Letter to the Editor

Sunnis: Are they friend or foe?

Sunday, January 21, 2007

To the editor:I recently read about American and Iraqi forces jointly engaging against Sunni insurgents. To me, this is like U.S. Republican forces being engaged in battle against Democratic insurgents or vice-versa.

It is a well-known fact that the Sunnis are backed by our friends in Saudi Arabia and Jordan, and the Shiites are backed by our worst enemy, Iran. It does not take a genius to know that we should not be waging war against any political group, much less against the wrong one. I am sure the president of Iran will be grateful that President Bush is helping Iran eventually take over Iraq.

The problem reportedly began in 2003 when presidential envoy Paul Bremer dismissed 33,000 Baathists from ministry positions and 500,000 members of the country's military and intelligence personnel. In 2004, Meghan O'Sullivan, special assistant to the president, advocated strong support for the Shiite candidates in the "democratic" national-assembly elections. Needless to say, these two huge mistakes forced the Sunnis (now called the insurgents) to, in some cases, join al-Qaida and rebel against the Shiite-dominated government of Nouri al-Maliki.

It may be too late, but we should make every effort to get the Sunnis involved in the new government and stop fighting them and helping the Shiites and Iran take over the country.

JACK H. KNOWLAN Sr., Jackson