The political participation of the Sunni Arab minority in Iraq is critical to the security and stability of the state. At present, they are functionally excluded from government. Without effective political representation, the Sunni in Iraq are left with few alternatives to address their grievances against the Maliki government.
Sahwat al-Iraq (Abu Risha)
On April 20th, Iraq will hold its third provincial elections since 2005. There are 447 open seats nationwide, and competition for them is fierce. Previous elections illustrate that winning provincial seats can reverberate on the national level.
This backgrounder provides an update on the political landscape in Iraq, the electoral process, and post-election government formation.
Western Iraq is comprised of a single province, Anbar, located to the west of Baghdad. It stretches northwest to the Syrian border and southwest to the Saudi Arabian border. The Euphrates River Valley represents the main line of communication in the province, with numerous cities and settlements lining its banks. Moving from west to east, the cities of al-Qaim, Rawah, Haditha, Hit, Ramadi, Habbaniyah, and Fallujah make up the main population centers of the province. Anbar’s population is almost entirely Sunni Muslim.