Once more, Fallujah dominates the headlines. For several years after the US invasion of Iraq, the Sunni town was a hotbed of insurgents, where Baghdad regained control only after the tribes took up arms and drove out the insurgents in 2008.
Over the past three years, however, the Shiite-led government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki began persecuting the Sunnis. Random arrests became common, senior Sunni leaders and officials -- including the former vice president Tariq al-Hashmi and former finance minister Rafie al-Essawi – were charged with terrorism, forcing them into exile or resignation.
The Sunni populations feel marginalized by lack of public services, high unemployment and unfair treatment by Baghdad.
All these pushed the Sunnis to start
wide-scale demonstrations in the Sunni areas of the country against the Shiite-led government in Baghdad in the winter of 2012. It started from Ramadi and Fallujah and then spread to Diyala, Salahaddin and the ethnically-mixed provinces of Nineveh and Kirkuk.
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