The recent mass protest movements that have been taking place in several Iraqi governates can be classified as the beginning of a spring revolution in that country. These protests took place when in al-Anbar, Nineveh, Salahuddin, Mosul Fallujah and Al-Ramadi.
The Sunni protestors are reacting to Prime Minister Nouri-al-Malik’s (Shiite) suppression against them and the jailing of some of their Sunni political leadership including the Sunni Iraqi women’s ill treatment in prison.
The arrest of members of the Sunni community in Iraq on suspicion of terrorist activities is in reality a political policy to marginalize their roles in the political arena.
The protestors were demanding:
1) The resignation of Nouri al-Maliki’s government
2) The release of many thousands of Sunni men and women from prisons
3) The cancelation of the law that was initiated by the U.S. occupation forces banning the Baath party from the Iraqi political arena and permitting their reentry into public life.
4) The cancelation of the same law that dissolved the Iraqi army and prohibited members of the previous Baath party from being employed by the government.
5) The improvement of the economic, social and environmental conditions.
6) Stop the Iraqi government support of the Syria regime under Bashar al-Assad.
7) Stop taking orders from the Iranian government (Shiite regime)
8) Removal of Article 4 from the Constitution and stop implementing death sentences of suspected terrorists.
It is unfortunate to point out that the American invasion of Iraq produced many negative consequences. First, it eliminated the authoritarian regime of Saddam Hussein, which was the most secular in the Middle East region. The previous regime suppressed any political religious group from entering the Iraqi political arena. At the same time, Iraqi secular Shiite individuals were incorporated into the regime and many occupied high political positions in both the government and the army.
It should be of interest to refer to an order that was issued by the American occupational authority in 2003 for the arrest of the 52 top Iraqi political officials. The American order was issued in the form of a deck of cards of pictures of those who were to be arrested, which included Saddam Hussein and his two sons. Thirty-seven out of the 52 people were Iraqi Shiites. This reflects that the previous regime did not permit the practice of sectarianism.
The phony type of democracy that the U.S. introduced in Iraq encouraged sectarianism. It should also be made clear that the religious political conflict between the Sunni and Shiite sects has been part of Islamic history, which started after the death of the Prophet Mohammad more than 1,300 years ago.
The Sunni-Shiite conflict has been manipulated by Western colonialist powers, which has been part of their political strategy “divide and rule”. This conflict has been a major source of instability, especially in the Arab world and some Islamic states.
The impact of the Arab spring revolution as is reflected in Iraq at the present is also going on in Syria, where the Alawi (Shiite) minority regime is facing a Sunni majority rebellion that has been going on for nearly two years. In Bahrain, the situation is the opposite, where a Sunni minority is suppressing the Shiite majority.