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POLITICS: PennAve

Peter King: ISIS 'more powerful now than al Qaeda was on 9/11'

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Politics,Congress,Iraq,National Security,Campaigns,PennAve,Rebecca Berg,Peter King,ISIS

President Obama's vow not to provide military support in Iraq beyond limited air strikes and humanitarian relief amounts to "a shameful abdication of American leadership," Rep. Peter King, a New York Republican, said in an interview Sunday.

"We should take nothing off the table," King said on NBC's "Meet The Press" regarding the American response to the growing threat from the jihadist group the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

King was responding to an interview, also on "Meet The Press," with Sen. Dick Durbin, of Illinois, the second-ranking Senate Democrat, who insisted "escalating it is not in the cards."

"Neither the American people nor Congress are in the business of wanting to escalate this conflict beyond where it is today," Durbin said.

But King argued that the incursion by ISIS into the Kurdistan region of Iraq, where the group threatens genocide against the Yazidi population, could ultimately threaten the national security of the U.S. if not addressed with necessary force.

"Every day that goes by, ISIS builds up this caliphate and it becomes a direct threat to the United States of America," King said. "They are more powerful now than al Qaeda was on 9/11."

King's remarks came on the same day that Hillary Clinton, in an interview with the Atlantic magazine, called the Obama administration's refusal to confront extremism in Syria, where ISIS originated, a "failure."

"I know that the failure to help build up a credible fighting force of the people who were the originators of the protests against Assad—there were Islamists, there were secularists, there was everything in the middle—the failure to do that left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled," Clinton said.

King also termed the Obama administration's foreign policy a "failure" — but instead honed in on President Obama's decision to pull out of Iraq without protecting the Kurds and without ability to steer the direction of the country's government, which has floundered under the leadership of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

"All [Obama] talks about is ending the war in Iraq. All he ended was American influence in Iraq," King said. "And that’s the failure."

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Rebecca Berg

Political Correspondent
The Washington Examiner

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