Negotiations Continue on Formation of Iraqi Government
Al-Hayat: A Fallujah notable, Khalid Fakhri al-Jamili, said Monday that the Americans were engaged in a large-scale set of attacks on cities in Anbar province such as Ramadi, Hit, Hadithah and Aana, which had the prospect of reducing them to Fallujah-like states of destruction. He warned that the US was pursuing a burnt earth policy so as to compell the Sunni Arabs to participate in the new political process.
Rida Jawad Taqi of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq said that any government formed by Ibrahim Jaafari will ask the Americans to speed up the transfer of the security file to a completely Iraqi administration. He added, “The Jaafari government will support any Iraqi-on-Iraqi dialogue to resolve the security crisis in the most tension-filled regions, such as Anbar, Salahuddin and Mosul provinces.”
A working group of members of the victorious United Iraqi Alliance said Monday that it was negotiating the apportionment of cabinet positions among member parties of the coalition. It was advised by Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani not to yield to the temptation to haggle, but rather to compromise for the sake of unity. Sistani urged on them the principle that “The minority must serve the opinion of the majority” as long as it did not lead to the marginalization of any group. The political coordinator of the “Shiite Political Council,” Ali Faisal al-Lami, said that the most pressing issue was calling an opening session of parliament. He complained that the Kurdish Alliance and the “National Democratic” bloc of Iyad Allawi wanted to postpone the seating of parliament.
One UIA official told al-Hayat that the compromises for forming a government so far included giving the presidency and some cabinet posts to the Kurds, and the speaker of the house position to the Sunni Arabs. The identity of the speaker of the house would depend on his popularity with Sunnis and the approval of some Sunni Arab groups that had boycotted the elections.
Al-Lami said that the Association of Muslim Scholars has said it would participate in drafting the constitution, but has not said whether it would accept positions in the new government.
Abdul Karim Mahoud al-Muhammadawi, leader of the Marsh Arab Hizbullah party in the UIA, complained about the Kurds using strong arm tactics to force the other groups to acquiesce in its goals, such as the recognition of their Peshmerga militia as the military power in the north and their possession of the city of Kirkuk. He said he did not rule out that “America will use the Kurdish bloc as a card with which to pressure those parties, with the direction of which Washington does not agree.” He also said that Sunni Arabs had to recognize that they were duped into not participating in the elections and that the boycott had not been in their best interests.
Abdul Salam al-Kubaisi of the Association of Muslim Scholars said that whatever negotiations were conducted about their participation in the political process would never imply that they might “give up its nationalist and Islamic principles concerning the withdrawal of the American forces and the establishment of a government through free elections untainted by foreign pressures.”