Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersFive takeaways from Pruitt's EPA hearing Overnight Energy: Trump's EPA pick faces Congress | 2016 is hottest year on record Five takeaways from Price's confirmation hearing MORE (I-Vt.) ripped Saudi Arabia Friday after the nation’s top diplomat suggested the U.S. would have to deploy ground troops to ultimately defeat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
“I find it remarkable that Saudi Arabia, which borders Iraq and is controlled by a multi-billion dollar family, is demanding that U.S. combat troops have ‘boots on the ground’ against ISIS. Where are the Saudi troops?” Sanders, a potential 2016 presidential candidate, said in a statement.
“With the third largest military budget in the world and an army far larger than ISIS, the Saudi government must accept its full responsibility for stability in their own region of the world,” he added.
The sharp words come the day after Prince Saud al-Faisal, the Saudi foreign minister, expressed concern that Iran’s military is increasing its support to Baghdad’s forces in the fight against the terror group, especially around the city of Tikrit.
"Tikrit is a prime example of what we are worried about," the prince through an interpreter said during a joint press conference with Secretary of State John KerryJohn KerryOvernight Defense: Obama defends Manning commutation after backlash | Mattis clears Senate panel Kerry: Trump can’t instantly undo Obama actions ‘All or nothing’ leaves us nothing MORE in Riyadh, the country’s capital. "Iran is taking over the country."
The diplomat urged the U.S.-led international coalition to take the “necessary military means to fight this challenge on the ground.”
Sanders flatly rejected the notion that America must lead the vanguard against ISIS.
“Ultimately, this is a profound struggle for the soul of Islam, and the anti-ISIS Muslim nations must lead that fight. While the United States and other western nations should be supportive, the Muslim nations must lead,” he said.
The U.S. has almost 3,000 military advisers in Iraq.