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Alternative Policy Options for Iraq and Syria

By Win Without War co-chair David Cortright

For those who claim that military action is the only response to the extremist threat in Iraq and the region, here are some alternative policy options:

  • Engage with Iran in urging the Maliki regime to adopt more inclusive and equitable power sharing arrangements with the Sunni community. Demand that the regime fulfill pledges made to integrate Sunni leaders into positions of government authority.
  • Make clear to the Maliki government that U.S. military and economic support for Iraq will diminish if the Baghdad government refuses to adopt more inclusive and equitable power sharing arrangements with the Sunni community.
  • Bring the threat posed by ISIS/ISIL to the UN Security Council and seek a united global response that identifies the group as an international terrorist threat to peace and security. Urge the Security Council to impose sanctions and other mandatory international actions to isolate and suppress the extremist group through multilateral action.
  • Work with Iran and other states in the region to return to the Geneva negotiating process that seeks a negotiated end to the civil war in Syria.
  • Continue to provide maximum humanitarian assistance to the millions of refugees who have fled the war in Syria and the spreading conflict in Iraq. 

Originally published on

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