Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Increase of Violence in Iraq: Are the Sunnis to Blame?

In the past few months the tensions between the Sunnis and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has continued to grow. In a recent parliamentary session, they were supposed to discuss the ongoing events, especially the main problem of national security, but al-Maliki did not show up. Instead of attending the parliamentary session, he chose to send a letter to the parliament, saying that, addressing these issues could worsen national security even further.

Bombings have started to become prevalent in Iraq as a suicide bomber killed 9 people in Tikrit, and a day before, a bomb exploded in a Shiite Muslim mosque in Zubair. The increase of these violent attacks is usually pointed towards the Sunni Muslim insurgents who are linked to Al-Qaeda, due to their dismay towards the Shiite-led government. In the month of March alone, 267 Iraqi civilians, policemen, or soldiers were killed, and many more have been wounded (al-jazeera).

The tension between the Sunnis and Nouri al-Maliki brings up the question if the Sunnis are to blame for the reemergence of violence in Iraq. The answer to that question is, no, the Shiites and Kurds have also used violence.  In the oil rich city of Kirkuk, Iraq, where the region mainly consists of Kurdish, the Kurds have been in disputes with the central government regarding the resource of oil. This region is a semi-autonomous Kurdish region, and the tension between them and the central government has continued to grow over oil rights in the area. In Baghdad, Shiite militants attacked four newspaper offices, where they stabbed and beat the employees. The reason for this attack was because the newspapers published an article about their leader, cleric Mahmoud al-Sarkhi, who was being accused of trying to dominate the holy city of Karbala.
            This issue is important to understand because much of the news that is being reported in Iraq portrays the Sunnis as the only group creating the violence, stemming from their dismay towards the central government through nonviolent protests. Seeing that Prime Minister al-Maliki doesn’t seem to have a strong interest in resolving these violent actions, and that the Shiite and Kurdish Muslim groups are also being violent, shows that the Sunnis seems to be an easy target due to their protests.

            The policymakers in Iraq are faced with a big problem of national security, but it all starts with Nouri al-Maliki. He seems hesitant in resolving the rise in violence, and needs to take control of the country because it has taken a turn for the worse. Since he has the authority, he has to take steps to try and make a compromise with the Sunni protesters and the Kurdish with their oil dispute. There are still more questions than answers, such as, how will al-Maliki resolve these different issues? Is there a way to make a compromise? And lastly, will each group ever be happy, even with some sort of a resolution?


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