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Iraq Protests Present Muslim Brotherhood With Opportunity

The Muslim Brotherhood in Iraq has for years struggled to find a footing amongst many sectarian parties, but recent protests in Sunni cities have given them an opportunity, writes Mustafa al-Kadhimi.
Protesters take part in a demonstration in Ramadi, 100 km (62 miles) west of Baghdad, January 9, 2013. Opponents of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Wednesday they would call him to parliament for questioning in a second attempt to force a vote of no confidence as the Shi'ite leader faces Sunni Muslim protests. REUTERS/Ali al-Mashhadani (IRAQ - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS)
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From 2010 until now, the Iraqi scene has grappled with a paradox that does not align with the Arab Spring protest movements. The Muslim Brotherhood, which rose to power in countries swept by the Arab Spring, found itself left out of the political game in Iraq since then. They lost the 2010 elections as their popular bases swept the al-Iraqiya list, which is led by a secular Shiite. Some of the leaders of this coalition are former members who withdrew from the Islamic Party, which represents the Brotherhood in Iraq.

Not only does this scene reveal the state of frustration plaguing the Brotherhood in Iraq after they dimmed while their counterparts rose in the Middle East, but it also largely explains why the party is clinging to the demonstrations that recently broke out in the Sunni cities. These protests started to demand specific rights, but they soon started to include slogans and ideas that took on a sectarian dimension. Tribesmen and politicians stopped addressing the protesters, and cleared the way for clerics who, for the most part, belong to the Iraqi Brotherhood.

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