The USG Open Source Center translates an interview in the Iraqi newspaper Ilaf with Adnan Dulaimi, a leader of the Iraqi Accord Front (Sunni fundamentalist, called in Arabic Tawafuq), the major Sunni Arab party in Parliament, with 44 seats out of 275. The IAF has withdrawn from the al-Maliki ‘national unity’ government. Excerpt:
‘Dr Adnan al-Dulaymi says that “the Iraqi Government, represented by the prime minister, acts arbitrarily and unilaterally and seeks to exclude all political components, except for one or two components. This causes great imbalance in the political process. The ministers of Al-Sadr Bloc and then the ministers of Al-Tawafuq Front and some ministers of the Iraqi National Bloc have withdrawn (from the government), while the government has continued to function. This is evidence that all these ministries had no impact on the course of governance and that the prime minister is in charge of everything in a dictatorial and strict manner. This will lead to the failure of the political process, unless there is participation by the parliamentary blocs participating in the government, which was called a national unit government . . . I do not think the political process will advance; rather, it will fall behind. There will be paralysis in many administrative and executive aspects within the government, and we call for changing this and rectifying this situation quickly.”
Al-Dulaymi believes that [Prime Minister Nuri] Al-Maliki’s sources of strength that keep him in power after all these withdrawals “are the executive authority and what was stipulated in the constitution, in terms of concentrating executive powers in the hand of the prime minister. This is considered a flaw in the constitution. The president of the republic should participate in making the important decisions in the country. The constitution has concentrated executive powers in the hand of the head of government, and this imparts some dictatorial domination and despotism to the prime minister.”
Al-Dulaymi is not afraid of the government’s attempt to bypass his political bloc in light of the government’s cooperation with the awakening councils of tribes in the Sunni areas, which constitute the popular base of Al-Dulaymi. He says: “We have ties with the awakening councils. Before his death, Shaykh Sattar Abu-Rishah, leader of Al-Anbar Awakening Council, God have mercy on him, announced that the awakening councils cannot be a substitute for Al-Tawafuq Front. We are in constant touch with these awakening councils. We do not think the government can make these awakening councils a substitute for Al-Tawafuq Front. We are MPs elected by the Iraqi people. We are the real, official representatives of an important political, demographic, and sectarian component in Iraq. We think the government will in the end be forced to deal with the MPs of Al-Tawafuq Front.”
(Al-Khayyat) Weren’t the awakening councils unwelcome by the government, which until recently had opposed the establishment of awakening councils? What has happened to change this? Besides, Shaykh Abu-Rishah was killed at a time when there was objection to the awakening councils? So do you think the government had a hand in this?
(Al-Dulaymi) The killing of Abu-Rishah at this stage was a strong blow to the awakening councils, especially in Al-Anbar. The investigation is still under way and we have not received any result of this investigation. There are many interpretations and leaks concerning this issue, but Al-Qa’ida is at the forefront of those who were accused of killing Abu-Rishah. The current government is trying to employ everything to its advantage, but it is unable to do this because those in charge of awakening councils are sensible people and they understand the aims of the government. These people should cooperate with the government, but this cooperation will not be against our areas or against Al-Tawafuq Front. We are in touch with the awakening councils and we seek cooperation.
I am absolutely certain that Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki wants to exclude Al-Tawafuq Front and marginalize the Sunnis. He also wants sectarian rule in Iraq that is concentrated in a narrow circle of political components. He is in disagreement with Al-Sadr Trend. He is also in disagreement with Al-Fadilah Party and some of the blocs in the (Iraqi) Islamic Supreme Council (IISC) and in the (Unified Iraqi) Coalition (UIC) Bloc. What is happening in Karbala, Al-Diwaniyah, and Basra is the biggest evidence that there is no unity of views or agreement among these political blocs, which are brought together by the UIC Bloc. The Al-Fadilah Party has left the UIC. The Al-Sadr Trend has also left it. The UIC is vulnerable to more fragmentation and more division.
(Al-Khayyat) Doesn’t the exit of Al-Sadr Trend and Al-Fadilah Party from the UIC Bloc and the government indicate that Al-Maliki is not sectarian and that he has a different agenda?
(Al-Dulaymi) No, Al-Maliki is sectarian. He seeks to monopolize power and exclude political entities that are within the UIC and that should be gagged and removed from power. What is happening in Karbala, Al-Diwaniyah, and Basra is the biggest evidence of this.
(Al-Khayyat) The prime minister has announced that 2008 is the year of reconstruction. Don’t you think that this talk is closer to propaganda than reality, in light of the lack of qualified people and integrity?
(Al-Dulaymi) There will not be real reconstruction in Iraq unless there is political accord among all components of the Iraqi people. There is reconstruction in the Kurdistan Region because there is political accord and there is security. If the prime minister does not accept the demands that were presented by Al-Tawafuq Front, and if real cooperation is not achieved in all government posts, including ministers, under secretaries, and directors general, it will not be possible to achieve any reconstruction and it will also not be possible to achieve security. We hope that this will happen, but this requires the availability of introductions, most important of which are political accord and a national unity government. Otherwise, reconstruction will not take place, since there are many corrupt persons and there are many people who are lying in wait for Iraqi funds. There are now complaints in all parts of Iraq that there is no real reconstruction and that the funds allocated for reconstruction are going to the pockets of corrupt persons. The Integrity Commission and the Financial Control (Bureau) should be given an adequate opportunity to examine the accounts of everybody. ‘