Former acting CIA director Michael Morell said Wednesday that al Qaida in Iraq (AQI) “would never have rebounded” if President Barack Obama had left a number of troops rather than pulling out forces in 2011.
Appearing on “Hannity,” Morell, who also served as deputy director of the CIA under President Obama, also told host Sean Hannity the the only strategy the U.S. “can pursue” at this point is to make the Iraqis win the battle with ISIS themselves.
“I think that the strategy in Iraq, right, is the only strategy that we can pursue over the long term, which is Iraqis have to win this thing themselves, right?” Morell said initially. “Which means the Iraqi forces have to do this. We have to train them. They were trained once. Former Prime Minister [Nouri Al] Maliki destroyed that military, and now we have to put it back together.”
“So, 2011 — the end of 2011, when the US military left the country, AQI, which was the predecessor to ISIS, was at its weakest point, it was at its nadir. As soon as we left, they started to rebound. They started to rebound because the military pressure came off of them, and they started to rebound because Prime Minister Maliki, without the US there to babysit him, started making a whole rash of bad political decisions which alienated Sunnis…The bottom line is AQI would never have rebounded had we stayed there in some number.”