Iraqi political reforms risk further marginalization of Sunnis

The New York Times reports: Iraq’s Parliament unanimously passed measures on Tuesday that are meant to transform the country’s corrupt political system. Yet by eliminating several high-level positions and doing away with sectarian quotas in political appointments, the measures risk further alienating the country’s Sunni minority while the government is struggling to defeat the Sunni militants of the Islamic State.

The measures, put forward on Sunday by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, are wide-ranging. They promise to save money and fight corruption by cutting expensive perks for officials. Most notably, they eliminate three deputy prime minister posts and three vice presidencies, including the one held by former Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, who was a rival of Mr. Abadi.

The passage of the measures was never really in doubt. They were backed by the country’s leading Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who holds great sway over the country’s Shiite majority. And a sense of public grievance at the current system has been swelling in the streets, culminating in widespread protests. [Continue reading…]

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