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Iraqi VP sees No Need for Federalism in All Governorates | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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London, Asharq Al-Awsat- Iraqi vice-president and secretary-general of the Iraqi Islamic Party, Tariq Al-Hashimi, has said “the Iraqi Al-Tawafuq Front [Jabhat al-Tawafuq al-Iraqi] is strong, united in solidarity and has a unique presence in the political arena.” He added: “The Al-Tawafuq Front is in good shape and proof of this is the strong alliances it formed during the Provincial Council elections.” He said that “the Al-Tawafuq Front has not been affected by the withdrawal of some parties from it; rather, it has grown stronger.”

Al-Hashimi said: “Everyone knows that it is the votes of the Iraqis that have allowed us to attain these top positions.” He added: “I do not deny that it was the Sunni Arabs who elected me for this post and I am honored to represent them and be affiliated with them. But before everything else, I am an Iraqi who has Iraqi inclinations, belongs to Iraq, loves the Iraqis, and seeks to serve them, regardless of their positions and affiliations.” He went on: “I have pledged to myself to work hard towards eliminating the feelings of oppression and injustice that have befallen any Iraqi, regardless of his/her sect, ethnicity, or affiliation.” He said that “Sunni Arabs are represented by over 70 deputies in Parliament.”

In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat on the Internet, the Iraqi vice president described the political quota process as a “bad experience.” He said that “the impact that this process has had on the political process has been harmful to the interests of Iraq.” He added: “In fact, [sectarian] quota impedes the building of a modern state.” He went on: “Thank God that political quotas have no constitutional bases, and rather, have been imposed on us. We hope that through reinforcing the culture of belonging to the homeland, this policy will be abolished.” He said: “I am making every effort to reinforce this culture, in which I trust.” He added: “Those who examine the National Contract Project, which I launched recently, will not doubt my honest inclinations.”

Al-Hashimi spoke about the Kirkuk problem. He said that “Kirkuk is an Iraqi city, whose future is decided by its residents without any trusteeship, blackmailing or pressure, within the framework of Iraq’s unity and in accordance with the constitution and applicable laws.” He added: “The issue of Kirkuk is complicated, but it will resolve itself with time. The conviction that Kirkuk has its individuality and that it is necessary to respect the aspirations of the various sects and races is increasingly growing.” He noted that “thorny issues in Iraq can be resolved through political accord within the framework of one family and based on the principle of ’cause no damage or harm to yourself or others.'”

Concerning his view on federalism in Iraq, Al-Hashimi said: “It is not our policy to dictate our views and political vision to others. We do not belong to the school of ‘you can see only through our eyes.'” He added: “This issue is left for the Iraqis in the various governorates to decide and to choose whatever they believe is suitable for them now and in the future. However, we see no need or reason to implement federalism in Iraq as a whole.” He said: “Kurdistan has its individuality and the adoption of this system anywhere else is considered unjustified excessiveness.” He added: “The implementation of this model in other Iraqi regions based on sectarian or ethnic standards might even entail dangers, threaten Iraq’s unity, and shake its stability.” He explained: “This is why we are against federalism. Perhaps the alternative lies in the existence of a strong central government together with strong governorates that enjoy broader authority over non-influential tasks.”

Concerning his view of the Iraqi Islamic Party, the Iraqi vice president said: “I wish all the best for all of my Iraqi people, wherever their location on the Iraqi map may be. Similarly, I wish all the best for the Kurdistan Region experience.” He added: “We are committed to protecting this experience from harm. We are even committed to playing a role in improving living conditions in Kirkuk in all fields.” He went on: “However, this does not prevent me from pointing out to our Iraqi people that their brothers in the Governorates of Ninawa, Diyala, and Kirkuk seek to run their own affairs and also improve their living conditions without the interference of any party.” He added: “I believe it is better if the question concerning the evaluation of this experience is directed to our Kurdish brothers in Kurdistan, because they are the most capable party of answering it.”