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3 political groups vie for influence in Iraq

12-21-2011 14:02 BJT

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Sectarian and ethnic divisions have long complicated the situation in Iraq. The three main groups are the Sunni and Shiite Muslims, and the Kurds.

Sunni Muslims are in the minority, about a fifth of Iraqis. They live in central and northwestern Iraq. Before the war, they controlled the country.

They lost their leading position after the collapse of Saddam Hussein’s regime triggered by the US invasion in 2003. But they have no intention of giving up political power and have used threats and violence.

Shiites claim to make up 55 percent of the population, mainly living in the north and west of Baghdad. For many years, they were excluded from politics. While Saddam was in power, the Shiites established resistance organizations and said they would overthrow the ruling Baath Party. The government responded with attacks and suppression.

The US-led war which toppled Saddam brought opportunities for the Shiites. They now dominate the government.

A fifth of Iraqis are Kurds, the largest of the country’s ethnic minorities. They live in the north, and have long sought independence. This led to many confrontation and conflicts with the central government. The war allowed them to advance their positions in the government. And the framework of federalism enabled them to become self-governing.


Editor:Zhang Dan |Source: CNTV.CN

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