The Army general and ex-CIA chief who led the 2007 U.S. surge to stabilize Iraq praised President Barack Obama’s stepped-up efforts against Islamic State fighters who now have torn that country apart.
But far more difficult than defeating the Islamic State, Gen. David Petraeus said Thursday night in a 9/11 remembrance talk, will be dealing with friction between Shia, Sunni and Kurdish factions afterwards. And neighboring Iran is trying to increase its influence.
Iraqis and their new prime minister Haider al-Abadi “can and should do the reconciliation this time,” Petraeus said, calling Iraqi security forces capable if free from political medding.
Former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Tuesday warned that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is part of a broader push to create a pro-Russia bloc and called for a stronger U.S.-European strategy of economic sanctions with military backup.
Otherwise, Russian President Vladimir Putin and other aggressors will disrupt stability, Gates said in a Denver Post interview.
“We need to see this as not just a singular act by Putin but rather as a continued effort to create a pro-Russia bloc of states on Russia’s periphery,” Gates said. “We don’t need to demonize Putin. We need to look clearly at what he has done — both inside Russia and with respect to his neighbors.”
“Lost Boy” refugees from Denver and other cities who went back to Sudan to bolster the multibillion-dollar U.S. effort to nurture Africa’s newest nation are caught in the outbreak of fighting and fleeing.
And University of Colorado graduate Daniel Majok Gai, 33, risked his life helping lead civilians away from gun battles.
Denver-based Project Education South Sudan — which reconnected Gai and seven others with parents they had not seen for decades — is trying to bring him, his wife and infant son back to Colorado. Gai has been running schools and youth groups in South Sudan for three years.
He played the role of a jovial father figure with a new generation of Ethiopian-Americans in metro Denver, far from the Red Terror atrocities of another time, another continent.
To the young men at the Cozy Cafe, Kefelgn Alemu Worku was Tufa, a paunchy, gray-haired mentor who was quick to burst into song, sit down at the piano or settle an argument when others had too much to drink. They welcomed his advice, his company and his jokes.
“Work hard. This is a good place to live. Change your life,” he told one of them, 34-year-old Nas Siraj.