Barack Obama: the problem for Sunni states in the region is not Iran or a Sunni-Shia issue

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I think, for the, perhaps the first time, you have absolute clarity that the problem for Sunni states in the region, many of whom are our allies, is not simply Iran. It’s not simply a Sunni-Shia issue, Barak Obama said.

Shafaqna – Barak Obama, during an interview with NBC said:

 

I think that it is absolutely true that we’re going to need Sunni states to step up, not just Saudi Arabia, our partners like Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey. They need to be involved. This is their neighborhood. The dangers that are posed are– are more directed at them right now than they are us.

 

And that’s part of the conversation that John Kerry’s going to be having this week. I sent him there after we left– the NATO meeting in Wales. And the good news is, I think, for the, perhaps the first time, you have absolute clarity that the problem for Sunni states in the region, many of whom are our allies, is not simply Iran. It’s not simply a Sunni-Shia issue.

 

Sunni extremism, as represented by ISIL, is the biggest danger that they face right now. And with that understanding, it gives us the capacity for them to start getting more active and more involved. And by the way, some of that’s military. But some of it is giving political support to Baghdad and strengthening relations with Shia leaders in Baghdad. Some of it is reaching out to the Sunni tribes in Iraq and identifying who we can work with, so that they can fight their own battles to free villages and regions that, you know, where they live. So they’ve got a big role to play. And, finally, a strategic messaging. One of the things we’ve seen about ISIL is they’re really good on social media.

 

They–they understand how to — message to disaffected youth throughout the Arab world and throughout the Sunni world what they’re doing. And the question is, when are the moderate Sunni states and leadership going to work systematically to say, “what ISIL represents isn’t Islam.”It is an abortion– a distortion– an abomination of that– that has, you know, somehow tied Islam to the kind of nihilistic thinking that any civilized nation should– should eliminate.

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