CU-Boulder expert on Middle East talks about turmoil in Iraq

December 21, 2011

An arrest warrant charging Iraqi Vice President Tariq Al-Hashemi, the country's highest-ranking Sunni political figure, that he ran hit squads targeting government officials, may signal the beginning of the end of national reconciliation between Sunnis and Shiites, says Nabil Echchaibi (Ek-Sha-Be), an assistant professor of journalism and media studies at the University of Colorado Boulder. Echchaibi's research includes identity, religion and the role of media in shaping and reflecting modern religious perspectives among Muslims in the Middle East.

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An arrest warrant charging Iraqi Vice President Tariq Al-Hashemi, the country's highest-ranking Sunni political figure, that he ran hit squads targeting government officials, may signal the beginning of the end of national reconciliation between Sunnis and Shiites, says Nabil Echchaibi (Ek-Sha-Be), an assistant professor of journalism and media studies at the University of Colorado Boulder. Echchibi's research includes identity, religion and the role of media in shaping and reflecting modern religious perspectives among Muslims in the Middle East.

He says he is not optimistic that Iraq can over come the efforts by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite, to prosecute a leading Sunni leader like Al-Hashemi.

CUT 1 “So I’m not as optimistic as maybe some commentators have been over the weekend about the prospects of Iraq judging, particularly, from this incident with the vice president and the president going forward with this long standing fight between Sunni and Shiite Muslims in Iraq.” (:21)

Echchaibi fears the country could once again plunge into a sectarian civil war similar to the one the world witnessed in Iraq from 2006 to 2008.

CUT 2 “So if this is any indication of how things are going to go, this is pretty scary stuff. You have the beginning of, I think, the unraveling of this national government, this national reconciliation government, which is pretty much of a concern. Is this going to be an Iraq where we’re going to witness a sectarian sort of violence erupt in just the next few days?” (:24)  

To interview Echchaibi he is best reached by e-mail at nabil.echchaibi@colorado.edu. He also can be reached at 303-492-8246.

Or contact Dirk Martin in the Office of Media Relations and News Services at 303-492-3140 or dirk.martin@colorado.edu.

 

-CU-

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