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Al Jaafari''s Speech - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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I am always amazed when I hear extremist Sunnis expressing their radical views, in what is considered a national reconciliation conference between Iraqis that was held recently held in Cairo. I am also rather amazed at the Shia majority”s attempts of eliminating the Sunni minority. The reason behind the extremism of Sunnis lie in the fact that Sunnis are not obtaining an adequate electoral majority that could help them alter the political situation; in addition, they do not possess geographical location or wealth to demand extra rights.

As for the Shia persistence of eliminating Sunnis from political life, such action is odd considering that electoral success is almost granted with no fuss or fight. Hence, it would be for their own benefit if various parties, even opposition parties, were able to share the political process, as this would be the only way to provide the Shia with the required legitimacy and stability.

Nevertheless, despite all the accusations that were thrown around by all parties, the boycotts and the press conference battles, the Cairo conference seemed more like an attractive festival. The League of Arab States was wise enough to hold such a conference as it gave Iraqis a sense of Arab concern about the Iraqi matter, despite all the Arab terrorists exported from Iraq and the way in which Arab media has been criticized profoundly by Iraqi figures.

This feeling was reflected by the words of the Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Al Jaafari in his outstanding speech that had amazed many as it incorporated all questions that are posed in Arab gatherings inside and outside of Iraq. The speech was extremely positive and tackled questions such as whether Iraqis are considered Arab citizens or not, whether any fears exist concerning the issue of their belonging to the Arab world as well as many other matters. Perhaps due to his response to such perplexing questions, Al Jaafari”s rivals had deliberately underestimated his speech and accused him of exaggerating in his optimism of Iraqis of different sects coexisting peacefully with one another.

We completely realize that Iraqi opposition parties would be greatly displeased if Arabs believe that Iraq”s crisis is one related to terrorism. Opposition parties rather regard the crisis of Iraq as one concerned with non-attained rights.

Al Jaafari has been correct in his vision of the Iraqi matter until now. Iraqis in their mosaic-like society coexisted peacefully for centuries and what we are now witnessing are the works of the Baath party”s militias that had lost their positions of power, yet claim to be defending people. In addition, Al-Zarqawi and his affiliates yearn for war in any part of the Arab world and under any excuse, as we have recently witnessed in Jordan.

Certainly, the prevailing antagonism that is ignited by political losers could really tear the Iraqi public into different camps and further strengthen classifications according to creeds or political ideologies, the result of which is civil war.

What Al Jaafari had said was wise and had a great influence upon all Arabs who knew nothing about Iraq except what opposition parties have stated. His words will be more reassuring if the Iraqi government delicately maintains a good image in front of the Arab world. Only few people realize that that some groups are still searching for a political status or a long lost glory. Such groups aim at waging war in Iraq and involving all Iraqis and Arabs, and they will further submit their alleged evidences that highlight the importance of the existence of antagonizing parties, the struggle between them, and the inevitable need of external support.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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