Says U.S. Should Deal with Iran Before Withdrawal; Kurdish MP Blasts Cheney
By ZEYAD KASIM
Sheikh Majid Abdul Razzaq Al-Ali Suleiman, head chief of the Sunni tribal confederation of Dulaim in western Iraq, regarded the political process in Iraq as a “failure,” because it is based on sectarian quotas, instead of the intricate social Iraqi fabric, he told the pan-Arab Al-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper Thursday in an interview at Amman. Sheikh Suleiman stressed the role of Iraqi tribal leaders to put an end to the sectarian bloodshed in the country, especially since major Iraqi tribes often transcend the Sunni-Shia sectarian divide, but he also said he would not participate in the political process without an end to sectarianism. “Sectarianism is a huge blunder, but the major disaster is the blatant Iranian meddling in Iraqi affairs and to destroy all that is Iraqi,” he said.
In regard to Al-Qaeda and recent tribal efforts in the Anbar governorate to eliminate their presence, Sheikh Suleiman acknowledged that Al-Qaeda militants mainly target Iraqis instead of Americans. “Al-Qaeda is a cancer in our country,” he said, “but there is also an honorable resistance that is confronting the intrusion of Iran and Al-Qaeda in the country, although we have recently received dangerous information that Iran is backing some militants affiliated with Al-Qaeda.” Sheikh Suleiman added that his tribesmen have taken upon themselves to root out Al-Qaeda militants from their territory after they realized that Al-Qaeda is targeting all Iraqis without discrimination. “We saw car bombs attacking everyone, from students to religious clerics, hospitals and children playgrounds. This is not resistance,” he said.
Also, Iraqi blogger Chikitita tells us what it's like to get a taxi in Baghdad these days.
UPDATE: I am amazed by the headline of this story from the Associated Press. It reads "Iraqi officials discourage U.S. pullout." I clicked on it, wondering if it was a typo, because you may have heard that 144 members of Iraqi Parliament have signed a petition drafted by Sadrist members calling for a timetable for U.S. withdrawal the other day, a development that the U.S. media (with the exception of the Washington Post and the New York Times, which will probably put the story on page 12) has mysteriously not picked up yet. But, no, the AP story was instead about the visit of Deputy Prime Minister Barham Saleh - who speaks impeccable English, the AP tell us - and (U.S.-appointed) National Security Advisor Muwafaq Al-Rubai'i to Washington to warn Congress members of the disastrous consequences of a U.S. withdrawal. I am still shaking my head.