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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Dealing with devils

On June 17, the Daily News front-page story, titled “Dealing with Devils,” read, “Al Qaeda nation is being bloodily born before the world’s eyes. The world is reaping what Obama helped sow.”

Over the past few weeks, images posted by Al Qaeda-linked militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria have shaken the world, as the militants’ claims of mass executions were supported by photos depicting their horrific actions. The mass killings came after the Sunni militant group took control of the city of Tal Afar after two days of fierce fighting with Iraqi troops, residents and senior security officials. After claiming victory over the Iraqi army, the terrorist organization began executing an estimated 1,700 soldiers in Tikrit.

ISIS has made it clear that it is willing to kill as many Iraqi Shiites as possible on its way to recapturing the country. Many Shiites, who make up the majority of the population of Iraq, have taken up arms against ISIS, but they have not been much of a match for it. The mass killings and continued advances by the insurgents have put more pressure on the Obama administration to aid Iraq militarily.

The problem is that U.S. foreign policy on Iraq has been naive and ineffective for years. The trouble began right after the second U.S. invasion, when America’s diplomatic envoy, Paul Bremer, ignored the advice of the U.S. military commanders, disbanded the Iraqi army and issued his ill-advised de-Bathification decree. This made instant enemies of the dismissed army officers and soldiers, sowing the seeds of the Sunni insurgency that has plagued Iraq since then. Add to this mistake the fact that the U.S. has thumbed its nose at potential allies like Russia, which faces its own virulent Islamic insurgency in Chechnya, and the stage was set for the latest crisis in Iraq.

Finally, the one experienced voice in the current administration, Vice President Joe Biden, who correctly called the situation in Iraq, was marginalized and ignored when he suggested partitioning the country along sectarian lines to avoid the bloodbath we are seeing now.

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