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Iraq: International consensus on removal of Maliki, establishment of an inclusive nationalist government and holding free elections

Tuesday, 24 June 2014 00:10

At a time that the international community has broadly concluded that the removal of Maliki and the establishment of an inclusive nationalist government is the only solution to Iraq's present crisis, the Iranian regime has summoned all its might to save him.

1. The U.S. government has acknowledged that Maliki himself is the main cause of the current crisis. 
AP reported that on June 19 those who were working to remove Maliki from power "received a massive boost from President Barack Obama. The U.S. leader stopped short of calling for Nouri al-Maliki to resign, saying ‘it`s not our job to choose Iraq`s leaders’. But, his carefully worded comments did all but that. ‘Only leaders that can govern with an inclusive agenda are going to be able to truly bring the Iraqi people together and help them through this crisis,’ Obama declared at the White House." 
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, speaking at a senate hearing on June 18, said: “This current government in Iraq has never fulfilled the commitments it made to bring a unity government together with the Sunnis, the Kurds and the Shia”. And General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the hearing, “he is disappointed by the siege of the militants in Iraq… Iraq's leaders failed to unite for the good of their people”.
The White House spokesman Jay Carney said on the same day that Maliki had not done enough “to govern inclusively and that has contributed to the situation and the crisis that we have today in Iraq”.
2. Former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton told CNN on June 18: “Maliki forced out a lot of the commanders who were the most able commanders….. I know that the commander of the Quds Force is in Baghdad right now, meeting with Maliki and his advisers and supporters. They want to do for him what they did for Assad, namely… to envelop Maliki in the Iranian embrace, maybe even use their own troops in Iraq, as they did in Syria.”
3. Laurent Fabius, the French foreign minister, said on June 20 that France is hoping to see a nationalist unity government in Iraq which may be formed with or without Nouri al Maliki who has not only refused to unify with the Sunni groups, but has prosecuted them as well.
4. This same perception prevails in the U.S. House and Senate that as long as Maliki is in power this crisis can only deepen. 
Senator Feinstein (D-CA), Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, told the Defense Secretary: “The Maliki government, candidly, has got to go if you want any reconciliation”.
And Senator McCain (R-AZ) urged Obama to “make it very clear to Maliki that his time is up”.
5. United States generals who have been involved in Iraq since 2003 offer the same opinion. General Petraeus, former Director of the CIA and former Commander of U.S. Forces in Iraq, endorsed the need for “a government of all the people that is representative of, and responsive to, all elements of Iraq” and said, “This cannot be the United States being the air force for Shiite militias, or a Shiite on Sunni Arab fight.”
General Garner, the first civil governor of Iraq after the occupation of that country said, “we turned our backs on the Sunnis, who helped us in 2007-2008. Then we backed Maliki in 2010 with full knowledge that he's going to disenfranchise the Kurds, persecute the Sunnis and was really a puppet of the Iranians”
6. Countries in the region are also on the same page looking at the situation. Reuters reported on June 16: 
“In the government statement, Riyadh said it was necessary to ‘preserve Iraq's sovereignty’ and rejected any outside interference in Baghdad's internal affairs. It also urged the ‘quick formation of a national consensus government’. The crisis ‘would not have happened if it wasn't for the sectarian and exclusionary policies that were practiced in Iraq in past years and which threatened its security, stability and sovereignty’, official news agency SPA cited Information Minister Abdulaziz Khoja as saying.
“Earlier on Monday, Qatar's foreign minister blamed the ‘narrow’ Shiite sectarianism of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government in Baghdad for the crisis.
“On June 18th King Abdullah of Jordan highlighted, ‘the necessity to preserve the unity and stability of Iraq through a political process comprising all the components of the Iraqi people without exception".
7. Iraqi leaders also emphasize the same facts. Ayatollah Sistani, the Shia supreme religious leader, criticized Maliki for the first time and through his representative on June 20 and called for “the formation of an active government that enjoys widespread national support to correct the past mistakes and open a new horizon to all Iraqi people for a better future”. 
President of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region Masoud Barzani stated on June 18: “For a long time I have been warning that the situation in Iraq is on the edge of a precipice due to the flawed and exclusionary policies of those who have taken over all power in Baghdad. And presently these same people are directly responsible for this situation. … Since 2003 we have been against driving the Sunnis to the sidelines.” 
Former Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi told VOA: “We need to establish a national unity government; a government to rebuild; a government that has a two-fold responsibility. First, an immediate reconciliation in the country… Second, the establishment of non-sectarian institutions to be eventually transformed into a credible government that would encompass all Iraqis irrespective of their religious beliefs and their ethnic backgrounds… Regretfully, U.S. surrendered Iraq to Iran. In 2010, the United States and Iran were against the winner of the elections to form the government which was the Iraqiya Party -- composed of Shiites and Sunnis. There we had a real opportunity but we missed it.”
8. In such conditions, the Iranian regime is doing its outmost politically and militarily to save Maliki. Ali Akbar Velayatee - the advisor to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, told VOA on June 20: “Iran has offered assistance to Iraq. Any assistance that Nouri al Maliki’s government, as the lawful representative of Iraq, would request, we shall oblige without any restrictions… Iran trained the Syrian army and can do the same in Iraq.” Velayatee said that he has known Maliki for 30 years and that compared to others, he is the most capable leader in Iraq and as such all groups ought to help him out.
9. Khamenei has ordered the terrorist Qods Force to employ its command resources for the suppression of the Iraqi people and to save the Iraqi prime minister. Khamenei has stated that hegemony over Iraq is of strategic importance for Iran and that the governance of a ‘Shiite government’ in that country plays a decisive role in the survival of his regime and that the “defeat of Maliki will be a strategic setback for the Islamic Republic system”.
Qassem Soleimani, the Commander of the notorious Qods Force, together with 200 Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) officers of various ranks, are stationed in Iraq to supervise the developments up close. These elements, along with the Iranian regime’s Iraqi paid hands such as Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq and Kata’eb Hezbollah, are inspecting different places in Diyala and Salahaddin. 
Previously, we have stated time and again that the Iranian regime and its puppet prime minister Maliki, are the main sources of the problems in Iraq and through genocide of the Sunnis, the barbaric suppression of dissidents and prevalent state corruption, have left the country in ruins and are pushing it to an internal sectarian war. We also constantly reminded that any election conducted by Maliki would be neither free nor fair. We had called for ending the meddling of the Iranian regime in Iraq, the removal of Maliki from power, the formation of an inclusive government, and the holding of elections under UN supervision. This had been the will of the Iraqi people for a long time and it has been regrettably ignored. Now that it is abundantly clear that any solution requires Maliki’s removal, the USA and the EU should cease all assistance to him, not allowing him to prolong the war and genocidal massacre of his own people using Western assistance.

Struan Stevenson, MEP 
President of the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq
President, European Iraqi Freedom Association (EIFA)

22 June 2014

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