It seems like it wasn’t too long ago that Najaf was under siege by American Forces and the Shiite-dominated city was welcoming with open arms a Sunni contingency of aid and assistance. That was maybe five years ago. Something like that.
Flash forward to now. The Shiite-led government has banned hundreds of Sunni candidates from the upcoming election on the basis that they are Ba’athists or Ba’athist sympathizers.
The city council basically said "you have 24 hours to leave or we will kill you."
It’s worth exploring grievances against the Ba’ath Party. But to be brief: They ruled violently. They were tyrants. It was sectarian.
Back when Bush was puffing his chest about "the surge" many had noted that one of the main reasons for the "success" was not the increase of American targets – human sandbags for resistance fighters and terrorists to hone their skills on – but that in many places Sunni’s were effectively cleansed from neighborhoods and concrete walls put up to keep them out. The surge, of course, followed the report by morticians in Baghdad’s morgues that the vast majority of bodies coming in were young Sunni men.
If there was any thought that the Shiites would behave differently once in power that evaporated long ago and what’s going on now in Najaf is just another painful example to illustrate that.
Maybe these candidates are Ba’athists or Ba’athist sympathizers, maybe not. The point is they are trying to work within the system. Allowing them to participate would more likely prove successful at bridging differences than threats of violence and intolerance – traits all too similar to the tyranny that should be history.