Iraqi leaders created the ISIS problem … and can end it, Sunnis say

Christian Science Monitor reports: The Iraqi truck driver knows just how Sunni militants are created in Iraq – he nearly became one.

Mohamed Abu Abed’s account of suffering at the hands of Iraq’s Shiite-dominated security forces and government over the years echoes repeatedly among Iraq’s minority Sunnis, who once held the reins of power in Iraq under Saddam Hussein but have been pushed aside and often targeted since the 2003 American invasion.

With the word “injustice” often on their lips – and the cases of thousands of Sunnis detained without charge on their minds – Iraq’s aggrieved Sunnis began a popular uprising in December 2012. They called the Baghdad government “enemy,” and in June this year helped Islamic State (IS) militants advancing from Syria seize control of swathes of their own country.
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President Barack Obama’s military strategy to “degrade and destroy” IS in Iraq may focus on US airstrikes, hundreds of American military advisers, and revamped Iraqi armed forces working alongside Kurdish and Shiite militias.
Test your knowledge Sunni and Shiite Islam: Do you know the difference? Take our quiz.

But to be successful, Mr. Obama has emphasized, it will also require steps by the new government of Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi to change the Shiite-first policies of his predecessor and address Sunni grievances that have festered for years.

From the indiscriminate bombing of Sunni areas – Mr. Abadi this weekend ordered the Iraqi military to halt such airstrikes on civilian areas – to large numbers of languishing detainees, many Sunnis say the roots of discontent are obvious, and have resulted in support for groups as radical as IS. [Continue reading…]

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