Ninawa Governor: “Getting Rid of Extremists is Easy”

Al-Nujaifi: Iraq’s Sunni Muslims know that the IS group is their enemy. They know that this group is destructive for all Sunnis and that, no matter what they do, associations with this group will lead to them being rejected on an international level.

However because of the sectarian tensions that have gripped the country recently, people have stopped thinking about this. They no longer care about others.

And that is why we need some sort of Sunni Muslim-created project to oppose the IS group. It needs an intellectual and ideological backbone as well as military power.

Iraq’s Sunnis knows that their religion is a rational one, that it is tolerant and seeks to promote harmony between all people. So they know that the IS group’s doctrine goes against that. But because of the Shiite Muslim banners fluttering over Shiite Muslim fighters, the whole thing has become a Sunni-Shiite conflict. Which ultimately strengthens the IS group. The extremist IS fighters are then seen as the protectors of Iraq’s Sunni Muslims against Iraq’s extremist Shiite Muslim militias.

NIQASH: What do Iraq’s Sunni Muslims want, in your opinion? Their own separate region, a semi-autonomous state like Iraqi Kurdistan or even a whole new, independent country? And if they achieve any of the above, how will they cope economically?

Al-Nujaifi: The Sunnis now are more inclined to demand their own semi-autonomous region.  And there are two major aims associated with that – firstly the aim of being allowed to administer their own region and their own people, as well as to protect themselves against external aggressors. And secondly, the aim of playing an active and key role in national decision-making.

Iraq’s Sunnis are still committed to a unified Iraq. But they want an Iraq in which they have some decision-making power.

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