The U.S. just sent 1,500 more troops to Iraq to fight ISIS. This comes after a failed assassination attempt on Abu Baker al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS.
How did we get here?
After the ouster of Saddam Hussein in 2003, the Sunni Muslim population felt disenfranchised by the new Shia-led government. There were moments of promise, like the “Sons of Iraq” program, that paid Sunni leaders to keep security. But the problem was that the Sunnis, 20 percent of the population of Iraq yet firmly in control during the Saddam Hussein era, were booted from power. Now we find ourselves with ISIS, a Sunni extremist group that’s too extreme to ever govern even Sunni parts of Iraq.
So is sending more troops or killing the leader of ISIS going to do anything? Maybe. But here’s how to crush ISIS: Help the Iraqis find a place for the Sunnis in the new Iraq. It will be hard, no doubt, but until that happens, Sunni leaders will be split, allowing ISIS to operate simply because they are on the same side fighting the Shia government (with “infidels” and Kurds sprinkled in).
Find a place for them in governance, and watch ISIS become a cancer of the past.