Baghdad, Asharq Al-Awsat—Two of Iraq’s most prominent Shi’ite figures, Moqtada Al-Sadr and Ammar Al-Hakim, have stepped up their criticism of Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki’s passive reaction to the wave of bombings that struck Baghdad and several other Iraqi provinces last Sunday.
Taking place less than one week after Iraq’s largest jailbreak which saw 500 Al-Qaeda-affiliated prisoners escaping from Abu Ghraib and Taji prisons, Sunday’s bombings left hundreds dead and wounded.
In a statement issued on Monday, Moqtada Sadr, the leader of the Sadrist Movement, called on the members of the ruling National Iraqi Alliance to resign.
“I am not writing a condemnation [statement] because this is no longer useful. I am not asking the government and the parliament to resign, they are both already dying,” Sadr said.
He added: “I demand that security apparatus, ministries, and the commander of the armed forces resign.”
Addressing “the conscientious among Iraq’s Shi’ites particularly those in the National Iraqi Alliance” Sadr said: “Brothers, protect the reputation of Shia Islam,” calling on them “either to resign or to agree on what is right.”
For his part, Ammar Al-Hakim, the leader of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI), announced that the recurrent security breaches clearly demonstrate negligence on the part of those in charge of Iraq’s national security.
“The Taji and Abu Ghraib prison break a few days ago and the successive attacks that have taken place across the country require Iraq’s political leaders to hold an urgent meeting to discuss objective plans,” Hakim announced.
Echoing Sadr, Hakim raised questions about the “fate of billions of dollars spent on national security, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of security staff.”
Hakim also called on Iraq’s security leadership to “be courageous, admit their failures, and submit their resignations.”
For his part, MP Amir Kinani of the Sadrist Movement informed Asharq Al-Awsat: “Requests and appeals are not enough anymore. Therefore, what Mr. Sadr and Mr. Al-Hakim have demanded is an urgent call for a meeting of the National Iraqi Alliance because it is time to take drastic decisions.”
“The Sadrist Movement is part of the National Iraqi Alliance which, as the largest political entity, is responsible for what is happening. This means that it is the duty of Shi’ites [to resolve the situation]. This is why Mr. Sadr issued this call to protect the reputation of Shia Islam.”
“Among the scenarios which will be put forward is either the resignation of Al-Maliki; the Egyptian scenario of inciting the public to topple the government; or waiting for the results of the next parliamentary elections.”
For his part, ISCI MP Furat Al-Shara told Asharq Al-Awsat: “The call for an urgent meeting of the National Iraqi Alliance is to discuss the status quo in the country and the future challenges because unless we work on laying the foundations for a state of institutions, rather than individuals, we cannot expect security stability.”
“Mr. Al-Hakim did not just call for an urgent meeting of the National Iraqi Alliance but also demanded all those in charge of the security file resign because this is the least they can do in light of the successes the terrorist groups have achieved. This is something that we can no longer tolerate, whether it is on purpose or the result of ignorance or failure,” he added.
According to Iraqi police officials, an explosion targeting Shi’ite worshipers leaving Assad Allah mosque in Baghdad on Tuesday killed seven and wounded 11. At the same time, a suicide attack targeted a Sunni mosque in western Baghdad left at least two people dead, according to the Associated Press.