Region | Iraq

Sunni pullout puts Al Maliki in a spot

Iraq's unity government is in a crisis after the Sunni Accord Front's decision to withdraw from Nouri Al Maliki's government, politicians and anaylsts tell Gulf News.

  • By Basil Adas, Correspondent
  • Published: 23:05 August 7, 2007
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: AP
  • Nouri Al Maliki believes that Al Qaida has managed to penetrate the Sunni Accord Front, sources close to Al Maliki said.

Baghdad: Iraq's unity government is in a crisis after the Sunni Accord Front's decision to withdraw from Nouri Al Maliki's government, politicians and anaylsts said.

Abdul Razak Al Shahbandar, a professor at Baghdad University, told Gulf News: "The Iraqi Accord Front wanted full information about the functioning of interior and national security ministries and the National Security Council which are chaired by Shiite ministers. The front raised its demands, but his request was rejected by the Iraqi Prime Minister."

However, Al Maliki believes that Al Qaida has managed to penetrate the Sunni Accord Front, sources close to Al Maliki said.

The same sources explained that a few weeks ago, the two ministries and the National Security Council submitted hundreds of documents and reports to Al Maliki accusing some of the front leaders of being involved in bombings at the Iraqi Parliament and the Mansour Milia Hotel.

The documents also allege that the front members were involved in assassination attempts against Salam Al Zobai, the Iraqi Prime Minster Deputy.

The allegations that Al Qaida succeeded in penetrating the Accord Front were also published in local media recently.

Widening rift

What widened the rift between Al Maliki and the Accord Front leaders was when their guards were not allowed to enter Al Maliki's office building. Furthermore, some of them were subjected to investigations by Al Maliki's security forces.

Salah Al Obaidi, an Iraqi political analyst, told Gulf News: "I believe Al Maliki exploited Al Qaida to win the Americans support ... for Americans, Al Qaida is a red line therefore they may support Al Maliki's position, besides Al Maliki is striking Shiite armed militias, particularly the Mahdi Army which is affiliated to the Sadr movement and that has convinced the American administration that he (Al Maliki) is a reliable man."

With the Accord Front's withdrawal, Al Maliki's options are to form a new political front that will include the Dawa Party, the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council and the two major Kurdish parties.

The Iraqi political map is divided into two main fronts: the first comprises the Shiite coalition and the Kurds. They are satisfied with the Americans and supports Al Maliki in his position.

The second includes the Accord Front, Eyad Allawi and Saleh Al Mutlaq's blocs. This front opposes Al Maliki remaining as the head of the Iraqi government and it also opposes forming any government from the Shiite coalition.

Choices

Hussain Al Jaf, a researcher in Iraqi affairs, told Gulf News: "Al Maliki has two choices, either to restructure the Iraqi government for his new political front and this is possible within the parliament and then move on to apply a security policy. The other option is to accept organising early parliamentary elections that may qualify him for a new and more powerful era."

Al Jaf added: "As for the Accord Front's option, it is to have a political alliance with Allawi, some Kurds and Shiites, in order to overthrow Al Maliki, yet some of the Front's undeclared options are rapprochement with some armed groups to overthrow Al Maliki and that was what one of the Accord Front leaders, Khalaf Al Alyan noted when he threatened to use weapons if the political way failed to achieve their end."

Meanwhile, Al Maliki slammed the withdrawal of six Sunni ministers from his cabinet, accusing them of showing "irresponsibility" and a "lack of sincerity", in an interview shown yesterday.

"The withdrawal from the government is evidence of irresponsibility, because they don't have anything other than withdrawal either in the parliament or in the government," the embattled Shiite premier said, according to Al Alam television channel.

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