Thursday, July 20, 2006

Dar Al Hayat - "Maliki In A Race Against Time"

Dar al hayat [Arabic text] says that Nouri al-Maliki is in a race against time to prevent Iraq deteriorating into civil war and further sectarian killings. The article discusses Maliki's statement that a reconciliation initiative would be launched next Saturday. The story discusses a meeting between clans in Mahmoudiya and the MOD's director of operations saying that the clans in the Mahmoudiya area are of the opinion that they are being targetted by central government forces and associated death squads and that the meeting arranged for bloodmoney payments to be made to prevent a feud developing.

The article goes on to point out that meanwhile, 24 persons were killed, 38 were injured in separate attacks, and 19 unidentified corpses were found in Baghdad and the south. These incidents are additional to the abduction of more than two dozen employees working for the awqaf - the Sunni religious endowments, and the release of 4 abductees workers in the Iraqi Olympic Committee.

The article quotes the UN Secretary-General's special Representative as warning that the existence of violent sectarianism was a cause for grave concern that Iraq could fall into civil war and describing the daily killings as catastrophic and a "national national tragedy [for] the Iraqi people"

Al-hayat then returns to the main thrust of the article quoting Maliki as saying that the national reconciliation initiative would consist of practical measures on the ground and that there had been contacts via email and political contacts with the armed groups who had made conditions for their participation. It goes on to quote him as saying that the cabinet had discussed the initiative's planned launch on Saturday and that "many Iraqis who had quit the political process, have shown their willingness to engage in this initiative."

Maliki, accused "Al Qaeda in Iraq" of being behind the attacks that have killed hundreds in the past two days and said that his government was determined to continue with national reconciliation, as that was the only route by which Iraq could safely reach the shore uniting the Iraqi people, ending violence, restoring stability, and eliminating partisan, sectarian, or racist ideologys.

The article ends by pointing out that Maliki's 24 point plan has been rejected by the main resistance groups because it does give a timetable for the American occupiers to leave the country and that the plan as it stands has also been rejected by political parties and clergy seen as close to the main resistance groups. The article ends by quoting the Minister of State responsible for national dialogue and reconciliation as saying that the seven groups involved in the dialgoue so far had accepted the plan "unconditionally" but refused to name them citing a cabinet decision aimed at preventing partisan talk, sectarian behaviour, and inflamatory political actions by the Ministries of Interior and Defense and the Intelligence Service as part of the practical steps needed for reconciliation on the ground to take place. [emphasis mine - mfi]


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