25 April, 2015 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter | Mobile






mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 11/28/2008
IRAQ - UNITED STATES
Archbishop Sako: vote on U.S. troop withdrawal conceals Iraq's "fragile equilibrium"
The archbishop of Kirkuk curbs the enthusiasm, and points to the profound divisions still remaining in Iraq. He also reiterates the risk of civil war if the country is left to itself, and warns: the Iranian nuclear menace is a concrete threat for the entire Middle East.

Kirkuk (AsiaNews) - Speaking of a broad consensus over the approval of the plan to withdraw U.S. troops "is not correct." The president had asked for a large majority, but those who did not agree with the proposed law "preferred to avoid the session by going on pilgrimage to Mecca," leaving to their fellow lawmakers "the task of voting." These are some of the comments made to AsiaNews by Louis Sako, archbishop of Kirkuk, over the plan to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq.

Yesterday, the Iraqi parliament approved, by a vote of 148 in favor out of 198 lawmakers present - there were 35 votes against, and 86 lawmakers absent - the Status of Forces Agreement: it stipulates that the U.S. forces in Iraq - composed of 150,000 soldiers - would have to withdraw to the cities by June of 2009, remaining available for possible emergency operations. Their definitive departure is set for the end of 2011. Now the law must be ratified by the Iraqi presidency council, made up of head of state Jalal Talabani (Kurdish) and vice-presidents Tareq Al Hashemi (Sunni) and Adel Abdul-Mahdi (Shiite). The Iraqi citizens will have the last word on the measure, through a popular referendum - clamored for by the Sunni minority, in exchange for their vote in parliament - expected to be held by the end of July 2009.

"The vote represents a step forward," says Archbishop Sako, "but anything can happen, because the situation is still precarious. There is nothing stable or definitive, the country is going through a phase of fragile equilibrium that could collapse at any moment." The parliamentary session that approved the measure was anything but tranquil, with the radical Shiite fringe repeatedly chanting protest slogans against "the American occupation." The leader Muqtada al-Sadr is against the agreement, and has told his followers to display black banners as a sign of mourning, and to close the offices of the movement all over the country for the next three days. But there is partial satisfaction among the Sunnis, who have seen some of their requests for "political reforms" recognized; these include the revision of the law that prevents former members of the Baath party of rais Saddam Hussein from holding office in the country.

"Iraqis still profoundly divided within itself," emphasizes the archbishop of Kirkuk. "One cannot speak of national unity, and even the government recognizes this. Everyone is trying to gain greater influence in his own territory, and even the capital, Baghdad, which should represent the symbol of unity, is in reality subdivided into sectors controlled by very specific factions."

Planning the withdrawal of American troops could be positive for the country's journey toward autonomy, but there remains the concrete risk of "a civil war if the nation is left to itself." Archbishop Sako emphasizes two other essential points: the foreign policy stance that Barack Obama intends to take, and the Iranian nuclear threat. "It is not possible to predict what initiatives the new American president will take, but his decisions will have a fundamental effect on future developments in the entire region. The Iranian nuclear menace," the prelate concludes, "is a concrete threat for Iraq and for all the countries of the Gulf. The Middle East is hanging in the balance, and there is a long way to go on the journey of peace."


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
03/21/2009 IRAN - UNITED STATES
Iran, Khamenei dictates conditions for dialogue with Obama
03/20/2008 IRAQ
Chaldean Christians, after five years the crestfallen dream of Iraq
by Yawnan Al-Muselly*
11/07/2008 ASIA - UNITED STATES
Axis of evil countries "open" to Obama. Al Qaeda calls upon him to convert to Islam
08/11/2008 PERSIAN GULF
War ships, planes, missiles amassing around Gulf
09/29/2008 IRAQ
Appeal from Archbishop Sako: politics is also trying to wipe out Iraqi Christians

Editor's choices
VATICAN
Pope remembers and prays for "latest tragedy" of migrants, "our brothers and sisters" who "are seeking happiness"At the Regina Caeli, Pope Francis says he is praying for the hundreds of victims in a sinking off the coast of Libya. An appeal to the international community to "act decisively and promptly." "Every baptized person is called to witness in word and deed, that Jesus is risen, He is alive and present in our midst." The Christian message "is not a theory, an ideology or a complex system of precepts and prohibitions, or moralism, but a message of salvation, a concrete event, even a person: the Risen Christ, the living and only Savior of all" . The Pope will be in Turin on June 21 to honor the Shroud, the exposition of which begins today.
SAUDI ARABIA – YEMEN
Saudi war in Yemen masks widening domestic tensions
by Afshin ShahiSaudi Arabia is using the conflict in Yemen to control domestic problems, especially social inequalities and religious sectarianism. However, whilst the royal family flaunts its wealth, some 20 per cent of the population lives in poverty. Many disgruntled young Saudis end up becoming "foreign fighters" for the Islamic state (IS). Some 15 per cent of the Saudi population is Shia, under the heavy thumb of the Sunni-dominated state. Afshin Shahi, director of the Centre for the Study of Political Islam and lecturer in International Relations and Middle East Politics at University of Bradford, provides the following lucid analysis.
VATICAN
Pope: on the persecution of Christians, the international community should "not stand by mute and inactive” and “look away”For the sixth time in a week, Pope Francis mentioned the martyrdom of Christians in today’s Regina Caeli (the Marian prayer at Easter), slamming the indifference of the international community towards this "alarming failure to protect basic human rights.” Today’s martyrs "are many, and we can say that they are more numerous than in the first centuries." In addition, “Faith in the resurrection of Jesus and the hope He has brought to us is the most beautiful gift that a Christian can and must offer his brothers and sisters. To one and all, therefore, do not tire of repeating: Christ is Risen!”

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.