Friday, December 07, 2007

Sectarian tensions in parliament end in shouting match

I'm glad that these politicians are talking about this, although I'm dismayed that they are still fighting. Such discussions would have resulted in imprisonment or death before 2003. An Iraqi friend in Mosul told me recently that the Sunni Arabs in Mosul seem to hate the Shia, and that this hatred did not exist before 2003 because, she believes, the Sunni Arabs were in charge before 2003.  Now that the Shia have taken over, many Sunni Arab politicians seem bitter.  I think that both sides have good points.  Why has the Iraqi government barred former members of the Baath party from working in government?  If those former Baathists have no criminal record, they should be allowed to work in government.  On the other hand, the notion that Shia are "heretics" whose murder is sanctioned by God is ridiculous and such decrees should be illegal.  If the Iraqi government has proof that Adnan al Dulaimi is involved in terrorist activities, he should be in jail instead of parliament.  It's about time that Iraqis discuss these issues and try to resolve them without returning to civil war. 
'A shouting match erupted in parliament Thursday between a Shiite lawmaker and a powerful Sunni Arab politician whom he accused of harboring sectarian sentiments against Iraq's Shiite majority.

The public outburst illustrates the intense sectarian tensions in the country and could renew calls by Shiite politicians that Adnan al-Dulaimi, the Sunni politician in question, be stripped of his parliamentary immunity to stand trial for inciting sectarian strife.

The quarrel began when Bahaa al-Aaraji, a follower of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, told the 275-seat house that he had evidence that al-Dulaimi has branded Shiites "heretics" whose killing is legitimate.

He said the evidence was in documents he held while addressing parliament, but declined to divulge their contents when he later spoke to reporters.

"Legal action must be taken against him," he said over al-Dulaimi's protestations.

"They are false, they are false," the Sunni Arab politician shouted.

Speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani instructed al-Aaraji to submit the documents to the parliamentary Security and Defense Committee. Its chairman, Hadi al-Amri, later said that parliament would be willing to lift al-Dulaimi's immunity if the judiciary requests it.

Al-Mashhdani is a Sunni Arab and a member of the Iraqi Accordance Front, the three-party alliance that has 44 parliamentary seats and is led by al-Dulaimi.

Al-Amri is a member of the country's most powerful Shiite party and is thought to have led its affiliated militia, the Badr Brigade, until recently.'  continued

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