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Iraq Deputy PM, a Sunni, says he is being side-lined

June 18th, 2014
01:22 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

The Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq, Saleh al-Mutlak, a Sunni, says he is being side-lined by the Shiite-majority government.

“If you ask me did I take a real power-sharing during my presence in the government, I say definitely no,” al-Mutlak told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour from Baghdad on Wednesday. “We were almost isolated from the decisions, especially regarding the security issue.”

As large swaths of Iraq fall into the hands of Sunni extremists, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s record of allegedly stoking sectarian tension is coming under the spotlight.

Al-Mutlak participated in a meeting Tuesday with al-Maliki and other political leaders aimed at diffusing Sunni/Shiite tensions.

“The security issue, including the Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Interior, Intelligence Office, and the other offices and departments were run by Mister Maliki alone, or by his party.”

“We are far away from participating in the decision regarding those issues.”

Iran’s President, Hassan Rouhani, said Wednesday that his country would spare no effort to protect holy Shiite shrines from “killers and terrorists,” according to Iran’s state-run Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).

“We tell them, ‘Thank you very much – Iraq is capable of defending these shrines,’” al-Mutlak said. “And I am sure that the Sunnis will fight in order to protect the shrines the same as the Shiite will fight.”

“If you talk about Samara, the shrine there was protected by the Sunnis for centuries. So we don’t need any foreign military to come to Iraq and protect these shrines.”

Given al-Mutlak’s outspoken criticism of his country’s prime minister, it should come as no surprise that he believes Iraq is divided.

“If you ask me if there is a real unity in Iraq, no.”

“Yes, now we are in a danger, and we have to unite ourselves towards the real enemy, Dais” – the Arabic acronym for ISIS.

“But at the same time, we have to think of a political solution, not only a military solution. A military solution alone cannot solve the problem.”

Iraq on Wednesday formally asked the United States, the erstwhile occupier, to carry out airstrikes on ISIS. Amanpour spoke with the deputy prime minister moments before that appeal was announced.

“I think America has a responsibility now,” al-Mutlak said. “We have to be clear: The occupation of Iraq was irresponsible. And the withdrawal from Iraq was not a responsible way.”

“If America wants to come to Iraq, it has to do a radical change to correct the mistakes they have done in Iraq, and work on a political process which will stabilize Iraq, and let all the Iraqis feel that they are Iraqis, there are fair standards of citizens, not being told that they are being isolated and their rights is not being given to them.”

Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Iraq • Latest Episode
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Matt

    That is how it starts and why there are no troops in country now, this how we got into Vietnam, airstrikes, advisers, 15 thousand troops, no political solution rotations, death tolls, wounded, another 20,000, then Iran starts propagating more attacks and the flow of the battles, another 20,000, the Iraqi troops always coming the other way, another 20,000. This is the third front Admiral Mullen was always warning. The Iranians little mate simple Jack down in Mexico, trying to draw us into Mexico via a terror attack on US Senators and Congress members. I told his team in 2008 before he was elected, that in 2011 when the SOFA expires the military are going to come and ask for another, Senators, Congress, resist it. Because Iran will draw you back in. If it was to be 43 would have signed in 2008. If I was asked in 2003, not my job I would have said yeah airstrikes, limited invasion few months, no occupation with enough space and strategic depth to decamp, but I do the mop up, the wet work and if you hear from me things have gone very wrong and the country is in danger. Then deterrence needs to be restored which means some very nasty thing need to be done and millions will die, many innocent civilians. That was one match. Anyway that is my opinion this time around. I will leave it that.

    June 18, 2014 at 7:45 pm | Reply
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