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CRS – Iraq: Politics, Governance, and Human Rights

Iraq: Politics, Governance, and Human Rights. Kenneth Katzman, Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs, April 26, 2013

  • “Ten years after the March 19, 2003 U.S. military intervention to oust Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq, increasingly violent sectarian divisions are undermining the fragile stability left in place after the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq will collapse. Sunni Arab Muslims, who resent Shiite political domination, are in increasingly open revolt against the government of Prime Minister Nuri alMaliki. The revolt represents an escalation of the Sunni demonstrations that began in December 2012. Iraq’s Kurds are increasingly aligned with the Sunnis, based on their own disputes with Maliki over territorial, political, and economic issues. The Shiite faction of Moqtada Al Sadr has been leaning to the Sunnis and Kurds, and could hold the key to Maliki’s political survival. Adding to the schisms is the physical incapacity of President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd who has served as a key mediator, who suffered a stroke in mid-December 2012 and remains outside Iraq. The rifts have impinged on provincial elections on April 20, 2013, and will likely affect national elections for a new parliament and government in 2014. Maliki is expected to seek to retain his post in that vote.”
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