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Sunni Powers Oppose Federalism in Western Iraq
by Islam Online (reposted)
Thursday Mar 24th, 2005 5:22 PM
BAGHDAD, March24 , 2005 ( – Leading Sunni powers took a swipe at calls for a federalism in western Iraq, warning this only plays into the hands of the occupation by contributing to slice the country.
“Such calls only serve the interests of the occupation and fuel sectarian strife by pitting Iraqis against one another,” Mothana Harith Al-Dari, spokesman for the Association of Muslim Scholars (AMS), told on Thursday, March24 .

Al-Anbar governor Fassal al-Ka'oud had proposed a federal rule in the predominantly Sunni western governorates of Saladin, Ninawa and Al-Anbar, to face up to the new political reality in the war-torn country.

Al-Dari said the proposal runs in the face of unrelenting efforts by the AMS, the highest Sunni religious authority in Iraq, to safeguard the country’s unity and territorial integrity.

He noted that the proposal was immediately rebuffed by residents of the three provinces via press conferences or even press statements.

This, Dari added, proves that such calls have no ground among the local inhabitants.

No Division

The same position was echoed by the Islamic Party of Iraq, the leading Sunni political power.

“The party stands firmly against any scheme to divide Iraq,” Alaa Mekki, the party politburo member, told IOL.

“Establishing administrative federalism in Iraq should only be discussed by the National Assembly, which is an illegitimate body as it doesn't represent all Iraqi sects,” he stressed.

The majority of Sunnis did not cast ballot in the general elections, citing lack of transparency and fair play under the US-led occupation.

Hisham Al-Haboubi, the politburo member of the Iraqi National Democratic Coalition, agreed.

“Federalism calls do not serve the Iraqi people and are especially inappropriate at the current.”

He, however, expressed support for federalism in Kurdistan Iraq.

“We have to realistically deal with establishing federalism in the Kurdish areas. Kurdistan has a president, prime minister, parliament and a military college, which makes it a semi-state.”

Christian Province

Calls for federalism, however, were quickly endorsed by the Assyrian Democratic Movement, which wants a self-ruled Christian governorate in Ninawa plains.

“Christian villages in Ninawa plains want their own governorate to enhance their political, economic and administrative rights within the state,” said Isac Isac, the movement's public relations officer.

“This can be achieved by establishing a council to administer the province’s bodies and wealth in a way guaranteeing citizens' religious freedoms.”

Iraq's Transitional Administrative Law, drawn up under former US civil administrator Paul Bremer, allows the creation of federal provinces that share power and wealth with the central government in Baghdad.

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