Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on Friday rejected the US Senate resolution calling for a soft partition of Iraq. Reuters reports:
‘ “They should stand by Iraq to solidify its unity and its sovereignty,” Maliki told Iraqi state television . . .”They shouldn’t be proposing its division. That could be a disaster not just for Iraq but for the region.” Maliki also called on the Iraqi parliament to meet and respond formally to the non-binding resolution, passed by the Senate on Wednesday, which called for the creation of “a federal system of government and … federal regions”. ‘
Al-Sharq al-Awsat reports in Arabic that Abdul Mahdi al-Karbala’i, the representative of Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani in the Shiite shrine city of Karbala south of the capital, called the Senate resolution “a step toward the breakup of Iraq.” He said Iraqis of all religions and ethnicities should live at peace in a united country. He also called on the Arab states, especially the Arab countries neighboring Iraq, to prevent any such partition. He said, “It is a mistake to imagine that such a plan will lead to a reduction in chaos in Iraq; rather, on the contrary, it will lead to an increase in the butchery and a deepening of the crisis of this country, and the spreading of increased chaos, even to neighboring states.”
I don’t think Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani likes the Senate plan very much.
The Sunni Association of Muslim Scholars also denounced the plan, but said it came as no surprise, since the break-up of Iraq had been the motive for the US invasion of that country in the first place. The AMS said that the resolution issued from a well-known wing of the present American administration and from the Zionist lobby.
On the other hand, the office of the Kurdistan Regional Government’s president, Massoud Barzani, issued a statement welcoming the resolution. It insisted that loose federalism does not equal partition, but rather voluntary unity.
Al-Sharq al-Awsat reports in Arabic that Iraqi Vice President Adil Abdul Mahdi appears to have rethought his initial rejection of the Senate resolution. He said in Cairo that one model for Iraq might be the United Arab Emirates, a loose association of fairly autonomous sheikhdoms. Likewise, Sawt al-Iraq says in Arabic, As’ad Sultan Abu Kalal, the governor of Najaf province, called for the implementation of loose federalism as the best system for Iraq.
The same report says that Sunni cleric Harith al-Dhari accused Prime Minister al-Maliki of having all along plotted to break up Iraq. (That Sunni leaders see him this way may explain al-Maliki’s eagerness to distance himself from the US senate.)
The Gulf Cooperation Council, grouping six Persian Gulf oil states, also denounced the resolution, as did the Arab League and Yemen.
Kurdistan authorities denounced an agreement between Baghdad and Ankara to fight terrorism, which targets the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), to whom Iraqi Kurdish authorities have given safe haven.
In fact, Sam Dagher of the CMS reports on how Basra has become increasingly Talibanized under the rule of Shiite militias, as the British troops have withdrawn from the city.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee is driving the US toward a war against Iran, and authored the draft for the Kyl-Lieberman resolution passed overwhelmingly by the US senate.
Reuters reports civil war violence on Thursday and Friday. Major incidents on Friday:
‘MOSUL – A truck bomb wounded 20 people and destroyed an overpass in Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.
(McClatchy says: “- Around 2 p.m. a truck bomb destroyed a bridge in Al Shifaa area in Mosul. The bombing flattened the bridge and caused several injuries among civilians in the nearby houses especially, Iraqi police said.”]
BAGHDAD – A U.S. air raid killed at least eight people in the Al Saha neighbourhood of Doura district in southern Baghdad, police and medical sources said. . .
– Around 2 a.m. U.S. military used aerial fire targeting a building in Al Doura area south Baghdad, Iraqi police said. The aerial fire targeted building number 139 in Al Siha district. 10 people were killed and 7 others were injured according to the Iraqi police sources. No U.S. military response was available by the time of publication of this report.
– Around 11 a.m. a mortar shell slammed in Al Ubaidi neighborhood. Two people were injured.
– Police found 5 dead bodies throughout Baghdad. . .
The Mosul bombing came on the heels of destructive suicide bombings on Wednesday. Mosul is in Ninevah Province, one of the provinces the US had hoped to withdraw from by now (this sort of insecurity has postponed that move until next summer.)