Readers React: How giving the Sunnis a country could defeat Islamic State

To the editor: When Max Boot offers a diplomatic policy instead of a militaristic one, it warrants consideration. Yes, attracting Sunnis away from Islamic State could split the caliphate as well as create its replacement. (“Islamic State’s Achilles’ heel: Its Sunni identity,” Op-Ed, Nov. 22)

In 2006, then-Sen. Joe Biden proposed dividing fractious Iraq into three independent nations for Kurds, Shiites and Sunnis. The Bush administration instead favored the creation of a central government in Baghdad with Shiite Nouri Maliki as the prime minister.

Favoring the Shiites, Maliki ended financial support for Sunnis, who American military officials had paid to fight Al Qaeda. Today, these Sunnis receive support from Islamic State, but they could be lured with having their own homeland.

If Sunnis and Shiites each had an autonomous region as the Kurds do, they would have incentive and a framework to build a future without Islamic State. Territory and oil revenues would be shared. Baghdad could become an international city administered by the U.N.


Howard Hurlbut, Redlands


To the editor: The article written by Boot is very smart.

In this post-Paris attack world, there is much talk about eliminating Islamic State through intensified air attacks, troop invasions or both. Boot suggests that none of this would work because, in the end, it would result in perpetuation of one incompatible group ruling another, like Shiites ruling Sunnis or vice versa.


The real culprit is arbitrary border-drawing that occurred long ago.

In fact, there is no cohesion in the so-called countries of Iraq and Syria, and any action that forces those countries to remain intact is destined to failure. The solution: partition.

If the present territory ruled by Islamic State became a self-governed Sunni territory or territories, it seems the Sunnis controlling that area would want no part of Islamic State.

Irving Greines, Los Angeles

Follow the Opinion section on Twitter @latimesopinion and Facebook

Get our weekly Opinion newsletter