January 11th, 2014
08:00 AM ET

Why Iraq is in turmoil

Watch "Fareed Zakaria GPS," Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN

By Fareed Zakaria

Here's a startling statistic: more than 8,000 Iraqis were killed in violent attacks in 2013. That makes it the second most violent country in the world, after its neighbor Syria.

As violence has spread and militants have gained ground in several Middle Eastern countries, people have been wondering how much this has to do with the Obama administration and its lack of an active intervention in the region. The Wall Street Journal and a Commentary magazine opinion piece have both argued this past week that the Obama administration's decision to withdraw troops from Iraq is directly responsible for the renewed violence in that country. They and others have also argued that because it has stayed out of Syria, things there have spiraled downward.

Let me suggest that the single greatest burden for the violence and tensions across the Arab world lies with a president – though not President Obama – and it lies with an American foreign policy that was not too passive but rather too active and interventionist in the Middle East. The invasion and occupation of Iraq triggered what has become a regional religious war in the Middle East. Let me explain how, specifically.

From March through June of 2003, in the first months of the occupation of Iraq, the Bush administration made a series of catastrophic decisions. It authorized the disbanding of the Iraqi army and signed onto a policy of deBaathification, which meant that anyone in Iraq who had been a member of the top four levels of the Baath Party – the ruling party under Saddam Hussein – would be barred from holding any government job.

This meant that tens of thousands of bureaucrats and hundreds of thousands of soldiers – almost all Sunnis – were thrown out of work, angry, disposed, and armed. This in turn meant the collapse of the Iraqi state and of political order. But it also sparked the rise of a sectarian struggle that persists to this day.

More from CNN: Can Iraq ever escape cycle of violence?

The Bush administration went to war in Iraq to spread democracy. But in fact it spread sectarianism – displacing the Sunni elite who had long ruled the country and replacing it with hardline Shia religious parties that used their new found power to repress the Sunnis – just as they had been repressed.

Meanwhile, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has been utterly unwilling to share power with the Sunnis – who comprise about 20 percent of Iraq – and that has driven them into opposition, extremism, and terrorism. During the surge the prime minister made several promises to change his ways and over the last few years has reneged on every one of them.

This sectarian power-struggle is the origins of the civil war that has been ongoing in Iraq for 11 years. It is the cancer that has spread beyond Iraq into other countries, from Syria to Lebanon.

The Bush administration seemed to have made the massive strategic error almost unthinkingly. There is for example a report that a few months before the invasion, President Bush met with three Iraqi exiles and appeared unaware that Iraq contained within it Sunnis and Shias. An Arab leader confirmed to me that in his meetings with the president, it was clear that Bush did not understand that there was a difference between the two sects. Others in the administration, better informed, were convinced that the Shia would be pluralists and democrats. Those of us who warned of these dangers at the time were dismissed as pessimists.

So if we're trying to understand why we see a Sunni-Shia battle unfolding across the Middle East, keep in mind that the primary cause is not that the Obama administration didn't intervene in Syria. It's because the Bush administration did in Iraq.

Post by:
Topics: Fareed's Take • Iraq • Middle East • Religion

soundoff (454 Responses)
  1. chrissy

    @ Amazing, so your answer is to keep our troops there indefinitely? THATS NOT what the citizens of the US want and Obama works for us! And the rest of those clowns in congress need to realise they do also!

    January 12, 2014 at 12:12 pm | Reply
    • Amazing

      Did you read the article? Because if you did then the question isn't how long to keep troops in Iraq. Your response is ignorant.

      January 12, 2014 at 12:38 pm | Reply
  2. Gorsh

    All Bush's fault.

    LOL

    January 12, 2014 at 12:15 pm | Reply
    • Jean Fawley

      You bet it is.

      January 12, 2014 at 3:21 pm | Reply
    • Friedrich

      At least you understand the catastrophe that has been caused by Bush in the Middle East. Policies implemented without an understandng of the country....typical American behaviour

      Maybe you will understand with middle easterners and people all over the world lose respect for the USA

      January 12, 2014 at 6:27 pm | Reply
      • minnie mouse

        Your grammar skills need improvement if you want to pretend you are American.

        January 12, 2014 at 11:04 pm |
    • inglehoffer

      hehe, the united states of amnesia- we're still facing an iran who hate us because of the coup we instigated in '53. just because YOU can't remember or choose not to, the missteps we've made in the past, don't for a moment think people around the world have forgotten.

      January 12, 2014 at 6:55 pm | Reply
      • minnie mouse

        That was half a century ago. Isn't it time for you to haul out your favorite (americans trying to shoot down Iranians).

        January 12, 2014 at 11:00 pm |
      • minnie mouse

        You're wasting your time.

        January 12, 2014 at 11:11 pm |
    • minnie mouse

      Life is simple when you're a paid propagandist posing as an American.

      January 12, 2014 at 11:02 pm | Reply
      • Ron Simpson

        I see a lot of your posts here, but you add very little to the intellectual conversation.

        January 13, 2014 at 3:25 pm |
    • minnie mouse

      BOO! Big bad American.

      January 12, 2014 at 11:05 pm | Reply
  3. chad bozac

    Way to use an unnamed source when bashing a former president, this lends credibility to your point. Moreover the no fly zone that was in place for a decade wasn't there because we were protecting christians, however what percentage of americans know this. Finally can we see where you warned us about the Shia vs Sunnis?

    January 12, 2014 at 12:20 pm | Reply
    • Sue Zy

      Want sources? Take a look at Rumsefeld's War in the last issue of the New York Review. Zakaria is a Harvard PhD, not one of the semi-lunatic dummies at Fox who is paid by Jabba the Hut Ailes for to pretend to be a news outlet but is really a voce for the GOP and TP. New York Review http://www.nybooks(com)com/articles/archives/2013/dec/19/rumsfelds-war-and-its-consequences-now/?pagination=false
      Quotes:
      Under Saddam, Iraq had been devoid of Islamic jihadists; it took the American occupation to make of Iraq a breeding ground for jihadists and a laboratory for developing and honing their techniques of asymmetric warfare: the car bombs, kidnappings, improvised explosive devices, and other ruthless tactics in a cheap and effective “toolbox” that has been employed with considerable success from Afghanistan to Yemen to Mali.

      January 12, 2014 at 5:44 pm | Reply
      • minnie mouse

        So you are pro dictatorships. Unique position to have. Hmmm.

        January 12, 2014 at 10:55 pm |
    • minnie mouse

      Yes. The snow patrol is getting deep in here today.

      January 12, 2014 at 10:58 pm | Reply
  4. saywhat

    I referred to turmoil in Egypt to highlight our 'habit' of not learning lessons from our follies.
    Iraq invasion was the greatest blunder (a crime against America and humanity) in our history. destroying a viable country, splitting it wide open for elements the likes of AlQaeda for perpetuity. And at what cost? God!
    How can this nation forgive those responsible is beyond me?

    January 12, 2014 at 12:24 pm | Reply
    • Keith

      You have described the very basis of American foreign policy. We have been doing exactly that for 100 years.

      January 12, 2014 at 2:08 pm | Reply
      • John

        Keith
        But, we really should have learned from Viet Nam. Read "Bright Shining Lie" if you want to the repeat of history!

        January 12, 2014 at 2:28 pm |
      • Keith

        That is what I have been saying ever since I got back from Vietnam. Then I started studying our history a bit and found out we had been at war ever since 1917 doing the same thing.

        January 12, 2014 at 8:10 pm |
      • minnie mouse

        We've been at war since 1917? Somebody forgot to tell me about all those wars. Teach me about that. Begin now please.

        January 12, 2014 at 10:41 pm |
      • Keith

        Well we actually started sooner than that but America has been at war continually since 1917. We stole Honduras, for the United Fruit Company and Standard Fruit Company in 1917 then we moved to Nicaragua and deposed the democratically elected president of that country to prevent them from digging a canal that would compete with the Panama canal.

        Then we occupied Cuba and Hati, and the list goes on and America is never the good guy. I fought in Vietnam and was pretty proud of my country until I learned the truth.

        January 12, 2014 at 11:35 pm |
      • minnie mouse

        You say you "served in Vietnam and were pretty proud until you learned The Truth about the United States."? That is kind of a sad story, I must admit. I'm a little surprised, because everyone I ever met who served in Nam was so glad to get out of there and come back home to eat pizza and watch baseball again without having to worry about getting their faces blown off while they slept. I never met any vet who went on to study the intricacies of South American politics country by country. So which foreign nation did you decide to exchange citizenship and move to?

        January 13, 2014 at 8:24 pm |
      • Keith

        Like a good American my choice was to stay here and fight against the evil men who continue to send American men and women to die on the altar of the Military Industrial Complex. I spent three years in Vietnam and was with the first group sent to Cambodia. I stayed because I believed in what we were doing. I know now that it was a horrible mistake and accomplished nothing.

        I will be leaving the United States when I retire. I will return to visit my children and grandchildren but I can not afford the taxes on my home after I retire, so I will sell and take my money somewhere else. Someone else will have to take up the fight against useless wars.

        January 14, 2014 at 12:46 am |
      • Keith

        perhaps the folks you met that came back from Vietnam were very shallow people or they enjoyed murdering people they didn't know for unexplainable reasons

        January 14, 2014 at 12:55 pm |
      • minnie mouse

        On a slightly different angle: what do you feel would have been an appropriate response of the American government to the mass murders by foreigners in the World Trade Center in New York on September 11, 2001? I'm asking about an appropriate response (in your opinion) – I'm not asking for a list of "inappropriate responses". ( those are argued about constantly already)

        January 14, 2014 at 11:35 pm |
      • Keith

        We should have sanctioned Saudi Arabia until they helped us capture or kill Bin Laden. The Wahhabi sect controls the social agenda there and drives the fundamentalism that created the hate against the United States.

        All we accomplished is the kill and additional 6000 Americans with our wars. A targeted killing like we finally got him with was always the only option that was going to work.

        January 14, 2014 at 11:49 pm |
  5. saywhat

    Idiots like McCain and Graham who in the first instance were a part of those responsible for pushing us into Iraq now want American troops and Patreus back in Iraq.
    Can you believe it?

    January 12, 2014 at 12:26 pm | Reply
  6. saywhat

    Sticking to the topic of a volatile region, hear this folks.
    Cantor, Menendez & Co up on the Hill under pressure from AIPAC have managed to the misfortune of this nation, to gather support of enough lawmakers for sabotaging US-Iran negotiations.
    Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya,Syria and now Iran. great minds incharge of our destiny.

    January 12, 2014 at 12:32 pm | Reply
    • minnie mouse

      Those gosh darn Jews.

      January 12, 2014 at 10:36 pm | Reply
  7. Birchwood

    A well written article with facts rather than a meaningless commentary. .... Could our (U.S.) Iraq planning have been done looking through the bottom of a Jim Beam bottle in the Dallas Safari Club?

    January 12, 2014 at 12:45 pm | Reply
    • Keith

      No it was Jack Daniels in the offices of Boeing, Raytheon and Halliburton.

      January 12, 2014 at 2:12 pm | Reply
  8. Searcher

    Considering most of the Muslim nations in the middle east are considerable violence everyday it seems reasonable to assume the violence comes from the culture of the Muslim Arabs not from some outside source.

    January 12, 2014 at 12:56 pm | Reply
    • saywhat

      Wrong.
      Violence we see in the region is in countries where foreign powers meddled militarily or otherwise.

      January 12, 2014 at 1:58 pm | Reply
      • minnie mouse

        Right. Like the USA meddling when Saddam Iraq just wanted free reign over attacking Kuwait without annoying interruption.

        January 12, 2014 at 10:18 pm |
    • john

      Are you forgetting about a thousand years of wars in Europe, ending in WWI and WWII. Or how about genocide of Native Americans by european invaders. Muslims have no corner on violence.

      January 12, 2014 at 3:33 pm | Reply
      • minnie mouse

        the population groups now calling themselves Native Americans "invaded" from other areas also. They didn't magically sprout out of the earth like mold spores throughout what is now American territories. They "invaded" from multiple other regions.

        January 14, 2014 at 11:44 pm |
    • inglehoffer

      are you referring to the drone missiles we launch every day as 'violence'?

      January 12, 2014 at 6:58 pm | Reply
      • minnie mouse

        We could send troops to seek out terrorists if you prefer.

        January 12, 2014 at 10:20 pm |
      • minnie mouse

        Or you could volunteer to round the terrorists up yourselves and save us the trouble.

        January 12, 2014 at 10:21 pm |
      • minnie mouse

        Or you could just admit that you support terrorists.

        January 12, 2014 at 10:22 pm |
  9. Rick McDaniel

    Untrue. The war between factions of Islam existed in Iraq long before the U.S. entered Iraq.

    You need to do some fact checking there, Zakaria.

    January 12, 2014 at 1:12 pm | Reply
    • george

      The war between factions dates from Ali being considered the first Imam, successor to Mohammad. Half (or more) of Islam disputes this.

      January 12, 2014 at 2:06 pm | Reply
      • Keith

        So, those religious idiots are still fighting over it? Kinda like the ignorant Christians waiting 2000 years on some guy to come back.

        January 12, 2014 at 2:14 pm |
      • Trevor

        Keith- How petty of you, an individual states a fact and you can't help showing your contempt for folks you've never met...grow up.

        January 12, 2014 at 3:16 pm |
      • Keith

        Trevor, you are an id/ot, I haven't met you either. Stupidity is people killing each other over religion. Religion is for the weak minded and unimaginative.

        January 15, 2014 at 12:14 am |
  10. Roland

    Uhm Fareed? "The U.S. invaded Iraq to spread democracy" , that is the thing they didn't, the purpose of invading Iraq was to secure the oil reserves of the region.That is what U.S. Middle East policy has been aiming to do since WW1,really coming into its own after the "Suez crises" when Eisenhower told the British and French to bugger off.The Sunni-Shia thing originates from the Wahabbi Saudi's who have Shia minorities living where most of Saudi oil reserves are located.The Saudi's together with the U.S. fear a Iranian led Shia regional alliance that would control the energy reserves of the Middle East.It is why Bush I refused to aid the Shia uprising after the first Gulf War.

    January 12, 2014 at 1:13 pm | Reply
    • StanCalif

      Congratulations! The US got NO oil from Iraq. CHINA GOT IT!

      January 12, 2014 at 1:30 pm | Reply
    • Sue Zy

      I saw that too. A masters thesis on the excuses for invading Iraq found 22 different excuses. When you see what Dr. Zakaria said, that Bush did not know there were two ethnic groups in Iraq (Shiites and Sunnis, and of course the Kurds), that tells most of the story. Stupidity on the part of Bush, and thinking you know everything on the part of Rumsfeld.

      January 12, 2014 at 5:49 pm | Reply
    • minnie mouse

      Sounds like a wise concern to have.

      January 12, 2014 at 10:31 pm | Reply
  11. Jim Pell

    Haass says the middle east "confuses democracy with authoritarianism." Shades of Harry Reid!

    January 12, 2014 at 1:17 pm | Reply
    • Keith

      If they look at the United States it would be easy to make that comparison.

      January 12, 2014 at 2:15 pm | Reply
  12. J R Brown

    Fareed Zakaria is sounding more like a Bagdad Bob for the left wing in the U.S. more and more every day.

    The reason there is a sectarian war waging in the Middle East is the same today as it's been for thousands of years...Islam.

    Most of the civilian deaths that occurred in Iraq were directly caused by sectarian violence between Muslims. Not U.S. foreign policy...not Bush...and not Christians. The Middle East burns with violence and has for millennia because of Muslims. They hate each other and they hate everyone else.

    Put the blame with whom it correctly lies.

    January 12, 2014 at 1:18 pm | Reply
    • saywhat

      Wrong.
      it is now a cliche to blame Islam for our follies.
      Yes there has always been a Shia-Sunni divide but the cycle of violence we see today in the region is a consequence our unbridled militarism. What Dwight D.Eisenhour had warned us about back in the 60's.

      January 12, 2014 at 2:02 pm | Reply
    • saywhat

      Untrue.
      it is now a cliche to blame Islam for our follies.
      Yes there has always been a Shia-Sunni divide but the cycle of violence we see today in the region is a consequence our unbridled militarism. What Dwight D.Eisenhour had warned us about back in the 60's.

      January 12, 2014 at 2:04 pm | Reply
      • minnie mouse

        Of course. It can't be the fault of Shia / Sunni choices. It must be somebody else's fault.

        January 12, 2014 at 10:02 pm |
    • Trevor

      Brown and Saywhat- The blame is on BOTH sides and up to biased interpretation on who actually shoulders most of the blame...BOT of you clearly demonstrating your biased opinion for each side of the argument...

      January 12, 2014 at 3:20 pm | Reply
    • Sue Zy

      I think you need to check your logic Charlie Brown. Ethnic conflict did not cause Bush to invade. However, Bush not knowing there was ethnic conflict was a cause. Got any Harvard PhDs over there at the GOP-TP propaganda HQ? Dr. Zakaria is recognized widely as moderate with respect to the left and right extremes, so if you think the equator is south, its because you are sitting on the north pole. And that can't be comfortable.

      January 12, 2014 at 5:54 pm | Reply
      • minnie mouse

        You need more than just a PhD to comprehend the assorted fighting in that region that continually arises over space and time and boundaries. And anybody who claims that these conflicts started with Bush are trying to sell you some swampland and hopes you can't remember where you put your world atlas and your 20-year-old calendars.

        January 12, 2014 at 9:50 pm |
    • minnie mouse

      That is going to come as a rude awakening to all those innocent Islamists. 1000 years of in-fighting? Are you sure?

      January 12, 2014 at 10:50 pm | Reply
  13. Someone who has been there

    Yes GW Bushes fault. It's his fault for intervening and it's his fault for us not intervening. Btw I have a stomach big that GW Bush caused.

    January 12, 2014 at 1:22 pm | Reply
    • minnie mouse

      It is everybody's fault except the people actually doing the never-ending squabbling. Its never their fault.

      January 12, 2014 at 9:54 pm | Reply
  14. Thomas

    Anyone else strangely happy that they are fighting each other now rather than us?

    January 12, 2014 at 1:23 pm | Reply
    • John

      Sure, as long as the war hawks in the US get it through their thick skulls that we are not responsible for stopping it.

      January 12, 2014 at 3:17 pm | Reply
  15. Roland

    In Iraq they first installed a pro consul Bremer and they tried to postpone elections in order to get a U.S. favorite into position, but the Shia under this cleric Muqtada al Sadder started protesting rioting and tney couldnt prevent elections.Iraq was lost when they permitted democracy,as the U.S. would lose the entire Middle East if there was genuine democracy.The only country that is feared (hated)more then the U.S. is Israel. The "hate" list of the Arab street goes something like this (pew research polls) 1.Israel 2. U.S.3.Iran. so democracy is not a good thing.The most popular foreign leader in the M.E. was (is?) Erdogan of Turkey.

    January 12, 2014 at 1:29 pm | Reply
  16. Mario Ayoub

    Understanding other cultures and be aware of other religion is the most important element to open your awareness to see the truth.

    Just like me , I am an american originally from Jordan ,

    Many mistakes happened in Bush time and still Iraqis and Americans still pay the price, It not the religion issues but how dirty governments abuse it and use it to reach their goals,
    Al MALIKY government made by Bush and now Almaliky is not following American policy and they American punishing him because he is with Iran policy and supporting the Syrian regime who is supported also by the russians

    Mario Ayoub
    Attorney at law

    January 12, 2014 at 1:38 pm | Reply
  17. Ray

    Iran backs the Shiite majority in Iraq, trains killers funds them and sends them over to cause havoc. In the meantime, Saudi Arabia trains and sends its Sunnis. So Iraq has become a playground pretty much. FYI sectarian violence has existed since the time of Mohamad, and it's my belief that regardless if the Iraqi army was dismantled or not this problem would have risen. That region needs to be ruled with an iron fist, Saddam was the antidote. Bush led US government were belligerent in what they did; BELLIGERENT !!

    January 12, 2014 at 1:52 pm | Reply
  18. klow

    Northern Iraq, where the Kurds control the country, is peaceful and Al Qaeda has no power. The failure in the rest of Iraq is due to the Iraqis electing a Shia government that wanted revenge for years of Sunni repression. The USA did what Bush intended, overthrow Hussein and installed a democratic government. Everything that happened since then is the responsibility of the Iraqi people. They elected their government and now have to live and die by its action. The USA has no power to dictate what al-Maliki's government did or does.

    January 12, 2014 at 1:56 pm | Reply
  19. Keith

    The United States has never gone any where to spread Democracy, that is the biggest lie of the Industrial Military Complex

    January 12, 2014 at 2:05 pm | Reply
    • Quinton

      Thank you, Keith. Nothing can be closer to the truth! As a matter of fact, the cursed M.I.C. in Washington has already all but taken over both the White House and Congress with their ill gotten money.

      January 12, 2014 at 4:11 pm | Reply
    • minnie mouse

      Opinions are a wonderful thing.

      January 12, 2014 at 9:39 pm | Reply
  20. saywhat

    And that@Keith is the bitter truth.
    Unfortunately our coming generations would continue being haunted by the consequences of the rule of MIC.

    January 12, 2014 at 2:12 pm | Reply
  21. saywhat

    The neocons who gave us Iraq war and Afghanistan debacle, not to mention Libya are preparing for a war with Iran.
    Enough lawmakers under the whip of AIPAC are on board for a filibuster proof Iran sanctions bill.
    Cantor,Menendez, McCain,Graham and their ilk are poised to bomb US-Iran negotiations.

    January 12, 2014 at 2:17 pm | Reply
    • Trevor

      I just recently got back from a 6 month deployment to the CAOC in Al Udeid and "we're preparing for war with Iran"? We've had plans of the books for offensive operations against Iran for going on 10 years now pal...welcome to the party. There's a difference between having plans to execute v placing assets in the AOR to execute said plan. In addition, I'll help you out so you don't sound so ignorant...our focus since Iran's rhetoric against Israel has been defense of the AG, to put the Gulf Nations minds at ease...they're scared senseless at Iranian rhetoric...

      Don't make assessments about things that you're not directly involved in...

      January 12, 2014 at 3:32 pm | Reply
    • Quinton

      Well said, saywhat. The men you mentioned above are criminals who need to be in our prisons, not Congress!

      January 12, 2014 at 4:14 pm | Reply
    • KcB

      Yeah, like when both Clinton's, Biden, Gore, Reid, Pelosi and Kerry all spoke – on video tape if you'd bother to look – about the WMD that Sadaam possessed and our responsibility to stop him. Anybody blaming all of those actions on Bush is just flat out ignorant.

      January 12, 2014 at 4:57 pm | Reply
      • Ron Simpson

        I blame anyone who voted FOR the Iraq War as murderers, but Bush and his gang were VERY good at selling it and running with "facts" and "truths" they wanted to believe in. If they had not pushed it, or had been a bit more skeptical of their own wants and more knowledgeable of the ME, the rest would not have had anything to vote for. So while there is blame to go around, the catalyst remains as Bush, the neo-con philosophy, and its proponents. They hold most of the blame.

        January 12, 2014 at 9:04 pm |
    • minnie mouse

      Always better to be prepared in case. I'm so sure you agree.

      January 12, 2014 at 10:44 pm | Reply
  22. HIZBOALLAH TERRORISTS , WHY THE WORLD ARE SILENT

    A senior Iranian Revolutionary Guard Commander said Saturday that Hezbollah in Lebanon has upgraded its capabilities in recent years and is now able to carry out pinpoint missile strikes on targets throughout Israel.

    Speaking in an interview with Iran's Fars News Agency, Commander of the IRGC's Aerospace Force, Brig-Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh said, "Based on our information, Hezbollah’s power has so much increased in recent years that they can attack any target in any part of the occupied territories with a high precision capability and with a very low margin of error.”

    Related:
    Who killed top Hezbollah military commander Laqqis and why?
    Al-Qaida-linked group claims Beirut bombing on Hezbollah stronghold
    Hajizadeh added that Hezbollah "has always shown that its actions in the battlefield are unexpected and it showed this capability well during the 33-day war (against Israel in summer 2006) and it can make similar moves on any scene today.”

    The IRGC's website quoted Hajizadeh as saying that Hassan al-Laqqis, the Hezbollah military commander assassinated in Beirut last month, played a major role in increasing the organizations strike capabilities.

    Israel has flatly denied Hezbollah claims that it was behind the assassination of Laqqis.

    Laqqis, who is believed to have commanded Hezbollah troops fighting in Syria’s civil war, was shot in the head from close range outside his home in the Hadath district of the Lebanese capital on December 4.

    Hezbollah leader Hassan Nas

    January 12, 2014 at 2:22 pm | Reply
  23. jay

    This is where terrorism starts, in the education system of Saudi Arabia, quite rightly, that “if you teach 6 million children in these important years of their lives, if you install that in their brain, no wonder we have so many Saudi suicide bombers. Ninth-grade text called on Muslims to kill Jews and non Muslims

    January 12, 2014 at 3:32 pm | Reply
  24. David Ostrander

    Fareed seems to have forgotten he was a BIG support of BUSH's War. He could have stood up then ... no balls.

    January 12, 2014 at 3:34 pm | Reply
  25. mg

    "The 20% Sunnis have been denied their privilege to persecute the majority Iraqis, hence they are going on a murderous rampage undestandably, and it is Americas fault." I dont think the average american would accept guilt for Sunni violence. But at least some may think that Sunnis are the victims and not the agressors. Fareed is a clever salesman if Sunni agression.

    January 12, 2014 at 4:39 pm | Reply
  26. Dan Schneberk

    Blame Bush. Saddam Hussein did not oppress, murder and brutalize the Shia's for years – the Saudi's are not marginalizing the Shia's in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain – Assad is not marginalizing Sunni's in Syria and promoting Alawites – Sunni and Shia violence has not accounted for over 100,000 deaths. Blame Bush. I think that is very feckless and lame.
    Iraq with no WMD was a bad idea – agreed. De-Baathification strictly applied is a bad idea – but why shouldn't the Shia's become prominent with Saddam out of the way. Why shouldn't they have their time to run the government? Nouri Al-Maliki has chosen to be a bad small-minded leader – his government is dysfunctional – he is sectarian – he is not for a larger Iraq. He brought this on himself by not backing up the awakening movement that was fully subscribed to when we left. He did this to his country – period. He could have lived large and promoted reconciliation – which would have made him a great leader – and he would have had a government. Now – he has enflamed a climate of sectarian distrust – that was already there. The Kurds will make more steps to be autonomous – and they should. The tribes in Anbar will fight him – they know how to do this – and they see no advantage to cooperation.
    The real question is – do we help – and what form should that help take for a bad leader with a dysfunctional government – that is very cozy with the Iranians. The exit deal we cut with Iraq was lousy – we cut and ran. Blame Obama – Blame Hilary? If we had a larger footprint in Iraq would Nouri Al-Maliki have felt as free as he has in going after the Sunnis? Why are we helping the Iranians – one of the largest supporters of terrorism on the planet?
    Blame Bush – that is an opinion that was OK even 4 years ago – but does nothing for deciding what we should be doing now. I don't know why I even read your column.

    January 12, 2014 at 4:51 pm | Reply
  27. KcB

    Fareed, you've gotta climb off the Obama wagon. The wheels are coming off and you are looking pretty foolish.

    January 12, 2014 at 4:52 pm | Reply
    • Ron Simpson

      If you actually studied Fared, you would not be able to make such a statement.

      January 12, 2014 at 9:17 pm | Reply
  28. chrissy

    @ Amazing, MY response was to YOUR post. So im only guilty of being "ignorant" by thinking i could have an intelligent conversation with YOU! I now know that is impossible because your idea of a conversation consists of name calling! Btw what grade are you in anyway? As for Iraq it is long past time for us to be fighting this battle. Particularly since it was started by falsehoods by our beloved government! Two of whom became VERY rich by this war! But since we are already there the removal of our troops cannot be done abruptly now! Like it or not it has to be handled with a little more finesse than that! Of course once we are done those same congressional clowns will have us in another one, because its all about the money! To them of course. And lost lives mean nothing to them! Nor the fact that these wars have nothing to do with the citizens of the US. And if they dont get us physically into battle they will send our hard earned tax dollars to help them fight their neverending wars!

    January 12, 2014 at 5:21 pm | Reply
  29. Erick Holmes

    Being that the Iraqis for the most part wanted us out of the country, and being they seem to hate westerners, I think we should just stay the **** out. They seem to forget what we did for them. I wouldn't sell them a thing.

    January 12, 2014 at 5:43 pm | Reply
  30. Sue Zy

    "CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion".

    IF YOU WELCOME A LIVELY DISCUSSION, WHY HAVE YOU DELETED MY REPLIES TO JR BROWN TWICE, IMMEDIATELY AFTER I POSTED THEM?

    January 12, 2014 at 6:13 pm | Reply
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