Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Iraqi Dawa Party Official: No dialogue with Armed Groups | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
Select Page

London, Asharq Al-Awsat- Dr Haydar al-Ibadi, a leading figure in the [Islamic] Dawa Party, which is led by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, denied that the government contacted armed groups to include them in the political process. He said: “In my view, no armed groups remained in Iraq, except the Al-Qaeda Organization remnants.”

Member of the Iraqi House of Representatives, parliament, Hasan al-Sanid, who is a leading figure in the Dawa Party, said in press statements in Baghdad that were carried by the German News Agency yesterday: “The Iraqi government is holding contacts with armed groups to urge them to join the political process as part of the national reconciliation plan.” He added: “Direct and indirect talks with some armed groups have not ceased.”

For his part, Al-Ibadi asked about the identity of these groups. Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat from Baghdad by telephone, he said: “Most of the armed groups and militias laid down their arms following the campaigns that were carried out against them to impose the rule of law in Basra, Al-Amarah, Mosul and other cities in Iraq.” He added: “These groups either joined the government forces, perished, or laid down their arms.”

Al-Ibadi categorically denied that any official in the state spoke to Baathist leaders whether inside Iraq or abroad. He explained: “The Iraqi constitution does not allow this. Besides, the public’ general mood does not support the Baath Party because it committed a lot of crimes during and after the rule of the [former] regime.”

He added: “The Baathists have committed a lot of crimes and killed a large number of Iraqis since 2003 to date. It is they who allowed the Al-Qaeda Organization to enter the country and who were involved in the killing of hundreds of Iraqis.” He asked: “So, how can such a party rejoin the political process?”

However, Al-Ibadi noted: “There are Baathists who returned to their jobs and who live a normal life without any problems. But they did so as Iraqis, not as members of the Baath Party, which is known for being a conspiratorial military party that does not believe in democracy and does not allow the establishment of a democratic rule.”

He added: “Permission for the return of the Baath Party to political action needs a constitutional amendment, and I very much rule out the possibility of such a move.”

Al-Sanid had said: “These talks achieved positive results. A lot of these groups laid down their arms, joined the political action, and found opportunities to practice their work and implement their political programs. And there are other groups to which we continue to talk, so that they may lay down their arms and return to the table of political action.”

Al-Sanid added: “After signing the withdrawal agreement, there is no need to carry weapons. The door is open for the armed groups if they believe in laying down their arms and stop killing citizens and shedding Iraqi blood.”

On a separate issue, Al-Ibadi commented on the outcome of the provincial council elections in which the Dawa Party, through its list, the State of Law Coalition, achieved great results in nine of the 14 provinces.

Asked whether the Iraqi public’s mood leans more towards the seculars than the Islamic parties, Al-Ibadi said: “This is not true, and the evidence is that Islamic parties secured most of the votes.”

He added: “The Iraqi public’s mood is against the parties that used or use religious slogans for political purposes. The people became fed up with this situation. After the year 2003, the majority of the Iraqis held a mental view that anyone who raised the Islamic slogan was an honest and sincere person. Afterward, however, it became certain that the Iraqis cannot put up with those who raise this slogan, not to implement it, but only to use it.”

Al-Ibadi, who is known for his principled commitment to the Dawa Party’s policy, said: “The thought and bylaw of the Dawa Party apply Islam in a realistic way. In other words, you can be a Muslim and at the same time allow others to practice their living, religious, and confessional freedoms. That is the essence of the Islamic thought.”

He added: “We, in the party, do not have people classified as extremists and moderates. In fact, we do not recognize extremism in Islam. There is only a moderate Islam. We declared this view or these ideas in the early 1980s.”

Al-Ibadi was asked whether the results of the provincial council elections will create a chasm between the Dawa Party that won these elections and the [Shiite] Iraqi Islamic Supreme Council [IISC], led by Abdulaziz al-Hakim who lost a lot of his positions in the elections because his list (Shahid al-Mihrab) did not win even in the IISC strongholds. In reply to the question, he said: “We do not seek to create a chasm or a distance between us and the IISC. Both of us are members of a coalition (the Unified Iraqi Coalition), and the prime minister too belongs to this coalition.”

He added: “However, we say that Iraq will need coalitions consisting of all parties in the coming period. We will ally ourselves even with the losers and with independents who won in the elections because the country needs reconstruction, unified efforts, and cooperation between all parties.”

He went on: “We move forcefully to set up alliances within the provincial councils in order to provide services for all Iraqis without discrimination. We do not seek leadership or advocate quotas because we, in the state of law, pledged to give up quotas and work to give the largest number of Iraqis an opportunity to participate in building the country.”

The leading figure in the Dawa party denied that his party thought of leaving the Unified Iraqi Coalition. He said: “The coalition will continue, at least until the end of the current session. We seek to introduce reforms to the coalition.”

He added: “This coalition will continue, but in a different form. It will be more absorbing of others and of ideas and closer to the Iraqis. It will not use lose and unnecessary confessional slogans. The coalition needs a lot of reforms, and we want to support and develop it.”