Sunni Arabs Struggle with New Realities
Ash-Sharq al-Awsat reports that Sunni Arabs are unhappy with the small number of ministries being offered them in the new government. They want at least 6, with at least one being a major executive post (e.g. Defense, Interior, etc.) Adnan Pachachi reveals that Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani attempted to convince the United Iraqi Alliance to drop its attempt to appoint its own Sunni candidate, Fawaz Jarbah. The few Sunni Arab parliamentarians are insisting that appointments for high office be drawn from the ranks, rather than being inside the United Iraqi Alliance.
A little-noticed conference was held in Baghdad on Tuesday on Fallujah, at which participants presented evidence of US heavy-handedness in that city. Some called for a trial of George W. Bush and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair for war crimes.
This hardline conference contrasts with a meeting of Sunni Arabs eager to participate in Iraqi politics, and who believe that boycotting the election had been a mistake. It is difficult to know, however, how representative each of these groups is.
A plan was put forward by the governor of Anbar Province, Faisal al-Qu’ud, to join the largely Sunni Arab provinces of Salahuddin, Ninevah and Anbar so as to create a large ethnic unit that might have leverage with the Baghdad federal government. The main religious parties of the region, however, have spoken against such a step, arguing that it reinforces ethnic divisions. Iraq may nevertheless end up with something like 6 provinces rather than the current 18, and these provinces may be ethnically gerrymandered.