Rep. Chris Stewart among Republicans calling for stronger leadership on Iraq crisis

- SALT LAKE CITY, (ABC 4 Utah) – Instability and unrest are boiling over in the Middle East as a militant group continues to lay siege on Iraq.

Representative Chris Stewart, of Utah’s 2nd Congressional District believes the stage was set for this crisis a couple of years ago when we pulled out.

Two weeks ago most of us didn't know of ISIS, we do now.

The group is on a vicious rampage overtaking Iraqi towns, so extreme that even Al Qaeda is disavowing the group.

"Dark, evil forces who have no respect at all for human rights, for women's rights, religious rights, for minority rights. When they gain more and more power then all of us will eventually pay a price for that," said Stewart.

He is one of many republicans calling on President Obama to step up.

"I hope that he will be more aggressive and more proactive in exerting American leadership in a very difficult, but very important part of the world," said Stewart.

Obama plans to lead a diplomatic effort to promote stability in Iraq and says the U.S. will also play a support role.

"We will be prepared to take targeted, precise military action if and when the situation on the ground requires it," said Obama.

U.S. fighter jets are now flying surveillance missions across Iraq, gathering intelligence and searching for armed militants.

Stewart believes we are in this situation, because of the way we left a few years ago.

"We were unable, or unwilling to create this Status of Forces Agreement with Iraqis that would have allowed us to keep soldiers on the ground to prevent a situation like we've seen develop over the last week," said Stewart.

Now he fears we are following the same path in Afghanistan.

"We're following the same rules and how could we not expect a similar outcome. We preannounced that we are leaving, that we are taking our soldiers out. We're not leaving a structure there sufficient to protect a huge country like Afghanistan," said Stewart.

The U.S. will send up to 300 military advisers to help Iraqi security forces, but President Obama insists U.S. forces will not return to combat.

Stewart agrees that would be too costly at this point.

He supports the use of air power, drone strikes and Special Forces.

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