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Sunni Cleric Urges Abandoning Current Iraq Political Process January 31, 2007

Posted by notapundit in World News.
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DAMASCUS (AP)–A hardline Iraqi Sunni Muslim cleric claimed on Wednesday that there can be no reconciliation in Iraq unless the current political process is abandoned and until all foreign forces leave the country.

Sheik Harith al-Dhari, head of the powerful Association of Muslim Scholars in Iraq, spoke to journalists after meeting Syrian Vice-President Farouk Skaraa during a visit to Damascus.

Al-Dhari said the political process in Iraq and all its achievements so far – including the constitution and the national assembly – must be abandoned as a “precondition for a successful reconciliation among the Iraqis.”

“What is being reported on the process is merely media talk and the meetings, which are held under the pretext of reconciliation, are publicity meetings and not serious,” he said.

Al-Dhari also blasted the new Iraqi constitution as “false, unjust and racial” and said it has “divided the Iraqi people.”

As other “serious steps” needed, al-Dhari listed the disbanding of the national assembly and the release of all political prisoners and detainees, estimated by the Sunni hardliner to be in tens of thousands.

Al-Dhari also said the U.S.-led coalition forces are the “problem, and the umbrella for all evils in Iraq.” An “end to the occupation is a basis” that all Iraqis must agree on for reconciliation to begin, he said.

Al-Dhari, whose group is believed to have ties to Sunni insurgents, left Iraq for Jordan after Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s Cabinet accused him of inciting terrorism. He has used his travels in the Arab world to lash out at al-Maliki and the U.S. presence in Iraq.

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