Amid Iraqi Instability, Sunni Opposition Groups Mull Response

Disaffected Sunni Voters Provide New Opportunity for Groups

Last month, Iraq’s banned Ba’ath Party held its first public meeting since the 2003 US invasion in neighboring Syria, discussing how the Sunni-dominated party could return to some role in Iraq.

Another meeting saw various Sunni opposition groups, including some termed “insurgents” by the Shi’ite government, get together in Istanbul, Turkey, to discuss post election turmoil.

Iraq’s March 7 election saw a glimmering ray of hope for the nation’s Sunni minority, as the secular Iraqiya bloc won the largest plurality in no small part due to the support of Sunni voters, looking to put an end to the dominance of Shi’ite religious parties.

The Maliki government was quick to start arresting and persecuting members of the Iraqiya bloc, and nearly three months later it is all but a given that the next government will be even more Shi’ite dominated than the last, with Maliki agreeing to give Shi’ite religious leaders de facto ability to issue edicts the government must abide by, and with the Sunnis finding themselves, once again, part of the opposition.

After years of civil war the Sunni minority was just starting to get use to being an ignored minority, but the glimpse at a return to relevance, only to be foiled once again, has riled many and proven a fertile recruiting group for any Sunni sectarian groups which can offer them anything resembling hope, no matter how empty or violent those promises may be.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.