Friday, June 20, 2014

What do Iraqi Sunni want? ISIL and its allies have different agendas and different plans; but some want Sunni autonomous regions

    Friday, June 20, 2014   No comments

Iraq is a country with competing ethnic and sectarian identities. Iraq is inhabited by Muslims, Christians, Arabs, Kurds, Turkmen, Azeris, Armenians, and dozens of or other religious and ethnic groups. The divide that is at play today is the Sunni, Shiite, Kurdish one. More than 65 percent of Iraqis are Shi`a. These Shi`as are of Arab, Kurdish, and Turkic ethnicities. 25 percent of Iraqis are Sunnis. These Sunnis are primarily Arab and Kurdish. About 10 percent are Non-Muslim minorities belonging to various ethnic groups as well.

The Sunni minority has ruled Iraq until the fall of Saddam's regime in 2003. Iraqi Shi`a were marginalized during Sunni rule and after the Iraq-Iran war, the marginalization tuned into discrimination, oppression, and persecution. Now, the once dominant Sunnis, are represented according to their numbers. Some are happy with that. But many do not want to be ruled by a "deviant" sect even if that sect is a majority of the population. ISIL represents that view and that is why they want to take the fight all the way to Karbala and Najaf. Other Sunnis want at least some of the power back even if it is over smaller territories.
Here is one articulation of Sunni demands:
 “Maliki must first be deposed,” said Mr Dabash. “Then we demand the fragmentation of Iraq into three autonomous regions, with Sunnis, Shia and Kurds sharing resources equally. And finally we need compensation for the one and half million Iraqis, most of them Sunnis, who have been killed at the hands of the Americans and the Maliki regime.” Source
The problems with Iraq are also historical, since the Ottoman days, when Sunnis were favored:
Sunnis had been favored during the Ottoman Empire, gaining more administrative experience and thus domination in government and the military. Dictatorships emerged as the only way to hold differing groups together, the last Iraqi dictator being Saddam Hussein. Sourse

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