Sunni, Shi'ite conflict grows in Iraq

2011-12-20 22:08

Amman - Iraq's Nuri al-Maliki is acting like Saddam Hussein in trying to silence opposition and he risks provoking a new fight back against dictatorship, one of Maliki's predecessors as prime minister said on Tuesday.

Iyad Allawi, who leads the Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc, said the televised confessions Maliki has used to demand the arrest of the country's Sunni Muslim vice president were fabrications.

Allawi called for international efforts to prevent the Shi'ite premier from provoking renewed sectarian warfare of the kind that killed tens of thousands in the years after Saddam fell in 2003.

"This is terrifying, to bring fabricated confessions," Allawi said shortly before leaving the Jordanian capital Amman to return to Iraq.

"It reminds me personally of what Saddam Hussein used to do where he would accuse his political opponents of being terrorists and conspirators."


Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi, who has taken refuge in Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region, denies allegations he ordered bombings and shootings against his opponents. The move against him, on the day US troops left the country, threatens to upset a balance among Shi'ite, Sunni and Kurdish factions.

"We fear the return of dictatorship by this authoritarian way of governing. It's the latest in a build-up of atrocities, arrests and intimidation that has been going on a wide scale," said Allawi, who comes from the Shi'ite Muslim majority but who has drawn support heavily from disaffected Sunnis.

As prime minister for 10 months under US occupation in 2004 and 2005, Allawi was accused of revealing an authoritarian streak himself. He later led the Iraqiya bloc to first place in last year's parliamentary election but ended up joining a coalition headed by Maliki, who retained the premiership.

He said he would now try to unseat the prime minister in the legislature.

"We have to make a move to bring about stability to the country by trying to find a substitute to Maliki through parliament," said Allawi, who repeated allegations that Shi'ite Iran is seeking control in Iraq now that US forces have left.

"Maliki has crossed all red lines and Iraq is now facing a very, very serious and very difficult situation," he said.

"We are watching events unfolding which are aimed at the very heart of democracy and stability.

"The Americans have pulled out without completing the job they should have finished. We have warned them that we don't have a political process which is inclusive of all Iraqis and we don't have a full-blown state in Iraq," Allawi said.

"We want to resolve issues between Iraqis in a peaceful way and we want to bring stability. Iraqis should fill the vacuum, rather than anybody else," Allawi said, in a reference to his view Iran is intent on filling a vacuum left by US troops.


Iraq sits on a sectarian, Sunni-Shi'ite fault line that is generating conflict throughout the region, notably between Iran and Sunni-ruled Arab states like Saudi Arabia.

While the overthrow of Saddam in Iraq bolstered Shi'ites, the uprising against Iran's Syrian ally President Bashar al-Assad could lead to power in Damascus shifting toward Syria's Sunni majority.

"The rise of sectarianism is already there," Allawi said.

"We are witnessing the beginning of it and the influences of what is happening in the region is only adding fuel to the fire. My fear is that the Iraqi people will lose faith in the political process and sectarianism will prevail.

"Unless the international community and the region get involved and unless sense prevails, Iraq is heading toward a very big conflict."

  • Barry - 2011-12-21 06:59

    Another total misread by the USA ? Was there ever any doubt they would not finish what they started ?

      Graziella - 2011-12-21 08:16

      The US is so morally screwed-up, especially in its foreign policy, that, it can make war and hypocrisy appear virtuous. Western intervention to "remedy" the damages ensuing from past Western foreign policy interventions aimed at stabilizing these regions. If this isn't theatre of the absurd, I don't know what is.

      Adam - 2011-12-21 10:30

      how the hell are you blaming the US? isnt it clear from the article that arabs can not govern them selves with out blood shed and violence? or should we blame the US for whats happening in syria as well? if im not mistaken america replaced a dictator with democracy and your understanding of this is america has a screwed up foreign policy? o please do tell us what a better foreign policy might be, big words only impress fools btw. @barry, i would you to explain how they would have finished what they started? what would you have considered as an end point? did you imagine america would topple saddam hussain and all would be peachy? please show me an islamic state where there is peace... pakistan? syria? sudan??? its considered bad etiquette to blame islam for the worlds problems, but its very pc to blame america. gee, i wonder why that is? do you think it might be similar to the idea that you can call your friend retarded because he isnt really retarded, or that you dont tell kids who are really fat, that they are fat... wake up people, where america and western influence is, there may not be a perfect world, but where islam has flourished there is only death disease and violence. prove me wrong please.

      Graziella - 2011-12-21 10:51

      If you flip over the rock of American foreign policy of the past century, this is what crawls out... Invasions ... bombings ... overthrowing governments ... suppressing movements for social change ... assassinating political leaders ... perverting elections ... manipulating labor unions ...manufacturing "news" ... death squads ...torture … biological warfare ... depleted uranium ... drug trafficking ...mercenaries ... It's not a pretty picture. There was stability in Iraq before the US/UK invasion (No terrorists or Al Qaeda cells). America and her allies have created a mess in that country. The U.S. is a nation of foreign policy retards. Perhaps one day, genetic engineers can overcome this retardation. Until then, the U.S. shouldn't be allowed anywhere near other nations. It brings only destruction and death and leaves chaos (that's when it leaves). America is exceptional! Exceptionally stupid and inept!

      Louwhan - 2011-12-21 11:22

      The blowback effect is giving people like Ron Paul some credibility on his fooreign policy stance. The GOP presidential candidates (except Ron Paul) are already oh so eager to attack Iran the moment they get elected if Obama does not beat them to it. There is only ONE HOPE we have left in this world and his name is RON PAUL. People, please google this man and what he stands for. He is running for president. His foreign policy is what the world needs and his economical policies are equally impressive!

      Graziella - 2011-12-21 11:56

      Unfortunately, it is not the American voter that elects US presidents but the Corporatocracy and the TV Networks, fake elections.

      Barry - 2011-12-21 22:25

      @Adam There is no point discussing anything with you. You are an out and out religious racist with radical views and incapable of even handling yourself appropriately in discussion here. I am not insulting you, just stating a fact. Anyway one looks at Iraq, the USA messed up BIG TIME. There little doubt Iraq was far better off with their dictator. Bless you..

  • Patrick - 2011-12-26 12:40

    how can america withdraw knowingly know that iraq is surrounded my sunni states. look at israel it will at least muslim are outside the country, in iraq already insurgence are already inside their country i wont be surprise if the president is assasinated in a year

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