Iraq’s Sistani: Shortcomings of government have been exposed in Basra

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Iraq’s top Shiite cleric Ayatollah Ali al-Sistan said on Friday that the tragic reality the country is going through can not be changed if the long awaited government is formed by the same standards of the existing one.

In late July, Sistani warned the government of the way it handled the protests that swept the country, especially in the southern oil-rich city of Basra, saying if the government does not abide by its commitments, people will develop other peaceful means of protests to impose their will on the authority, adding that in this situation there will be a different scene "that we will regret". Read more

On Friday, Sistani voiced his concern, saying he is watching the evolving of events in Basra, and denouncing the firing of live bullets at protesters.

He warned saying that the shortcomings in Basra and the ineligibility of some government officials "have been exposed."

Sistani also strongly condemned the attack on security forces in charge of protecting government institutions and public property.

The top Shiite cleric further said that the people can no longer tolerate the indifference of officials and their preoccupation with positions.

“The suffering of the citizens in Basra and the provinces is a natural result of the performance of senior officials in successive governments of quotas, and this tragic reality can not change if the government was formed on the same basis and standards,” Sistani said.

He stressed the need for the next government to be different from its predecessors, and to take into account “integrity, efficiency, determination and courage in the selection of senior officials.”

He appealed to Iraqis to desist from the excessive use of violence and abuse of property.

Sistani’ stance on the Iraqi situation comes as angry protesters in Basra stormed and set fire to a provincial government building and several Iran-backed political parties’ headquarters, with many moved toward the Iranian consulate on Thursday night where they chanted slogans against “Iranian interference” in their country. Full story

Earlier on Thursday, one protester was killed, and 14 injured during the violent protests in Basra city.

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