Former CIA analyst Buck Sexton on Tuesday broke down the “worst case scenario” that could result from the ongoing crisis in Iraq, where the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria now controls large swaths of territory and is threatening to overtake Baghdad.
“The worst case scenario here for Iraq, for the region, and quite honestly for the world, is that this turns into a Sunni-Shia civil war that brings in all the Middle East countries of the region, backing their preferred side,” Sexton, TheBlaze’s national security adviser, remarked. “This turns into a giant proxy battlefield. And if that happens, oil markets, all those who think this doesn’t affect us — it’ll put the globe into turmoil.”
Sexton said civil war is an “absolute” possibility, and noted that militant Islamists in Iraq used the same “playbook” in 2006 and 2007.
“They got pulled back from the brink by 160,000 U.S. troops,” he noted. “We don’t have that there anymore.”
Beck asked Sexton to comment on President Obama’s decision to send in 275 troops to provide support and security for U.S. personnel at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, asking whether the order could be a “death sentence” for those individuals if Baghdad does fall.
Sexton responded: “If they’re not able to keep the U.S. presence in the embassy in Baghdad, the whole country’s going down. That would essentially be … the point at which we recognize that this has gone far beyond our control.”
But Sexton expressed some optimism that the U.S. will retain control of the embassy.
“That embassy is a fortress,” he said. “It cost nearly a billion dollars. It was designed specifically to withstand indirect fire from mortars, from rockets. It also is blast protected, so it can’t be easily destroyed by say, a massive car or truck bomb, which of course is what Iraq is known for these days. So there’s a lot that they can do to batten down the hatches, so to speak. And these troops are auxiliary to what’s already in place. But if the embassy goes, the country is gone. It’s all over.”
Sexton said it is also likely that the 275 sent in are evacuation specialists capable of putting down cover fire and rapidly loading helicopters in case the embassy staff does need to evacuate.
“But in the case of Iraq, it’s not just, ‘Oh, we’re going to [evacuate] the embassy,’” Sexton added. “It would be, ‘We’re [evacuating] the embassy under duress because [of] an invading Al Qaeda army, or an all-out Sunni-Shia civil war has broken out. So even with all the precautions they have in place, this could quickly become an incredibly dangerous situation.”
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