Sunni Iraq engulfed in protests against Maliki

6.1.2013 – Kurdistan Tribune – Mass protests against the Iraq government are continuing across the country, including in Mosul, Anbar and Ramadi.

Ayad Allawi, leader of the Sunni opposition Iraqiya list, has called on the Iraqi parliament to dismiss the Shia-dominated government and set up a provisional government which would hold early elections. Ibrahim Jaafary, leader of the National Alliance, called for the crisis to be resolved according to the constitution.

Latif Mostafa Amin, a Kurdish member of Iraqi parliament, told VOA News that Maliki’s refusal to alter discriminatory policies could cause Iraq to fall apart.

However, others are saying the movement to bring down Maliki is itself sectarian in character. “What’s happening is not spontaneous,” said Mohammed Tofiq, spokesman for the Kurdish opposition movement Gorran. “The forces behind the current protests are Sunni political parties.”The protests began after Iraq prime minister Nuri Maliki detained the bodyguards and staff of Sunni Finance Minister Rafaie Esawi last month, just hours after Iraq’s Kurdish President Jalal Talabani (who was seen to play a balancing role) suffered a stroke which has removed him from the political scene. In Mosul, the mayor has tried to ban the demonstrations and the local army chief has said that all future protests must have permission from the governor or else they will be deemed illegal. Maliki has told Sumaria that he has instructed the army to act with restraint. However, observers fear that, if any demonstrators are killed, there could be a new explosion of sectarian conflict.