Influential Sunni Arab leaders of a boycott of last Sunday's elections expressed a new willingness Friday to engage the coming Iraqi government and play a role in writing the constitution, in what may represent a strategic shift in thinking among mainstream anti-occupation groups.
In part, the Sunni and nationalist groups may be playing to their own constituencies. By all accounts, the Sunni turnout was far lower than that of Shiites and Kurds, although Sunni leaders debate whether that was a result of intimidation or adherence to calls for a boycott. But some residents in such Sunni towns as Ramadi and Tikrit have suggested there may be regrets over the choice. The disappointment seems strongest in urban areas, which have proved less sympathetic to the insurgency than the countryside.
The insurgents "made fools of us," said Mahmoud Ghasoub, a businessman in Baiji, a restive northern town. "They voted to disrupt the elections but failed. Now we have lost both tracks. We did not vote, nor did they disrupt the elections."
Guess that "I'm taking my ball and going home" philosophy wasn't working for you, huh?
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