House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) said Tuesday that Iraq’s prime minister should be removed so Iraq can start building a coalition government that leads to reduced fighting between the Shia and the Sunnis.
Rogers appeared on CNN, where he said some military steps are needed to slow the march of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, but said political steps are needed as well.
“You need to have a political discussion all at the same time,” he said on CNN’s “New Day.” “Maliki really probably needs to go. We need somebody of serious stature to be able to tell him that, so that they can get a unity government to start taking away this Shia-Sunni problem that’s developing or is there already.”
Rogers’ recommendation comes as the Obama administration is scrambling to consider what options are available to keep ISIS from taking over more territory in Iraq, and amassing more weapons, people and cash. Rogers said ISIS already controls territory about the size of Indiana, and said air strikes against ISIS should be under consideration as a way to slow the group’s march.
“Some options are being talking about that will provide for some disruption, and I’ll support those options as long as they give breathing space to any political reconciliation,” he said. “That may include U.S. airstrikes to break the momentum of the Al Qaeda army.”
Rogers said he supports President Barack Obama’s decision to send 275 troops to secure the U.S. embassy at Baghdad, and said that should not be seen as a broken promise not to send ground troops to Iraq.
“When most people say boots on the ground, they’re talking about big footprint — the 4th Infantry Division, the 101st Infantry Division. Those kind of things,” he said. “That’s not what we’re talking about. We’re not talking about large-scale troop movements.”