"Reclaiming Iraq: The 1920 Revolution and the Founding of the Modern State" by Abbas Kadhim (2013).
One of the explanations that has been given for the rising popularity of ISIS in Iraq is that the Maliki-led Shiite government persecuted Sunnis, and did not allow them to have any say in the government so they had no choice but to turn to ISIS as a way to take revenge against Maliki.
But that's not true.
Dr. Abbas Kadhim, an Iraqi-American professor and a Visiting Scholar at Stanford University, says that, "100 percent of local governance in every Sunni province is by elected Sunni officials. There is not a single Shiite official who rules in Anbar or Saladin or Mosul."
Those who see events and developments in Iraq and the Middle East only through the Sunni-Shiite lens don't bother to look for evidence to confirm their assumptions because they have an agenda to push, which is to split the Muslim world on a sectarian basis and thereby strengthen Israel's hand in the region.
The popularity of ISIS in Sunni areas of Iraq has been overblown to a great extent. Daesh kills Sunni clerics and Sunni tribal leaders who are defiant and who don't bow down to them on sight upon taking over a town and/or village. By doing that they send a direct message to the remaining Sunni residents of the area that it's either their word or the sword.
They're not looking to be loved, and they're most likely not loved by average Sunnis who just want to live a normal life. These are thugs and killers who impose fear by going around killing people for fun, and kill anyone who looks at them the wrong way, so most people who live under their control just keep their head down, go on with their business, and think, "at least it's not the Iranian-backed Shiite militias who are ruling over us, who will just massacre us and destroy our homes."
ISIS's rise could have been stopped. The Sunni people of Iraq did have some kind of a choice and most of them chose unwisely. They revolted against a weak, but relatively stable and secular state, while Shiite militias were waiting in the background ready to pounce on its carcass and remake Iraq in their own image. And for what? Because it hurt their pride to see Shiites ruling in Baghdad? Because they lost some money and power?
That speaks to the immaturity, stupidity, and lack of political leadership on the part of the Sunnis in Iraq, and their backers in Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
Video Title: Perceptions trumping reality in Iraq? Source: Stimson Center. Date Published: September 18, 2014. Description:
Discussing the Shi'a-Sunni conflict, Dr. Abbas Kadhim suggests that perceptions mold opinions more than what may be reality in Iraq, adding "all people see is the misery in their own towns.""Let's remember that 100 percent of local governance in every Sunni province is by elected Sunni officials. There is not a single Shiite official who rules in Anbar or Saladin or Mosul. And that is something to really think about. They do elect people who tend to be under-performing, or also as corrupt as the rest. It is that they are not used to having this kind of misery. The Shiite have always been living . . . if you talk to them they say this is slightly better than the time of Saddam Hussein. In Saddam's time we did not have electricity, we did not have good roads or good hospitals, and our lives were a privilege. At least now nobody bothers us. . . For the Sunni lands it is a disastrous fall from what they used to have and what they have now." - Dr. Abbas Kadhim.