June 23rd, 2014
11:23 AM ET

U.S. needs enclave strategy for Iraq

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

By Fareed Zakaria

Let’s be honest, Iraq's Shia (like the Sunni Islamists of Syria) had been brutally suppressed by dictators for decades. It was always going to be hard for them to sign up peacefully to share power with their former tormentors.

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's reign of terror against the Sunnis has suddenly ensured that the Sunnis will never really trust him – and they are likely never to trust the parties he represents – to rule over them. As Washington supports the Baghdad government it will have to be extremely careful not to be seen as taking sides in a sectarian conflict and to press for political reform and inclusiveness even as it offers Baghdad military support.

But Washington should recognize that national harmony in Iraq, everyone singing Kumbaya, is highly unlikely. It needs a Plan B. Call it an enclave strategy – the world might have to accept that Iraq is turning into a country of enclaves and work to ensure that these regions stay as stable, terror-free, and open as is possible…

…Now, there will be enclaves where ISIS and similar groups gain some strength. In these areas, Washington would have to use drones, counter-intelligence, and occasional Special Forces strikes – just as it does in parts of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia.

Watch the video for the full Take or read the WaPo column

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Topics: GPS Show • Iraq

soundoff (106 Responses)
  1. chri§§y

    Agree @ J. HalgrenS! This world would be a much better place if we minded our own business more.

    June 24, 2014 at 5:08 pm | Reply
  2. matt

    How bout just f the whole ME? Great its a plan, good talk.

    June 24, 2014 at 7:05 pm | Reply
  3. w fred boomer

    If we are so damned worried about sources of oil (particularly Iraqs) why don't we side with and support the Kurds. Sadaam pounded them and we abandoned them and refused them when he was mass killing them before. If ISSIL makes a move on the Kurds I say that's who we need to support rather than prop up goofs like El Malaki

    June 26, 2014 at 12:45 pm | Reply
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