Excellent article especially after the somewhat disastrous recommendation made by Richard Haass. http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/8f5ff39a-2c39-11e4-8eda-00144feabdc0.html
Still look at how easily the IS took control over Iraq. Ramadi, Fallujah, Tikrit all are almost exclusively Sunni cities. Mosul is largely Sunni. The attempt to retake Tikrit failed. It’s not because IS has so many or such formidable fighters, its because behind the facade many Sunnis make common cause with the IS against Baghdad and its sectarian army from which they expect the worst. The picture in Syria is different but also there many feel that the IS is the only viable opposition to Assad. In many areas it nowadays is.
The solution in Iraq is simplest, inclusion of Sunnis in the political process and significant federalization will reduce the power of IS in the west. Power which is built on deep Sunni anger and resentment versus the sectarian Iraqi government. Only if Iraq is somewhat normalized, IS in Syria can be tackled.
Let’s never forget that Assad is responsible for far more deaths carried out in often just as brutal a manner as IS. Many seem to have forgotten the barrel bombs that rain down on civilians on a daily basis. “The bombers now drop one device and then wait 10 to 30 minutes. Then they drop another. The aim is to ensure that those who flooded in to the scene to rescue the victims are then killed”