Iraq’s crisis won’t be resolved just by fighting, Sunni leader says

On July 9, the Washington Post conducted an interview with Osama al-Nujaifi, the most recent speaker of Iraq’s parliament and one of the country’s leading Sunni lawmakers, at his headquarters in Baghdad.

The government is currently fighting Sunni militants in the north. But I’ve heard some Sunnis refer to what is happening as a “revolution.” How do you describe what’s happening?

Yes, it is a revolution. But at the same time, the terrorists are taking advantage of it.

It’s a revolution that started a year and a half ago, as peaceful demonstrations. [The government] didn’t deal with it according to the constitution. Instead, they faced it with force. So it turned into a military movement.

But it wasn’t as broad as we see now. The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) [which now calls itself the Islamic State] took advantage of the gap between the government and the people, and they invaded and occupied Iraqi cities.

ISIS controls important military areas, but the wider geographical area is in the hands of tribes and armed groups who are rebelling against the government, and who before that were fighting the Americans.

We need to differentiate between these groups and the terrorists. We need to face ISIS militarily. But these other groups should be dealt with politically. [Continue reading…]

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