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Seattle Times letters to the editor

October 10, 2014 at 6:05 AM

Islamic State: Sunni Arabs, not Kurds, are the ultimate solution to the problem

If Wednesday’s headline “Embattled Kurds are key in fight against Islamic State” [Nation & World, Oct. 7] is correct then U.S. efforts to “degrade and ultimately destroy” the Islamic State are doomed to failure.

The Kurds are not the key, Sunni Arabs are. The Islamic State exists because Sunnis in Eastern Syria and Western Iraq have been abused by the governments of Syria and Iraq. Theoretically, these people should have many defenders as Arab Muslims are predominantly Sunni and several important Arab countries like Saudi Arabia and Turkey are run by Sunnis.

In this conflict Kurds are like air strikes. They can make a positive contribution, but they are not the critical component. We are told, and I believe it to be true, that the vast overwhelming majority of Sunni Arabs are moderates. But unfortunately the countries that are supposed to represent them support radical militants either directly or indirectly. The Islamic State has been successful by convincing Sunnis that it will stand up for them. No one else does.

The Kurds will to the best of their ability to look out for fellow Kurds. But they have no interest in looking out for the very Sunnis who have oppressed them for so long and so effectively. So far, I have seen no effort by Sunni Arab governments to take effective action against the radicals who run the Islamic State. I live in hope, but that hope has a definite expiration date.

Patrick J. Russell, Seattle

Comments | More in Islamic State | Topics: iraq, Islamic State, Kurds

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