EXCLUSIVE: Allen West Tells TheDC What Went Wrong In Iraq, Syria And Turkey

Alex Pfeiffer White House Correspondent
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Retired Army Lt. Col. and former Republican congressman Allen West laid out to The Daily Caller Tuesday his solutions to America’s problems in the Middle East and what went wrong with the coup in Turkey.

West served in Iraq and, when asked what could have prevented Iraqi cities from falling under ISIS control, he blamed Obama for a “political decision based on a campaign promise.” The former Army officer said that by not leaving a “residual force,” “we allowed the reconstitution of Al-Qaida in Iraq which is a much more dangerous organization called Islamic State.”

“I think the most important thing is you move away from nation-building operations to more-so what is called strike-operations,” West said when asked if keeping a residual force would create a “permanent war.”

The former Florida congressman said that strike operations could cut off ISIS’ resources, men and material, flow and support, and in effect “shrink their sphere of influence.”

West is willing to support the use of ground troops in Syria and Iraq against ISIS because “you have to eliminate ISIS having a base of operations.” The former army officer does think that the U.S made a mistake by not completely destroying the Taliban before troop withdrawals.

“To completely withdraw all of your troops at one time that was an even bigger strategic blunder,” West told TheDC. The former Army Lieutenant Colonel believes the U.S should have kept enough troops for a security cordon between Iraq and both Syria and Iran.

The Obama administration has been keen on using drones and special forces to combat Islamic terrorist groups, a tactic that West thinks hasn’t been particularly successful. “This is a multi-headed hydra and we have to have that concerted strategic vision and policy that enables us to drive the stake of the spear to the heart of the hydra, not just to one head off and another one grows.”

The former congressman does not think toppling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is necessary because “the Islamist mentality is they don’t care for secular leadership.” West doesn’t wish to help enact those goals.

West also let TheDC know what he thinks prevented a successful coup in Turkey. “[Erodogan’s] had an opportunity to get his own people inside the military and really take away the opportunity of the secular military that Ataturk wanted to have.”