Iraq's Segregation

The Angry Arab News Service links to a Washington Post article by Nir Rosen which sheds light on the role Paul Bremer played in Iraq. He quotes Rosen as writing: ‘But Bremer himself never understood Iraq, knew no Arabic, had no experience in the Middle East and made no effort to educate himself — as his statements clearly show.Time and again, he refers to “the formerly ruling Sunnis,” “rank-and-file Sunnis,” “the old Sunni regime,” “responsible Sunnis.” This obsession with sects informed the U.S. approach to Iraq from day one of the occupation, but it was not how Iraqis saw themselves — at least, not until very recently. Iraqis were not primarily Sunnis or Shiites; they were Iraqis first, and their sectarian identities did not become politicized until the Americans occupied their country, treating Sunnis as the bad guys and Shiites as the good guys. There were no blocs of “Sunni Iraqis” or “Shiite Iraqis” before the war, just like there was no “Sunni Triangle” or “Shiite South” until the Americans imposed ethnic and sectarian identities onto Iraq's regions.’

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