Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Shi’te Fears, Sunni Concerns over General Amnesty and Reconciliation in Iraq | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Members of parliament who held a sit-in shout slogans during a news conference at the parliament building in Baghdad, Iraq April 14, 2016. REUTERS/Khalid al Mousily

Baghdad- Parliament Speaker Salim al-Jabouri visited the Iraqi Higher Judicial Council twice this week. In his first visit, Jabouri was waiting the judge’s mercy to arrest or release him in a corruption case. As for the second time, he came as the head of the highest legislative body in the country with the authority to tackle any subject with judges, including general amnesty.

Voting on the amnesty draft-law’s 13 clauses was supposed to start on Monday but National Iraqi Alliance parliamentarians left the session and caused lack of quorum.

The law, which was backed by Sunnis, did not see the light over Shi’ite concerns from its repercussions.

According to Shi’ites, the law is linked to a time when Sunni politicians ran the country’s affairs.

Jabouri told Asharq Al-Awsat that the practices of Defense Minister Khaled al-Obeidi against him show that he is acting as a contributor to inter-Sunni conflict.

Obeidi has accused Jabouri of involvement in corruption. But the judiciary has closed the case.

Amid Jabouri’s anxiety of being arrested following Obeidi’s accusations and his lecture to judges that reconciliation is necessary to enjoy coexistence, the only way out is in the hand of the Iraqi parliament through passing the amnesty law while taking into consideration the Shi’ite and Sunni fears.

“The amnesty law represents a solution to the aggravated situation of the community. We see reforms as protection for human rights and dignity. That’s why we are presenting the draft-law as one of the main reforms steps,” he said.

Minister of Youth and Sports Jassim Mohammed Jaafar denied any political motives behind National Iraqi Alliance parliamentarians abstaining from voting.

“There are no political motives but justified concerns of exploiting the law to release al-Qaeda and ISIS terrorists,” he said.

However, Sunni leader Fares al-Fares did not rule out political motives because the parties agreed earlier on voting in favor of the act. He did not hide his surprise of how the Shi’ite parliamentarians acted.