Politicians to blame for Iraq Sunni-Shiite strife: Maliki
Maliki himself pursued policies that marginalized and angered members of Iraq’s Sunni Arab minority
Iraqi Vice President Nouri al-Maliki, who was widely criticized for sectarian policies during his time as premier, said Sunday that politicians are to blame for the country’s Sunni-Shiite strife.
“There is no problem between the Sunnis and the Shiites as communities, but rather between us the politicians -- we think as Sunnis and Shiites, and we are driving people toward this doom, for which we will bear responsibility before God,” he said.
Maliki himself pursued policies that marginalized and angered members of Iraq’s Sunni Arab minority, especially during his second term as premier.
Sunni suspicion of the Shiite-led government was heightened by heavy-handed security operations in Sunni areas, and the arrest of senior Sunni politicians or their employees.
Sunni anger led to anti-government protests, which were targeted by security forces on multiple occasions, most disastrously in late December 2013 when the largest protest camp, located near Anbar provincial capital Ramadi, was demolished.
The destruction of the camp, which Maliki asserted was serving as a jihadist headquarters, sparked clashes and set off a series of events that saw parts of Ramadi and all of Fallujah, to its east, seized by anti-government fighters.
Then last June, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group -- which benefitted from Sunni disenchantment with Baghdad -- spearheaded a sweeping militant offensive that overran large parts of the country north and west of Baghdad.
Maliki’s government turned to Shiite militias, members of which were responsible for sectarian killings in past years, for support against ISIS, before he was replaced as prime minister.
Pro-government forces, now backed by a U.S.-led campaign of air strikes, have regained some ground, but significant territory, including three major cities, remains under ISIS control.
Exclusive: Barzani blames Maliki for Iraq army collapseIn an exclusive interview with Al Arabiya's Rima Maktabi, Barzani expressed Kurdish readiness to liberate Mosul from ISIS Middle East
Nouri al-Maliki: Mastering the art of covering up scandalsThe scandals and failures of Maliki’s government resulted in a coup by his own party Middle East
Iraqi parliament approves Abadi’s CabinetFormer premiers Ayad Allawi and Nuri al-Maliki, along with parliament Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi, were voted as vice presidents Middle East
Iraqi Sunnis who fought al-Qaeda not keen to quell ISISPolitical observers say this is due to the disfranchisement of the Sunni population by outgoing Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki Perspective
Kurdish ministers rejoin Iraqi governmentMinisters who withdrew following Maliki's accusations in June of harboring terrorists, have rejoined the Iraqi government Middle East
Iraq’s Maliki: Stern, unwavering, heavy-handedAs he leaves office, Maliki will be remembered for dominating Iraqi politics with a steely demeanor Profiles
Sunni leaders open to joining Iraq’s new govtTribal leaders who revolted against outgoing PM Maliki’s government would be willing to join the new administration if certain conditions are met Middle East
U.S., U.N. hail Iraq’s Maliki for stepping downIn a televised address, Iraq’s outgoing PM Nouri al-Maliki endorsed his successor Haider al-Abadi and was resigning to preserve unity Middle East