Earlier this week, Ammar Al-Hakim invited several political sides in Iraq—the Sunnis, Shi’ites and Kurds—to attend a meeting in Baghdad to put forward an initiative to secure rapprochement between the opposing political forces and end the terrorist attacks taking place across Iraq.
In a speech he delivered at his office on the anniversary of the birth of Imam Ali, Hakim called on the Iraqi political factions to put their differences behind them in light of the recent spate of terrorist attacks.
He said: “The meeting will show that no matter how sharp our differences, we respect the blood of the people. This will send a message to the terrorists and their sponsors that that they will not undermine our unity, and that we will fight [them] until the last moment.”
He called for the establishment of a “National Honor Code” that codifies rejection of sectarianism and terrorism, adding that all political parties should sign this.
Commenting on the initiative, ISCI MP Furat Al-Shara’a told Asharq Al-Awsat: “Many initiatives have been launched, whether by Ammar Al-Hakim or others. This is not the first initiative and possibly will not be the last until we achieve the best results to overcome the current ordeal which threatens the future of Iraq.”
“The importance of the initiative lies in it coming at a decisive time and from a figure accepted by everybody. This is something which will guarantee the success of the initiative. Accordingly, we will hold two-, three- and four-party meetings to determine the formula for this national honor code,” he added.
When asked about his evaluation of the security measures taken in Iraq, Shara’a said: “It appears that the changes made by the commander-in-chief of the Iraqi Armed Forces were very important, yet not enough. Those found to be negligent must be severely punished because terrorists are able to attack when they want. This is something which will make the situation more difficult even with the presence of national initiatives.”
For its part, the Kurdistan Alliance (KA) welcomed the initiative. Spokesman Moayad Tayeb informed Asharq Al-Awsat that “the KA supports the initiative and all other initiatives that aim to reunify the country and prevent the horrors of civil war.”
Tayeb added: “Dialogue is important to rise above the differences and crises gripping the country provided that this it is based on clear programs that bring positive results so as not to re-launch useless initiatives in the future.”
The KA spokesman emphasized that “we are ready to take any step required to build on the current initiative and resolve the crisis.”
In related news, Sheikh Mahdi Al-Somaida’ai, the chief of the Sunni Fatwa Council in Iraq, stressed that “the initiative comes at an appropriate time despite the vague political scene and the severe crisis of confidence among politicians.”
“Such meetings and dialogues are always welcome, but today they have become urgent,” he added. “Hakim’s initiative supports our step, although no prior coordination took place.”