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ETHNIC IRAQ

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On Monday 06/14/2010, the Iraqi Parliament held its first meeting, three months after the elections on 03/07/2010. In order to approve a new government they need 163 seats out of 325 seats in the Iraqi Parliament. The al-Iraqiyy block, headed by the former Shiaa PM Iyad Allawi, which is an alliance of Shiaa and Sunni secular groups, won 91 seats, far from the minimum of 163 needed to form a coalition (sse -IRAQS RESULTS).

The current PM Shiaa secular PM Nuri al-Maliki and his State of Law party came second with 89 seats, and a Shiaa religious group, National Iraqi Alliance, with strong ties to Iran, came third with 70 seats. The two Shiaa groups formed, just two days before the first gathering of the new elected parliament, on Saturday 06/12/2010, a large, almost purely, Shiaa block of already 159 seats in the Iraqi Parliament – called the National Alliance. The new coalition outnumbered the main stream al-Iraqiyy block and it is almost certain that they will find, at high price, the 4 seats needed to form a coalition among one of the Kurdish parties, with 43 seats together, or among the 32 seats of independent legislators or small parties.

The Sunnis, about 20% of the general Iraqi population, who boycotted the 2006 elections, participated this time and joined in great numbers the al-Iraqiyya block hoping to share power with the Shiaas and benefit from being a part of the system, which is extremely crucial for the future of Iraq as a semi democratic state.

Eventually the Sunnis were pushed out from the future government and the former enemy Iran has much more influence in Iraq then the Sunnis. Even more so, the Iraqi government began recently to disarm the militia members of the Awakening Councils (see -Diyala 06.06.10), considered to be mainly Sunni militias, which played a crucial role in overcoming Al Qaeda in Iraq in the years 2006-9.  There is a genuine concern that frustrated Sunni tribesmen or former Baath supporters will turn again to violence (see -Verge of Chaos).

Iraq is heading, therefore, to growing religious and ethnic tensions, which were significantly reduces in the last two years. Iran is about to increase its influence and involvement in the internal Iraqi affairs while the American Army is scheduled to sharply reduce its presence in Iraq. It is possible that Iran will be, at the end of the day, the real winner of the war in Iraq.

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