Iraq’s top Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani is again calling on lawmakers to speed up the formation of a new Iraqi government. The call came at the same time as a rift between Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region and Iraq’s central government widens. CCTV’s Jack Barton reports from Baghdad.
World leaders have called repeatedly on Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to create a more inclusive government that reaches out to the country’s Sunni Muslim community.
It’s a call now being backed by Iraq’s most senior Shia Muslim cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, according to his representative who spoke at Friday prayers in the holy city of Karbala.
“The esteemed parliament should not exceed the constitutional timing for more than it has,” said Abdul Mahdi al Karbalaie, a representative of al Sistani. “It should speed up the election of the three positions and the formation of a new government that has a nationwide acceptance to find comprehensive solutions for the mounting problems and compounding crises that are facing the country.”
There was no word on whether a new government was discussed when Prime Minister al-Maliki met with Egypt’s foreign minister for talks on how to contain the threat posed by the Islamic militants who now control much of Iraq’s north and west. It’s not just Sunni extremists flowing in from Syria that are posing a threat to Iraq’s territorial integrity.
On Friday, militias from the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan seized two important oil fields. This exacerbates tensions with the government in Baghdad that’s already running high after the withdrawal of Kurdish politicians from the central government amid moves to fast track a referendum on independence for the region.
Rift widens between Kurdish region & central governmentIraq's top Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, is again calling on lawmakers to speed up the formation of a new Iraqi government. The call came at the same time as a rift between Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region and Iraq's central government widens. CCTV's Jack Barton reports from Baghdad
For more on the turmoil in Iraq, we are joined by Thomas Lynch, a research fellow for South Asia and the Near East at the Institute of National Strategic Studies here in Washington. D.C. Lynch also writes and lectures on the Middle East.