NBC’s Richard Engel: Obama’s ISIS Strategy ‘Definition of Stupidity’
DIAZ-BALART: "ISIS now controls -- listen to this -- more than half of Syria. An area stretching over 36,000 square miles, about the size of the state of Virginia. Joining me now, NBC's chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel. You heard Richard Clark. He's saying ISIS has become the de facto nation."
ENGEL: "I didn't think of any reason why you would dispute that. It's not a traditional nation, it doesn't have a seat at the U.N. It's a terrorist state but it's a state that international efforts, u.s.-led efforts have not been able to dislodge. And it seems to be getting bigger. Although the U.S. Leading an air war against Iraq, or in Iraq and Syria against ISIS, the group is continuing to expand and I think it raises enormous questions about the strategy. It raises huge questions about do things need to change. Can the U.S. Continue on its course even when the definition of stupidity, frankly, is continuing on the same course expecting a different result. We may be heading in that direction."
DIAZ-BALART: "One of the things that I question is the fact that they were able to successfully open up two separate fronts. Clearly what's going on in Syria and what's going on in Iraq is related but on both fronts they've been successful."
ENGEL: "The problem is that in each case the regimes, the Iraqi regime and the Syrian regime are incredibly weak. The Syrian regime has been fighting off this civil war for the last four years, roughly. And it's bullpen fighting it off with sometimes U.S. Support trying to weaken the Syrian regime and now the Syrian soldiers effectively collapsed and weren't able to fight in palmyra. Now you see ISIS holding yet another historic city in Syria. A very beautiful, very significant and important city that could very likely be bulldozed by ISIS militants. And the same situation in Ramadi. The Iraqi government; which was already weak, already corrupt, already sectarian, the soldiers just wouldn't the, the Iraqi soldiers wouldn't fight for the government and aby a donned their uniforms and ran away."
DIAZ-BALART: "Let's talk about Palmyra because it is an archeologically fundamental of the world."
ENGEL: "It's beautiful, it's fantastic, I've been there. It's an absolute tragedy to see this city which could be witnessing -- which has stood for millennia which could be witnessing its final hours with ISIS moving in. ISIS, a fundamentalist group that believes in the caliphate, that believes that only its version of Islam is correct and that anything that came before it is not only darkness but that is a distraction from Islam and that should therefore be obliterated. It's possible in the coming hours and days we could see another crime against cultural humanity carried out by ISIS."