DOHA (AFP) – Leading Iraqi Sunni cleric Harith al-Dari called on Arab leaders on Saturday to boycott the Arab summit in Baghdad next March to demonstrate their opposition to the US occupation.
“Any Arab country which participates in the Arab league summit in Iraq will be supporting the occupation,” Dari told Qatar’s Al-Watan daily in an interview to be published on Sunday.
“I think that one of the items in the Arab League (charter) is that it should not be involved in any conference in an occupied Arab country,” said Dari, who heads the Association of Muslim Scholars.
Iraq has not held a regular Arab summit since November 1978, although it did host an extraordinary session in Baghdad in May 1990.
Dari also described the withdrawal of US combat troops from Iraq at the start of this month as nothing but “a re-deployment, or partial withdrawal.”
Earlier this year, the US Treasury Department announced new financial sanctions against Dari, accusing him of providing support to Al-Qaeda’s branch in Iraq.
Dari accused the United States, Israel, and Iran of being behind “90 percent of the blasts” hitting war-ravaged Iraq.
Iraqi government figures suggest violence in the country has risen in recent months as the US military has withdrawn thousands of soldiers and Iraqi politicians have failed to agree on a new government six months after an inconclusive election.
Iraqi factions are unable to form a government “without the help of the main dominating sides” in Iraq — the United States and Iran, said Dari.
Incumbent Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s State of Law Alliance, a Shiite grouping, gained two fewer seats in March’s election than Iraqiya, a broadly secular coalition with strong Sunni backing led by ex-premier Iyad Allawi, a Shiite.
But neither man has managed to gain a working parliamentary majority despite months of coalition negotiations, leaving the nation’s politics in limbo amid growing public frustration at the lack of progress.