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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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July 15th, 2014
05:41 PM ET

Defiant Cheney accepts no blame for Iraq

(CNN) – Former Vice President Dick Cheney said that the Bush administration left Iraq in reasonably good shape, and blamed President Barack Obama for not getting a security agreement from Iraqi leader Nouri al-Maliki to keep some U.S. troops there after 2011 to help ensure stability.

Sunni extremists have swept through parts of northern and central Iraq in recent weeks, exposing serious shortcomings in Iraqi security and governance. Obama has sent military advisers to assess the situation on the ground.

The debacle has opened another front for Republicans in criticism of Obama's foreign policy.

"Obama's failure to provide for a stay-behind force is what created the havoc we see in Iraq today," Cheney said in an interview with CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper."

"When we left Iraq was a relatively stable place. We defeated al Qaeda, we had a coalition government in place," he added.

Asked whether some of the decisions made by him and Bush are responsible for the upheaval in Iraq now, Cheney deflected blame.

"I think it's primarily Maliki, and Obama. That's what I believe, and that's what the history books will show," Cheney said.

For more of our interview on Iraq, as well as the crisis in the Middle East, with former Vice President Dick Cheney, watch the video above. Check out Cheney's views on domestic politics here.

CNN's Edward Meagher contributed to this report.

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