Toomey: Crisis could allow Iran to pounce
The al-Qaida splinter group battling over one of Iraq's largest oil fields as it pushes toward Baghdad could open the door for Iran “to take de facto control of large portions of Iraq,” putting the entire region under Sunni radical control, Sen. Pat Toomey said on Friday.
“The greatest concern is that this could spiral down into a full-blown regional war,” said Toomey, a Republican from the Lehigh Valley. “In that process, Iranian influence is growing. ... It then becomes increasingly difficult to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.”
Toomey said he would consider airstrikes, a move President Obama backed away from in announcing a plan to send 300 advisers to Iraq this week.
“We have no really good options here. ... The entire region is in terrible turmoil that could spread well beyond Iraq,” said Toomey, who was in Greensburg to talk with a group of local women business owners brought together by the Westmoreland Chamber of Commerce and Seton Hill's E-Magnify, a comprehensive program for women entrepreneurs.
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, wants to establish an Islamic state that would stretch from Iraq into northern Syria. The group has vowed to march to Baghdad and the Shiite holy cities of Karbala and Najaf. The three cities are home to some of the most revered Shiite shrines.
An ISIS recruiting video posted on YouTube, part of a social media blitz, said the group has set its sights on Muslim lands in Israel and Spain.
After meeting with Congressional leaders for more than an hour on Wednesday, Obama said he was dispatching up to 300 military advisers to Iraq but backed off on conducting airstrikes.
Craig Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5646 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.