Policy: National Security

John McCain: Iraq needs U.S. help to fight al Qaeda

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Iraq,Iraq War,National Security,PennAve,Sean Lengell,John McCain,al Qaeda

Sen. John McCain has blamed President Obama for turning his back on increased instability and al Qaeda-led violence in Iraq and has called for U.S. intervention there, but stopped short of calling for American troops to become involved.

"First of all no combat troops obviously…but we could provide [the Iraqi government] with assistance, we could provide them with logistic support, we could provide them with Apache helicopters," the Arizona Republican told CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday.

McCain blamed President Obama for ignoring increased al Qaeda terrorist attacks in Iraq, suggesting that White House negligence is undoing years of U.S.-led progress in the country.

"It's very distressing to those [Iraq War] veterans who fought so hard,"he said. "This president wanted out. We got out."

McCain suggested Obama send retired Gen. David Petraeus, a former head of U.S. Central Command during the Iraq War, and Ryan Crocker, a former U.S. ambassador to Iraq, assist Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki because "Maliki trusts them."

But the Arizona Republican also called on Maliki to do more to stem growing al Qaeda influence in his country.

"He's got to reach out to the Sunnis, he's got to have national reconciliation," he said.

McCain added that al Qaeda activity isn't just limited to small pockets in Iraq.

"We you look at Iraq and Syria you're seeing an al Qaeda enclave there," he said. "And that is very dangerous to American national security, not to mention what's happening in Syria of course, where again the Unites States is disengaged."

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