Sectarian divide an obstacle for peace in Iraq

CCTV News

Sectarian divide an obstacle for peace in Iraq

Even if the Iraqi government defeats ISIL, a big question still hangs over its ability to re-unify a deeply divided nation.

CCTV’s Jack Barton has this report from Erbil.

Sectarian divide an obstacle for peace in Iraq

Sectarian divide an obstacle for peace in Iraq

Even if the Iraqi government defeats ISIL, a big question still hangs over its ability to re-unify a deeply divided nation. CCTV’s Jack Barton has this report from Erbil.

The Iraqi military appears to have surprised even itself with the speed it’s recapturing ISIL held territory.

If and when the extremists are finally defeated, some members of the ruling coalition argued Iraq will still face the very same sectarian split that led to the rise of the fanatical group in the first place.

Under Saddam Hussein, Iraq Sunni Muslims dominated high positions in the government and military, and Shiite Muslims have overwhelmingly held jobs since the U.S.- led invasion.

After Sunnis led the opposition to U.S. occupation, they were largely disarmed leaving them vulnerable and, in some cases, welcoming when ISIL arrived.

It now seems unlikely the army along can fully defeat ISIL. That means arming Sunni tribes, which the government is unlikely to do.

But if any good has come from the fight against ISIL, also known as Daesh, it’s that former enemies have been fighting side by side.

“The confrontation with Daesh unified Iraqis, but in the same time we face a problem of those politicians who cannot be trusted,” Aziz Juber Shayal, security analyst, said. “With them they look for the confrontations from the angles of their parties.”

Then there are the Kurds, who want to split from the Shiites and Sunni Arabs.

Iraq is slowly veering away from chaos that has marred the country since 2003, but the sectarian divide remains an obstacle still to overcome on the road to peace and national unity.


Raed Jarrar discusses the situation in Iraq

For more on the sectarian split in Iraq, CCTV America’s Mike Walter spoke to Raed Jarrar, an Arab-American political advocate and blogger.