Previous Weekly Numbers have documented growing religious hostilities in Iraq. The missing headline -- as the Sunni-led Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), formerly affiliated with al-Qaeda, battle Shia-dominated government forces -- is a phrase from Bill Clinton's 1992 campaign strategist James Carville, "It's the economy, stupid." But, it's not oil and the negative impact on the global economy I'm referring to.A Pew Research survey conducted in 2012 (before ISIS gained ground) found that the large majority of Iraq's population (74%) considered unemployment to be a "very large problem" for the country. By contrast, fewer than half of the population considered conflict between religious groups to be a very large problem.
it highlights the dangers of a system where religion and religious identities become rallying points for other grievances. As the Shia-dominated Iraqi government favors other Shia Muslims -- long the underclass under Saddam Hussein -- this sets up new animosities that are easily grafted onto other issues, such as unemployment, inequality and unmet expectations.