Iraq: Why Sunni Arabs Are Negotiating


October 14, 2005: Terrorists attacked a convoy carrying members of the Arab League (who were on their way to meet with Sunni Arab religious leaders, about Sunni Arabs cooperating with the new government.) Sunni Arab radicals, inside and outside of Iraq and al Qaeda, do not want democracy in Iraq. Not that all of these opponents are against democracy, but they are against a democratic vote that would keep Sunni Arabs from controlling Iraq. While some Sunni Arabs, specially those belonging to al Qaeda, want a religious dictatorship in Iraq, most Sunni Arabs would prefer another Sunni Arab dictator like Saddam Hussein. But a democracy in Iraq, which is only 20 percent Sunni Arab, would not leave the country run by Sunni Arabs.

Many Iraqi Sunni Arabs are willing to accept democracy, as long as they have a fair shot at government jobs, and a share of the oil. The current negotiations with various Sunni Arab groups (some of them actively supporting violence against the government) have come down to how many Sunni Arabs get prosecuted for their Saddam era crimes (murder and torture, for the most part, but all massive theft of private and public assets), how many former Baath Party members are banned from government jobs for life, and how the oil revenue is shared. Many Kurds and Shia Arabs would prefer to carry out massive retribution against the Sunni Arab community, as revenge for dead relatives, and lost economic opportunities (the Sunni Arabs have grabbed most of the oil income over the last three decades). But most Iraqis are tired of decades of fighting between Sunni Arabs, Shia Arabs and Kurds, and are seriously negotiating peace-at-last.