Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in an interview published on Sunday, blamed President Barack Obama's failed foreign policy for the rise of Islamic militants in both Syria and Iraq.
Talking to the Atlantic monthly, Clinton used harsh words to describe the failure that resulted from Obama's decision to stay on the sidelines during the first phase of the Syrian conflict in which the opposition has been trying to topple President Bashar al- Assad.
"The failure to help build up a credible fighting force of the people who were the originators of the protests against Assad -- there were Islamists, there were secularists, there was everything in the middle -- the failure to do that left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled," she said.
Serving as the top American envoy during Obama's first term, Clinton is widely expected to make another run for the presidency and is seen as trying to distance herself from the president, whose foreign policy has been under sharp attack in recent months.
U.S. fighters and drones have launched air raids on targets of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in northern Iraq for three consecutive days since Obama authorized the move on Thursday to protect Americans as well as to conduct humanitarian missions.
Echoing some Republicans, Clinton said Obama lacked a strategy for confronting the threats posed by Islamic militants.
"Great nations need organizing principles, and 'Don't do stupid stuff' is not an organizing principle," she said, referring to a slogan coined by the president recently to describe his foreign- policy doctrine.