Friday, January 30, 2004

Just a hmmm....

According to an article in Islam Online,
[f]resh statistics by an international organization suggested that Iraq's Sunnis are in a clear majority, as Shiite scholars conceded that Shiites could make up as much as 40 percent of the whole population.

The statistics, released by a reliable international humanitarian relief agency in 2003, suggested that Sunnis make up 58 percent of the Iraqi population and Shiites 40 percent.

"The Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq" put the whole population at about 27 million, including 16 million Sunnis and 11 million Shiites, Quds Press International news agency reported on Wednesday, January 28.

The remainder, 2 percent, include Christians and Jews.
If those figures become accepted, I wonder how that's going to change the political calculations about elections.

I did notice that in the article there was no way to determine how the Kurds fit into this. I don't know if they were somehow divided up between Shiites and Sunnis or left out entirely. And there are of course real political ramifications here: The Sunnis, not in charge of Iraq for the first time since modern Iraq was founded in 1921, are feeling excluded and disrespected in their minority status on the Iraqi Governing Council. Finding themselves in the majority would justify considerable shifts in representation in the period when the constitution is being written (and power distributed). So the figures could be completely bogus.

But - if it does become accepted that Shiites are not a majority of the population (previous estimates have put their numbers at as much as 60% of the total), will the sources of the voices demanding immediate direct elections shift?

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