I think [that] perhaps the most interesting development is reported in the Wall Street Journal this morning: that the administration thinks that the al-Maliki regime in Iraq has to be replaced, that it cannot bring the country back together, and that before any substantial American involvement takes place, that the Iraqis have to replace Maliki with someone else. I just want to note this historic moment–that after more than a decade of criticizing President Bush and many others for their terrible, evil policies of regime change, that Barack Obama appears on the verge of calling for regime change in Iraq. This is irony of ironies.
On Iran’s nuclear weapons program:
I think the President, the idea that has grabbed him here, is that somehow cooperating with Iran in defending al-Maliki in Iraq will build mutual confidence that will help us in the negotiation over Iran’s nuclear weapons program. I mean, the President operates under the delusion that Iran can be talked out of its nuclear weapons program–that’s false–and any idea that cooperation that actually enhances Iran’s power in Iraq will help us on the nuclear side is even more delusional. But, you know, welcome to the Obama White House.
On the status of Iraq’s Kurdish minority:
The debate over whether we want one Iraq or three Iraqs, I think, is already overtaken. There are two Iraqs by definition. The Kurds have been functionally de facto independent for twenty-plus years now. I don’t see any way that they would be voluntarily re-entering an integral state of Iraq. I think they’re out of it. I think the Turks understand that. And I don’t think either the Sunnis or the Shia Arabs in Iraq have any stomach for trying to bring the Kurds back in. Honestly, I think that’s one reason why the Sunni tribal leaders, the Ba’ath party remnants in Sunni Iraq, have joined up with ISIS. Because with 20% of the population represented by the Kurds gone, the Sunni Arabs would be outnumbered in a new Iraq 3:1 by the Shia. It wouldn’t be 60:40, Shia-Sunni; it would be 3:1 against the Sunnis.