‘New govt will not bring an end to Iraq insurgency’
BAGHDAD: Iraq’s most powerful Shia politician predicted Thursday that Sunni Arab participation alone in a new government will not be enough to convince Islamic extremists and Saddam Hussein loyalists to abandon the insurgency.
Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, head of the country’s largest Shia party, told The Associated Press in an interview that Sunni Arabs must accept the “new reality” in Iraq and shoulder their responsibility to rebuild the nation nearly three years after the collapse of Saddam’s Sunni-dominated regime.
“Every day we are getting closer to accepting this reality. But there are some groups that will not accept this,” al-Hakim said, citing religious extremists and Saddam loyalists. “Those people will continue confronting the government...Those people should be confronted firmly by the government.”
Al-Hakim agreed that Sunni Arabs should receive key posts in the new government. But he added that placing Sunnis “in this or that post” would “not have a big impact” in easing the security crisis.
“The important thing is that they (Sunnis) believe there is a new reality in Iraq,” al-Hakim said. “The doors are open to them and no one wants to confront, harm them or deprive them of their legitimate constitutional rights. They are our brothers and they will get their rights.”
Sunni Arabs, believed to comprise about 20 percent of Iraq’s 27 million people, dominated political life for generations, and many of them resent the rise to power of the Shia majority, which suffered under Saddam’s Sunni-dominated regime.
Sunnis participated in far greater numbers in last month’s election and are expected to gain more seats in the new legislature. ap