US gave leadership in Middle East to Russia: US ex-top soldier
ISTANBULThe former U.S. Army Chief of Staff Raymond Odierno said the United States has given its leadership in the Middle East to Russia.
“Frankly we have given up our leadership in the region to Russia. It is time for us to reassert our leadership,” Odierno told Fox News on Dec. 21.
The military option should not be taken off the table for the crises unfolding in the Middle East, he said, adding that Obama’s administration has done so for several years.
Odierno said combating terrorism would require a comprehensive approach from the U.S. government, including a ready and robust military, a strategy for countering Islamist propaganda online, a focus on disrupting terror groups’ funding and a thorough vetting process for refugees coming from hotbeds of radical Islam.
“I believe this is a time of proactive leadership to deal with this problem of radical Islamic extremism head-on. And it’s time for us to take action,” Odierno said.
He argued that the Obama administration has been overly passive in the fight against terrorism, choosing all too often to lead from behind.
“It is now time for us to lead from the front. Be aggressive at bringing nations together. Be aggressive in our own policies and bringing the capabilities of our government together to take action,” he said.
Odierno was a commander in Iraq who captured Mosul and Tikrit, the hometown of Iraq’s former leader, Saddam Hussein, and who captured Saddam later on. He was also the head of a unit that arrested members of the Turkish Special Forces in Sulaymaniyah in Iraq in 2003.