Empowering back the debarred Sunni Arabs in Iraq

Kurdishaspect.com - By Baqi Barzani

In the wake of Saddam’s ouster in 2003, Iraq en masse turned over a new leaf from an absolute rule into a self-ruled nation. Marginal Arab Sunnis in Iraq mislaid their legitimacy and hegemony owing to myriad factors, including: non-participation in the democratic political process, boycotting of initial elections, resorting to mayhem and insurgency to achieve their goals, lack of a cohesive front, and opposition by leading Shiite groups’.

Since 1920, Iraq's political, educational, and military institutions have been predominately run by Sunni Arabs. During the British occupation and following independence in 1932, it was them who shaped Iraq's identity as an Arab and an Iraqi state. Perceiving being unprecedentedly led by Shiites, such debarment instigated increasing rage and disillusionment among the Sunni Arabs, making them feel more disfranchised.

In the latest round of Iraq parliamentary elections held in 2010, the Sunni Arabs opted for a different course of action. Realizing the ramifications of recoiling from elections, they launched wide-ranging balloting propagandas which led to their success. In the predominately Sunni province of Salahuddin, nearly 75 percent of voters headed to the polls, according to the Los Angeles Times. In Anbar, another largely Sunni province and a one-time hotbed of insurgent activity, 61 percent of registered voters came to the polls ‘a huge improvement over the 2 percent who voted in January 2005, reports the Financial Times.

The two major Arab Sunni parties of Iraqi Accordance Front and Iraqi Front for National Dialogue, a coalition headed by Saleh Mutlaq, could gain 55 seats in the parliament en bloc, boosting their legislative power and better chances for key posts in new government.

With the victory of Allawai’s pro-Sunni, anti-Iranian coalition, the once underrepresented, marginalized Arab Sunnis are encore empowered and incorporated back in the making of a unity national government, conveying a positive signal to the worrisome adjacent Arab states, fearing Shiite dominance of Iraq politics for keeps.


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March 28, 2010
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