Protesters draw map of “Sunni region” in Iraq
Mock map of “Sunni region” ignites nationalism from different groups
Kurds have territorial claims over Kirkuk, and have fought for the past three decade to regain control over the province but recent map of “Sunni region” could ignite tension between different groups.
Protesters are often known for creativity around the world, and two elements of nationalistic protests have been flags and maps. Recently, in the Iraqi city of Anbar protesters have showcased a picture of a flag and map, claiming that it is representative of a Sunni region, which might be established in the future. The map includes the Kurdish disputed province of Kirkuk. This could potentially ignite tensions between all Iraqi ethnic groups; Sunnis, Shiites, as well as Kurds.
Iraqi social media networks were quick to publish the picture of the flag, which has since gone viral on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. The flag is quite close to that of the Syrian opposition flag, the only ap- parent difference being the one star in the newly established “Sunni region’s flag” instead of the three stars that the Syrian flag has. The region is known as “Western region of Iraq”, which is managed by some Sunni Iraqi leaders.
According to reports from Alam Newspaper, social media networks and websites published a statement in the name of the Anbar province protestors’ saying the “design of the Western Region's flag” is accomplished. Although this might seem comical, and even satirical to outsiders, these protesters are serious about their goals.
Following the statement, dozens of Social media accounts have been created, mostly under the name of “Western region” according to the newspaper. One of the administrators on a social media page that calls for the establishment of a federal system posted on Facebook a message that is highly provocative and against coexistence. The message read “Sunnis and Shiites cannot live together, and the best solution is to establish a federal system in the country”.
One of the prominent protesters in the City of Anbar, Younis Fahdawi told Shafaq News Agency that recent demonstration in Anbar province has led to the emergence of several flags, and different political slogans.
The published map also provoked the sense of nationalism of Iraqis, in general, and Kurds, in particular. The map includes crucial political disputed oil-reach province of Kirkuk, which Kurds claim is a Kurdishpopulated city, according to the 80s nation-wide census. The issue may lead to a greater political game, which perhaps makes the political relations of all Iraqi parties as problematical as possible, according to a Kurdish political analyzer, who wished to remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of the issue.