Iraq's Government Once Again on the Brink

(Middle East Conflicts) Danny Brode - A year after America's withdrawal from Iraq, the country's struggle for stability persists. Sunni protests are continuing following a government raid against the home of Finance Minister Rafie al-Esawi, a member of the Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc, and the reported arrest of many of his bodyguards and staff on Dec. 20. The protests are sectarian in nature, propagated mainly from Sunni Islamists, and aiming to reduce Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's influence and that of the Shiites over Iraq. Among the Sunni demands are reforms, releasing prisoners, regional secession, an end to corruption and Iranian influence, and the downfall of Maliki's Shiite-led government. Those demands are unlikely to be met. The Kurdish gains in northern Iraq and the Sunni revolt in Syria are likely giving many Iraqi Sunnis increased motivation to call for regional autonomy. On Dec. 27, one of Maliki's main Shiite political and religious rivals, Muqtata al-Sadr, called for more Sunni demonstrations. Like most states in the Middle East, Iraq's future as a unified political entity devoid of destabilizing sectarian and political conflicts appears grim.

2013-01-18 00:00:00

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