September 11th, 2014
11:34 PM ET

Can we defeat the Islamic State?

By Fareed Zakaria

The Obama administration has mapped out a smart strategy in Iraq, pressing the Baghdad government to include more Sunnis. But that has yet to happen — the Shiite parties have dragged their feet over any major concessions to Sunnis. The Iraqi army has not been reconstituted to make it less partisan and sectarian and more inclusive and effective. This is a crucial issue because if the United States is seen as defending two non-Sunni regimes — Iraq and Syria — against a Sunni uprising, it will not win. And it will be hard to recruit local allies. While a minority in Iraq, Sunnis make up the vast majority of the Middle East’s Muslims.

The Syrian aspect of the president’s strategy is its weak link. It is impossible to battle the Islamic State and not, in effect, strengthen the Bashar al-Assad regime. We can say we don’t intend to do that, but it doesn’t change the reality on the ground. The Free Syrian Army remains weak and divided among many local militias.

Read the full Washington Post column

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Topics: Fareed's Take

soundoff (91 Responses)
  1. chri§§y

    It also needs people to be deemed to be of sound mind before speaking publicly! For the good of all of course! 😉 teasin ya George but im sure you get my drift!

    September 13, 2014 at 7:37 pm | Reply
  2. trueteller

    Gee, when did Fareed Zakaria become a Mideast expert? No wonder we are in so much trouble.

    September 13, 2014 at 9:53 pm | Reply
  3. chri§§y

    Lol @ rupert...you can please some of the people, some of the time. But...you cant please all of the people, all of the time!

    September 13, 2014 at 10:19 pm | Reply
  4. rupert

    Hi cutie patootie. I'm wired up. Regular exercise makes me craaaaaazy...

    September 13, 2014 at 11:12 pm | Reply
  5. dazzle

    No trolling. Good night. 😊

    September 13, 2014 at 11:52 pm | Reply
  6. rupert

    Good night dazzle.
    Good morning dazzle.

    September 14, 2014 at 6:02 am | Reply
  7. Masud Awan

    Can we defeat the 'Islamic State'?

    No...........they are our own proxy. We replaced 'chemical weapons' with 'Islamic State' as an excuse to attack Syria.

    September 14, 2014 at 12:19 pm | Reply
  8. Luitpoldt

    The military-industrial complex has been hunting for some time for a new excuse to get the American taxpayer to feed it, and the oil imperialists have been urging them on. Now finally they have some dramatic pictures, just the sort of thing the profoundly dumb American public can get excited about without having to think, which can get the country back into war.

    How is it that everyone so quickly forgets the 'weapons of mass destruction' nonsense that prompted the $4 trillion investment to de-stabilize the Middle East the last time? Now we are supposed to believe that a rag-tag gang of 20,000 desperados in pick-up trucks who haven't been able to make the five and a half hour trip from Mosul to Bagdad have somehow become a 'direct threat' to American security! A rational government would see poverty, income inequality, failure to achieve universal healthcare, failure to provide adequate housing for all, homelessness, excessively expensive university tuition costs, declining employment opportunities, middle class wage stagnation, and crumbling infrastructure as infinitely more important threats to America than ISIS. But now the political capital and resources to solve America's real problems will have to be wasted on imaginary issues once again.

    Finally, how many disaffected potential terrorists are there already among American citizens? Cranks who reject all government, isolated lunatics, and fanatical Muslims living in the U. S. doubtlessly vastly exceed in number the potential terrorists from ISIS who could ever slip into the U. S. to cause damage, so attacking ISIS to combat terrorism is truly ridiculous. But nowhere in government or the media is there the least scepticism, just as prior to the Iraq invasion.

    September 14, 2014 at 2:24 pm | Reply
    • Philip

      Exactly. Not to mention the over 25,000 armed and organized street and outlaw biker gangs known to the FBI.
      Like I said. This "ISIS" thingy is a staged play produced to get you used to the idea of governments combining in order to rid the world of divisive organized religions.

      September 15, 2014 at 2:23 pm | Reply
  9. Media Propaganda

    Democrats and Republicans are converging on this ISIS Propaganda.

    FOX, CNN, and MSNBC are Manipulating the american people.

    Poll: 50% of americans do not trust the media.

    September 14, 2014 at 4:25 pm | Reply
  10. chri§§y

    @ MediaPropoganda...you mean 50% of americans do not trust our government dont you?

    September 14, 2014 at 10:33 pm | Reply
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

      Fifty percent. That's the law of averages if you flip a balanced coin for heads or tails.
      Do we all understand how few USA citizens today can read propaganda well enough to trust it or to reject it?

      September 15, 2014 at 7:56 am | Reply
      • Philip

        Yes. By now we all know that people who use pharmacy and/or street drugs have trouble paying attention.

        September 15, 2014 at 2:18 pm |
  11. ge

    morning –Wheaties -orange juice and a dose of fox -military industrial –bullzhit

    September 15, 2014 at 12:46 pm | Reply
  12. Philip

    If the entire world were a democracy, the vast majority would be pondering how to erase Israel.

    September 15, 2014 at 2:16 pm | Reply
  13. Oh dear, what can the matter be........?

    Out of Control 800 lb Gorilla or “Bull in a China Shop”, take your pick .......... Ha! Ha! Ha! .......... and it's a purdy dumb Gorilla at that ......... swatting hoodlum mozzies in the desert, while Asia laughs all the way to the bank ........... Boink! Boink! Boink! ............ gotta get those mozzies for the next 100 centuries ............. Boink! Boink! Boink! ........ oooops, run outta cash long ago, never mind that ............... Boink! Boink! Boink! ............. oh crap, have no jobs cos’ all our jobs went to Asia, never mind that ............ Boink! Boink! Boink! ............ half the people in our country live in poverty, never mind that ............ Boink! Boink! Boink! .......... half our people are divorced (hurting their kids) and are on drugs (hurting their bodies), never mind that ............ Boink! Boink! Boink! ......... oh dear, out politicians and our government are completely controlled by our military industrial complex, never mind that (because that’s what created this 800 lb Gorilla in the first place remember???)………… Boink! Boink! Boink! .............omigosh, our kids are out of control spoiled brats getting poor grades in school and partying too much, never mind that………….. Boink! Boink! Boink! .................... Oh No! Global Warming is destroying our planet, and all we do is burn do more fossil fuels every year, never mind that …............ Boink! Boink! Boink! ........... yikes, our infra-structure is falling apart and desperately needs repair/upgrades, never mind that ……………. Boink! Boink! Boink! ........... Jeeeeez, income inequality, failure to achieve universal healthcare, failure to provide adequate housing for all, homelessness, excessively expensive university tuition costs, declining employment opportunities, middle class wage stagnation etc. is bringing us down for sure, never mind all those things ………… BOINK! BOINK! BOINK! .............. Is this what we Americans have sunk to????? …………. All we know how to do is Bomb, Bomb, Bomb?????……….. Is this what America stands for now???????

    September 15, 2014 at 10:56 pm | Reply
  14. Oh dear, what can the matter be........?

    Out of Control 800 lb Gorilla or “Bull in a China Shop”, take your pick .......... Ha! Ha! Ha! .......... and it's a purdy dumb Gorilla at that ......... swatting hoodlum mozzies in the desert, while Asia laughs all the way to the bank ........... Boink! Boink! Boink! ............ gotta get those mozzies for the next 100 centuries ............. Boink! Boink! Boink! ........ oooops, run outta cash long ago, never mind that ............... Boink! Boink! Boink! ............. oh crap, have no jobs cos’ all our jobs went to Asia, never mind that ............ Boink! Boink! Boink! ............ half the people in our country live in poverty, never mind that ............ Boink! Boink! Boink! .......... half our people are divorced (hurting their kids) and are on drugs (hurting their bodies), never mind that ............ Boink! Boink! Boink! ......... oh dear, our politicians and our government are completely controlled by our military industrial complex, never mind that (because that’s what created this 800 lb Gorilla in the first place remember???)………… Boink! Boink! Boink! .............omigosh, our kids are out of control spoiled brats getting poor grades in school and partying too much, never mind that………….. Boink! Boink! Boink! .................... Oh No! Global Warming is destroying our planet, and all we do is burn more fossil fuels every year, never mind that …............ Boink! Boink! Boink! ........... yikes, our infra-structure is falling apart and desperately needs repair/upgrades, never mind that ……………. Boink! Boink! Boink! ........... Jeeeeez, income inequality, failure to achieve universal healthcare, failure to provide adequate housing for all, homelessness, excessively expensive university tuition costs, declining employment opportunities, middle class wage stagnation etc. is bringing us down for sure, never mind all those things ………… BOINK! BOINK! BOINK! .............. Is this what we Americans have sunk to????? …………. All we know how to do is Bomb, Bomb, Bomb?????……….. Is this what America stands for now???????

    September 15, 2014 at 10:58 pm | Reply
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