Iraqi Coalition Against Maliki Aims to Prevent 'Semi-Saddam'

Article Summary
Al-Hayat reports on the ongoing attempts by opposition groups to confront Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s rising power. A diverse coalition that includes the Sadrist movement and the Iraqi National Accord continues with its campaign to withdraw confidence from the PM. For his part, Maliki is accusing his opposition of conspiring against him. 

Shiite religious leader Muqtada al-Sadr rejected Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s nomination for a third term. Sadr’s parliamentary bloc said, “The meeting of the Iraqi National Alliance [INA] was held today [Jun 18] to discuss general issues, not to convince us against withdrawing confidence [from Maliki].” The The Iraqi National Accord, a political party led by Iyad Allawi under the Iraqi List, rejected Maliki’s accusations against the signatories of the no-confidence petition, who he called “conspirators.”

MP Izzat al-Shabandar from the State of Law coalition said that the tactic of withdrawing confidence from Maliki is personally motivated and aims to prevent his nomination for a third term. In response to a question by one of his followers regarding this statement, Sadr said: “We do not want Maliki to be nominated for a third time, because we do not want him to be a semi-Saddam.”

Sadr said that he “sought to serve Iraq” and called on Maliki to “preserve its prestige.” He added, “We want him to give Iraq a chance to be built, just as he wanted it ... Democracy should not be exploited as an opportunity to dominate the future.”

Regarding Shabandar’s call on the Sadrist movement to adhere to the decision of the INA or leave it, Sadr asked, “Does the call aim to break the unity of the Shiite alliance? Are they also against the Shiites?”

Oday Awad, MP of the Al-Ahrar liberal bloc which represents the Sadrist movement in parliament, told Al-Hayat that “the National Alliance meeting tomorrow [Jun 18] aims to discuss general issues, not to convince the Al-Ahrar bloc against the no-confidence project ... We are still part of the National Alliance, and we have received an invitation to attend the meeting.” He added that “the Sadrist movement still upholds its decision to withdraw confidence from Maliki, and there is no change in its position.”

Awad stressed that “no one has been selected yet to question Maliki. A committee of six deputies has been formed, and the [parliamentary] blocs will discuss the issue in the next couple of days.”

Awad scoffed at the accusations that are leveled against the blocs and deputies who signed the no-confidence petition, claiming that these charges are “associated with regional agendas.” He expressed surprise at “such accusations, especially since the blocs that want to withdraw confidence are acting constitutionally and are applying the rules of democracy.”

Maliki said in a television interview last Friday: “If I were a dictator, I could eliminate the conspirators who collected [MP] signatures to sack me, and ended this crisis.”

On the other hand, the Iraqi National Accord movement said that “Maliki evades disagreement by misleading public opinion and mobilizing state institutions to confront his partners.” Iraqi National Accord spokesman Hadi al-Zalimi stated that “Maliki, due to his position, has become accustomed to embracing a deplorable culture that is inconsistent with the values ​​of democracy. He does this in the face of those who diverge with him regarding both domestic and foreign policy.”

He explained that “through this method, [Maliki] cannot accept disagreement and resorts to a variety of emotional and inflammatory approaches. These approaches aim to mislead public opinion and mobilize the state in order to confront his [opposition] partners in government. However, he categorizes them as enemies and conspirators, without paying attention to the scale of the suffering that his citizens endure.” He added that “if we accept the conspiracy theory that inhabits Maliki’s imagination, then the individual would be the one capable of conspiring against the [MP] group, not the opposite.”

Zalimi called on Maliki to “explain how three-quarters of the country’s political forces and their leaders, and an even larger percentage of the Iraqi people are conspiring against him.” He added that “he adopts this approach of accusations as an alternative to reconciliation, partnership, cooperation and establishing security. In the absence of security, innocent lives are lost on a daily basis. His approach is no longer acceptable, and the age of custodianship over the Iraqi state has ended.”

The statement also said, “The Iraqi National Accord blesses the determination for change and reform that is being led by the national forces of the Erbil and Najaf coalition in their constitutional framework. The movement also looks forward to achieving greater political and popular consensus, in order to establish the popular will and national interest.” Zalimi urged “all institutions and individuals to respect the constitution and maintain the democratic approach in dealing with any step in the direction of change.” Two days ago [Jun 16], the Iraqi List threatened to sue Maliki for describing the MPs who demanded the withdrawal of confidence as “conspirators.”

Found in: withdrawing confidence from maliki, sadrist movement, oday awad, nouri al-maliki, muqtada al-sadr, iraqi national alliance (ina), iraqi national accord, iraqi list, erbil and najaf coalition, erbil, al-wefaq movement, al-ahrar bloc

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