Congressman Neal discusses new Iraq crisis - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Congressman Neal discusses new Iraq crisis

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On Sunday, officials said the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, an offshoot of Al-Qaeda, continues to terrorize the people of Iraq.

This comes just three years after the United States withdrew its troops from that country.

Sunday in Westfield, CBS 3 spoke with U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, as Congress once again begins to debate how the country should handle the Iraq situation.

"I opposed the war in Iraq originally, and there weren't many of us that did," said Neal.

And once again, Neal opposes any physical involvement from the United States.

On Sunday, Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in the Middle East, hoping to use diplomacy to stop the rise of ISIS.

Neal said this is an issue that needs to stay out of U.S. hands.

"I think there's a role here for NATO and the Arab League, but at the same time, I think in this instance, America should refrain from any direct engagement in Iraq," Neal stated.

Iraq officials have asked for U.S. air strikes, but so far President Barack Obama has not agreed to the request.

While Neal calls for no direct engagement, he said that does not mean the United States should remain silent.

"Address the issue of radical Islamic jihadists, who are participating in a brutal assault every day," said Neal. "I think that America [could be] engaged with advice and perhaps military advisors, but certainly no troops on the ground."

Neal said there will also be a humanitarian role for the U.S. when it comes to the Iraq crisis, but right now that role is difficult to define.

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