Former top American commander of US-led occupation forces in Iraq has emphasized that the US military should launch targeted airstrikes against al-Qaeda-linked terrorists in Iraq only if they have the potential to extend their terror campaign “beyond the Middle East.”
“If ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL) is seen as a terrorist organization with the potential to engage in terrorist acts beyond the Middle East, then that could warrant the targeting of high value targets,” said retired general David Petraeus in an interview with UK-based Daily Telegraph.
“We must realize that ISIS poses a threat not only to Iraq but to the UK and other countries as well,” he reiterated.
Petraeus, who was forced to retire in 2010 after admitting to an extra-marital affair with a female military officer while commanding US-led forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, won fame in Washington for his Iraq strategy of hiring anti-US tribal militants to fight against other militants that were resisting US military occupation.
“We must be careful not to take sides if we offer military support. But the growing threat posed by ISIS means that military action will be necessary,” Petraeus added in the interview.
“If President Obama and other leaders conclude that the threat posed by ISIS is significant then I would support actions to target high-value ISIS elements.”
The foreign-backed ISIL terrorists have been wreaking havoc in Iraq over the past days. This has forced the Iraqi government to call for US assistance in its fight against the Takfiri militants.
“It seems to be much more than a terrorist group: it seems to be turning into a terrorist army, one that has acquired vast financial resources from looting banks and other criminal enterprises,” said the retired US general.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon ordered three warships to move into the Persian Gulf to provide US President Barack Obama with military options should he decide to launch airstrikes against the foreign-sponsored terrorist.
Top Iraqi officials have widely blamed Saudi Arabia and a number of its Persian Gulf Arab allies for sponsoring the brutal terror campaign across his country.