Hillary Clinton warns of extremist spillover from Syria

Hillary Clinton warned Thursday that the problem in Syria has spilled over into neighboring countries in the Middle East.

In her new memoir, Hard Choices, Clinton described Syria’s civil war as a “wicked problem.”

“Now the wicked problem has gotten even wickeder,” Clinton said Thursday at an event at the Council on Foreign Relations. “This is not just a Syrian problem anymore.”

A Sunni jihadi group, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) — once part of al Qaeda — has gained control of large areas of Iraq and Syria over the last year. In recent days, ISIS seized major Iraqi cities such as Mosul and Tikrit.

“I could not have predicted the extent to which ISIS was effective in seizing cities in Iraq and taking over the region,” said the former secretary of State, who was America’s top diplomat when the U.S. pulled out of Iraq in 2011 and when Syria’s civil war erupted that year.

In her memoir, Clinton wrote about how she urged President Obama in 2012 to train and provide arms to the Syrian opposition but that she had lost the argument.

“The president was influenced by the Iraq experience,” Clinton said Thursday. “Where we are now is obvious to everyone,” suggesting that the U.S. hasn’t done much to change the dynamic in Syria. President Bashar Assad was reelected last week in what many called a sham. 

Her successor, Secretary of State John Kerry recently, said that the administration plans to “ramp up efforts” to provide assistance to the opposition in Syria. The former U.S. envoy to Syria, Ambassador Robert Ford, recently said that Obama’s policy in Syria has failed. 

Clinton is the current Democratic front-runner for president if she decides to run in 2016.