June 16, 2014
Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine has been keeping a close eye on the developing situation in Iraq, telling the Newsplex on Monday that the U.S. needs to speak with countries not always considered allies to start finding solutions to the crisis.
"It is a very troubling situation, but it was sadly predictable," Kaine said.
The Democratic senator spoke at the University of Virginia on Monday and reflected on the root of the Iraqi conflict.
"Prime Minister Maliki is a Shia, but there's sizeable Sunni populations, sizeable Kurdish populations, some other minorities," Kaine said. "So instead of treating all equally, what he did was run a government that was primarily for the Shia population, alienating others, even oppressing others."
Many question what the United States should do in this type of situation. Kaine says at the very least, nations could help the victims in this crisis.
"I think generally, humanitarian relief to those who are suffering, those who are caught in the crossfires of the civil wars, is one of the most important things we can do," he said.
Kaine, a member of the Senate's Armed Services Committee, said the U.S. needs to team up with other countries like Iran, Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan for a solution.
"This is not something the U.S. should be doing on its own," he said. "It would be foolish."
It's a situation that requires some careful discussion, as the U.S. doesn't want to alienate groups of people like Kaine says the Iraqi prime minister did.
"This is a tough Sunni-Shia sectarian conflict, and just coming in on one side or the other, that's not the right strategy," he said. "We need to look for ways to not exacerbate the tensions, but de-escalate them."
Kaine said he expects President Barack Obama to come up with a few options to handle the situation and then to present them to Congress.
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