London, Asharq Al-Awsat- The incumbent Iraqi Government is facing an avalanche of internal criticisms, for not achieving its national program for which it was formed.
Asharq Al-Awsat reports here the views of several Iraqi politicians from various parliamentary blocs about the performance of Nuri al-Maliki’s Government and what alternatives there are to it.
Head of the Iraqi Independent Democrats party, Dr. Adnan Pachachi told Asharq Al-Awsat in a telephone interview that, “the Iraqi government did not fulfill any of the promises it made to the Iraqi people, the same is true of the promises made by Nuri al Maliki, the Prime Minister of the government himself.”
Speaking from Abu Dhabi, Pachachi said that, “the crisis in the Iraqi situation and its government lies in the presence of armed militias and the fact that most ministers in the government are involved in one way or another with them. These militias have even infiltrated the armed forces and the security forces, which constitutes a big problem.”
He added that, “the new American plan must be implemented in collaboration with Iraqi forces, which in reality does not exist,” pointing out that, “A large operation must be executed to change the Iraqi forces, in addition to reforming the structure and providing training so as to ensure that they are independent and loyal to the state and the military institutions rather than to a sect or creed or party or a figure. This would enable the forces to bear their responsibility for security. Without these forces Iraq cannot be an independent state. This would require more time.”
Pachachi suggested that, “an international force that includes Arab and Islamic forces be dispatched to replace the American forces, which are the occupying forces, and for the international forces to follow the United Nations’ (UN) leadership rather than following the American administration.” He emphasized that ‘the security situation must take precedence and that it cannot withstand any more delays.”
Pachachi believes that the alternative to this state is ‘to form an emergency government or a national salvation one, which is capable of controlling security and bringing stability to the country, and that it be controlled by a strong figure who does not adopt a sectarian approach and does not favor one sect over the other. I find Iyad Allawi to be the most suitable for this task – although he is Shiaa, he is accepted by the majority of Shiaa, Sunnis, Kurds and non-Muslims – to form a government that can confront the current situation, especially security, and to put an end to the militias governing the Iraqi streets.”
Independent Kurdish politician and member of the Kurdish bloc in the House of Representatives, Dr Mahmoud Othman, said that, “This government failed and did not achieve what was stated in the governmental statement and it failed to fulfill its duty.” He pointed out that “the so-called new American strategy is but a new tactic guised as a strategy,” and that “it is more of a project than an actual strategy.” He expected “more chaos to sweep through Iraq and that the US administration can expect more problems this year than in the past one. Perhaps we will resort to forming a national salvation government or a strong military one – this matter will not pass without big problems and objections,” he said, pointing out that, “Everything has its price.”
Dr. Muhammad Bashar al-Faydi, the official spokesman of the Association of Muslim Scholars (AMS) led by Dr. Harith al-Dari, insisted on the AMS stand that calls for “this government’s resignation before the people force it to resign.” Speaking to Asharq al-Awsat by telephone from Amman yesterday, he said that “this government is sectarian and associated with foreign agendas that have nothing to do with the Iraqi people. The best evidence of this is the ethnic cleansing it has carried out and continues to carry out against the Sunnis in the state’s institutions.” He added: “The armed militias are Iraq’s problem. This government is colluding with these militias and the latter’s elements have even infiltrated the government’s security organs and the armed forces are giving support to the armed militias’ operations. We have a lot of material evidence that supports what I am saying.”
Al Faydi accused al Maliki of “dealing in a sectarian manner with the Iraqis. He doesn’t call the terrorist operations undertaken by the militias against the Sunnis ‘terrorism’, but rather describes them as action and reaction, whereas he calls the Iraqi resistance ‘militias’, furthermore calling the Sunnis ‘terrorists’. He described the kidnappings of ministry staff from the Ministry of Higher Education ‘a media exaggeration’ when in fact it’s his ministry [follows his government].”
Member of the Iraqi National List bloc (led Iyad Allawi) in the House of Representatives, Izzat al Shabandar said, “there is a sectarian spirit that rules the political process in Iraq, namely, the leaders of the Shiaa movement cling to governance believing it to be their centuries-old long lost right, while the Sunni leaders fear the premonition of Shiaa domination over everything.” While in Damascus, al Shabandar told Asharq Al-Awsat in a phone interview that, “based on our observation of the situation, al Maliki [Nouri] is in accord with US President Bush’s vision, the latter of whom has received reassurances through his meetings with the Iraqi government’s prime minister that al Maliki is determined to surpass the constraints that face his policy.”
Al Shabandar believes that ‘if al Maliki is able to benefit from US support, in accordance with President Bush’s strategy, in addition to the support of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, then perhaps he will indeed be able to achieve security and stability in the Iraqi arena – but if he fails to achieve that, I don’t think the American administration will continue its support, it would have to find an alternative to the current tense situation – namely, the US administration’s success in Iraq would mean its success in the United States.”
Al Shabandar proposed “establishing a national salvation government and activating the National Security Council,” pointing out that “this solution would face a lot of strong objections from the United Iraqi Alliance, as it does not want to relinquish control of the government under any circumstances.”
Mariam al Rayes, Nouri al Maliki’s advisor, defended the prime minister’s performance in the government saying, “It surprises me to see the opposition and the criticism of the government’s performance by the participating political blocs in parliament. They should first criticize themselves and their performance seeing as they are part of the government.”
Speaking from her office in Baghdad, she told Asharq Al-Awsat, “The prime minister of the government has said that today, 95 percent of Baathists are working in the government and the majority of the members of the former army have returned and joined the present one.” Al Rayes noted that “there have been amendments in the De-Baathification law [the De-Baathification Commission headed by Ahmed Chalabi], but that the amendments have not passed due to lack of quorum.”
On the subject of the militias, she said, “this is a matter that is related to legislation and the law will remedy it since no one is above the law. Presently, a broad security plan is being implemented, with all its political, economic and service dimensions. Anyone living in the houses of immigrants will be liable to imprisonment so as to purge these areas of terrorists.”