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Radio Free Iraq Polls Iraqis On U.S. Senate Resolution

By Laith Ahmad and Mustafa Mahmud October 4, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- Political reactions are still emerging regarding the nonbinding U.S. Senate's resolution that calls for the establishment of three entities in Iraq, with political groups and parties signing a statement that strongly criticized this resolution.

The statement, read by a member of the Iraqi National List, Izzat al-Shabandar, called on regional and international organizations to oppose this resolution.

"We call on the Arab League, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and the United Nations to quickly deplore and condemn this resolution, and to stand by Iraq in its ordeal and its efforts to restore security and stability throughout its territory," al-Shabandar said.

For its part, the Sunni-led Iraqi Accordance Front rejected -- through its member, Abd al-Karim al-Samarra'i -- the interference by any external party in determining the destiny of Iraq.

The alternative proposal, the National Proposal, which focuses on granting authority to the governorates, must be revived," al-Samma'i said. "Such authority can play a part in resolving all the pending problems."

On the other hand, a member of the Al-Sadr movement, Nasir al-Rubay'i, cautioned against any hasty reactions to this resolution, pointing out that there are proposals related to amending the Regions Law.

"We and our brothers [in the parliament] have proposed an attempt to amend the Regions Law, by adding to it a clause providing for nonimplementation of this law until after the departure of the last [foreign] soldier from Iraq," he said.

A member of the United Iraqi Alliance, Taha Diri'a, pointed out that the U.S. Senate resolution would lead to a civil war and create a fragmented state led by a weak government.

"This resolution is dangerous, in that it creates a fragmented and weak Iraqi state, and a central government with weak powers," Diri'a said. "We also view this resolution as leading to a civil war and does not resolve the security problem; on the contrary, it would further complicate the security problem. Another problem that would emerge is that of the minorities, and the problem of the governorates that have a varied Iraqi fabric."

The leader of the Sunni Iraqi Front for National Dialogue, Salih al-Mutlaq, blamed the opponents of the political process in Iraq for being behind the resolution passed by the U.S. Senate.

"The political leaderships that are opposed to today's phase are to bear a major historic responsibility," he said. "They are responsible to the people for this insult to the Iraqi people. They must therefore rise to the level of responsibility, and oppose this act on its level.

In an exclusive interview with RFI, parliamentarian Izzat al-Shabandar pointed out that the divisions and conflicts between the political blocs has led the U.S. legislators to approve this resolution.

"This is regrettable. We are the ones who provided [Senator Joseph] Biden with sufficient justification to propose this partition plan" al-Shabandar said. "Sectarianism and the sectarian proposal in Iraq have laid the groundwork for the American Senate to interfere in this flagrant manner.

"This interference was actually a hard slap that has awakened the Iraqi politicians, for such a blow has shaken the Iraqi political mind and has united them as you have seen, in a very important way. I believe that the dangerous ramifications that will result from the sectarian proposal in Iraq, will be the real awakening.

"Today, Iraq is partitioned, and tomorrow there will be greater blatant regional interference than the American interference; tomorrow there will be fighting over wealth; after tomorrow, God forbid, the approach of a real civil war. This is what is going to jolt the Iraqi political mind, the patriotic Iraqi mind, and create a sense of caring and a revision of the deterioration that is besetting us now."

Radio Free Iraq also polled citizens in Kirkuk regarding the U.S. Senate resolution. A number of social groups in Kirkuk have expressed their disapproval of the resolution. Some people pointed out that this proposal indicates without a doubt an incorrect reading of Iraqi political realities.

"This decision is interference in Iraq's internal affairs, and this is rejected by all factions and sects in Iraq; and all those who jealously love their country cannot accept this decision," one man said. "Every partition is harmful, and every division is weakness. This is division. You can see that when they partitioned countries, there is no harmony between them."

A man named Abu Muhammad said: "This federalism brought about the United States of America; they were divided and dispersed, and they created their federation in order to unite. But Iraq is a single country, but this federalism they are [proposing] will make it a divided country, because the Kurds will take their part and the Shi'a will take their part, except if there were to be a strong central state, with a unified authority and unified ministries, to unite this country and act in its interests. In Iraq's case, it is now divided but not in fact: nowadays Kurds cannot come go to Baghdad, the Shiites cannot enter the Sunni areas, and the Sunnis cannot enter the Shi'ite areas. It is now partitioned but along sectarian lines. We do want a federal democratic state, but one that is not partitioned in accordance with the designs of those who do not uphold the country's interests."

Baha' Tayyib pointed out that the stabilization of the situation in Iraq cannot be achieved by partitioning it along sectarian lines.

"This decision is not in line with Iraq's interests. Iraq is still a united country, with all its factions, and ethnic groupings, and sects, and is the cure for its internal problems," he said. "In my opinion, the plan to partition Iraq is aimed at weakening the Muslims. Look for yourself; at Baghdad; how do you partition Baghdad? If within Baghdad there are all these ethnic groups and sects that were united -- Shi'a neighboring Sunnis and Sunnis next door to Shi'a - with strong ties among them, how can you separate them? How can you partition them? The partitioning of Iraq cannot possibly be a cure for its problems."

Sharing Iraq's Oil

Sharing Iraq's Oil

The pipeline from Kirkuk to Turkey is one of Iraq's main oil-export lifelines (epa file photo)

THE FUTURE OF THE ECONOMY. The uneven distribution of Iraq's oil resources has long been a source of tension among the country's ethnic and sectarian groups. Since the fall of Saddam Hussein, the tangled quest to find an equitable way to share oil revenues has been a major stumbling block on the road to national unity.


Kurdish Oil Law Poses Problem For Baghdad

Ethnic Tensions Increasing In Oil-Rich City

Government Struggles To Revive Oil Infrastructure

Iraqi Oil Sector Faces Tough Times

Kurds Claim Their Right To Oil

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