Mobile  |  About us  |  Photos  |  Videos  |  Subscriptions  |  RSS Feeds  |  Today's Paper  |  Classifieds  |  Contact Us
The Daily Star
WEDNESDAY, 16 APR 2014
04:04 PM Beirut time
Weather    
Beirut
23 °C
Blom Index
BLOM
1,214.01down
Middle East
Follow this story Print RSS Feed ePaper share this
Iraq PM vows to act against 'Qaeda' protest site
Agence France Presse
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki speaks to supporters at a gathering in Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki speaks to supporters at a gathering in Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)
A+ A-

BAGHDAD: Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said Sunday that an anti-government sit-in has become a headquarters for Al-Qaeda, and called for protesters to depart before security forces move in.

Maliki's remarks came a day after a disastrous military operation against militants in Anbar province, west of Baghdad, where the protest site is located, in which five senior officers and 10 other soldiers were killed.

If security forces move against the site, where Sunni Arab demonstrators have gathered near the city of Ramadi for almost a year, it would likely inflame widespread discontent among the minority community and could lead to an increase in the already-rampant violence plaguing the country.

"I say clearly and honestly that the sit-in site in Anbar has turned into a headquarters for the leadership of Al-Qaeda," Maliki, a Shiite, said in remarks broadcast Sunday on Iraqiya state TV.

"We now have a headquarters for Al-Qaeda leading the armed operations against Iraq and the Iraqi people, and this is something about which we cannot be silent," he said.

Maliki called on "those who are with them in this place who refuse sabotage and who have legal or illegal demands ... to leave these camps, and leave this place, so that Al-Qaeda stays alone," adding that protesters had a "very short period" in which to leave.

He called on security forces to take a "firm stance to end the headquarters of Al-Qaeda, which has become a danger not only for Anbar, but for Iraq in general."

Demonstrations broke out in Sunni-majority areas of Iraq at the end of last year, after security forces arrested guards of then-finance minister Rafa al-Essawi, an influential Sunni Arab politician, on terrorism charges.

The arrests were seen by Iraqi Sunnis as the latest example of the Shiite-led government targeting one of their leaders, but the demonstrations were about far more than just Essawi.

Anger among members of Iraq's Sunni Arab community, who say they are both marginalised by the Shiite-led government and unfairly targeted with heavy-handed tactics by security forces, has driven the demonstrations to continue.

Sunni discontent has been a key factor in the escalating unrest in Iraq this year, boosting recruitment for militant groups, pushing them to carry out attacks and reducing cooperation with security forces.

The last major security operation at a protest site, which took place near the northern town of Hawijah on April 23, sparked clashes in which dozens of people were killed.

Shortly thereafter, the nationwide death toll from violence spiked, reaching a level not seen since 2008, when the country was just emerging from a brutal period of sectarian killings.

The violence, which was been further exacerbated by the civil war in neighbouring Syria, has killed more than 6,600 people since the beginning of 2013, according to AFP figures.

 
Home Middle East
 
     
 
Iraq
Advertisement
Comments  

Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

comments powered by Disqus
Advertisement


Baabda 2014
Advertisement
Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Linked In Follow us on Google+ Subscribe to our Live Feed
Multimedia
Images  
Pictures of the day
A selection of images from around the world- Tuesday April 15, 2014
View all view all
Advertisement
Rami G. Khouri
Rami G. Khouri
Silencing Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s hate talk
Michael Young
Michael Young
The presidential chess game has begun
David Ignatius
David Ignatius
China moves to the scary side of its boom
View all view all
Advertisement
cartoon
 
Click to View Articles
 
 
News
Business
Opinion
Sports
Culture
Technology
Entertainment
Privacy Policy | Anti-Spamming Policy | Disclaimer | Copyright Notice
© 2014 The Daily Star - All Rights Reserved - Designed and Developed By IDS