Chris Cuomo Blames Rise of ISIS on Bush

CNN's Chris Cuomo / AP
• October 31, 2016 10:49 am


CNN host Chris Cuomo blamed the rise of the Islamic State terrorist group on former President George W. Bush in a Twitter tirade on Monday.

Cuomo blamed America's military withdrawal from Iraq in 2011 on Bush, presumably referring to an agreement reached between Washington and Baghdad three years earlier. While Bush was president, he signed a Status of Forces Agreement in 2008 with the Iraqi government, which would, among other provisions, offer legal protections to U.S. soldiers stationed in the country. The agreement allowed for American forces to stay in Iraq until December 2011, although Cuomo did not mention that the deal was meant to be extended beyond that time to leave a sizable U.S. military presence in Iraq for the long term. Cuomo also did not note that President Obama unsuccessfully negotiated to keep U.S. forces in the country before the deal expired.

Before the Status of Forces Agreement was set to end in 2011, Obama decided he wanted to leave at least a small U.S. force in Iraq and renegotiate the terms. Both sides disagreed over the issue of American personnel receiving legal immunity from the Iraqi legal system, which ultimately caused the agreement to fall apart. All U.S. forces left Iraq in late 2011.

Obama was criticized by senior military leaders for not insisting that troops remain in the country, arguing in part that Washington no longer had any leverage over Iraq. Senior diplomats as well as Pentagon officials involved in the negotiating process also castigated the White House for not being clear about what it wanted and not pushing harder for an agreement.

Some observers have suggested that political calculations were behind the American withdrawal. Obama had focused much of his 2008 presidential campaign and early presidency on bringing American troops back home from foreign wars. The president denied during the 2012 presidential debates that he had tried to keep troops in Iraq and said in 2014 that it was not his decision to leave the country.

ISIS swept into northern and western Iraq in early 2014, taking the city of Mosul, the country's second largest city, in June.