The Importance of Sunni Unity in Iraq

By Mustafa al Kadhimi for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Iraq Business News.

Many Iraqi politicians do not hide their concerns and skepticism regarding moves made by Sunni political and tribal groups — whether in the region or Washington — to ensure a unification of Sunni political positions on the future of the war on the Islamic State (IS). Some of the reactions to these moves come loaded with accusations.

A visit by a delegation from Anbar to Washington at the end of January 2015 sparked numerous disagreements and assumptions both inside and outside the Iraqi political milieu. Some of these issues took on a personal nature, including accusations that the delegation included murderers, while others involved suspicions of a Sunni desire to obtain weapons to undermine Iraqi sovereignty.

Fears were not limited to this visit in particular, and were present on previous occasions involving Sunni gatherings or activities. The latter include the Sunni forces conference held in Erbil on Dec. 18, 2014, which saw widespread accusations from different political parties.

Things cannot stabilize in Iraq without a common understanding between Iraqi forces. It is also required that there be a recognition of the rights of each to coordinate their positions, unify their ranks and expand their bases of internal and external relations in the framework of coordination with the government and other forces, in line with the country’s supreme interests.

Iraq is facing a fateful moment in its history. IS occupies large tracts of land, most of them predominantly Sunni, and the continuous political conflict has brought the country to the brink of division. Amid these circumstances, what is needed is a recognition of the right of the Sunnis in the equation to unify their ranks, and they should be supported domestically to achieve this result.

While there are many reasons for IS’ emergence and spread in Sunni cities, one includes the rupture of the Sunni political fabric and the lack of clearly defined positions and leaders that can serve as a decisive party and a true representative of Sunnis — or at least most of them.

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