allies in Syria that have been very helpful in the destruction of Isis but are not the force to hold Raqqa and Deir Ezzor they will trade it away there are now looking at Americans and saying wait a minute think we’re going to work with you you think we’re not going to bargain our position we’re not going to leverage our position with the Russians and the Iranians because of what we’ve done to the Kurdish in Iraq they’re able to point across the border not even across the border at this border crossing they used to be controlled by KTP Peshmerga and say if you abandon that ally that you’ve worked with for more than a decade and why not sir you’re telling us that you’re gonna be here and you know the person that’s telling them to trust us there’s the same person that nobody trusts in Iraq who is that Brett McGurk I didn’t say anything brother Gert I spoke to some very influential Iraqis from Sunni parties and your secular parties from these Lamas party Iraqi governments Peshmerga and Syrians and they have said that your position we can’t trust trust the Americans anymore we relied on temporary alliances to somehow shape temporary solutions and they’re leading to permanent ramifications and permanent giveaway so I don’t think the leverage is a permanent giveaway yet this is everything that I’m doing now whether it’s a Hudson or whether it’s talking you today is the counter narrative to what people are saying you’ve been several reports three reports of prominent periodicals in the last week that have said Iran can’t you just can’t do anybody run at this point they’ve already reached their position they’re already you know you know the power that they’ve they’ve wanted to be they’ve always had these you know hegemonic goals and in the region they’re there now there’s nothing we can do and the tilt is now look how to destabilize in Saudi Arabia’s and I had this conversation at the Middle East Institute Institute dinner last night with a couple prominent people who look at Syria Iraq and they said so what about this this Mohammed bin so long in Saudi Arabia look how to stabilize any kids and I said well who has more influence in Baghdad Tehran or Rio Tara in Beirut Tehran in Damascus Tehran and suna tere are what Mohammed bin Salman is trying to do is for the most part is a a Power Move to tell people that it’s more important the position that I hold is more important how much money you have the position I hold is more important than your adventurous moves now this is not a defense of them yes this is just basically I’m trying to counter these narratives you got to get the what else out there the the the you know this this moral equivalency between how bad Iran is versus how bad Saudi is is a concerted effort to a lot of ron to continue to do what they’re doing so this is in place the part of the defense says it’s not in place now here’s the biggest biggest argument this is what I have to fight against so brett mcgurk and a great American Marine general general Dunford went to Capitol Hill and and told congressional members that we have to be what Iraq people we have to be a one Iraq government because if we don’t it’ll be a slap in the face to every veteran who ever served in Iraq because it failed I’m the veteran who served and I know a lot of veterans who served and I was when a rock guy before Ramadi before Fallujah and before Mosul where I saw a government not empowered Sunni population to push back against ISIS but a government that punished its Sunni population for being government by ISIS and when I talked here when I spoke here in March of 2016 I said listen the Sunni military-age male and Mosul cannot drive down the road pick up a phone and call the cops and say listen there’s an al Qaeda member in my neighborhood come get him. There was no one to call. They were never empowered to do this. Since that March 2016 presentation we’ve seen what’s happened to Ramadi, Fallujah, and now- now most and then we saw Hwy gia and if anybody goes back to the March 2016 presentation I talked about the hospital shabi and that it doesn’t seem to like it’s built to take back cities from ISIS that it’s built to move on infrastructure punishment it’s a built to move on Kurdistan and it had all the indicators and we look at the Hawaii offensive. We took offense it was the last offensive it’s a little bit off than that was right down here we’re the last ISIS holdout and the force that was being moved in there to take on 600 guys was too big it was huge and it was an indicator this force is not there to exit ISIS this force is here to move on Kurdistan and 72 hours later they moved on Kurdistan then we find out wait a minute there’s another spot it just allowed they’re always comfortable leaving these pockets at the remember Ramadi was cleared in October November December 2015 it was a gold good in there and get ISIS out and declare victory. We’ve never had a counterinsurgency operation in Iraq where an American general went into a city and said okay we’ve destroyed it. We’re good. Okay, does then- That’s what’s happened in this campaign. There are still ISIS attacks in Baghdad, ISIS attacks in Ramadi and to create in Fallujah and I came back from Mosul 60 days ago and I landed in Erbil and I talked to a fish burger general and I said how do I get to Mosul and you said your most difficult thing is to be able to get out of Curtis time getting into Mosul is easy so I had a hundred time getting through I’ll show you checkpoints in Mosul or in Kurdistan that I did going into Mosul will almost turn turn away in in Kurdistan just south of or just north of Mosul we got into Mosul military checkpoints are one and two guys and I’m a tall gringo from Texas and sitting in the back of a car try not to look like an American and I’ve got these sunglasses I’m like so I’m gonna take those off I have baseball cap on better take that off I know I think I look more American now than ever so I I try to get some the key is get some relief really flashy sunglasses and just act like you know where to go but nobody even looked in the car after said go go so there’s Mosul has already set up for security backslide the course that went into Mosul is not one that cares about staying so the day after ISIS I argue was the day before ISIS in a lot of cases the super population and now the Kurdish population are more distrustful of Baghdad than they’ve ever been, more distrust of the United States than they’ve ever been, and the hardest part of this is getting them phone calls and getting messages from Peshmerga soldiers and officers that I worked with same like what’s going on and you think about this this has to be exactly and we worked with the Sunni Sons of Iraq and the Awakening what they feel like when we abandoned them after the surge and left them open to Al-Qaeda attacks Shia militia attacks Al-Qaeda reprisal attacks ISIS as the new iteration of Al-Qaeda and then Shia militias again and when you’re building these relationships and you’re trying to to forge new allies you know you you can’t have the Peshmerga be an example of American abandonment of an American failure to maintain a relationship and I truly believe that I have to believe this because you know week we were able to get the Iran deal decertified we were able to get the Revolutionary Guard Corps designated in its entirety as a terrorist organization president gave a speech on a Friday and like I said 60 hours later the gentleman general custom sold lining I should not have said gentleman but this charismatic leader is designated terrorist 60 hours later used Koontz force militias Catawbas bola a bottle core and the sub al Haq to move on Kurdish areas you know the government could have had a legitimate had a legitimate basis to do something okay we’re gonna put this back under federal control you could simply do that by asking the peshmerga can you you secure these areas and then we’re gonna move in and we’ll have these joint security checkpoints like we have when Malaki tried to do this in 2008 the problem I have is listening to a State Department official her Department of Defense official say that these aren’t Iranian militias Iran’s not here these are the federal police and anybody who’s ever worked Iraq and is in the Intel Community knows the federal police our border core bata core is the urgencies could force premier proxy and these are counterterrorism forces think about that for a second think about a government using their counterterrorism forces to go into a neighborhood to go into a city and restore order the same forces you used against ISIS you’re now using against your own people the Peshmerga the Kurds and it doesn’t sell does it it doesn’t sell where’s the Iraqi army and this is the argument that I have with the Iraqi deputy chief of mission I said listen out of uncomfortable of the fourth Iraqi army division took command of Kirkuk problem is the fourth Iraqi army division doesn’t exist anymore I would have been happy of the second Direction army division took control of Mosul problem is it doesn’t exist anymore I would be happy with a third Iraqi army division took control it’ll offer it doesn’t exist anymore in its place our party Kurds force command control militias and here’s the here’s the the nuance see I I have a different definition of nuance than the intelligence community has dancing the intelligence community means water it down so nobody takes a side and we just kind of push it out there and we’re not gonna get in trouble for right or wrong to me no once means let me explain how this works and here are the levels so the hospital’s shabby so Sistani anybody everybody knows it’s Tania’s Sistani is claritin iran who issued a fodhla calling for volunteers 100,000 people rose up with no command and control structure for them to fall under the Iraqi military couldn’t absorb them all guess who said that we can it was the IRC quit sports malicious barter core was so well established in the MRI that they already had the command and control structure to bring them under a sub a hawk a dozen new terrorist group that killed Americans there’s another part of that chain of command Kitab Hezbollah is part of this command and control structure another designated terrorist organization this is what this is all about right so so this is what I’ve been doing the last month I’ve been briefing congressional members on this and I have a strategy now I am a Republican I didn’t know I was a Republican until President Clinton floated Patricia Schroeder as Secretary of Defense and I said I’m a Republican I’m against this doesn’t make sense sure she hates the military I’m the Republican I was actually digging digging with Jerry Brown had is so prior to that you know like I don’t know what I am and I know what I am but I’m not a a partisan hi I’m fact-based I’m happy to have my mind changed I will go where the facts lead me but this is a problem because this right here you you can’t understand how a general mattis McMaster you know these generals that I worked with so I worked with master in 2007 when I when I again I’m going back to March 2016 because I didn’t mention his name time because it was a national security adviser at the time but I went for him and we worked for Petraeus and we focused on this this is what our job was to determine the model of IRGC influence in the Iraqi Ministry of Interior Ministry of Defence and the intelligence at Rice this is Constance online okay this is Hani al Murray this is the bottom corps commander right he is the commander of the hospital shabi that’s where that command and control fits in this gentlemen over here is Hadji shovel he’s killed Americans he’s killed Americans he was in cropper for killing Americans this is Ugly Betty AMA Hennis designated terrorist from Utah bismillah who’s killed Americans he’s also killed Americans in Kuwait he’s he’s a designated terrorist for what he did he has a current extradition request so that he can be tried and executed for blowing up embassies in Kuwait in da DS this is the deputy commander of the volunteers the Sistani Rosa this is the commander of the volunteers on his organization’s patch his space is present along with Khomeini and hominy he is quoted recently him seen in on video I am a proud soldier for custom soleimani whatever he wants me to do all do so here’s the new ones the hospital shabby Mike like they’re not all ironed she could sports militias they’re not I said okay they’re not 20% are and the 20% are in the command and control and this next slide kind of demonstrates everything so how is how this is how obvious this is and because it’s so obvious I need more I don’t know why that is because it’s a known it somehow requires more evidence this is the current Prime Minister of Iran pater all alone this is many online industry minister of Iraq to give him control of the payroll for the hospital shabi we didn’t want the hospital shot be operating as independent militias so we said hey let’s ddr them anybody from with the term DDR it’s a disarmed immobilize and reintegrate so we wanted to do that basically they sold it to Americans hey that sounds great Department of State we’re just going to bring them into the Ministry of Interior so we have control of them problem is they brought them in as units they brought in many OMA Hennis into the other line as the guy who controls the distribution of funds and equipment so the society on tears haven’t been paid in months his guys get paid and what they’re basically doing is they’re creating a farm League of Sistani volunteers that they can still away talent and bring them into these militias so the money then they get he decides words where it goes I was in Mosul 60 days ago and I stopped at a hospital chevy checkpoint one guy was a Sistani volunteering there that guy was a barter core member this is study volunteer had a pistol that he take up they took a coffee and ISIS guy that he killed in Mosul the bottle Corps guy had a nice uniform and a nice ak-47 the study guy hadn’t been paid in four months the Sistani guy wants to be a barter car guy and the bonocore guy is it’s almost like he’s doing an evaluation on I was gonna do an MC we are or and a noncommissioned officer valuation reporting officer evaluation report on on this study volunteer to see if he’s worthy of getting that so that’s the new ones yes they’re not all iron seekers course militias but if these ten people here are and the rest of us fall under their command and control are we independent anymore or not we fall under that command and control so we are proxies we are tools of the codes force and that’s what’s happening and this is the biggest disgrace of this whole thing is the use of American m1 Abrams tanks my ring and militias to not only punish the Sunni populations of Iraq Sunni Arab populations but now to move against Kurdish positions not only against Curtis positions in Iraq but they’re now moving these this equipment to Syria to go after us train Dallas and this is happening the reason we’re not talking about is because we have a footprint on the ground to develop sources we don’t have a footprint on the ground of American advisors at all levels of the Ministry of Interior the minister defense that would ensure that interviews items don’t get into the hands of Iranian proxy militias this is not good enough there’s a picture of General Votel from CENTCOM with Casa maharaji funeral Casa Maharaja is he was detained twice by American intelligence and JSON Joint Special Operations Forces for sneaking across lethal aid to kill Americans explosives money twice he was detained the Iraqi government doesn’t take second signals intelligences evidence doesn’t take human intelligence as evidence they want to see him crossing the border with the stuff in his hand you don’t see that in the evidence doesn’t count we could not present them Intel because we also didn’t want to disclose sources and methods but they said if you don’t have his hand in the cookie jar then he didn’t do it and that’s one of the biggest problems Casa Maharaji is now the Minister for a Rock’s Ministry of Interior so there’s a picture of general hotel sitting next to Casa Maharaja who’s in IRGC could sports Badr commander he’s in the bottle core which is the IRGC premier militia and he’s asking him he’s the director of the Ministry of Interior we have a U.S. training equip program in the Minister of Interior and he’s asking him all U.S. funds and equipment getting into the hands of our JC Koonce force proxies and literally his answer is no is that good enough I mean you’re literally sitting with a guy who is a some money lieutenant asking him if his ministry is somehow hijacking the U.S. training equip program Brett McGurk says it’s not happening because we’re monitoring the end of use we’re not when I was there that was my job we had 160 thousand soldiers on the ground embedded all the way down to the battalion and company level of the Iraqi military these militias were on the joint targeting list they were not parading around in cities they were legitimate they wouldn’t dare show their faces or take selfies on the battlefield this is not happening it’s not good enough for State Department to say this is not a violation of the Leahy law it is Patrick Leahy so this is the strategy okay going back to where I said I was a Republican people don’t like Donald Trump Democrats don’t like our president so we’re going after Democrats to get them on board to criticize the president for allowing this to happen because the president doesn’t know this is happening because it’s not being briefed by it a person that I trust the person that I’ve known for a while a guy who knows ISIS very well told me that Brett McGurk’s talent is saying that landbridge we’re counting on the Iraqi military to stop Iran from doing us we’re counting on the Iraqi Ministry of Interior to stop this week we got this we know what we’re doing like you are you know if I had the opportunity I would say no it’s not true and you remember you’re the guy told Tehran Baghdad on Quran DC that you could stop the Kurdish vote that you can stop the referendum you are also the same guy that has told the Kurds for 10 years wait wait for the referendum eventually we’ll get there each year that we told the Kurds to wait for this referendum us lovers declined an Iranian leverage increased and the Kurds knew that quite well when I was in Kurdistan on my last trip I was asked you know before the referendum should we do this I said you know you have to do it if you don’t do it you’re never gonna have an opportunity to do it again and I said this and I take credit I’ll take credit and blame for this I said if you do this minds will change if you do this American wines will change we’re seeing some momentum in Congress the president president’s mind has not changed because I don’t believe he knows I don’t believe he knows how serious this is that if you have a strategy and you put it down on paper you have a legislative strategy that says oh you know you actually have tools in place it doesn’t eat the Kurds force designate IRGC stop what Iran is doing your rock you have the tools to do this well the one way you do that if you want to fight ISIS keep ISIS from coming back and and halt the Iranian invasion of Iraq you simply move the US train an advisory role to Erbil you can still target ISIS you can take away with now is that language going across the river on and you can actually build leverage with Baghdad by showing them that you’re not going to put up with us anymore you can also build Sunni outreach into malls on these other places these divisions that I mentioned the second rocky army third or a fourth Iraqi army divisions four divisions and I served with when I was in you they were highly trained Sunnis and Kurds trained by Americans embedded Malaki kicked them all out but she has in place he wanted a coup protection force and he wanted to basically neutralize limits constrain effective city and Kurdish leaders the divisions don’t exist anymore and when we spoke a year and a half ago and we when we did this we talked about listen Mitch is this simple put out a call how many of you used to serve in the Iraqi army come back get two back promotion one rank and six months back then that would have been nothing as far as the U.S. investment in Iraq at this point we didn’t do that pitch was so bad at this point again water for the tub is law this is important you can’t drive you and if you find a tank on the battlefield anybody here ever been an armor taker anyone can can you find an m1 Abrams on the battlefield and drive it if you’re ISIS for you can’t you put it on the back of the truck and you move it out I’ve spoken to the tankers on the m1a1 any one Abrams you can’t drive it unless you’ve been trained and you can’t drive it in the Iraqi military unless you’ve been trained by a U.S. advisor and this should never happen you know these militia members bribed they can wear any uniform in the Iraqi military so that’s who’s getting training and here’s an issue here and this is where you know we should focus the the pilots that are being trained in the United States right now from Iraq are the ones that were selected by these militias and by custom Soleimani there’s no doubt Sunnis are getting this training Sunni with the tank is an enemy occurred with the tank is an enemy a Kurdish pilot is an enemy a Sunni pilot is an enemy and custom sold money didn’t care if you were Shias Sunni or Christian when he had an execution campaign against Iraqi pilots in 2005 6 & 7 to go after them regardless of religion because they were a threat to Tehran Tehran will not allow anything that we developed militarily in Iraq to become a threat to and that’s why people that get trained on these tanks are there guys the night the recce army division was an armored unit the first Iraqi army division is an armored unit all the Sunnis were kicked out of both divisions and this was under our nose in two thousand seven eight nine and those divisions now are still active the divisions that I spoke about earlier have now been disbanded so again Qasem Soleimani will end us the engineer and how did you and you every one of them kill Americans every one of them is a legitimate member of the Ministry of Interior who exception of custom soleimani who runs it by the way and are getting American paychecks because we basically fund EMI we fund the Emeline in the elbow duty this is a problem there sir this is the biggest offense to me this gentleman here is case Kazami this is what I worked on when I was in Iran this man and his group the League of the righteous or a sob a hawk conducted an operation in Karbala where they kidnapped five Americans to trade them for four IRGC members custom Soleimani ordered this operation that’s custom stolen mine to the right that’s case gazali to look to the left correction to the right use on the left the kidnapping operation went wrong early four Americans were executed in the back of a vehicle one American died on the objective and was awarded a Silver Star after his Aurora actions we were able to show Prime Minister Maliki intelligence that blame this on Qasem Soleimani and on on cases are cases holly was detained his brother was detained dokdo from Lebanese Hezbollah was detained they were all that cropper and we met them on a weekly basis to get them to reconcile okay at the time I was working with a group called the for strategic engagement cell which was set up by General Lam of the British SAS and McChrystal of our JSOC and we had a mission find reconcile the walls and if you can if you their irreconcilable then they go back on the targeting list and this gentleman here was something we were never gonna let go we had all the others some custom sold money now gets a paycheck from the my it’s a paycheck from the goods force used m1 Abrams tanks to move on all truth as it was called alters the South the Kurdistan 60 hours after the President’s speech South Ikaruga after the President’s speech on Qasem Soleimani if you think about what he said and his this guy’s so not worry about anything that he opened up a recruiting center in Kirkuk behind the marjan hotel I think the Marjan hotel literally put on an ad hey come on – how – our recruiting center behind the marjan hotel join aah so you can kill Peshmerga she can kill Curtis and kill Simmons that that right there demonstrates how much of a failure our ISIS strategy has been the Iraq because it’s basically turn allies Sunni allies we lost a while back our Kurdish allies we do not ever want them to be enemies there will not be a more potent fighter or a bigger danger to American forces than an angry justified and legitimate Peshmerga fighter who sees his town destroyed by a Qassem Sulemani LED force and that sounds alarmist it sounds big wood you know mornings and indicators the Peshmerga official army website is now calling for the united states to exit Kurdistan because we didn’t provide aid after the after the earthquake has that changed at all that should change Baghdad is not providing aid after the earthquake Tehran is not provided aid after the earthquake Ankara has not provided aid after the 7.2 vertically and Kurdistan this gentleman here is part of this DDR process that we talked about it sells what a state and sells went well to experts I’m a former military guy spent 20 years in the military this is how it works I go to the Pentagon I worked at depending on for a year and I try to get out I’m there depending on for a year I somehow am now in charge of this program and I wanted to be successful we’re gonna call it DDR I’m not an expert I don’t know who he is I’m there for a year and I’m looking at my next assignment and I tell you this is a good process this DDR process disarmed demobilize and reintegrate this terrorists his his group I saw the whole hog they’re being proposed to be the 8th 9th and 10th Iraqi army divisions think about that for a second out of the Ministry of Defense to have a designated terrorist group be able to not only get a paycheck from the Kurds force get a paycheck from the mo day they would operate in an MOT uniform also be able to operate in a Qatar aah uniform as a legitimate deputized force as part of this DDR process these are things that we just won’t be taken seriously if allowed to happen and I’m not saying that I have any faith that we’re gonna stop it but we need to go back to what I said about Brett McGurk and the land bridge and saying none of this is happening I put me wrong please on all these things I’m happy to be wrong on all of this this is the Iraqi army division or a recce army unit Sabri McGurk says we’ll stop the Iranian lamb bridge they’re actually built to facilitate it and and and here’s the the strategy of Iran and everybody here who’s fallen run noses strategy is to punished Jerusalem at some point punished Israel at some point and you do that by establishing logistical operational supply lines by establishing presence right now there’s a Russian Congress to stop Iran from building bases in Syria where they’re building in advance they’re actually weaponizing they’re increasing the if the efficacy of land-based missiles technology so they can have per site they can hit precision targets they can hit with precision right now they’re basically just launched in that direction and hope and she’ll lost something cabinets now they can say I want to hit that house and well how did they get to that however they we remove this stuff into Syria well to Iran and our intelligence community cannot think that for a second that you’re going to be looking at Iranian flagged armored columns going across Iraq or a obvious Iranian military convoy going across Iraq these convoys to this to date when these militias are moved into these positions where I showed that map data where they fly Araki flags and you can’t fire on Iraqi flags without firing on a sovereign country problem is there is no sovereignty any rock if you’re in a rocking nationalist if you’re a Sunni if you’re occurred through sheer nationalist because your government is sold out to Tehran this is very telling this is funny all over again the commander of Autocar Iran’s longest-serving proxy one of these gentlemen that speaks English presents wall to U.S. military commanders when I’ve had a chance to brief the military forces that are going to Iraq now breaking the 10th mountain in February they’ll probably be asked not to come to Iraq could I get to that in a second um I say how many of you been there before and the rank and file have not their senior NCOs and the senior officers have and I said you can have a very effective fighting force it’s going to be ready to take on ISIS or ISIS 2.0 but the problem is they see anybody who’s a Sunni military-age male as ISIS this gentleman here he’s pulling higher than the current prime minister he his successes he can credit success for Tikrit cousin Soleimani as well to create Fallujah Ramadi and Mosul and Kirkuk because when the Kirkuk offensive happened two gentlemen went to kakuka to lower the Kurdish flag and raise the Iraqi flag and also the Bartek or flag in the kitab is below flag it was hot in LA marae and it was awful many all Mohandas and this is this is what’s so disappointed when you go to think tanks and you go to these private round tables were talk about these issues and you’ll hear this argument being made and it’s its dominant and it’s it’s it’s an indicator of how bad this is well this gentleman here is not as bad as case gazali earth or of a many oma Hennis so he’s acceptable can we work with it when his allegiance is to custom Soleimani so we kind of this that narrative that narrative came up popped up in the in the summer weekend or that narrative to the point now where there’s a there’s a full offensive to support haider al-abadi as a prime minister problem is the more the US gets behind him the more likely he is not to do it but the rule the nuance to all of this is it doesn’t matter who the prime minister is Iran will decide if the United States stays it’ll probably be a body but every candidate running so far on their platform the number-one question they’re asked is how soon can you get the Americans out and everybody running to his right he’s saying I can get him out sooner case Ghazali has a political party now and he’s running the 2018 elections he’s had one before but now he can take credit for to create Fallujah Ramadi Mosul anchor coca Melendez has not declared but he’ll probably be the Secretary Defense or the National Security Adviser to the next prime minister haider haider al-abadi is a compromise candidate who’s easily influenced by the parties he’s not strong we’re trying to say he is we’re trying to say the Iraqi army is his he has no command over the hospital shabby he says he does and as much as I would like to say that Sistani has control over the hospital shabi he designed he stood them up it’s easy to say hey we need a hundred thousand volunteers overseas yes but don’t worry sectarian flags and bandanas and patches nobody listened just like Watoto Sadr with juice already we’re gonna do a ceasefire we’re gonna kill Americans yeah everybody wants to doing stop killing Americans they don’t listen they become special groups they become a subtle Hawk they become Catawbas blah they become these other groups so there’s a lack of control in this area but we’re touting in this as a success we don’t know how many civilians were killed in Mosul we don’t know how many civilians were killed in Ramadi and Fallujah but most conservative estimates from NGOs and you had people on the ground estimate 20,000 civilians were killed that’s low end there’s no talk about that there’s no talk about how many people died in the city of 500,000 Ramadi when Khatami’s belong as militias were rocketing and pummeling this city with crude artillery I took a picture of Mosul over my right shoulder when I when I went to just show the destruction of the old city and it was also to answer again you know what do you know you what do you know about Iraq you’re not rocky like well you know I spent a lot of time there my country spent a lot of time there are a lot of Americans have died so we do have a say we do have a right to critique things especially if we were there and so I went there to say those not I’m here I walked these same streets when I was in uniform and I watched these same streets when I was working as an intelligence officer as an advisor and now you can’t walk the streets because you can’t get down the street because it’s been robbed or because it was unexploded ordnance and again the last time the United States destroyed a city in Iraq was Fallujah 2004 and 2005 and now we somehow if you look at Syria Iran sees this as one battle ISIS sees this as one God the United States sees it as two distinct separate places where we can do something here and do the opposite in the other place and so you provide air power to the Shia proxy for city rods what I was assuming Sunni militias and you criticize Russia for doing the same thing in Syria they’re using the proxy forces on the ground Iranian proxy force to punish Sunni population centers Shu militias are now saying they’re going to Syria to fight ISIS they’re not they’re going to take territory away from the YPG they’re going to take territory away from the the SDF and there’s always an ISIS spider you can kill but in every case and it’s something interesting the article that you sent me about the coordination by our proxy forces on the ground what I say that the Iraqi military the federal police the hospital Chhavi the counterterrorism forces in each of these cases has has allowed the exit of Isis fighters from pollution Ramadi also to create and now we’re doing it in Deir Ezzor and Raqqa again ISIS is morphing into the al Qaeda model they’ve learned not to raise a flag because unless you can shoot down a military aircraft you don’t want to let everybody know you’re here so you go into this this al Qaeda model but we have not defeated Isis we’ve taken away real estate and we’ve discredited discredited by supporting government’s that have oppressed their people if that makes any sense Baghdad’s worse off with the Sunnis and the Kurdish Sunnis Sunni Arabs and Kurds because of because of this blatant U.S. support to a sectarian governments overreaction and heavy-handed tactics against its population and the name of fighting ISIS they’re doing the same thing now with the Peshmerga they’re going to do the same thing now with lowered who are working with in Syria and this all plays to Iran and again it runs on a conventional force the desertification of the rondell keeps Iran from becoming in economic power keeps it from becoming a conventional force and now allows us to target it when it starts to weaponize and starts to do things the JCPOA provided them cover to do this over ten years to become an economic power to become a conventional military power and then at the end of the day simply put a warhead on top of a ballistic missile that was not part of the JCPOA but part of the UN Security Council resolutions so this everything is great about what happened decertification the problem is the certification and desing the IRC means nothing if you don’t do anything here that’s the problem we’re not afraid of Iran by any means we’re not but we’re allowing this strategic chess player to take advantage of inaction to take advantage of the loss of momentum so the president gets praised for 59 cruise missiles in Syria because Assad used sarin gas on his population and we had an opportunity to create a schism between Moscow and Tehran because Tehran and Assad look to Putin said why are you here if you can’t stop these American cruise missiles from attacking our basis or did you coordinate with the Trump administration to do this and we didn’t follow up we didn’t say the next barrel bomb is the same thing as a sarin gas attack you know we’re looking to hold Assad accountable for his intelligence officers and his security apparatus from allowing Sunni military-age males to move in from Maghreb and other places in the Middle East into Iraq to kill America so now you can actually hold Iran accountable through its proxies for Sunni attacks on Americans Sunni suicide attacks Sunni high-profile attacks when that foreign fighter came in through Syria because you didn’t just go through Syria you actually stopped at a holding area you were briefed by not only al Qaeda members but Syrian Intel and and you were allowed to to be assessed it was a job interview what do you do you’re a sniper good week use you you can build a car bomb you’re good at computers you’re good at you know information operations are good at the Brent I want to make sure there’s time for questions or comments all right so I’m going to stop at two minutes but this was a an area to discuss your capabilities so if you show obviously I want to kill Americans I’m gonna go back home and talk about on social media like what I would do you have a skill no but I want to do this we have the best job for you you’re the shade you will blow yourself up you’re the car bomb that like I don’t want to do that I just want to kill Americans no brothers running this is the most important job we’re gonna put you in this two-week training program where we tell you that you know bubble you know hum so they they go after ten minutes you’ll be in heaven with your emergency and just takes me to a quick quick thing back in 2005 them on a checkpoint where the Curtis General and we’re basically looking for car bombs dismounted so you imagine being a checkpoint is a bunch of cars and you’re asking each car how them will fall huh is this a car bomb like no no ha ha and then he looks at me and he says brother if we die within seconds we’ll be in heaven and I thought if this is a great bonding moment with my peshmerga officer and he goes but you know Burgess you said that I can’t believe that that’s just not right he said okay to you get to it anyway that was an edgy cool story so if you don’t have a story to become a suicide bomber but if you have a skill you’re assessed by Syrian Intel as somebody that they can continue to develop on how to build an ID on how to do sniper operations on how to do these things then you get to go into Iraq and kill Americans because Iran wanted to punish us for being in Iraq because they viewed some how it’s been Afghanistan in Iraq as your next you know I would feel the same way you got the Americans to the north and you have the Americans to the west what do you do so I’m gonna open it up to questions there I hope that fit the the mold of this thing this is very this is very concerning and you know we have legislation and outta to sanction Iraqi militias the World Bank is even skeptical of doing business with Baghdad now which is great because if anybody knows Iran the Revolutionary Guard Corps has its tentacles in every aspect of the Iranian economy every sector they’re now doing that in Iraq and one of the best parts about having these tools is Russia’s doing the same thing you can punish Russia you can do these things I talked about getting Democrats on board to oppose Trump’s policies in Iraq and Syria this is a way to get them paint Russia Russia’s doing this with you and Trump’s allowing it you know let’s do something about that I’m a good Republican but sir you know I love the fact that I used to be an illicit guy because Melissa guy taught me you can say something you can you can speak your mind and then you’re told to sit on to be quiet but at least you got it out there and I’ve always viewed that as a badge of courage is being an officer when when commanders told me you’re too much of an NCO I like I like that that’s a good place to be anyway all open up to questions the President did not know I don’t know still may have his ear and you wanted to tell we had a joint press conference with Sebastian Gore coach on Frank’s Duncan Hunter myself Abby’s Eldon and De Santis and Gorka spoke and we spoke about these things and we’re trying to get to the president because I truly believe that the president is made to feel foolish about something she tends to do something about it may not be the right thing all the time but it tends to do something about it we wanted to this is an easy fix this is that there is no more of an American group of people in the Middle East than the anti-Iranian peshmerga of the hook and Erbil and in this the nationalists in Iraq, Sunnis and Shia, are looking for the U.S. to give him some sort of signal that we’re gonna push back against Iran the the thing that I heard is the president has told his national security staff do not give me my own Iraq war well so you get it anyway and you get it if you ignore this and it’s accelerated and it’s more costly so you get it anyway headed off now because Iran is a paper tiger now. You can do a lot you just have to know what to do it’s pretty easy you got a lot of willing partners and a lot of willing a lot of willing regional allies that can do that I know he may not making a commitment to the curves but the curves seem like they’re the most stable group together and they were sympathetic to the American and although Christians a lot of their groups protected Christians so it’s it’s trying to be that occurs are not given their own land president McConnell France has actually been leading this effort to do something about this to keep the Kurdish region from further being encroached upon but what’s interesting about all the the international community that came out against the Kurdish referendum and came out against the Kurds seeking independence are the same groups that prefer to stage in Erbil and Kurdistan because it’s progressive its Western leaning it’s it’s not a non-intrusive place where you can practice Western values in the open because Western values already being practiced and yet the international community came out against this because this one Iraq fallacy I was a wandering rock guy until we had to do it over to Iran 2016 when I did this before I said he runs like an iPad if you drop it on the floor it doesn’t work anymore now you drop it on the floor or something comes out of it something that works better something that allows us to stay and that is an independent Kurdish region in mine and my opinion and and the reason we at least need to tilt that way to work with the Kurds that way is it gives us leverage with Baghdad and in the words of representative de santis he said it best if Terrans upset about it and if Icarus upset about it then it seems like it’s the right thing to do just I promise this guy in the neck I know when you miss kami part under the Pakistan spectator and my question is do you think about my administration didn’t know the connection between Osama bin Laden because Obama basically you know made of the Arabia kind of animosity yes I’m trying to bring America and Iran closer and kind of isolated Pakistan as well because you know Pakistani delegate is very much about the Saudi Arabia losers and then it is successful operation in na but you got it and wlp yes they immediately yes I am sorry ISIS yes and no this is the first Pakistani Prime Minister who has been educated in Washington, D.C. and do you think that US could use these all factors are variable to eliminate ISIS thanks yes all right so the best part about me being able to answer this question is there some have been a lot of documents been released I worked on you Obata – to see the sensitive site exploitation and we looked for links to the is I said I say head of know he was there but at the end of the day Hamid Ghul knew he was there because time ago was no longer the ISI but he’s a former director and his Americans when you retire you no longer part of the agency and Pakistan if you retire your senior and you get to decide who the next guy yes and you get to weigh in on every subsequent director so going back to what the Obama administration knew about Iran’s links to Al-Qaeda absolutely and that’s why they kept our team so our team got permission on a Friday to go to DC on a Monday to have a week access to all the documents which translators we already we already had minded we knew where we wanted to go we knew what what reports he wanted to see Friday night we were canceled by the National Security Council by Susan Rice they shut down our organization and two weeks later I was let go my whole team was let go we were felon or sequestration throwing that’s part of that we were the tip of the spear for CENTCOM looking at the sensitive site exploitation of the ibadah BOTS of things so so this is something that they knew and they knew it would Darrell ve run Jim and that’s why they didn’t do it so now if you look at the linkages what American would have supported of Iran do if they knew that Iran and supported Al-Qaeda and brought him safe harbor and did these things the only time you want ever punished Al-Qaeda is when Al-Qaeda operatives in Iran got so cocky that they told everybody we’re all Qaeda what can you do to us and they got drunk in a bar and I urgency put him in jail with some of in London find out about it scolded his guys said don’t mess with them again please release my guys I vouch for them they won’t ever do this again this is uh absolutely and you seem to tilt toward traditional allies in the Middle East tilt towards Saudi Arabia we shine a light on because the cuts are for your ties to to these different groups it also sends a light back on Saudi Arabia for adventurous ties to different groups it also sends a message to the eyesight for supporting the Haqqani network for supporting different groups again if you look at this as an intelligence professional you simply say that of course the ISI has ties to these groups because this is what traditional human intelligence looks like if you work with bad people you do things you find strategic angers you find leverage I like what what we did but again another loss of momentum I talked about the fifty nine cruise missiles loss of momentum by not exploding that schism between Putin Tehran and Damascus there’s another schism with Qatar when you did this and you and the president also talked about ceasing an alliance with Pakistan based on these things it shines a light at every space work with us we know what you’re doing we know but but again if you look at his traditional intelligence operations you work with bad people to find what bad people are doing and if you look at the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia prior to our tilt they could roll up four hundred al-qaeda guys tomorrow if they needed to they could roll a lot four hundred Isis fighters tomorrow if they needed to because they always know where they are and the one thing we know when we talk about Iran and Saudi Arabia I always asked how many Shia militias have ever attacked here on how many Sunni insurgents have ever Timon well we had the Isis group there was a loosely affiliated group of Sunni Persians or Sunni Sunni Arabs in Iran openly and you know that’s that’s that so yes they knew they knew about it and that’s why they shut down an effort to look at it and that’s how they were hesitant to release this while the JCPOA was being negotiated yes sir and then you and then you saw yes oh really this gentleman they’ll come back to you yeah yeah I’m sorry about that sir but no y’all get to both you good presentation and remark sir I just wanna say something before I ask question you first mentioned that this is what everyone asks us has been defeated in Iraq and now we must be replaced by too shabby OPM violetta those people thought you said 2.0 is not only those the Iraqi government itself it’s doing same thing of what U.S. has been known because now the Iraqi parliament is debating the legislation together to pass a bill debating a bill to revoke the legislation to get nine years old temporarily yes sir this is exactly what ISIS was doing your sister’s Iraqi government is the same thing as trying to do so it’s not only eyes Dashami we having Iraqi government is same as ISIS this is what’s happening but my question is I spoke with a few generals on the ground that they say to ink this what’s happening to us the fish is attacked by Hydra Shafi we need to get we need to find we need to get to the wall do you think the war will be solution for this you fighting back fighting back and yes we really expected the patch we’re gonna fight back in Kirkuk of course the PUK collapsed and the KDP wasn’t in a position to do something but the curse did fight back north Duke and inflicted casualties on the hostels shabi and the Iraqi military and that actually demonstrated to Baghdad again what we’ve been saying from beginning though force of the gun in Iraq has ever been successful without U.S. airpower in support of it that’s the same with ISIS it’s the same with HUS little shabby that’s in with everything on it on it’s on it’s on it’s on its own the Peshmerga can actually hold off the hospital shove it can hold off do you rock you military the problem is whether or not you know it’s almost like you only want to fight hostile shabby because then you can be justified it’s hard to fight when there’s an Iraqi flag on a tank coming at you because then you look treasonous and that’s that’s the issue going back to – to what you said every every loss of terrain every loss of terrain by Isis has been a game for the Iranians in Syria and Iraq every place even in traditional Sunni areas are now controlled by hostile Shelby not Assyria the physical presence but limiting the capability of local forces to defend themselves so they’re actually are weakened so they’re not a threat to this XI a sectarian fault line areas the areas along with sheer success scioscia Sunni sectarian fault lines but they’re not able to actually fight ISIS so I talked to two members of from Ramadi about fighting Isis and we don’t have any bullets for our guns and they’d say it’s by design and they’re telling us – is your problem you have to fight ISIS on your own so now we force them after this failure in cocoa to move out into the desert in Anwar to go after the last pockets of Isis and again you don’t defeat ISIS and let’s just stay in the whole territory but yes we cannot if you look at the actions of ISIS and the Shia militias and the government because somebody does it in a suit does it make them less less of a threat if they do it you know dress like a like a guerrilla fighter all right sir q and then I’ll get you I think one of the main can you Toria can you identify yourself security bug combines future of our nation I think is what we made reason that the assault has HIV and I have GC hunter coop and the Kurtz has nothing to do with them it was always going to happen regardless and sure enough right after the occupation of our community signed the deal with the Iranians to export to export oil from Cooper to Iran immediately yes and establish a pipeline to replace the pipeline tofu Turkey right I just want to say something that this is extremely dangerous and strategically can I change that the area of the region dramatically to cook is one of the nine biggest oil fields of me for the planets in the last place would pump oil of the plant would be Raghu this is cut now under the control of ISIS aluminum use passive Soleimani enterprise very soon is going to have the income of the biggest oil field in the world under this complete control they have not they are not hiding it they say we’re gonna do it and they deal between the minister instead of oil affion is approved and prepared by our GZ and hot sauce yes now you’re going to have the push force is going to have an income from cocoon equivalent to many countries in the dogs okay your second question is coming out of this as Prime Minister Netanyahu VP once he was people were talking about fighting ideas the answer he said but it’s also very important to kill them just as I agree with him now if constantly wondering the terrorist list does rather charge it why does the United States does not treat them equally like Osama bin Laden you know I don’t know what I mean the second question is maybe I know the path of the answer of the first question for the second question you as an intelligence officer X intelligence officer an expert which we all respect can you walk us through what is it required for- for the United States government to put he’ll fly a rocket on his head as soon as possible yeah yeah yeah they own so Qassem Soleimani was taken off the jury targeted and list back in 2006 and 7 take it off never put back on because we were worried about we’re fighting Al Qaeda in Iraq and militias and we didn’t want Iran I’m not gonna justify why just that’s the test what happened so now we’ve got some solo money doing this one of the pushes now is anytime there’s an American flat American tank with a Qasem Soleimani quid source proxy flag flame from it it’s an Isis tank it’s a piece of it’s a piece of terrorist equipment there’s legislation going through Congress right now to designate how to come to J bar could tell me more Molly yeah that’s very good that’s very good now it can’t just be sanctions it can’t just be you as a Treasury that does this it needs to be vetted but again and this is something that the Iranians have learned from our response with North Korea this is something that they learn with our response towards Hezbollah is that we deal with what are the ramifications of targeting a custom Solomonic what are the ramifications are going after Shia militias part of that part of the thing to secure the Iran deal Leon Panetta said this if we go against Iran’s strategic interests in Iraq and Syria the JCPOA would fall apart we are constrained our our U.S. servicemembers in Iraq are outnumbered by custom solo monies guys and can be targets so the ramifications if I’m in Iranian general I’m very comfortable I’m not going to be targeted because if I’m targeted my guys will kill Americans they outnumber us 20 to 1 we rock we’re we are always looking at the ramifications so North Korea if we strike North Korea what did they do to South Korea and we strike Iran with us histologic Israel there’s that’s the issue that’s second and third order effects of targeting a general well you don’t have to have Lincoln’s directly to the United States if any of this happens these are these are just simple things that we can’t say as Americans but every other foreign intelligence service will say have somebody else do it for me Liz yeah I mean they’re the best the best opportunity for those things to happen then the number of IRGC generals have been killed in Syria and killed in Iraq by snipers that that’s happened Qasem Soleimani was was rumored to be a injured a year and a half ago you know and then there were there were rumors circulating and again my my Kurdish friends don’t send anything that’s fake that I can google search and show that it’s not actual I get it I hear what you’re saying we should be as outraged about a photo that’s a year and a half old as one that was taken yesterday the problem is our media operates on a this is two years ago tom is the fact that you can simply you know the rumor was that AHA boom idioma Highness was killed by a pitch burger sniper those things will not be frowned upon by the United States if any of that stuff happens but the United States will not conduct a Joint Special Operations mission to go after custom Soleimani even though we went after case cazali even though we went after Mohandas even though we went after Dokdo can lathe gazali and Haji Sybil and alcohol Maccabi but after every one of those IRA Secrets Force lieutenants with U.S. intelligence and U.S. Special Operations Forces this mission is he is different from what we did in Iraq during the search we went after Al-Qaeda and she emotions now we’re actually providing air cover to a heavily infiltrated security force dominated by Shia militias with ties to Iran to go after a Sunni population and call it a war against ISIS so that’s that’s the issue so as these things progress you have Iraqi militias being designated as terrorists or musicians a huge step the next part would be hey can we put in these guys in the joint targeting list and what are the ramifications Sadr Notaro Sadr was on the joint target list for a minute said to know if we do this we have 10,000 guys from Sadr City that would kill Americans that is one of the biggest mistakes that a lot of people now say that he should have been taken out a while back but again what kind of son is not the problem now he’s been pushed aside by Iran he’s he’s just looking for a paycheck he’ll do something that he’ll get paid off then he goes away he’ll be someone to Tehran and told to be quiet these are not issues again don’t be confused by Saudi investment in Iran remember Saudis have invested in Lebanon and Iran has always been ok with that as long as nothing the Saudis do keeps Iran from doing things militarily and that’ll be the same the same contract in Iraq and that’s that’s a situation so whether you’re Kurdish context telling you about alternatives alternatives allies to the United States but if they were to look at influence Russian well well Putin’s already exploited this schism Putin’s already engaging the KRG and the PUK and the KDP he’s smart Qasem Soleimani has his inroads into Iran and has inroads into the PUK and now has somebody that they believe they can work with out of the the PUK I’m sorry the KDP these are even hardened Sunni anti Baghdad anti-Shia sectarians told me in Ramadi that Iran has is the biggest strike now so who work with Iran we have no choice there’s this strong try concept just works it doesn’t matter if sectarianism was a principled position you wouldn’t be able to get a car bomb to a Shia checkpoint through Shia neighborhoods to target Asia area sectarianism unfortunately is not a principle but I mean fortunately it’s not a principle position but again you know you can pay somebody on a checkpoint 200 bucks to get a car bomb through when everybody had to check one knows it’s a car bomb because I’m not willing to die for this and that’s that’s that’s a that’s a macro look at had this this situation so what are the Kurds ask for well Congress just said we’re going to directly arm or and send funds to the Cara Gino and not going through Baghdad so that’s a good thing our Joint Special Operations mission requires that we base out of our bill to continue to do that the problem is they’ve gone to the matricis we’re on the basis we’re not out not we’re not working with our with our counterparts are working the Iraqi military forces and not with you know push Peshmerga and Kurds outside of the Iraqi army because you’re wrecking army won’t let them back in there are no more Sunni battalions companies brigades in the Iraqi military there are no more Kurdish companies battalions but in the Iraqi military half that they reckon will eteri has been decimated not decimated but the second third and fourth or economic news as I talked about in a longer exist and there’s no effort to build them so what are the Kurds asked for the Kurds asked for us to do the right thing and don’t give up on the u.s. just yet it’s October 25th is when this happened and there has not been further encroachment there have been rumored airstrikes against Shia militia positions by some some allies that that the Kurds have and those those are good things so Baghdad knows that this is a fight that can’t take on just yet the problem is the Kurds and when I say that when I say the curse I’m talking about her ability to hook they’re now looking at Seoul money as a potential backdoor for a ring in aggression they’re looking in other places that they shouldn’t have to look but I get it I get it if you if you don’t have the United States standing there with you you have to you have to do things I mean we came out so heavily against this is Ambassador Crocker said this we came out so heavily against a referendum that somehow we gave a green light for heavy-handed response this was a vote this was a vote this wasn’t a binding you know position that the Kirsten this was a vote to say hey after all of this we want to decide how to live in a country and and if you think about it this is this is this is a you know Barzani said it best the other day when he was talking to a Christiane Amanpour I said you know where where is the the world on democracy and freedom it doesn’t exist we have to survive what to do this ourselves now we had no friends and I hate to hear an ally say that about the United States yes sir ain’t no last question boy I start about going over there see your honor it’s alright you next week right – somehow Hoover right and the final example was standing where from kirsten was a terrible idea first of all we can’t talk about the curves as you know I think right they they are internal enemies celebrating well we should know based on our history based on simply looking at the successes of successes and failures and we’re so afraid of our failures that would repeat that would we’re so afraid of using our successes that we shell them and I don’t understand it because you know in Afghanistan we’ve been there for 17 years and I would say we’ve been there 17 times for one-year deployments we’ve run the Afghanistan campaign likes like Dan Snyder runs the Redskins trying to win every year with a different time and it just doesn’t work going back to your point about where you worked in Iraq and what sector you worked in we can now sanction the Iraqi government and goes back to your question with sanction Iraqi oil companies for working with uranium do the Argosy so there are tools but will we use those tools well we’d be afraid to use those tools going back to good people being on opposite sides of an issue I find myself on the opposite side of these issues because of these two simple things I don’t believe that there is a rule of law and you’re wrong I believe that the Constitution is used when it benefits somebody in its shell when it doesn’t and that what that party in power is always able to decide how it’s used when I argue with both colleagues about the Iraqi military they show me a lighted block charts they show me things on paper that say that this is what the Iraqi army is I was in the Iraqi army as an advisor and again you know I was a first iteration advisor and I know that aligning block chart is a line of walk chart and when you have a 50% Manning of a unit on the ground it’s not reflected in a line of blonde charm anybody know what a line watch on nails so basically you know this is what the division looks like um people that I argue with about this and I said I want to I want to have my mind changed I believe that good people can be on the wrong to different sides of an issue but I also believe good people should look at the reality on the ground and the reality on the ground is you rock your rocks military is not what the line of walk charts say any rocks Constitution is being selectively used because there is no rule of law in a rock and we should know that is it goes back to your point why do we think we know more about these countries and people in them and there’s a thing in Arabic and I probably saying this wrong but I would always tell people to let them ship on which get them in a Unicode have a look at the problems to your eyes and it worked with some people and then a tribal sheiks said who are you to look through my eyes you’re not even like sorry about that but there’s a lot of a lot of things that we can learn from our from our history that we don’t apply one of the biggest questions real quick in Baghdad after Isis came in are where are all the Americans we worked with during the surge when we got this right nobody showed up and then The Daily Beast I’m a contributing writer for one of my colleagues said there’s too many generals in Iraq there’s more generals and troops in Iraq if you look at what generals was supposed to be in charge of that’s because the generals that were there were lieutenant Colonel’s and majors during the search and they knew Iraq and they were there to bridge that that generation gap we had between current American advisors in the Iraqis the Iraqis were always into an advantage I was a first iteration advisor by the end of the Iraq war they saw 12 of me 12 different levels of dedication 12 different levels of knowledge each with a different goal some that didn’t want to be there and the guy cost me use the same guy and they develop a playbook and their chess players and it’s easy to do no I hope I found it negative but there are solutions and everything that I talked about here it’s a dire situation with very simple fixes acknowledge the issue don’t ignore it and use your lover’s use smart power our power soft power allies regional allies local islands I’m not a fan of using regional allies in Iraq because Iraqis are very Pro users Sunni population one of the things that I was in felt inspired by with General Mattis McMaster and Flynn were going into the administration worked for all of them. General Flynn is a lieutenant, Mattis is a civilian, and McMaster is a DIA intelligence officer and each said you can’t defeat us in the insurgency without sending manpower and sending intelligence from the local cities, meaning Sunni are everson occurs. We haven’t done that. We didn’t do that in Syria. We haven’t done that in Iran. And we’re about to declare victory and when we declare victory, Iran’s gonna you know clean champagne glasses, if they fade, if they drink but I’ll leave it at that but there are solutions in everyday.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email