Sunni leaders: Settlement is a last chance to break the cycle of sectarianism in Iraq

2017/05/22 (00:01 PM) - Number of readings: 110 - Number (3929)


Iraq's year is seeking greater power after a humiliating defeat, reflecting the growing sense that the government should be more inclusive to prevent extremism from re-taking control of the regions.

But so far, there is little momentum. Many Shiite politicians are concerned and the Sunni leadership is divided and disorganized. On the ground, tensions are increasing because Shiite and Kurdish fighters control areas with a Sunni majority that have been restored from the oppressive and refusing to withdraw.

The danger is that Iraq will lose the opportunity to break the sectarian divide that has fueled extremism for more than a decade. Sunni resentment of their powerlessness and the rise of Shiites after Saddam's ouster in 2003 raised the insurgency and gave al Qaeda a foothold in the country.

The US military, backed by Sunni tribal fighters, wiped out al-Qaeda, but the bitterness felt by the Sunnis as a result of discrimination helped to create an oppressive.

Each time the emergence of the militants deepens the suspicions of the Shiites that the Sunnis can not be trusted. US officials have repeatedly warned that the same thing would happen now unless the government is more inclusive.

Senior Sunni lawmaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani said Iraq could be divided unless a historic compromise was reached. Mashhadani also put together with some Sunni factions a working paper that sets out their position on talks on a new regime and calls for negotiations on radical changes in the constitution.

For his part, Prime Minister Haider Abadi repeatedly called for unity after a shattering defeat, and Shi'ite politicians say they recognize the need for more inclusiveness, while MP Ali al-Aalak said: "We have great concerns for a post-time period, and the proper allocation of resources and the rebuilding of state institutions are necessary to keep the country Uniform ".

"We are concerned that the Sunnis will demand the same thing," he said of the referendum on independence that the Kurdistan region is seeking to hold this year. But all talks are now suspended as fighting continues in the last bastion of Daash in Mosul. Indeed, there are false foundations on many issues. Where the Sunni working paper calls for steps to address their complaints that fighting the militants has unfairly harmed their society.

The paper calls for the cessation of "arbitrary arrests", the release of non-convicts and the review of the anti-terrorism law. Shiite politicians have long opposed these demands, calling for tougher anti-terrorism and often accuse Sunnis of secretly sympathizing with insurgents and trying to seize power again. Many Sunnis demand greater control over security forces in their provinces.

The provincial council of Nineveh province, it is necessary to give the local security forces a greater role in protecting the province, and that these forces under the control of the governor instead of multiple parties from outside the province.

But successive Shiite governments did not trust the Sunni security forces and sometimes refuses to arm or pay their salaries, Where the collapse of the Sunni police forces in front of Da'ash in 2014 reinforced Shi'ite fears that Sunnis were not resisting insurgents.

The Sunni security demands have been strongly opposed to the Shi'ite armed factions, which play a major role in the fight against Saddam but are also accused of committing abuses against Sunnis. The working paper calls for a popular rally, but armed Shi'ite factions call for greater official recognition of its authority.

Shiite factions and Kurdish fighters occupy large parts of Nineveh province and other Sunni areas, and Shiite-dominated federal police are fighting in Mosul alongside the army. The Sunnis want to leave these forces quickly.

But MP Ali al-Adeeb, head of the State of Law bloc in the parliament, said that these forces can not leave Mosul unless it is confirmed that there is no return of thought. "We are concerned about the return of this thought and the control of the preacher again." The main Sunni demand is to give the provinces more power and resources, giving the Sunnis more opinion in the areas they dominate.

The main issue is how to distribute government funds. The Sunnis have long complained that Shia-majority areas have more budget, more infrastructure, and investment.

This issue will become even more acute after the fall of the preacher, because billions of dollars are needed to rebuild the devastated Sunni cities during an uphill battle, and there is a grudge against a reconstruction plan in consultation with the Sunnis.

On a voice in the central government, where the paper calls for an end to the system of division of government positions, which places ministries in the hands of political factions, especially Shiite. But this may face resistance from the Shiite parties with vested interests. Shiites also say their election victory gave them the right to form governing alliances.

In a commentary on Tuesday, senior Shiite politician Ammar al-Hakim warned against agendas that incite communities, religions and sects against each other. "One of the gaps in which he entered was to play with social fabric and to claim protection," he said. A certain sect. "Iraq faces another potential conflict over the Kurds. The Kurdistan region has repeatedly called for a referendum on full independence from Iraq. Now the Kurdish leadership says that this referendum may take place at the beginning of next September.

It is likely that this will raise a crisis because the Kurds took over during a fierce fighting on large areas outside the autonomous region, notably oil-rich Kirkuk, where they have long claimed to belong to them despite the presence of many Sunni Arabs and Turkmen.

Not all Sunni factions signed the paper. Since the fall of Saddam in 2003, Sunni Arabs have been divided and there is no strong political party pressing for their cause in Baghdad. If no compromise is reached with the Baghdad government, the Sunnis' claim for self-rule similar to Kurdistan may be strengthened.

But so far this issue is still limited among the Sunnis because of the lack of their provinces of resources, especially oil wealth. However, Athil al-Nujaifi, the former governor of Nineveh, is calling for a minority of independents, saying priority is to liberate Mosul and then hold talks with Baghdad. But if that fails, Mosul residents have the right to establish their own territory. "We still need Baghdad only to protect the border," he said.