Allawi says new terrorism grips Iraq
BAGHDAD: Former prime minister Iyad Allawi said on Tuesday that sectarian politicians and their militias were imposing a new “terrorism” on Iraq that is tougher to tackle than insurgent bombings.
“Now the new form of terrorism is different to the first form of terrorism. It is ideological, political and sectarian terror in Iraq,” he told Reuters in an interview.
“We can confront and eradicate the first one but the second one is the danger that has started and hit our society.” Iraq’s Shia, Sunni and Kurdish leaders are struggling to break a four-month deadlock over the formation of a national unity government they hope will avert a civil war.
But Allawi, a secular Shia, said it will take more than a political breakthrough to save the country from sinking deeper into bloody chaos, and politicians have no clear policies or plans to ease sectarian strife and disband militias.
“The problem is with the programmeme. We need people who say ‘We don’t believe in militias and sectarian quotas but believe in building government institutions and moving the economy.’“ That won’t be easy. Many Iraqi political parties are linked to militias who Iraqis say torture and kill with impunity.
Allawi, whose Iraqiya party has only 25 seats in the 275-seat parliament, believes a full-blown communal conflict has already started. “I warn of events reaching the point of no return because it’s a huge disaster and the way to treat it is the opposite of what’s happening now,” said Allawi, a former member of Saddam Hussein’s Baath party who broke away in the 1970s.
“We must avoid pushing the country into a dark tunnel and reaching a dead end. We must be aware and not bury our head in the soil and say the situation in Iraq is good.” Allawi returned from exile in 2003 hoping to help lead postwar Iraq to a new era of democracy and prosperity. Reuters