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Uprooting the Shia Dawa Party after the Baath

While the world is busy rallying politically and militarily against ISIS, I believe that in Iraq and America the blame is mainly put on ex-Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki. He is regarded as the source of all corruption, ethnic cleansing and killing in Iraq during his eight years in government. The same world, however, is meeting the current corruption, ethnic cleansing and killing that is taking place daily under the current government with a deafening silence, apparently blind to what is happening.

There is a hidden agreement between Iraqi politicians collaborating with the US administration to be quiet about the government and its ministers and officials, even though they are the same as those of the Maliki government, with a small difference: Al-Maliki is now Vice President and Haider Al-Abadi is prime minister; the latter is one of the leaders of the Dawa Party, of which Al-Maliki is Secretary General. There is a campaign by ministers of Al-Abadi’s government to deny responsibility for anything that took place during the past eight years and to accuse Al-Maliki, as if they were not members of his government. Hoshyar Zebari, the ex-minister of foreign affairs and now the minister of finance, was very evasive in a recent interview, outdoing the leader of the Sadrist movement Muqtada al-Sadr in his ambiguity, blaming everyone but himself for the looting, corruption and collapse of law and order. Viewers are justified in wondering how this politician demonstrating such honesty and patience could accept one position after another in a government that he describes as corrupt.

In any case, Al-Maliki is not that innocent, and continues to have a hand in everything going on, with his own “special forces” and expanding influence through his eldest son, family and relatives. This means that he and the party he belongs to, the Shia Islamic Dawa Party, has succeeded in committing all of the sins of successive Iraqi governments for the past 90 years put together, and in record time. What draws our attention to the current Iraqi situation includes the media silence on the national, Arab and international levels, regarding the ongoing crimes of the regime, despite the killing of ever more citizens. The UN mission in Iraq, (UNAMI), announced this week the death and injury of 4,100 Iraqis during the month of October, which is the highest monthly toll of 2014, although it does not include victims in the Anbar province.

Furthermore, rewarding Al-Maliki by promoting him to vice president has gone ahead even though everyone insists that he is to blame for the disasters in Iraq in recent years. His name is no longer mentioned unless accompanied by adjectives such as foolish, lazy and short-sighted. Anyone who has seen the documentary about the Howayha massacre, when Al-Maliki, as general commander of the armed forces, gave orders to shoot and kill demonstrators, knows full well that this man deserves to be put to trial rather than get promoted.

We also have to take into account the “loss” of billions of dollars from Iraq’s Developmental Fund. The latest news on the money is that on 13 October this year between $1.2 and $1.6 billion, which was stolen during the American invasion of Iraq and transferred to Lebanon for safe keeping, has been found in a Lebanese basement. According to Stuart Bowen, US special inspector general for the investigation of corruption and wasting money in Iraq, he spoke to Al-Maliki about the missing funds and the discovery of the basement but the then prime minister did not take any action. More recently, they’ve been talking about the disappearance of $11 billion from Iraq’s currency reserves during the month that preceded the appointment of Al-Abadi; this is a scandal that has still to be made public about funds that are equal to the entire budgets of many countries.

Does rotating ministers and presenting them in new offices, in a government headed by a leader in the Dawa Party called Al-Abadi, mean that they are absolved of responsibility for crimes committed during the government that was headed by the Dawa Party’s Secretary General Al-Maliki? Doesn’t the logic of accountability and justice, which is being applied in order to uproot the Baath Party, require us to demand the same policy to uproot the Dawa Party? This is especially important given that the balance for measuring crimes was broken many years ago, under the heavy weight of crimes committed (and still being committed) by the Dawa Party and its allies and the militias that were planted, nurtured and grown under its sectarian patronage.

It has to be said that Al-Abadi’s position is no less sectarian than Al-Maliki’s. They speak with one sectarian voice when they say: “We applaud Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani in these days in which Iraqi forces are having consecutive victories which would not have been possible without the historic fatwa on ‘Ulkipaúa jihad’ in defence of Iraq, its people and their sanctities.” The Dawa Party knows very well that this fatwa was addressed to the Shias only and not the entire Iraqi people. It is well known that only the Shias are the ones who follow such reference points and not the Sunnis, Christians or Yazidis. Writer Taleb Ramahi made this important point in a letter addressed to Al-Sistani in August: “We failed in marketing the fatwa correctly, so it seemed like a sectarian rally against the Sunni component, and it was our duty, especially the state media, to work on the involvement of the Sunni component in the fatwa.” Ramahi though, like the Dawa Party, has welcomed the fatwa, describing it as a “pure step”, and stressing, at the same time, that it addresses followers of the Shia sect, because it is “obedience to the imam Alhuja, may God speed his reappearance, believing that what comes out from Grand Ayatollah is not far from the desires of the hidden imam.” The timing of the fatwa was in sync with the success of the Dawa Party, led by Al-Maliki, in the consolidation of the idea of linking Sunnis with terrorism, or that terrorism is a Sunni phenomenon. This in turn means legitimising the bombing and displacement of residents of Sunni areas as collective punishment against ISIS terrorism, although the latter is aimed against all those who disagree with their opinions and beliefs.

Finally, if we manage, for any reason, to overlook all of the points relating to political and moral decline mentioned above, can we overlook the opening of the borders for Iranian death squads and summoning them with America and its allies to occupy Iraq for the second time? This is happening under the pretext that “all we need from our friends in weapons and support”, according to Al-Abadi and his party, who are overlooking the fact that those who lose the support of their people may benefit for a short while from the occupation. However, will they turn against them when there are no more interests to protect? Will the future of Iraq be one uprooting after another?

Translated from Al Aquds Al Arabi, 3 November, 2014

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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