After the fall of Ramadi, the accepted wisdom has been that the problem is the government in Baghdad. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has continued in the footsteps of his predecessor, Nuri al-Maliki, building an exclusionary Shi’a political system. Until he arms the Sunnis and gets them to fight along side the Shi’a and the Kurds, ISIS will never be defeated and Iraq will be doomed. This article suggests that arming the Sunnis is a dangerous option as well.
“If members of Iraq’s Sunni leadership indeed had ties to the Islamic State, it raises serious questions about these figures as reliable long-term partners and as stewards of their own security forces. The U.S. strategy in Iraq hinges on putting in place a power-sharing agreement based on a willingness by all parties to set aside narrow sectarian agendas. However, none of the major political blocs — Sunni, Shiite, or Kurd — appear likely to change their zero-sum calculus. Political leaders on all sides have demonstrated a willingness to do whatever it takes to advance their sectarian agendas. And in the case of Sunni leaders, this has likely included direct cooperation with the Islamic State.”