Saturday, 14 January 2012, 07:19 GMT

Saleh Al-Mutlaq discusses Iraqi issues after U.S. withdrawal

By The Kurdish Globe
Conducted by Hemn Baban
"Maliki is a special kind of dictator" says Saleh Al-Mutlaq
In an interview with the Kurdish Globe, Head of the Iraqi Front of National Dialogue and a prominent leader in the Iraqiya bloc, Saleh al-Mutlaq describes Iraq's current Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki as "a special kind of dictator."

Al-Mutlaq says if Maliki stays in power for a long time, the country will fall apart. "He intends to steer the country towards an absolute dictatorship by establishing governance in which he has a grip on all its aspects."

Globe: Head of the Iraqiya bloc Ayad Allawi says if the coming national congress takes place in Kurdistan Region, the bloc will undoubtedly participate, but if it is held in Baghdad in a tense environment, there is no guarantee it will be successful. What do you have to say about this?

Al-Mutlaq: It is crucial for us that the national congress takes place in a stable and well-secured place because we believe the location has direct implications on the outcomes. However, it is not an issue that cannot be dealt with. If Kurdistan Region's President Massoud Barzani personally attends and our security is taken into consideration, then we will make sure the location does not become an obstacle to holding the conference.

Globe: You have stated before that Maliki is on his way to becoming a dictator. Do you regret your statement?

Al-Mutlaq: Maliki is not becoming a dictator, he already is one. There are dictators with wisdom and a plan, but Maliki has neither. He is suppressing the Iraqi people as well as the politicians altogether, as a step to turn people into slaves. He intends to steer the country towards a special kind of dictatorship as he is a special kind of dictator himself, establishing a type of governance in which he has a strong grip on all its aspects. You can see he is holding some crucial positions at the present time, and that is what is called dictatorship.

Globe: Only hours after the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, the country slipped back into conflict. Do you think the recent tension could end up dividing the country?

Al-Mutlaq: I believe if Maliki stays in power for a longer time, the country will face division. Those who intend to preserve the Iraqi unity -- anyone who is not for splitting the country could become an easy target for neighboring powers -- should work to overcome Maliki.

Globe: The other Iraqi leaders in the National Iraqi Alliance bloc kept silent on Maliki's way of governing. Why have they had no stance so far?

Al-Mutlaq: Their silence is distressing for us; the leaders within the Iraqiya bloc and our brothers from the National Iraqi Alliance must raise their voices to inform the dictator Maliki that the country must not be ruled in the way it is today. Our brothers from the National Iraqi Alliance should not take orders from outside powers, and look to the issues from a sectarian perspective. It is everyone's duty to point fingers at the shortcomings and try to come up with a solution, otherwise Iraq will fall apart.

Globe: If the Iraqi Parliament or any other bloc withdraws their support to Maliki, is there another qualified candidate?

Al-Mutlaq: There are many people in the National Iraqi Alliance bloc. Ibrahim al-Jaafari or Ammar Al-Hakeem, for instance, are neutral to a great extent; even the Sadr and Fazila blocs include many intelligent young people. What is important is that they select someone who works to maintain Iraq's unity -- for a country where the Kurds, Shiites, Sunnis, Turkmen and Christians enjoy equal citizenship rights.