A Sunni Spring in Winter

January 14, 2013

The people of Iraq should be reminded that demonstrations taking place in the country’s Sunni regions are not for them. They are meant to remove one political bloc and replace it with another that is not necessarily better.

Those who are supporting these demonstrations are not really serious about improving Iraq’s situation. They see it from their own political stand. Where were these supporters during the demonstrations in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square in February 2011? Those who are supporting demonstrations today were completely silent or paid lip service in support of the Tahrir square demonstrations, which were seen by many as true Iraqi protests because they transcended ethnic and sectarian lines and were calling for better services. Because the honeymoon of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and his Sunni partners was still not over at the time of the Tahrir protests, those demands had drawn laughter.

As for the Kurds, they were silent at the time because of the opposition protests in Sulaimani. The political blocs remained silent when Maliki was quashing the protests.

Today we are faced with a polarized society split along Shia-Sunni lines. The Sunnis of Iraq are wasting their time. But so is Maliki. Since taking office, he has tried to oust his Sunni opponents but failed. They tried to oust him, and likewise failed. With every day that passes, the situation becomes more complex and less open to a solution.

The past 10 years and the recent events are proof of the difficulty of a Shia-Sunni partnership in Iraq. Perhaps the Sunnis should be pragmatic and think of using their constitutional right to form their own federal region, like Kurdistan. Then the relationship between the two will take a completely different turn and the competition will not be over who rules or controls Iraq, it will be over who manages it.

Now, Maliki is a Kurdish, Shia and Sunni problem. Then, he will become a Shia problem, and Sadr will not be alone in opposing him.

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