Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

No national reconciliation meeting with al-Maliki – Iraqiya bloc spokesman | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
Select Page

London, Asharq Al-Awsat – In a telephone interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, Iraqiya bloc spokesman Haidar al-Mulla stressed that “no national reconciliation meeting can take place in Iraq whilst Nuri al-Maliki is prime minister.” He added “such a meeting will not take place at the end of this month, or even the end of the year.”

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat from Amman on Wednesday, al-Mulla revealed “al-Maliki wants to hold a meeting along the lines of the 1979 al-Khalad conference hall [meeting] that was convened by the head of the former regime.” This is in reference to the conference held by Saddam Hussein in 1979, when he “purged” the Baathist party of his opponents. During the meeting, Saddam Hussein identified 66 “traitors” who were immediately arrested and removed from the conference hall; a number of whom were later executed. This conference has become enshrined in Iraqi political folklore, and has been variously described as “the slaughter of the comrades”, “Saddam’s purge”, or simply “the setup”. Al-Mulla stressed that “this [meeting under al-Maliki’s terms] is something that the Iraqi political forces completely reject.”

The Iraqiya bloc spokesman said “al-Maliki is well aware that should the Iraqi political forces attend any genuine national reconciliation conference, where the balance of power is neutral and where all parties are equal…this would represent a threat to his position as prime minister.”

He added “the political forces would confront al-Maliki regarding his security failures, particularly as he is exclusively responsible for this issue being the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, as well as the Minister of Interior and Minister of Defense by proxy. This means that he is solely responsible for managing the security file. In addition to this, there are also violations and deficiencies in terms of services for the Iraqi citizens, the economic situation in the country, and corruption.”

Al-Mulla stressed to Asharq Al-Awsat that “from this point of view, al-Maliki will attempt to hinder the organization of any genuine conference for national reconciliation, or he will attempt to hijack the conference to create scenario like that of the al-Khalad conference hall [purge].”

The Iraqiya bloc spokesman added “as a result of all this, al-Maliki does not want any conference that could potentially remove him from office to take place.”

Asked whether his prejudice against al-Maliki stems from the Iraqi Prime Minister’s attempts to secure the dismissal of Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq – who heads the Iraqi Front for National Dialogue, which al-Mulla belongs to – the Iraqiya bloc spokesman told Asharq Al-Awsat “it’s not personal or prejudice, for there are no sensitivities or personal problems between ourselves and the Prime Minister, rather our major concern is Iraq and its people.”

He added “the experience over the past six years of al-Maliki rule has shown us that Iraq is losing its Arab, regional, and international status. During his era, Baghdad was declared by the United Nations – for the third time – as the worst city in the world [to live in], whilst Iraq is also listed amongst the most corrupt countries in the world. He [al-Maliki] has not exerted any effort to secure Iraq’s removal from Chapter VII [of the UN charter], whilst no international Arab meeting or assembly has taken place during this period. We missed the chance to host an Arab League summit, and in addition to this no major sporting tournament has been held in Iraq [during this period], as he [al-Maliki] also missed the opportunity for Iraq to host the 2013 Arabian Gulf Cup of Nations tournament. In short, Iraq has lost its international prestige, and it no longer holds any regional or international status.”

Iraqiya bloc spokesman Haidar al-Mulla also stressed to Asharq Al-Awsat that “the national political forces are concerned about the past, present, and future of Iraq. They are concerned about their responsibility to save Iraq, and the fact that the current approach must be changed. This is why we are working on creating alliances to save the democratic approach.”

He also called on the “National Alliance, which al-Maliki’s bloc is a major part of, and which the [Iraqi] Federal Court has recognized as the largest parliamentary alliance…to put forward candidates other than Nouri al-Maliki for the post of Prime Minister.”

Al-Mulla stressed “Iran is the one that has brought al-Maliki [to power], and is trying to forcibly keep him in power. If the Iranians felt that al-Maliki remaining in power was no longer in their interests, and not in line with the local and regional variables, then they would not be so devoted to him.”

Responding to the statement issued by the State of Law coalition – led by al-Maliki – claiming that the timeframe for the national reconciliation meeting is unclear, the Iraqiya bloc spokesman said “we have presented the agenda and roadmap of the national reconciliation meeting – should it take place – to all political forces [in Iraq].”

Al-Mulla added “this includes a timeframe for the implementation of proposals, most prominently the implementation of the Erbil Agreement with regards to national reconciliation, participation in the security file, the non-politicization of the judiciary, an end to arbitrary arrests, the issuance of a law regarding executive power, and other issues.”

The Iraqiya bloc spokesman also revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat that “we have reached an understanding with the Kurdistan Alliance, and with important parties in the National Alliance, along with members of the State of Law coalition, which is led by al-Maliki himself.”