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Al-Maliki warns against sectarianism! - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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It is true; sectarianism is an evil that threatens everything in our region, and warning against this abominable phenomenon is a duty. Indeed, sectarianism is something that we must confront. However what is strange and unbelievable is when it is Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki warning against the dangers of sectarianism on the region, particularly as his government is one of the major parties responsible for inciting abhorrent sectarianism!

Speaking from Najaf, Mr. Nouri al-Maliki warned of the dangers of sectarianism on the region, saying “today, the region lives (under) a dangerous wave of challenges, the real root of which is sectarianism.” He said that Iraq is working to rid itself of the evils of this phenomenon and warned against remnants of the Baathist regime in Iraq utilizing the “sectarian card” to secure their presence in the country, stressing that “terrorism is the basis for sectarian strife; each one generates the other.” Is there any more provocative statement than this, particularly as it came on the same day that the local authorities in Najaf took the decision to stop Bahrain Air flights to the city “in solidarity with the Bahraini people who are being subject to suppression”, according to the Iraqi announcement that backed the Shiite opposition in Bahrain? So al-Maliki is warning against sectarianism in the region at the same time that his regime represents one of the worst examples of this phenomenon, whilst it is also one of the greatest inciters of sectarianism, along with its ally Iran! Post-Saddam Iraq is the spark that rekindled the embers of political sectarianism in our region from anew. Therefore it was the current Iraqi regime – along with Hezbollah and Bashar al-Assad – that rekindled political sectarianism in our region in a very dangerous manner, with Iranian support, of course. Whilst it is true that sectarianism is a chronic sickness in our region, it has never been this intense, for sectarianism now plagues everything in our region, particularly politics and the media.

What is strange is that al-Maliki is warning against sectarianism at the same time that his regime is pursuing the country’s Sunni Vice President, after it sentenced him to death! Al-Maliki is warning against sectarianism and the threat of the Iraqi Baathist regime, whilst the international community is calling on his government to stop supporting the Baathist Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria, which has killed more than 17,000 Syrian people and destroyed the entire country. In fact, it is not just the international community that is calling on the al-Maliki regime to stop supporting al-Assad and instead stand with the unarmed Syrian people, but also Sheikh Abdul Mahdi al-Karbalai, a representative of Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. In his Friday sermon in Karbala, Sheikh al-Karbalai said “humanitarian and neighborly duty requires a noble and humane position from the Iraqi government and people towards the Syrian citizens who have fled to Iraq…they should be cared for and embraced and provided with the required level of housing.”

Therefore, after all of this, is it reasonable or acceptable for Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to speak about the dangers of sectarianism in our region, when his regime is one of the greatest inciters of this? Is it reasonable or acceptable for al-Maliki to warn against Baathism when the Iraqi government is supporting the Baathist al-Assad regime in Syria? This is truly puzzling, particularly as the al-Maliki regime continues to suppress approximately half of Iraqi society for sectarian reasons. Therefore it would be better for Mr. al-Maliki, rather than warning against sectarianism, to truly combat this and remove its causes, starting from Iraq, and then Syria, because good works begins at home!

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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