Senator Casey, a member of the National Security Working Group, appeared with Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) of the Foreign Relations Committee on Fox News Sunday to discuss the current turmoil in the Middle East.
The Senators discussed the recent murders of Israeli and Palestinian teenagers, as well as the leadership ability of Iraqi prime minister Nouri al Maliki. They also discussed the futures of Iraq and Syria relative to US levels of involvement in both regions.
Senator Casey expressed great remorse at the deaths of the foreign students.
“Whether it’s the killing of three Israeli teens or the killing of a Palestinian teenager, in both instances, we have to condemn acts of violence in the strongest possible terms,” Casey stated.
He is confident that the justice systems in both nations will deal with the crimes now.
The conversation shifted to the current leadership crisis in Iraq. ISIS, the Sunni insurgent group that currently rules much of eastern Syria and western Iraq recently declared their territory an Islamic state as of July 30.
Casey pointed to Iraq’s prime minister Nouri al Maliki, rather than the US withdrawal of troops, as the nation’s main problem.
Casey discussed Maliki stating that, “both administrations put too much confidence in him…he’s not taken the steps that are necessary to have a government of national unity.”
With Iraq fragmented along ethnic and religious lines, Maliki is faced with the difficult, possibly impossible task, of uniting a decisively split nation. Southern Iraq is primarily Shia, while the North and West are dominated by Sunnis. The Kurds in the far North are religiously Sunni, however their ethnicity, and extreme persecution suffered under Saddam Hussein, separates them from other Iraq Sunnis.
Maliki asserted Friday that he will seek re-election for a third term in office, despite mounting opposition.
Senator Barrasso expressed that he is “concerned for the safety of the American people” and that “President Obama is projecting worldwide US weakness.”
Casey disagreed, affirming his belief in the President’s foreign policy decisions.
“I think he’s shown strong leadership in the region,” Casey said, “I hope he will continue on the path he’s been on, which is to assess the situation, and make sure our national interests are served.”