Feeling marginalized, some Iraq Sunnis eye autonomy

News article, posted 01.05.2012, from Iraq, in:
Feeling marginalized, some Iraq Sunnis eye autonomy (Photo: AP)

Amjad Abdul-Salam is one of a growing number of Iraqis who say a separate state for his fellow Sunni Muslims is the only way to stop the country sliding back into sectarian chaos.

Tensions between Iraq's Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims are rising after the United States pulled out the last of its troops on December 18, leaving the country run by a fragile unity government.

Hours after the exit, Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki sparked the worst political crisis in a year by announcing an arrest warrant for the Sunni vice president on charges he led death squads. The premier also tried to get his Sunni deputy fired.

Sunnis are a minority in Iraq but for decades held the reins of power under dictator Saddam Hussein. Many say they have felt marginalized since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam and paved the way for the rise of the Shi'ite majority.

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