- The Washington Times - Friday, March 27, 2015

Chaos in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Egypt and Yemen has prompted the Obama administration’s former ambassador to Iraq to warn of a Mideast policy in “free fall.”

“We’re in a goddamn free fall here,” said James Jeffrey, who also was a top national security aide to George W. Bush, Politico reported Friday.

The collapse of the Yemini government at the hands of Iran-backed Houthis militas, Iraq’s growing reliance on Iranian efforts to root out and destroy the Islamic State group, and growing lawlessness in Libya have experts on the region worried that the region is at a tipping point.

“The mood here is that we really are at a crisis point that is unprecedented in recent memory,” said Suzanne Maloney, a senior fellow in the Middle East policy center at the Brookings Institution, who spoke to Politico from the Qatari capital of Doha.

Ms. Maloney’s comments come just days after Rep. Adam B. Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, told the Los Angeles Times that “the news from Yemen is all bad.”

One State Department official told Politico the White House is learning that “when it comes to this region, nothing happens in a linear way — and precious little is actually about us, which is a hard reality to accept.”

SEE ALSO: Iran-backed militia given intelligence files on U.S. counterterrorism operations in Yemen

The Obama administration is hoping it can declare a foreign policy win by securing a nuclear deal with Iran before the end of the month. Iran wants all sanctions lifted, zero “snap inspections,” and it also demands the ability to run hundreds of centrifuges from a fortified underground bunker.

Robert Menendez, senior Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Thursday that the Obama administration should resist negotiating “any deal for a deal’s sake,” The Associated Press reported.

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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