NCRI – Iraq’s Nouri al-Maliki has ‘lost control’ as protests against him swept the country and an independent, non-sectarian government must be restored, a leading MEP has demanded.
Struan Stevenson – president of the EU’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq – must quit its meddling in Iraq, where the ‘corrupt’ government has plunged the country into chaos and poverty, a leading MEP has demanded.
He said in a press release: “Continued bombings, repeated terrorist attacks and spiralling daily casualties in Iraq have given rise to grave concerns in the international community. The number of victims of violence in Iraq since the beginning of July has reached 719 dead and 1,581 wounded, an average of almost 90 killed and injured every day. In the current month of Ramadan, which represents one the most sacred religious periods for Muslims in which war and the shedding blood is totally prohibited, more than 500 people have been killed in Iraq and hundreds have been wounded.”
United Nations statistics showed more than 3,000 people had been killed in the past three months, where sectarian assassinations and the forceful relocation of citizens because of their religious beliefs in the provinces of Diyala, Kirkuk, and Baghdad last month, had led to direct condemnation by the Arab League, he said.
Mr Stevenson added: “Social discontent, brought about by widespread government corruption, desperate poverty, soaring unemployment and a lack of basic services, particularly water and electricity, is growing rapidly.
“Iraqi citizens increasingly complain that the country’s oil wealth is being stolen. Now citizens of the predominantly Shiite provinces in the South of Iraq have taken to the streets in their millions, protesting against Nouri al-Maliki and his government.
“The atmosphere in the provinces of Basra, Dhi Qar, Maysan, Karbala, and al-Muthanna is explosive. Meanwhile mass demonstrations and sit-ins in the six Sunni provinces of Iraq have entered their 8th month with no sign of any concessions from the government.
“Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who retains sole authority over the five relevant ministries governing internal security in Iraq, has clearly lost control, plunging the country into chaos and the threat of a renewed insurgency and civil conflict, similar to the bloody civil war, which raged from 2006 to 2009, following the American occupation. Such a prospect would seriously threaten regional and international security and stability.”
Mr Stevenson described it as ‘astonishing’ that Iraq’s one-million strong police and military forces, with an annual budget of $20 billion, could not maintain the security of the country’s citizens, or even the security of the major prisons under their control.
Attacks on two major prisons in Baghdad on July 22 had resulted in the mass escape of hundreds of inmates and left dozens dead, he said, adding: “Ominously, the Iraqi Justice Minister publicly accused the security bodies of playing a role in facilitating the escape and blamed the
federal police and the Interior Ministry’s intelligence wing for the catastrophic security failure in both prisons.
“For more than a week now Prime Minister Maliki and his senior security commanders have refused to attend the Iraqi parliament to answer questions about the scandal.”
He quoted French daily newspaper le Monde, which wrote on July 25: “Al-Maliki has failed in presenting an alternative to sectarianism and bringing together the people around common values.”
He also branded the prime minister a ‘puppet of the Iranian regime’ which supported his sectarian policies and ensures his continued loyalty to the vicious regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria.
He added: “The international community must call for the complete severance of Iranian influence in Iraq and the restoration of an independent, non-sectarian government determined to restore the rule of law and democratic accountability to this beleaguered nation.
“The stabilization of Iraq is of key importance to the West and continued economic assistance and investment from Europe is dependent on the rapid restoration of law and order and peaceful progress.”