The President's Speech
Obama: No Solution to Iraq Without Political Compromise
show comments
  • rheddles

    The Army wouldn’t be falling apart if Maliki hadn’t purged the officer corps the Americans left behind and replaced it with political hacks. We made a mistake disbanding the original army and we made a mistake leaving after we had rebuilt one. But going back in would be a mistake. Let them settle it themselves. And if that means the birth of Kurdistan, all the better.

    • charlesrwilliams

      You are absolutely right. There is nothing we can do to mitigate this disaster. It was necessary to depose Saddam Hussain but it was not necessary to stay. Having stayed it was foolish to leave.

  • Andrew Allison

    Our Commander-in-Chief is apparently unaware that the Sunni and Shia sects have been at each other’s throats for 1400 years and that, as in Syria (Alawites are a Shia offshoot), the Shia minority governing Iraq is not about to give up power peacefully. Unfortunately, Iran is one of only two Shia majority countries (the other being Bahrain), which is supporting its weaker co-religionists. It is naive to think that Maliki could develop a politically effective program of outreach and inclusion even if he wanted to: the Shiites want to hold onto power, the Sunnis want majority rule.

    • B-Sabre

      The Sunnis in Iraq are a minority. Shia are the majority.

      • Andrew Allison

        My mistake. Thank you.

        • B-Sabre

          De nada.

      • Curious Mayhem

        Actually, the Sunnis are 19% of all of Iraq. You forgot the Kurds. It’s about 60-20-20 in total.

    • Corlyss

      “the Shiites aren’t interested in power sharing.”
      And that distinguishes them from the Iraqi Sunnis how . . . ?

      • Andrew Allison

        It doesn’t. The point of my comment was the sheer idiocy of, “So any action that we make take to provide assistance to Iraqi security forces has to be joined by a serious and sincere effort by Iraq’s leaders to set aside sectarian differences, yada yada yada”

  • Arkeygeezer

    Our primary concern should be to evacuate Americans and American Contractors out of Iraq. It is reported that, “About 200 Americans under contract with the Department of Defense at Balad Air Force Base in Iraq are trapped by the al-Qaida-inspired jihadists”Read more at

    I hope that we do not have another Benghazzi developing here.

  • gabrielsyme

    I think we will find that Obama has precious few levers to induce Maliki to make substantial concessions to the Sunnis. The real and substantial assistance Maliki needs is going to come from Iran, not Obama, regardless of how well he acts. Moreover, because Iraq has a wholly inadequate constitution (we can thank the ideologically blinded neo-conservatives of the Bush Administration for that), just about any concessions made by Maliki could be walked back after the crisis ends.

    Ultimately, Obama needs to choose from among the available options, not engage in delusional dreams that Maliki turns into a pluralistic liberal or that the Free Syrian Army rolls over all opposition and creates a modern, united and pluralistic democracy in Syria.

    Obama might prefer to live in a dreamland, but reality can get pretty unpleasant.

  • Fred

    We have the prospect of a bunch of jihadi whack jobs too savage for Al Qaeda (!) with oil money and the weapons and organization of a nation state and President Gelding says “Solve your own problems. And oh by the way, we won’t send in any troops, so go to town ISIS.” Unbelievable, or it would be if it were anybody but our community organizer in chief.

  • ShadrachSmith

    The aggressive implementation of Soft Power:

  • Corlyss

    The best possible political compromise: crush the opposition and dictate peace terms.

    Dumbbells like Doofus (and the talk-addicted EUrocrats as well as UN toadies) don’t understand that. I point to the Tamil uprising in Sri Lanka. The two sides diddled around for 25 years under the aegis of whiny Eurocrats and UN types to no results except thousands of dead. The Chinese went in, told the Sri Lankans to put an end to it so China could come in to build infrastructure, and bang! We had a solution within a few months: the Sri Lankan army destroyed the opposition and its willingness to fight. Results: peace. This isn’t rocket science!

    This talk of accommodative settlement between tribes that have been killing each other for thousands of years and that belong to warring sects of the same religion is just arrant BS so typical of State and diplomats. If we had conducted WW2 like that, Germany would have the European Russia, most of Europe if not all, and Japan would still own China and Korea. Madness.

  • Angel Martin

    the past is prologue, obama will dither until it is too late, and then will take action that would have been inadequate even if it had been timely.

  • Arkeygeezer

    Obama can dither all he likes. Just give the orders to get our people out of there!

    I understand from news reports that American embassy officials are ordered to stay there because it would be “politically sensitive” to withdraw them now.

    Get them out of there!

    • Angel Martin

      that’s my point ! obama needs act militarily; but he also needs to withdraw the non-essential green zone personnel now, but he delays on both because of the short term politics

      worst case scenario here is now a combination of 1975 saigon evacuation and the iranian hostage crisis, with a failed rescue attempt.

  • charlesrwilliams

    The time for political compromises has past.

  • lukelea

    “a political ultimatum to Maliki and his government: we will only help you if you get serious about an inclusive government . . .”

    In other words, never? More likely we will try to shore up the Shia areas of Iraq (with Iran’s help?) and the country as a whole will be divided into three parts, as numerous informed experts have predicted since the original Bush invasion. These are highly inbred, tribal societies in the Middle East. Blood rules. You’ve got to be outbred to be like the West. That takes centuries to accomplish. Google “whatever happened to the tribes of Europe”

  • Curious Mayhem

    Maliki is on his way out. Iraq will soon be Lebanon without the charm. And Kurdistan is coming, even if it makes the Turks very unhappy.

    Erdogan will probably be another long-term casualty of this. He stayed in power, but failed to win a majority in the last two elections.

  • lhfry

    Obama will dither until Iran steps in just as in Syria he allowed Putin to save his bacon. It will be a problem for the next and future US presidents, not for Obama.

  • PDX_traveler

    Whether the root causes are political or not, it is clear as daylight that any American intervention should be on American terms. We are not bound to jump in to the rescue – the regional actors have to figure out if they need us, and if they do, well, they meet our terms. Maliki and the rest of the gang need to determine if they want a fragmented, pre WW2 “Iraq” or try for the currently constituted nation state. Similarly, if the people in the “Sunni” dominated provinces of Iraq want to be ruled by these ISIL groups, good luck to them. We will and should get involved only when said groups threaten us, and then target specifically those groups. Repeat this to yourselves as many times as you want – we… cannot … fix… this. Thank your stars we’ve got a guy smart enough to have learnt this. As for the doofuses who are eager to proffer these wonderful suggestions regarding military intervention, I have an idea – form some International Brigades, and go off and fight… put your money where your mouth is, so to speak.

    • RTO Dude

      “Thank your stars we’ve got a guy smart enough to have learned this.”
      Who are you referring to? We had “this” fixed. Your guy screwed it up.
      Our best foreign policy is to find enough rope to tie everyone on Obama’s team up in the basement. Anything we decide to do, we need to view through the Murphy’s Law lens of their capability to f’k up a wet dream.

      • PDX_traveler

        Who am I referring to? our current President.
        What you’re referring to, I have no clue.
        Though, if what you’re saying amounts to – sit on our hands and wait, and wait some more for the right moment (if that comes), yes, I agree.
        After all, the geniuses who were all worked up about not going bombs away in Syria last year – I wonder if they have the intellectual and moral integrity to own up that not wading in to that horrible affair is exactly the right call to have made.

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2017 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.