The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Opinion

June 15, 2014

Caught in the middle

Ongoing Iraqi troubles call for tough choices from Obama

ENID, Okla. — Recent events in Iraq have President Barack Obama’s administration trying to figure out how to handle the situation.

Islamic insurgents linked to al-Qaida have taken over Mosul — Iraq’s second-largest city — and Tikrit, hometown of Saddam Hussein, as well as some smaller communities with little resistance from Iraqi security forces.

U.S. forces left the country in late 2011, and Obama has ruled out putting troops back on the ground to deal with the insurgency. The range of options the president is considering airstrikes from drones or manned aircraft, cruise missiles and more surveillance and intelligence gathering.

Even if the president was to consider putting troops back in Iraq, we don’t think there would be much support for the move in the United States.

One of the big problems is Iraq’s fractured government. Iraq’s majority population is Shiite, and the government is dominated by Shiites, unlike when Saddam ruled and the government was dominated by minority Sunnis and Shiites were oppressed. The roles have been switched now, with Sunnis claiming they are being trampled by the majority.

Getting the two groups — not to mention the Kurds who have long sought their own homeland — to set aside their differences for the betterment of the country has proven to be an impossible task.

We should support the Iraqi government as best we can, and we can’t rule out the use of drones or cruise missiles. However, the United States doesn’t need to be caught in the middle of this fight with combat troops on the ground in Iraq.

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