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Finance Minister's Resignation Escalates Iraqi Crisis

Mustafa al-Kadhimi asks whether Iraq’s politicians have abandoned negotiations to exploit the ongoing protests for electoral gains.
Iraqi Finance Minister Rafie al-Issawi attends an anti-government demonstration in Ramadi, 100 km (62 miles) west of Baghdad, March 1, 2013. Iraq's finance minister resigned on Friday in front of crowds of Sunni Muslim protesters who have rallied daily against the Shi'ite-led government for more than two months, demanding an end to marginalisation of their minority sect. REUTERS/Ali al-Mashhadani (IRAQ - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST BUSINESS) - RTR3EFRV
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Prominent Iraqi National List leader and Finance Minister Rafi al-Issawi submitted his resignation to the government at a highly delicate and complicated time. His move has stirred a series of calls from Sunni religious and public figures for all other Sunni ministers to resign as well. Some even demanded they withdraw from the political process entirely.

Issawi's timing raises a number of questions regarding its motives. Does it represent an escalation, parallel to protesters' increasing demands, or does it indicate an inclination towards the growing Sunni front demanding an autonomous federal state? Does its timing, which coincides with the local elections, serve as an advertising campaign for these elections?

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