Pro­test­ers draw map of “Sunni re­gion” in Iraq

Mock map of “Sunni re­gion” ig­nites nationalism from dif­fer­ent groups

The Kurdish Globe - - CULTURE - By Salih Wal­ad­bagi

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.

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