Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Iraq: Allawi proposes “roadmap” to defeat sectarianism - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
Select Page
Iraqi Vice-President Iyad Allawi speaks to reporters in Baghdad, Iraq, on December 29, 2013. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

Iraqi Vice-President Iyad Allawi speaks to reporters in Baghdad, Iraq, on December 29, 2013. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

Baghdad, Asharq Al-Awsat—Iraqi Vice-President Iyad Allawi proposed a national unity initiative to the country’s president, prime minister, speaker of parliament, and head of judiciary, on Monday, warning that he saw it as “the last chance” to prevent the country from breaking up along sectarian lines.

Allawi said in a statement on Monday that Iraq had “descended into infighting, and there has been a deterioration in the general understanding of the concept of citizenship in the country, as well as an absence of unity in Iraqi society and domestic peace and security.”

“National reconciliation is one of the most important necessities to achieve stability and foster genuine citizenship in the country, and remove injustice, fear and need from citizens,” he added.

Allawi, who is also leader of the Wataniya bloc in the Iraqi parliament, said this could only happen once there was a “move from a stage of reconciliation to one of serious work as part of a proper, clear timeframe to assign tangible, effective and bold steps.”

His initiative reportedly included a political “roadmap” of measures aimed at fostering national unity among Iraqis, thousands of whom have been killed in sectarian violence since the toppling of the late Ba’athist dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003.

Adnan Al-Danboos, an Iraqi MP from the Wataniya bloc, told Asharq Al-Awsat the leadership of the country were all united in agreeing that national reconciliation was the only solution for the country’s problems, after “years of sectarian infighting, violence and discrimination.”

He added, however, that such an initiative had to be “effected on the ground, rather than just encompassing a series of conferences and speeches.”

Allawi’s plan would, however, be “different from all those that have come before,” he said, because it included concrete steps for amending some current “divisive” laws, as well as including a proposal to compensate those affected by terrorist acts or human rights violations committed by extremist groups.

Ra’id Fahmi, a member of the Civil Democratic Alliance and member of the Central Committee of the Iraqi Communist Party, told Asharq Al-Awsat the success of any national reconciliation initiative would depend on how comprehensive it was in terms of bringing together Iraq’s myriad factions.

“The true bedrock of national reconciliation is achieving a high level of agreement between different groups, because this cannot be achieved by one side only,” he said.

“There needs to be a general openness, and bilateral and trilateral meetings between different groups to widen the circle to include as many different factions and prominent personalities as possible.”