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Ousted Baghdad Mayor Speaks To Radio Free Iraq

Baghdad Mayor al-Tamimi (file photo) RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq (RFI) correspondent Ahmad al-Zubaydi interviewed ousted Baghdad Mayor Ala' al-Tamimi on 9 August by telephone after he was forcibly removed from his position on 8 August by armed men supporting Baghdad City Council Chairman Mazin Makkiya.

RFI: Baghdad Mayor Ala' al-Tamimi has confirmed the news reported in the media on what he called "the occupation of Baghdad mayoral headquarters by Baghdad Governor Husayn al-Tahhan, [Baghdad] Governorate Council Chairman Mazin Makkiya, and a number of armed men." They attacked and beat a number of administrative employees at Baghdad Municipality, al-Tamimi says.

Al-Tamimi: Baghdad Governor Husayn al-Tahhan entered the municipality, accompanied by [Baghdad] Governorate Council President Mazin Makkiya and some 120 armed men. He summoned an assembly in my office where he announced that he was now assuming the post of acting mayor and that he is now expecting to receive orders. He was asked who had entitled him with this action as mayor is subordinate to the Council of Ministers. He replied [to the person who asked], "I am not receiving orders from you." Then he started, supported by the armed men, to arrest some administrative employees and beat some of them. I have no militia that would guard me. Thank God, I was not present in the office when it was stormed. Now it is he [al-Tahhan] who has abused the responsibilities of his office.

RFI: What reaction have you received from the government at the occupation of Baghdad mayoral headquarters?

Al-Tamimi: I telephoned the secretary of the Council of Ministers. He confirmed the action was unacceptable and condemnable. It is not worthy of the position [of Baghdad governor] to conduct such an action. I have also telephoned a number of politicians, all of whom have expressed their astonishment over this behavior that is not worthy of new Iraq, of a democratic country, and of elected political forces. The behavior is typical of the era of military coups, an era that Iraq has already departed from as I had hoped. What happened yesterday, however, is a very dangerous development.

RFI: Did you speak with Husayn al-Tahhan? Did any meeting take place between you that would clarify the reasons of his action?

Al-Tamimi: You may know that a week ago, the Baghdad Governorate Council named Husayn al-Tahhan to the post of acting Baghdad governor. While I was on vacation outside Iraq, a campaign to denigrate my image was launched here. I was apprehended in the airport and remained in detention for one day. All that was based on unfounded allegations.

At that time, the decree naming Husayn al-Tahhan as acting Baghdad governor was sent by the municipality to the Council of Ministers. A reply from the Council of Ministers said they would be dealing with the issue, adding that the Council of Ministers is the only party entitled to repeal or appoint the Baghdad mayor. The issue had been raised earlier and it will be discussed tomorrow as I announced my resignation and was pensioned from the post already on 21 June. I did not know that such problems would appear on the part of the Baghdad Governorate Council and Baghdad governor. I have already decided to withdraw. I am a man of work, not a man of conflict. I do not get involved in conflicts, I do not belong to any political party. I do not have any militias and no political party supports me. This is what I can say to the attack.

RFI: Iraqi government spokesman Laith Kubba has confirmed in a telephone conversation to RFI that the Baghdad mayor had indeed filed his resignation and that this resignation has been accepted. He added that the Council of Ministers would in its next session discuss the names of three candidates for this post.

(Translated by Petr Kubalek and Diar Bamrni)

See also:

Baghdad Mayor Visits RFE/RL

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