Shattered by war, Sunni Arabs despair over future in Iraq

Source: Associated Press

By HAMZA HENDAWI
Sep. 10, 2017

KHAZIR CAMP, Iraq (AP) — Fawaz Saleh Ahmed has been secretly sneaking into his own village in northern Iraq to visit his home.

The last time he went, he wept as he spent several hours going from room to room in the partially destroyed house, he said. When his tears dried, he made his way back to the nearby Khazir camp housing those displaced by war, where he and his family have lived for almost a year.

Frustratingly, tantalizingly, he can see his house from there, but the Kurdish forces controlling his village, called Hassan Shami, won’t allow him to return to live.

“That is my house there on the hill, do you see it?” said Ahmed, a member of Iraq’s once-dominant Sunni Arab minority. He stretched his arm to point.

The 39-year-old Ahmed’s predicament is part of the wider disaster facing Iraq’s Sunni Arabs. Three years of war have freed their lands from the rule of the Islamic State group but have also left the community at its lowest state ever. Sunnis are feeling lost, unsure what their place will be in the country’s future and worried that the Shiite majority and the Kurds aim to change the demographics of some Sunni areas to impose their own control.

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