[QUOTE][B]Sunni demand could unravel Iraqi government[/B]
From Nic Robertson
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Iraq's top Sunni official has set a deadline of next week for pulling his entire bloc out of the government -- a potentially devastating blow to reconciliation efforts within Iraq. He also said he turned down an offer by President Bush to visit Washington until he can count more fully on U.S. help.
Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi made his comments in an interview with CNN. He said if key amendments to the Iraq Constitution are not made by May 15, he will step down and pull his 44 Sunni politicians out of the 275-member Iraqi parliament.
"If the constitution is not subject to major changes, definitely, I will tell my constituency frankly that I have made the mistake of my life when I put my endorsement to that national accord," he said.
Specifically, he wants guarantees in the constitution that the country won't be split into Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish federal states that he says will disadvantage Sunnis.
Al-Hashimi's cooperation with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's government is widely seen as essential if there is to be a realistic chance of bridging the Shiite-Sunni divide in Iraq -- one of the key goals of the Bush administration.
The withdrawal of the Sunni bloc would unravel months of efforts to foster political participation by Sunnis in Iraq's government. It also would further weaken al-Maliki just weeks after Shiite Cabinet ministers allied with Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr bolted from the government.
Al-Hashimi's Iraqi Islamic Party was key in getting Sunnis out to vote in the December 2005 election. Sunnis had been reluctant to take part in the political process, and many were only convinced to do so with the promise of changes to the Iraqi Constitution. Al-Hashimi said the United States co-signed those changes, and now a year and a half later nothing has been done.
Without a change to the constitution, he said, "The situation would be a disaster for Iraq."
He added, "I would like to see the identity of my country, in fact, restored back."
Al-Hashimi said he has expressed his concerns to Bush, and that for now he will not travel to the United States unless he knows it will result in action. Al-Hashimi was invited to Washington during a recent phone call with Bush.
Al-Hashimi said he was "very clear" to Bush that "our [Sunni] participation is quite unfortunately becoming meaningless." Bush and al-Hashimi have met once before, in December.
Bush talks with Iraqi prime minister
On Monday, the president held a 25-minute videoconference with al-Maliki, the White House and the prime minister's office announced. In Washington, White House spokesman Tony Snow said political reconciliation efforts were "the focal point of those conversations."
Al-Maliki talked about getting leaders of Iraq's major factions together "to sit down in a very practical way and say, 'Let's get this stuff fixed,' " Snow said.
"What you got was a very clear sense from the prime minister that it was important to be making progress," he said.
Al-Maliki's office said Bush will dispatch a senior administration official to Iraq to rally support for the government, while the prime minister "reaffirmed the importance of continuing cooperation and coordination" between U.S. and Iraqi troops now trying to pacify the capital.
Al-Maliki's Shiite-dominated government has been under great pressure politically to develop good relations with Sunnis, who have been alienated from post-Saddam Hussein Iraq and have supported the insurgency.
Sunnis, who prevailed under Hussein despite being a minority in Iraq, are concerned about being shunned from public life as a result of de-Baathification policies and want to be included in the fair sharing of Iraqi oil revenues and other resources.
Al-Hashimi said that his patience is running thin with the government's failure to promote reconciliation and that he feels he is not consulted regularly on key decisions. In addition, he said, he sees growing frustrations within the Sunni community that they are being left out of the political process.
The vice president is feeling the heat on all sides. Al Qaeda in Iraq -- which is made up of Sunni extremists -- recently issued a warning to him, saying he was on the "wrong political path." Al-Hashimi said that al Qaeda is gaining strength in some areas, including parts of Baghdad, because Sunnis were frustrated by the lack of political progress.
If Sunnis aren't an equal partner in the government, he said, they should say "bye-bye to the political process."
Asked if that meant all-out civil war with Shiites, he said no.
"I'm not saying that I'm going to war," he said, adding he would not encourage his bloc to get involved with "any sort of violence whatsoever."
At the same time, he said Sunnis will be "frustrated" and people will "think on other alternatives."
But he said he'd also prefer not to reach that point.[/QUOTE]
This is potentially very bad news from Iraq. If the Sunnis pull out, this could spell collapse of the Iraqi "democratic" government. It seems the Shia majority have no intention to include the Sunnis in the political process. They have failed at every chance they have had for reconciliation. In fact they have contributed to the sectarian divide by not only failing in the political process but also by secretly backing many of these Shia Death Squads.
Why do we continue to support this divisive govt? Isnt it time we have broken ties with the Maliki government? They have failed miserably. They do not seem to be part of the solution but are part of the problem. And what have we done to address these political questions? We keep pushing for more troops and more military presence to calm the violence but this is akin to controll a leaking dam using scotch tape. Shouldnt this administration have the same urgency to develop a political solution?
Like the Japanese did in China during the 1930s. The Japanese would fly over remote mountainous Chinese villages and drop canisters of deadly gasses. When the canister hit the ground it broke and out came the gas. Within a period of time the villagers were all dead. A lot of villagers in a lot of villages.
We could/should do the same thing in the Al Quaeda areas of mountainous Afghanistan. And what the hey, drop a few canisters in Iraq, too! Who would ever find the thousands of dead bodies of our enemy? THAT'S the beauty of it!!
The Chinese villagers were innocent and didn't deserve to die. AQ and our enemies in Iraq do.
[QUOTE=AlbanyJet]We could/should do the same thing in the Al Quaeda areas of mountainous Afghanistan. And what the hey, drop a few canisters in Iraq, too! Who would ever find the thousands of dead bodies of our enemy? THAT'S the beauty of it!![/QUOTE]
Wake up, Albany. Our government DOESN'T want to kill off AQ. If they killed off AQ, who would the bogeyman be to justify dumping billions of dollars into the coffers of defense contractors? This war is for money, not terrorism.
[QUOTE]ďOf course the people donít want war. But after all, itís the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and itís always a simple matter to drag the people along whether itís a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger.Ē [/QUOTE]
[QUOTE=PlumberKhan]Wake up, Albany. Our government DOESN'T want to kill off AQ. If they killed off AQ, who would the bogeyman be to justify dumping billions of dollars into the coffers of defense contractors? This war is for money, not terrorism.[/QUOTE]
I've read some dopey sh*t on this board but this one takes the cake......
[QUOTE=AlbanyJet]The only thing that this administration should develop is a huge can of Raid (tm) bug spray and exterminate as many 'Islamic insurgents' as possible.
P.S. I am very serious. Seriously![/QUOTE]
The problem in Iraq is that they fear the insurgents/terrorists more than they fear us. I agree with you to a point. There needs to be serious consequences to anyone aiding a terrorist or insurgent. They need to know that we are there to help them but God help them if they get on our bad side.
[QUOTE=JetinHuntersville]The problem in Iraq is that they fear the insurgents/terrorists more than they fear us. I agree with you to a point. [B]There needs to be serious consequences to anyone aiding a terrorist or insurgent. They need to know that we are there to help them but God help them if they get on our bad side[/B].[/QUOTE]
Fine, then lets start with the Maliki Government that has supported several Shia Death Squads
I think the Sunnis are bluffing in order to become more important than they are destined to be. If they pull out, its more likely Iraq eventually gets partitioned, and they get screwed out of oil profits.
[QUOTE=quantum]I think the Sunnis are bluffing in order to become more important than they are destined to be. If they pull out, its more likely Iraq eventually gets partitioned, and they get screwed out of oil profits.[/QUOTE]
If Iraq gets partitioned and the Sunnis really are not all that important then the only ones who loose by partitioning are the Shia. As it is, they have most of the oil rich land. Partitioning woul mean they have to give some up.
If the Sunni play a part in accepting a three way split of land and oil revenue they appear to be brokers for peace and will share the oil revenue. They can rule their own territory. If the Kurds and the Shia go along they win by having a stable area that can produce peace and revenue. I can't see how shutting out the Sunni of land and revenue will ever create a stable area for peace or prosperity. It will be a endless supply of death and destruction. They all need to compromise and the big club over their heads should be that we are not staying there forever.
[QUOTE=chicadeel]It will be a endless supply of death and destruction.[/QUOTE]
It will be an endless supply of death and destruction no matter what happens, no matter what we do, no matter what anyone does. It's all the more reason why we need to cut our losses and split from Iraq NOW!
[QUOTE=AlbanyJet][B]It will be an endless supply of death and destruction no matter what happens, no matter what we do[/B], no matter what anyone does. It's all the more reason why we need to cut our losses and split from Iraq NOW![/QUOTE]
I agree 100%.
This is now their fight not ours.