Fighting sectarian plague

Nouri Al Maliki has done some plain talking. The Iraqi prime minister did not mince words in saying that sectarianism threat is knocking at the doors of the region, and its epic centre lies elsewhere in a country that is exploding at the hands of a civil war.

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Published: Mon 29 Apr 2013, 9:28 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 10:36 AM

Maliki obviously meant Syria, and warned that Arab nations should be ready to fight the menace. He conceded that the ongoing killings in Iraq are as a result of sectarian flare, and suspected foreign hands for fuelling hatred. The weeklong violence has left more than 200 killed across the country and Al Qaeda, and the like, are supposed to be behind the targetted carnage. The most unfortunate aspect is that almost all communities are being bled and the purpose is to give an impression that they are at each other’s throat, and violence is begetting more violence.

The new wave of attacks is so sporadic that it is becoming difficult to make sense of it. At times, government installations are targetted, and at others, security personnel on duty are made to pay for it. In other instances, mosques and community centres of opposite sects are attacked — sending across the message that it might be a tit-for-tat. Moreover, the scope of activities is widespread from Baghdad to the sleepy Tikrit and the mountainous Kirkuk. The government has a tough task to handle, and it is becoming an increasingly difficult equation as the dispensation is locked down in serious political disharmony these days. The fact that Maliki is quite unpopular and his coalition partners as well as adversaries do not see eye-to-eye with him is what makes the mandate of fighting terror more difficult. It is this opportunity that unscrupulous elements have cashed in and furthered their nefarious designs by attacking innocents from all walks of life.

It remains to be seen, however, what made the Iraqi prime minister so restless to go on air and vent his grievances. In his address to the nation, Maliki chose his words carefully and said that ‘sectarianism is being brought back to Iraq’. Without giving details, he warned that the plague is knocking on the doors of everyone — a reference to all regional states — and alleged that there are plans and money behind the plot. Maliki can do a great service by exposing those behind the ruthless game and sternly addressing the rot at home. The United Nations envoy to Iraq, Martin Kobler, has rightly urged political and religious leaders not to let anger win over peace, and exercise restraint. Maliki should read between the lines and act, accordingly.

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