Unresolved sectarian tensions, inflamed by the raging civil war in neighboring Syria, have combined to send violence in Iraq to its highest level since Obama withdrew the last U.S. troops in December 2011, U.S. officials and Middle East analysts say.In SyriaAt a Senate hearing last month, Senator John McCain, who opposed the troop withdrawal, asked Assistant Secretary of Defense Derek Chollet how things turned out in Iraq. McCain, an Arizona Republican, cited Obama’s dictum that “the tide of war is receding.”
“I think Iraq is more stable today than many thought several years ago,” Chollet replied.
“Really? You really think that?” McCain pressed. When Chollet said he did, the senator shot back, “Then you’re uninformed.”