In post-U.S. Iraq, Shiites and Sunnis are separate, unequal

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Most, if not all, university directors in Baghdad are Shiites, according to staff members.

“Sectarian discrimination has become more manifest since al-Adeeb took over the ministry. Several deans and heads of departments have been removed because they belong to the other sect,” said university lecturer Ali Abu-Zeid, himself a Shiite. “Even enrollment for postgraduate studies is subtly decided on sectarian basis. We all know that,” said Mr. Abu-Zeid, who declined to name the university that employs him because he feared reprisals.

Fed up with Shiite domination, the mainly Sunni provinces of Diyala, Salaheddin and al-Anbar recently have announced their intention to become semiautonomous regions, a move provided for by the constitution. Their plans have been stymied by Mr. al-Maliki, who argues that granting them autonomy would break up Iraq.

In Diyala, the provincial council voted Dec. 12 to establish a self-ruled region, with 18 members in favor and five against. The next day, protesters widely suspected to be Shiite militiamen loyal to Mr. al-Maliki attacked the offices of the provincial government as well as the home of Sunni Gov. Abdul-Naser al-Mahdawi as police and army troops stood by and watched.

Fearing for their lives, Mr. al-Mahdawi and several council members fled the provincial capital, Baqouba, and found sanctuary in the mainly Kurdish town of Khanaqin to the north.

Last month, Mr. al-Maliki gave Mr. al-Mahdawi 72 hours to return to Baqouba or resign. He resigned.

AP writers Sameer N. Yacoub, Mazin Yahya, Sinan Salahedddin and Bushra Juhi in Baghdad and Anne Gearan in Washington contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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