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Iraq’s Sunni divide may be too great

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki never implemented promised reforms to integrate and share power with Iraq’s Sunni communities.
Residents gather to protest near the house of prominent Sunni Muslim lawmaker Ahmed al-Alwani, in the centre of Ramadi, December 29, 2013. Iraqi security forces arrested Alwani in a raid on his home in the western province of Anbar, sparking clashes in which at least five people were killed, police sources said. Picture taken December 29, 2013.  REUTERS/Ali al-Mashhadani (IRAQ - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST) - RTX16X7M
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Although the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) is trying to exploit the “Sunni cause” to mobilize its fighters and rally supporters, its “jihadist” characteristic reduces its claim to represent the Sunni community to a small segment within this community.

Most Sunnis maintain their suspicious view of the Shiite-dominated government in Baghdad, but they do not see ISIS as a good alternative. It is true that ISIS has largely invested in the sectarian tension in Iraq and the region, but its objectives go beyond the Iraqi borders or the major concerns of Iraq’s Sunni community. Through its simultaneous involvement in Syria and Iraq, ISIS established its distinct entity and identity with an agenda that is largely indifferent to Iraqi politics.

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