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An interview with a French or international personality from the world of economics, politics, culture or diplomacy. Every Wednesday at 4.45 pm Paris time and Saturday at 7.45 am.

Latest update : 2015-06-15

'Iran is using the West because we don't have a strategy'

Colonel Wesley Martin was the senior anti-terrorism and force protection officer for coalition forces in Iraq a decade ago. In an interview with FRANCE 24's Marc Perelman, he gave a frank assessment of the situation on the ground in Iraq and more broadly in the Middle East.

Retired Colonel Wesley Martin criticises US President Barack Obama for supporting Nuri al-Maliki, who was Iraqi Prime minister from 2006 to 2014. He even accuses Maliki of committing “genocide against the Sunni population in Iraq” during his time in power, which “created the environment” for the Islamic State group to prosper.

However, Colonel Martin insists he is not just lashing out at Obama's foreign policy and criticises George W. Bush for invading Iraq in 2003. “We had no legal reason to go into Iraq”, he said. “We completely destabilised that region. We had been told at the Pentagon for years: Do not disrupt that fine balance between Iran and Iraq, and we totally smashed it in favour of Iran.”

The former top US anti-terrorism officer in Iraq ridicules claims by US officials that Iranian forces are not fighting in Iraq. “Unfortunately [Iraqi Prime Minister] Abadi has to yield to what Tehran wants”, he said. “Baghdad answers to Tehran”.

Colonel Martin adds that Iran “is not an ally, it’s an opportunist. Iran is using the United States, it’s using the West, because we don’t have a strategy”.

In conclusion, he says that both George W. Bush and Barack Obama “have created nothing but chaos in the Middle East”.

By Marc PERELMAN

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