Friday, December 28, 2012

Protests Over Issawi

Today has seen the largest demonstrations yet in a protest wave in the Sunni areas of Iraq over Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's moves against his Sunni finance minister Rafi al-Issawi:
Tens of thousands of Iraqis have taken part in protests along a major western highway and in other parts of the country in fresh rallies against the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
Massive demonstrations took place along a major highway near the city of Fallujah on Friday, declaring the day a "Friday of Honour"...
In the northern city of Mosul, around 3,000 demonstrators took to the streets to denounce what they called the sidelining of Sunnis in Iraq and to demand the release of Sunni prisoners...
Thousands also took to the streets in the northern Sunni towns of Tikrit and Samarra, where they were joined by legislators and provincial officials, said Salahuddin provincial spokesman Mohammed al-Asi.
Protests erupted last week after Iraqi authorities detained 10 bodyguards of the finance minister, who is from Anbar and is one of the government's most senior Sunni officials. 
Many Sunnis accuse Maliki of marginalising the country's religious minority group by refusing to share power and depriving them of equal rights.
There has been a pattern throughout his tenure of al-Maliki using  the security and judicial arms of the state to remove or intimidate officials who are not personally loyal to him, thus further ensconcing himself as Iraq's strongman.  A year ago at this time it was now-former vice president Tariq al-Hashimi, who is still in exile in Turkey.  The fact the most high-profile of these officials are Sunnis also contributes to the perception in the Arab world that Iraq is more a sectarian tyranny than a democracy, and along with the crackdown on Shi'ites in Bahrain and the civil war in Syria contributes to the sectarianism in the region that is only becoming worse.



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