Iraqi dissidents form new opposition to monitor gov’t
BAGHDAD - Agence France-PresseA group of political dissidents created a new Iraqi opposition party Feb. 11, vowing to act as a check on the government as the prime minister warned that a push for regional autonomy could tear the country apart.
About 45 activists announced the creation of the Union of Patriotic Figures and described it as a secular political group of Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds from about 27 mostly minor Iraqi parties. “We will be an opposition to monitor both the government and the parliament,” Mishaan al-Saadi, who unsuccessfully ran for election to parliament in 2010 on the secular but Sunni-dominated Iraqiya list, told reporters.
Iraq has been mired in a political crisis for months. It was galvanized mostly by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s pursuit of suspected terrorists and resulted in charges filed against hundreds of Sunnis, including a vice president. Speaking at a conference of his Shiite political party, al-Maliki said that such a system would, at the least, freeze vital government services like electricity and security for the areas that break away. At worst, he said, the fractures could lead to fighting among Iraq’s regions.
“The situation won’t help. It might even be an entrance for internal battles,” al-Maliki said in his speech in Karbala, a holy Shiite city 90 kilometers south of Baghdad.