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Time: Why Iraq's Most Violent Province Is a War Zone Again

Author: Ned Parker, 2011-2012 Edward R. Murrow Press Fellow
January 6, 2014

"There is not a Sunni region in the country now that is not enmeshed in strife.… The conflict in Sunni regions is creating an atmosphere of perpetual crisis that could tip the country into civil war or be used by Maliki as a justification to stay in power after what is expected to be a closely fought election. The more chaos, the greater the chance for al-Qaeda-linked fighters to hide among the population and reap chaos."

The pitched battles in the Iraqi province of Anbar this week – first between Sunni tribesmen and the government and then between al-Qaeda and the government, which has now brought onside some of the tribesmen – reveal how large swathes of Iraq are falling into disorder.

The breakdown in Anbar, the Sunni-dominated Westernmost part of Iraq, comes one year after the start of Sunni protests demanding the freeing of tens of thousands of detainees, who frequently were held without charge by security forces of the Shia-led government. The protestors had called for broad reforms of the security forces and judiciary, which they believed targeted Sunnis unfairly.

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