Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Reconsidering a Tragic Mistake | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Iraqi Sunnis took a major step in the right direction during their recent conference by admitting that their boycott of the elections was a mistake. We all recall how sincere friends of Iraq warned the Sunnis against making the mistake of boycotting the elections due to tragic consequences; especially in the absence of social and sectarian balance with the retreat of one of the main constituents of Iraqi society.

At the time when distinguished Sunni leaders rushed to boycott the elections, there remained a role for a small number of political activists and religious clergy who still craved the old days, when they had enjoyed numerous banquets and worked in their security bodies. It was the latter who motivated slogans of fighting occupation and resistance; not to protect Iraq, but rather to destroy it. Some of them gave speeches at mosques and slipped into charity organizations to daringly incite violence and call for sectarian divisions of Iraq.

This movement was further encouraged by exported international terrorism, which provided assistance in instigating youth involvement. It provided the religious criminals with a voice that declared permission to kill Shiites and “collaborators” with the new Iraqi government. Moreover, it threatened Arab Sunnis with murder, should they participate in the political process.

The Sunni Iraqis recent decision to take part in the next election hits the mark; it will preserve social and sectarian balance in Iraq and isolate attempt of heartless violence, murder and terrorism against civilians.

It remains to point out the danger of sectarian propositions, which are often preached by Sunni leaders and Mosque Imams who have been appointed as representatives and spokesmen. Arab Sunnis like all other sects of Iraqi society represent a wide range of intellectual diversity. Within the framework of the election list system, Sunnis could gain more credibility if they acted as national leaders as opposed to sectarian ones. This is how they can succeed in forming a broad scale alliance which will act in the best interest of Iraq as a whole.