Proposing a step toward the dissolution of a country that has no essential national unity in the first place. “Shiite Leader Offers Iraq Security Plan,” from AP, with thanks to DFS:
BAGHDAD (AP) — A prominent Shiite leader said Monday that setting up federal regions in Iraq would solve the country’s problems, adding that Shiites are being subjected to mass killings but they should not retaliate by using violence.
Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, leader of the Shiite bloc in the 275-member parliament, was speaking at a Shiite mosque in central Baghdad to mark Ashoura, one of the holiest days in the Shiite calendar commemorating the 7th century death of the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson Imam Hussein. Thousands of people dressed in black in a sign of mourning attended the ceremony at the Khulani Mosque.
“I reaffirm that the establishing of regions will help us in solving many problems that we are suffering from. Moreover, it represents the best solution for these problems,” al-Hakim said. “We affirm the necessity of establishing the south and center and Baghdad regions after the people vote on it.”
Central regions south of Baghdad and the southern Iraqi provinces are predominantly Shiites and al-Hakim has called in the past for setting up the “region of the center and the south.” The predominantly Shiite south and Kurdish north have been relatively safer than the mixed provinces such as Baghdad and Diyala, that witnessed sectarian killings, or the Sunni regions of Anbar and Salahuddin where insurgents are active.
Shiites and Kurds are Iraq’s strongest proponents of federalism, enshrined in a new constitution adopted in 2005. Iraq’s Kurds and Shiites combine for about 80 percent of Iraq’s 26 million population. They suffered the most under Saddam Hussein’s ousted Sunni-led regime.
Sunni Arabs, however, see federalism as a prelude to partitioning the country into a Kurdish north, a Shiite south, leaving them in a central Iraq bereft of oil and other natural resources.