On the sunni side of the street


This time, “we registered to defeat the constitution,” said Khalid Jubouri, a guard at a government ministry in Fallujah, a city in the volatile western province of Anbar. “This is considered fighting by word and thought. We are optimistic about the battle, and we will win it eventually.”

Registration in Anbar swelled from a tiny percentage of eligible adults in January to nearly 85 percent, said Muhammed Ibrahim, the director of voter registration centers in the province. Ibrahim said about 600,000 of the province’s 715,000 eligible adults registered, despite pledges from al Qaeda in Iraq, an insurgent group led by Abu Musab Zarqawi, a Jordanian, that anyone who took part in the voting would become a target for killing. “It is a big number we didn’t expect given the security situation in the province,” Ibrahim said. “It is a great number.”

One marvels at the audacity and oddity of Iraqi Sunnis registering in droves to oppose constitutional democracy. What is that? If democracy is a crime, is not registering to vote a crime? Is it not a sin to vote against the constitution, because voting itself is sinful? Or is it that this humanist impulse of democracy, more theologically acceptable to Shiites than Sunnis, is secretly alluring even to the Sunni population of Iraq? We shall see.

Leave a Reply