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Former U.S. ambassador to Iraq: Kerry ‘should be on a plane right now for Baghdad’

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker said Tuesday that Secretary of State John Kerry "should be on a plane right now for Baghdad," as Iraq's government struggles to defend the capital from ISIS militants.

"The focus has been on the conflict, that is indeed serious, but diplomacy is what is crucial right now," Mr. Crocker said on CBS's "This Morning," the Washington Free Beacon reported.

"We need to work with the Iraqis at the highest level," he said, the Free Beacon reported. "That would be Secretary Kerry, backed by the president, so that they can demonstrate the national unity, Kurdish, Sunni and Shia, that is going to be essential, if there is going to be any hope of turning back the ISIS threat."

Asked if the Obama administration "failed to pay sufficient attention" to Iraq since American troops pulled out, Mr. Crocked responded, "I would have liked to have seen more sustained high-level diplomatic engagement with the Iraqis."

"This is a very young democracy that has a lot of challenges," he said. "We are hard-wired into their political system. We helped create it, we can't walk away from it. So I would have preferred, since 2011, to see us more deeply and intensively engaged at the highest levels of government. I don't think it's too late, but we better move now."

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