Iraqis openly discuss dividing their nation

On Friday, a day after a deadly blast hit one of the holiest Shia shrines in Iraq, Sunnis and Shias, gathered to pray at their respective mosques in the country that had been suffering relentless attacks over the past months targeting members of both comm

Iraqis openly discuss dividing their nation

Friday witnessed a bloody day in Iraq, with at least 35 people killed and more than 100 wounded in a bomb attack at a police checkpoint outside the tomb of Imam Ali, a Shia place of pilgrimage in the holy Iraqi city of Najaf.

The brutality of last week's attack sparked fears that it will provoke reprisals blackening the mood across the conflict-torn country, as Sunni and Shia worshippers, bitterly-divided after the occupation and the political vacuum it created, gathered in Iraq's mosques for their weekly prayers.

"Sea of blood"

"We are swimming in a sea of blood. We bid our sons farewell everyday. Our dear sons fall from our arms, but there is no one to listen," said the Sunni imam of the Mosque in Baghdad where the government imposed vehicle curfew during prayer time to prevent possible attacks.

Iraqis now have a new Constitution, a new government and a new military, all directed by the U.S. occupation authorities. But they still face worsening sectarian bloodshed.

And some politicians have already warned that a civil war has already broke out in the country.

"Iraq is now in a state of undeclared civil war," said Abdullah Aliawayi, Kurdish member of Iraq's House of Representatives, who earlier attended a failed meeting of Iraqi factions in the Egyptian capital. "The visions of Sunnis and Shias for the future of Iraq are too far from each other to be easily brought together in a joint programme."

For the first time in the history of the Iraqi nation, Iraqis began openly discussing whether the only way out of the current crisis is to divide the country, stated an article on San Francisco Chronicle.

Iraq's powerful Shia leaders are believed to have started pushing for a radical plan aimed at partitioning the nation as a way out of the current violence and bloody crisis that lead to the death of thousands of innocents from both communities, Shias and Sunnis.

And some Iraqis are actually considering dividing Baghdad itself, with the Tigris River as a kind of Berlin Wall.

Some argue that the deteriorating security situation in Iraq is related to Iraqi Shias' push for autonomy in the south.

"Certainly the current complicated political and security situation, in addition to economic factors, has been a key reason in driving Shias towards demanding the establishment of their federal regions in the south," Najdat Akreyi, national security expert at Arbil's college of political science has been quoted by IPS as saying.

The new Iraqi Constitution, crafted by the Bush's administration officials, does allow provinces to team up into federal regions, and many experts have previously warned against the negative results this constitution will lead to, including dividing the once united Iraqi nation. But this is the first time politicians, clerics and columnists, advocate regional partition as a way of ending the crisis.

"Federalism will cut off all parts of the country that are incubating terrorism from those that are upgrading and improving," said Education Minister Khudayer Al-Khuzaie, a Shia.

"We will do it just like Kurdistan. We will put soldiers along the frontiers."

Some argue that federalism could be the only solution for ending the current bloodbath in Iraq, others push a plan led by Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, head of the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, a powerful Shia faction in the country, calling for the creation of a nine-province district in the south, an area with 60 percent of the country's proven oil reserves.

Sunnis, on the other hand see the plan as another evidence of the greed of the Shias, whom they consider are using the deteriorating security situation in the country to make an oil grab, for Iraq's oil is mainly concentrated in the north and south, while much of the Sunni west and northwest is desolate desert, void of any oil resources.

"Controlling these areas will create a grand fortune that they can exploit," said Adnan al-Dulaimi, a leading Sunni Arab politician. "Their motive is that they are thirsty for control and power."

"Splitting the capital"

Even those who're in favour of keeping Iraq united acknowledge that the worsening sectarian crisis in the country has gotten so out of hand that even "the possibility of splitting the capital along the Tigris, which roughly divides Baghdad between a mostly Shia east and a mostly Sunni west, is being openly discussed," the editorial added.

"Sunnis and Shias are both starting to feel that dividing Baghdad will be the solution," said Ammar Wajuih, a Sunni politician.

Many Iraqis are starting to acknowledge that their country is on the brink of a bloody civil war, but, according Hussein Athab- a political scientist and former lawmaker from Basra- dividing the country would "actually lead to increasing violence and sectarian displacement."

Some experts suggest that a U.S. plan to end the increasing violence in Baghdad could be the Bush administration's and the Iraqi government's last chance to prevent a civil war that many Iraqis and U.S. officials believe is intensifying fast.

"The government has to make a clear decision about dismantling militias," said Saad al-Janabi, a member of the secular Iraqi slate.

"Reconciliation will not happen unless the Iraqi army is in charge" of the capital.

Whether the newly formed Iraqi government and forces will be able to control the sectarian crisis that emerged in Iraq following the U.S.-led occupationin 2003, remains in question.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16