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Iraq: Al-Maliki’s Party calls for his removal | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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London, Asharq Al-Awsat- Salim al-Husni, a key figure in the Iraqi Islamic Dawa Party under the leadership of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, has revealed that the party is preparing for a general conference for the leaders of the Islamic Dawa Party. He said that the conference will announce Al-Maliki’s removal from the party, because of his “abuse of the principles and ideas adopted by the Islamic Dawa Party.”

Al-Husni, who is the former editor of the Islamic Dawa Party’s newspaper (Al-Jihad) during the 1980s, said that: “Al-Maliki has used the Islamic Dawa Party and transformed it into a bridge to power.” He noted that: “the ideas and principles of our party are far from power-mongering. Instead, it is a cultural and mass party that is founded on the principle of serving people, rather than serving officials and covering up for them.”

The Islamic Dawa Party leader has told Asharq Al-Awsat in London that: “the complaints of the leaders and bases of the Islamic Dawa Party have made us prepare for the convening of a general conference inside Iraq, because the party is an Iraqi party.” He noted that: “we will not describe this conference as a secession conference, because this has become a very shameful situation as a result of the large number of splits that have occurred within the Islamic Dawa Party.” He added: “Instead, we refer to our conference as a correctional movement and a reversion to the principles and ideas adopted by the party.” He said: “We will call for Al-Maliki’s removal, because he has done great wrong and extensive harm to the party’s history and to the political process. This is now that he has used the party as a bridge to power and held on to it.”

Al-Husni, who joined the Islamic Dawa Party in 1973 and was the person in charge of the party’s media affairs, noted that: “for the most part, the reason for the convening of the conference lies in Al-Maliki’s way of working and behavior, which have detached the party from its principles.” He added that: “the leadership of the Islamic Dawa Party has become preoccupied with power and ignored the party’s mission.” He pointed out that: “it is not a personal issue between me and Al-Maliki. He has been my friend since 1980, when he was not known even at the level of the Islamic Dawa Party leaders.” He added: “In 1986, we, the leaders of the party, decided to wage a media campaign to promote some of our party members. Among them was Abu-Isra (Nuri) al-Maliki. This was his name.” He said: “At that time, I was the chief editor of the party’s newspaper (Al-Jihad), which was published in Tehran.” He added: “I did not know how to present Al-Maliki, because there was nothing to write about him or introduce him, especially since he was not known as a leader until a later stage.” He noted: “Al-Maliki was hesitant and fearful. Now, I find this transformation in his personality strange. I attribute this to him getting a taste of power.”

The Islamic Dawa Party leader said that: “Al-Maliki has deliberately driven away historic and strong Islamic Dawa Party leaders. He also took weak people as close companions in order for him to easily control them and order them around.” He added: “The cultural level of those who work at his office today is below average. We find it strange how these people are running the affairs of the state and the Islamic Dawa Party.” He stated: “Accordingly, Al-Maliki has followed in the footsteps of Saddam Hussein, who drove away key Baath Party leaders and took the weak as close companions.” He noted that: “today, the best name that can be given to the Islamic Dawa Party is Al-Maliki’s party. We have actually started using this name, because the party’s practices have nothing to do with the ideas and principles of the Islamic Dawa Party.” He said: “This reminds us of the practices of the leader of the former regime, who transformed the Baath Party into Saddam’s party.”

Al-Husni said: “During the general conference that we will hold, we will employ the principles and ideas adopted by the Islamic Dawa Party. Al-Maliki’s practices have harmed the party and everyone will know who represents the party.” He added: “For quite some time now, we have moved toward change, and we do not say secession. This is because, as I said earlier, this was a shameful state of affairs.” He explained that: “foremost among the splits that have occurred in the history of the party, and I mean major splits, was one that occurred in 1965, when Sami al-Badri seceded from the party and formed Jund al-Imam [Soldiers of the Imam] group. This was followed by the 1981 split by Izalddin Salim (Abdul-Zahrah Othman), a member of the former Iraqi Governing Council, who was assassinated in Baghdad in 2004. This is in addition to the split that occurred in 1999 and the formation of the Islamic Dawa Party-Iraq Organization wing.”

Al-Husni said that: “what has caused us to delay the convening of the conference is that we do not want some parties to develop the impression that we are secessionists. Rather, we want to say that this is the genuine Islamic Dawa Party.” He added: “Secession means the adoption of new ideas and goals. Nevertheless, we insist on achieving the goals of our party, which rejects authority while its leader is holding on to power today.” He stated: “Some people favored power over the party and got involved in acts of corruption. This is a very shameful state of affairs. Therefore, we will call for Al-Maliki’s removal from the party and his deposition.” He noted: “As a matter of fact, to begin with he became the leader of the party by mistake. This was a result of the vote counting method that was used at that time and led to some leaders rising to power.” He stated: “Al-Maliki was also mistakenly chosen as the party’s secretary general during the 2007 conference.” He noted that: “Al-Maliki admitted that a mistake was made and proposed a re-election after three months in order to protect the party from harm. However, he deceived everyone and did not hold a re-election.”

The Islamic Dawa Party leader pointed out that: “the influence that the Islamic Dawa Party enjoys today is attributed to the fact that it is in power. Once Al-Maliki leaves the government, the party will lose its influence, because it is not based on true mass influence.” He added: “Moreover, the party won the provincial election because Al-Maliki is in power. Once he is removed from the party, he will lose a great deal of his popularity.”