Friday, December 31, 2004


Ungrateful Californians

[A light note of a fairy tale to break the gloom and depression of previous posts and offer some distraction from our sordid reality!]

A well-connected drug company comes up with a new wonder drug called Neoconide that researchers were confident would make people happy and live longer, as well as make the company a lot of money for a long time to come. Definitely a good idea and a noble cause!

This company manages to get the FDA approval to test this drug on California. Why not? Everything looked so good on paper. There was also a lot of what looked like historical evidence that made sense.

California was ripe. It was decadent. People were dying of over-indulgence in decadence. It was even governed by a manifestly violent person - who sometimes even acted as a weapon of mass destruction. There was a danger of the disease spreading to other states.

The drug was administered in shock therapy to the whole population en masse.

Unfortunately, this drug had some nasty side effects and led to the death of thousands of Californians: 15,000 – 150,000 – maybe more. No one knows for sure. The FDA didn't bother to monitor. What is the significance of a few 100,000 deaths when you are trying to save a whole state? Those people were dying for what we believe to be a good cause and an important experiment.

Life of other, surviving Californians became truly miserable. Everyone was affected: police, people in charge of power supply, hospitals, schools, businesses, factories, traffic… Criminals, now free from police harassment, went on a rampage. Others poured across the unattended borders into California to join in the free-for-all festivities.

Californians were naturally angry and many demanded an immediate stop to the campaign. Some sought to stop it through violent means. They targeted FDA paramedics and Californians who collaborated with them.

The FDA, prodded by the company, decided to fight back hard. They were convinced of the ultimate success of their drug. The Texas Cowboy Cavalry were called in. To them, all those Californians looked so much alike in those flowery shirts. They started shooting everybody that crossed them. They made matters worse.

The State was in a state of total chaos.

Texans were divided. Some felt what the Californians were going through and sympathized with them, but they were a minority and were helpless. Some were good people who knew in their hearts that what was happening was wrong, but had faith in the FDA's intentions and abilities to pull the thing through. Some simply did not care; California was so far away. But many, perhaps a majority, endorsed the actions of the FDA and did not understand what those stupid Californians were whining about.

Didn't they realize that they were living in hell before that drug?
Medicine is always bitter. Didn't they know that "Cure was Hell"?
All medicines have some side effects.
Yes, mistakes were made. But mistakes are always made whatever you choose to do!
If those mistakes were not made, others, probably worse, would have been made.
Did Californians expect the FDA to be God?
Good Texans were risking their lives to help them.
Didn't these people know what was good for them?
They are not worth it. Let's leave them to their misery.
Better still, let's nuke them!

Californians are so impatient and ungrateful for all the effort, the expenditure, the inconvenience the FDA and other Americans have gone through to help them.

But then again, Californians were always like that, some were quick to point out. Weren't they always decadent? Didn't they even willingly allow movie actors to govern them?

Stupid, ungrateful Californians!

[I hope that Californians are not be offended by this post. It is only a fairy tale, written under the influence of Neoconide.]

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 26, 2004


Democracy, not Elections

The problems in Iraq cannot be solved by just by having elections. They can be solved by democracy. Elections will not work. Democracy will.

An increasing number of people are realizing that the coming elections in Iraq will not solve the multitude of prevailing problems. Some of the people and political parties that have fully cooperated with the US administration since the invasion have started asking for a postponement of the elections. These people hope that in, say, six months, Iraq will be stable enough for elections to take place. No justification is given for this belief. I can only see more of the same turmoil in the present path.

There have also been several proposals put forward to solve the present stand-off regarding these elections: putting aside some seats for Sunnis or for some Sunni-dominated areas currently in turmoil… and wait for better conditions to run elections in those areas. It will not work.

I have already outlined my objection to one of these proposals in response to a comment in a previous post in my blog. I will just reiterate it here: Putting aside a certain percentage or a certain number of seats for "Sunnis" and going ahead with the elections is not only impractical but quite dangerous.

1. Sunnis don't have any ID to show that they are Sunnis.

2. About half of Iraq is thoroughly mixed as I have outlined earlier. How can you allow some people in Baghdad for example to vote and not others? Remember that Baghdad has a quarter of the population of the entire country.

3. So many people of the "type" that should have a favorable effect on the process and that should be encouraged to be involved, eg the enlightened, the secular or the moderate will refuse to be simply labeled as "Sunnis"… and they shouldn't be.

4. If a "geographic" approach is attempted and the "Sunni" provinces of Anbar, Saladdin and Mosul are excluded, how do you deal with the other mixed provinces of Diala, Babel and with the sizable Sunni minority in Basra?

5. Such schemes cannot solve the enormous problem of mixed and contested Kirkuk.

6. Any assembly that leaves large segments of the population unrepresented will lack legitimacy in the eye of many. How can such an assembly possibly discuss the future shape of the country and write a constitution?

7. Elections themselves are not an end. They have to be part of the democratic process. Running an election "for its own sake" without the other components will not solve the problem.

8. Finally, such an approach is extremely dangerous in that it may further polarize the Iraqi society along Sunni – Shiite lines. I find this a recipe for a future civil war.

In any case, this line of reasoning naturally leads to treating different regions in Iraq individually. In contrast, the present rules of the game treat the whole of Iraq as one large constituency – something I frankly find unfortunate. Unfortunate to us it may well be… but quite understandable! It is basically designed to give some political parties and "chosen" individuals an edge.

Consider Mr. Chalabi for example. In a direct election, I would be surprised if he received more than a few thousand votes in the whole country. [In a BBC poll last year, he was found even more hated by Iraqis than Saddam Hussein!] However, by cleverly attaching himself to larger parties, and since he is the "senior" politician that he is, he managed to position himself at the top of their slate. This guarantees him a place at the new Congress. Quite a feat, isn't it? Well, not really! The system itself was designed for such people in the first place.

The only problem is that there are too many Iraqis who are too sly not to see through this scheme. Were this a game of some sort and not involving human life and human suffering, I would have taken the position to support this scheme as it is. When those elections are done, then those rejecting them will be joined by the majority of people. Alas, that would be an irresponsible, even reckless, stance.

Again, it is the "rules of the game" that are at fault, not the game itself. Democracy is not just about ballot boxes, it is about the will of the people.

There are no truly national parties or national political figures in Iraq at present. This is no coincidence. It has been the active policy of the previous regime for decades to produce just this result.

Also, Iraq as a country is far from uniform – there is such a wide spectrum of mentality, beliefs and modes of living. There is enormous diversity in the country.

But, again, democracy is all about the will of the people. So, how do you solve this problem?

It is a great advantage that Iraq is already administratively divided into 18 provinces and each province is further divided into smaller districts… all the way down to "neighborhoods". This was a feature of the highly centralized and totalitarian system of government that we had. This arrangement facilitated control. We can use it to an advantage! All the administrative details are there, on the ground. (For those interested in some details, my blog Rapid Democracy in Iraq gives some).

There are about 7000 of these micro-districts. Even the present "rules of the game" have 7000 polling stations.

Almost all of these small districts are uniform in one aspect or another (ethnic, sectarian, social, economic, etc.). Why not use a readily available feature? Why not make each of these neighborhoods an electoral district? The people in all these micro-districts know their borders.

There is no need for any administrative overhaul or even a census. Even campaigning will not be much of a problem. Due to the nature of the Iraqi society, where people are "connected" to other people and are not isolated little islands like many people in the West, people in these neighborhoods know each other; they generally know who the good guys are! They can select representatives in little time, with less fuss. I have seen it happen, first hand, on a number of occasions.

We need not worry about representing the various sects, Shiites, Sunnis, Arabs, Kurds, Turkmen, Caldo-Assyrians, Yazidis, Subba, religious, secular, communist, etc. etc. it will all sort itself out rather fairly. No headache. Delegates of the people can battle over their differences in meeting halls using words (and even probably chairs) but not bombs and bullets. If ordinary people are convinced by the representation process, there will no longer be a question regarding legitimacy.

Isn't that what democracy is really about? Why is this unacceptable? And why doesn't it happen then?

The answer is simple. Simply consider who is going to lose control: the present "imported & imposed" people and, more important, the US administration. The motive of the first group is obvious, but what about the administration. Well, they simply cannot afford to do that. They cannot venture into such waters. Democracy in Iraq without control? It is almost unthinkable to them. Think of all those extremists and fanatics!

They are wrong of course.

If such a democracy succeeds, the elected assembly will be "anti-American", reflecting the mood of the country. But, after a while, and when the country is stable again, even children unborn yet will be grateful to America for making it all possible.

The basic assumption in all this is my unshaken belief that most Iraqis, like most other people, are basically moderate. Is the US administration willing to take that risk? So far, apparently not! Instead, they are leading my country and yours into "the abyss".

Tuesday, December 21, 2004


On Dreams and Nightmares

In a better world…

The US administration would apologize…

• To the American people for the great losses they have caused in blood, money and moral standing.

• To the American army for putting it in such an impossible situation and for damaging its reputation in the eyes of civilians and military professionals the world over.

• To the world for the damage they have caused in strengthening the hand of international terrorists and for sabotaging the war on terror.

• To the United Nations for pulling out the last of the few teeth it had and for their part in turning it from a dream for humanity into a farce.

• To moderate Moslems for weakening their case and for causing fanatics to have the upper hand in many of their communities.

• To the Iraqi people for all the unnecessary suffering and loss of innocent life, the looting, the destruction of the infrastructure of their country, for the terrorists they lured into their country, for the lawlessness and for putting the country on the road to total anarchy and ruin. The actual list is much longer, but one shouldn't be too greedy!

The Iraqi people would thank America profusely for ridding them of Saddam.

The American administration would then make immediate steps to put things right and ask others to help, perhaps even the Iraqi people.

An impossible dream? Of course! But why not? We are all entitled to some unrealistic dreaming sometime. Isn't that what dreams are all about? Besides, dreams are harmless things, aren't they?

Not exactly.

There are those who have different dreams: dreams of eliminating all world terror at the present battlefield in Iraq; dreams of an Iraq Free and Democratic - an Iraq with a contented population grateful to America for all the good things this administration has done for them; secure flow of oil for decades to come; thousands of huge contracts providing riches to some and employment to many Americans.

All these wonderful things can be achieved by simply following the present course!

An impossible dream? Of course! But this one is a bit more costly. Personally, I would rather call this a nightmare. But nightmares happen during sleep… this one looks and feels so real!

Can somebody's dream be somebody else's day-and-nightmare?

Of course! So much in mankind's history is made of this stuff. Hitler's dream was a nightmare to many millions, including Germans. On the other hand, Gandhi's dream was a nightmare to some empire-builders in Britain. Martin Luther King's dream was a nightmare to some Americans.

Which dreams won and became a reality in the end?

It may be useful to remember here that America played no small part in ending Hitler's dream. Will America be able to do it again? I don't know. America seems to be busy with its own dreams and nightmares at the moment.

So many people in America seem to be dreaming. Some are having nightmares caused in 9/11 by some other people's dreams; some are dreaming of ending those nightmares through the dreams of other people mentioned above, or through a new wonder drug called neocon; some have their own dreams of glory and empire-building and a brand new American Century. So many dreams and so many nightmares.

In Iraq, as popular folklore has it, a heavy meal late in the evening leads to having nightmares. I really don't know enough about American eating habits to make a judgment.

Have a Merry Christmas… and don't eat too much late at night, just in case…

Friday, December 17, 2004


Super Patriotism

I was sometimes surprised by the severity of some of the responses I received through comments at some criticisms I have made. Any criticism of government policies is rashly labeled anti-Americanism.

I cannot honestly say that this mindset is the prevalent one in the USA, but it certainly exists and it has a name: Super Patriotism. This is somewhat surprising to me because I see the US as a sort of microcosm of the whole world; few nations or races are not represented. So many Americans do seem to reflect a truly global outlook that does not have much of an animosity component towards the rest of the world in it. Yet, those other people appear to have the upper hand at the moment.

Some time ago in this blog, I was particularly taken aback by the intensity and ferocity of someone's reaction to comments (by other fellow Americans) until he mentioned the fact that he was a naturalized US citizen as an adult. Sometimes it seems to me that some (mind you, some) of the new comers into the States somehow feel that they need to prove themselves to be "patriotic Americans" (no offence intended). They become aggressive on questions of criticism of the country… frequently they are on the defensive and lash back violently. In short: they become "more royal than the king"! Has this sort of attitude entrenched itself unconsciously into American culture so that people are no longer aware of it?

Am I correct to have this impression? Mind you, it is just an impression… from a distance! Are Australians and New Zealanders different in this respect? Is it raw power that affects some people? There is no intended sarcasm in this post. I really want to know.

We could all learn a thing or two from "old Europe". The roots of many of your values come from there. Britain is now a close ally of the US. Perhaps it would be less offensive to suggest learning something from them. The best jokes about Britain and its governments come from Britain; The English, Welsh and Scottish generally relish a good joke about their country. Yet, you can find a great deal of "subtle" patriotism in good old Britain! They generally don't have to be fierce about it… because they don't feel they need to prove it to anyone.

I have received a good deal of free advice on this blog (some of it patronizing, from people younger than my own children). I, in turn, would like to offer such people one piece of advice: If you want to be a true American, then study the words and wisdom of the Founding Fathers of your country. It was that wisdom and foresight that helped make your new country great, not the "kill 'em all" cowboy mentality that we see in some of the bad Western movies. That mentality may have expanded the country, but it was the guiding philosophy set by those good men that made it great. Look how far back in the history of other countries they looked to find the basic principles of a good system of government which they then built upon.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004


On Shocks & Awes - an Iraqi Perspective

It is always surprising how some people think that because "we" are good and decent and have high and noble ideals, then everything "our side" does has to be good… or at least, justifiable. Thus, they justify to themselves and to others some truly grotesque acts. Such people exist in probably all countries of the world; America seems to have its fair share of them.


Shock & Awe

Shocking tactics to intimidate adversaries into submission are probably as old as human history. They were carried out by most nations throughout mankind's troubled and bloody history. I will restrict my post to recent "Shock & Awe" campaigns relating to Iraq.

Shock & Awe I

This was the official US army tactic during the Iraq war. The idea is to shock the opponent by an awesome show of force and superiority into submission. It is also argued that this may well result in a minimization of losses on both sides (some people still argue that the use of nuclear weapons in Japan also served this purpose of resulting in fewer final casualties – more people would have died if those nuclear bombs weren't used). You can find many references to this type of logic in neocon literature.

What is surprising is that many people in the States were not (and many still are not) appalled by what such a campaign really means in terms of human suffering.

If you come to think of it, that campaign was justified in the minds of many Americans by an earlier "Shock & Awe" campaign that was directed at the US in 9/11. To justify the campaign against Iraq, the US administration claimed that there were links between Saddam's Iraq and al Qaeda. Apparently it didn't make much difference to many of those people that those claimed links turned out mostly to be unfounded.

One little example: On the second day of the American army's "Shock & Awe" campaign to "liberate" Iraqis from tyranny and to secure the world from weapons of mass destruction, 3000 assorted bombs, missile and other explosive gadgets were dropped on Baghdad on a single day!

It was awesome! But what was awesome turned into something awful with the random killings, the Abu Ghraib grotesque abuses, the Fallujah-I, Najaf, Sadr City and Fallujah-II bombings. Some people would claim that the Abu Ghraib episode was the private "Shock & Awe" campaign of a few bad apples – some of those people got up to a year of imprisonment for it, some were even discharged from the army. It may however be argued that those episodes were seen to be merely a continuation of the original "Shock & Awe" strategy.

All truly shocking… and awful.

Shock & Awe II

Instead of producing the required result of total submission as neocon theory predicts, it produced a great deal of resentment and hatred (not unlike the reaction of many Americans to 9/11). This reaction fuelled what may be called the nationalist resistance. I maintain that this was mostly due to mistakes and blunders (and probably even some ill-intentions) by the current US administration in handling the occupation. In the days to come, this may well be related to the loss of the whole campaign.

However, other forces of darkness, lured by the US policy of taking the War on Terror to "them" started using Iraq as a base for their operations against the US.

Those people started using "Shock & Awe" methods in Iraq under the name of "resistance": Killing civilians at random, targeting innocent children, ugly slaughtering and beheading of Iraqis and foreigners, including international aid workers, etc. Video clips of these ugly things were produced and distributed for maximum effect! Incidentally, they also managed to discredit the above mentioned nationalistic resistance in the minds of much of the world and even in the minds of many Iraqis.

You have to admit that these barbaric acts were also shocking… and awful!


Both "Shock & Awe" campaigns have shocked decent people around the world. However, many people in the States were only shocked by the second campaign. Why? Because the first was conducted by respectable professionals who were doing it for a noble cause. Besides, pressing a button to send death to scores of people, or ordering such an act, is definitely more "civilized" than beheading them with a knife and recording the proceedings on video, isn't it?

The result is that the American "Shock & Awe-I" campaign and the "Shock & Awe-II" campaign being conducted by those forces of darkness have caused a great deal of suffering for the Iraqi people. In both cases, innocent people were the fodder in the tactics of "great" men in pursuit of what they regard as "noble" goals.

Saturday, December 11, 2004


Fallujah Mission?

The problem of Fallujah doesn't seem to want to go away!

The reports coming out of ruins and bodies lying in the streets are truly disturbing. The 200,000 or so who fled the town are still homeless – many of them living in tents. I have no idea what the living conditions of those who remained in the town are.

Fallujah may be no longer a safe haven for terrorists, but it also no longer home for its 300,000 inhabitants.

The US army refused to let in a group of doctors (5 young doctors with 5 ambulances and 10 supporting staff) sent in by the Ministry of Health a few days ago. They were stopped about 20 miles from the town and escorted by two Hummers to some US army headquarters. The lady-colonel who talked to them asked them what they hoped to do! They said that they were told that their expedition was arranged between the ministry and the US army. They also said that they had a letter from the Minister of Health. The lady snapped: "What minister? They can't do that!" They were then told that they could not go through… there were no facilities for them to use… they will let the ministry know when those facilities are ready. They were turned back. I was told of these details by one of the doctors with the group.

Two days ago, the Iraqi Red Crescent was ordered out of the town by the US army.

We are still hearing reports that some fighting is still going on in some parts of Fallujah. This was also confirmed by a Col Ramos who said on TV that there were still some pockets of resistance in Fallujah. We have even been hearing reports that insurgents are filtering back into the city.

Could this be explained by the following excerpt from story by a NY Times embedded journalist recounting events on the third day of the recent Fallujah-II campaign?

Hard Lesson: 150 Marines Meet 1 Sniper
By Dexter Filkins, New York Times, Published: November 11, 2004

FALLUJA, Iraq, Nov. 10 - American marines called in two air strikes on the pair of dingy three-story buildings squatting along Highway 10 on Wednesday, dropping 500-pound bombs each time. They fired 35 or so 155-millimeter artillery shells, 10 shots from the muzzles of Abrams tanks and perhaps 30,000 rounds from their automatic rifles. The building was a smoking ruin.

But the sniper kept shooting.

He - or they, because no one can count the flitting shadows in this place - kept 150 marines pinned down for the better part of a day. It was a lesson on the nature of the enemy in this hellish warren of rubble-strewn streets. Not all of the insurgents are holy warriors looking for martyrdom. At least a few are highly trained killers who do their job with cold precision and know how to survive.

At one point, they thought that they had a bead on someone running back and forth between the two buildings. Then Capt. Christopher Spears exclaimed: "He's on a bike!"

At 5 p.m., the marines finally crossed Highway 10 and searched the smoking remains of the two buildings. At 5:30 p.m., a sniper opened up on them.


The weird silence and consequent mysteries surrounding casualties (civilian and otherwise) of the Fallujah-II campaign are also confusing and contradictory. It seems that as far as the Fallujah campaign is concerned, after more than three weeks of aerial bombardment and four weeks of ground combat by the most powerful army in the world… no news is bad news! It appears to be too early yet to make an assessment of the affair, but the prognosis is not promising.

Sunday, December 05, 2004


The Other Side of the Story

Yesterday, I posted a little true war story in my other blog "A Glimpse of Iraq" entitled (The Poet's Son) about a young Iraqi former officer who was killed following an ambush he and some of his friends set up for a US army convoy.

In that story, there were no civilian casualties, women or children involved as far as I know. All those involved were professionals. Nevertheless, I still see those events as a human tragedy – on both sides of this pointless war.

I don't know how many US soldiers were killed in that ambush. If any, they would also be young people who also died believing that they were fighting for Freedom! Some of them probably also left behind beautiful young children or grandfathers who will miss them for the rest of their lives.

Why are all these young people killing each other trying to achieve the same good thing: Freedom? People killing each other for the same noble ideal cannot all be right, can they? Is it just a misunderstanding? I think not! Liberty to most Iraqis has the same meaning it does to most Americans.

If some 80% of Iraqis believe that the US army is here as a conquering army and not a liberating one… people who do not believe the claims and publicly declared intentions so many Americans seem to take for granted, surely it would be natural for some of their young to resist such an occupation violently…

Isn't there something that can be done about it? So far, apparently not! As things are at the moment, most people on either side simply think of the combatants of the other side as terrorists.

Meanwhile, those vile, true terrorists who are killing people indiscriminately, and who are actually the true enemies of both sides, are getting away with their acts.

Hasn't there been enough bloodshed? Isn't it time to start thinking about political solutions to this mess?

Those people painting rosy pictures have for some time run out of colors. Now, they are using blood to paint their roses. The problem is: the color of blood turns ugly after a while.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004


Sunni and Shiite Iraq - Governance

[There is considerable confusion regarding the dominance of modern Iraq by the Sunnis. Media references to the Sunni-Shiite divide in Iraq are frequently more perplexing than enlightening! Like almost everything else in old and complex Iraq, this a long story - 1400 years old. To clarify this issue in the simplest possible terms, I will only go back a century.]

How did the Sunnis come to govern modern Iraq?

At the turn of the 20th century, Iraq was part of the Ottoman Empire. The Turks, who came to Iraq several centuries before as conquers from central Asia, were Sunnis. They alternated on invading Iraq with the Shiite Persians. This conflict was a major factor in the modern Shiite-Sunni polarization!

The Ottomans were Sunni and generally bigotry - they usually referred to Shiites as "The Rejectionists"! Naturally they relied on Sunnis for government positions and, towards the end of the 19th century, the military. Young men went to Istanbul to go into military colleges. Shiites were generally shunned.

When the British wanted the Arabs to help them against the Ottomans during WWI, they went to the most prominent figure at the time, Hussein, the Sherif of Mecca. They promised him to free the united Arab world under his leadership. He revolted against the Turks. His army had a number of senior Iraqi officers.

The British campaign succeeded but they couldn't honor their promise to the old man… the region was already divided between France and Britain in the Sykes-Picot Treaty. They put Iraq under direct rule. The Iraqis (both Sunnis and Shiites) revolted. The British then decided to install a "democratic" government. There was a National Congress in 1924 to agree on a Constitution. The Shiites, on the recommendation of senior clergy, boycotted it. [Now I hope you can understand Sistani's eagerness not to be bitten again!]

To pay part of their debt to the Sherif of Mecca, the British installed his son, Faisal I – a Sunni, on the throne of Iraq. The (mostly Sunni) Iraqi officers who assisted the British almost monopolized the top political and military positions for decades. The civil service had to rely on people willing to work with the British and who had the ability to get the job done. Again, Sunnis dominated the civil service.

That combination determined the Sunni face of government in Iraq for the next 80 years.

Shiites, from predominantly Shiite areas, were duly represented in Parliament. They were quite active in the political life of Iraq; there were quite a number of Shiite ministers and prime ministers But those other people had entrenched themselves in senior positions!

Given the tribal element in the Iraqi society and the strong social influence, nepotism and favoritism (and no doubt some bigotry) played a strong role in admission to senior government and military posts… and military colleges. The result was that three decades later, the top brass were mostly Sunnis.

In 1958 there was a military coup. The people involved were mostly Sunni. The strongman of the junta, Qassim, in fact came from a mixed area and there was no evidence whatsoever that he practiced any form of preferential treatment between Shiites and Sunnis. There were two other military coups that led to the final one in 1968 which ultimately brought the Baath Party and Saddam Hussein to power. Due to the reasons outlined above, all those coups were dominated by Sunni military officers.


The Baath party is secular in origin and basic doctrine. In the rank and file of the party (that claimed some 3 million members) there were more Shiites than Sunnis – reflecting the make-up of the country. There were many senior Shiite figures. There were also numerous Kurds and Christians! However, for the same reasons outlined above, the Baath Party's key positions were dominated by Sunnis. But the "Law Giver" was Saddam and he tightly held the reigns.

Saddam and his inner circle (who were his relatives) were Sunni in name. The same social forces outlined above were also at play throughout his reign. Saddam's true religion was "Power"… his sect was "Brutal Oppression". Most people knew that if you as much as uttered something against him, you were gone. It didn't matter what your religion was.


As you can see, Shiite grievances are genuine but Sunni dominance of government was not through armed Sunni-Shiite conflict as has been repeatedly suggested. It was mostly foreign interference and influence first and then power and politics and power-politics throughout the past century of modern Iraqi history.

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