by Kirk H. Sowell
Hudson Institute
August 07, 2014
Four years ago, Iraq faced a declining Sunni insurgency, a Shia government that resisted Iran, and non-sectarian election victories. Today, Shia sectarians dominate the government, a Sunni insurgency engulfs the state, and Iran-backed militias are mobilizing to fight. This is the result, on the one hand, of overly-expansive Sunni demands based on legitimate grievances, and on the other from the Shia-led government’s unwillingness to compromise. It took time, effort, and a confluence of favorable circumstances for the insurgency that collapsed in 2008 to recompose itself. Now, combined with a rejuvenated jihadist movement, it has claimed much of Iraq. Yet whatever happens on the ground, Shia Islamists dominate the government, have a huge demographic and material advantage, and control the bulk of Iraq’s resource wealth. A movement based on Sunni identity and empowerment has only isolated Sunnis thus far. There is every reason to think that will continue to be the case.

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