Monday, September 07, 2009

Presidency council criticizes Maliki over standoff with Syria

Iraq's leaders seem very uncomfortable with what they consider a monopoly of decision-making by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

The Iraqi presidency council called for "containing the situation with neighboring Syria and for cooperation between the two countries to resolve disputes through dialogue and diplomatic channels".

A statement released after the council's meeting in Sulaymaniyah stressed the need to do what is in the best interest of both countries and to prevent "enemies" from using one country against the other. The presidency council includes president Jalal Talabani and his deputies Aadil Abdul-Mahdi and Tariq al-Hashimi.

The statement sounds like an attempt to water down Maliki's attitude toward Syria "the call for considering terrorist attacks as crimes against humanity and the proposal to form an international tribunal for this purpose is not about Syria, but about terrorism as a whole". The council intends to send messages to Maliki and to the secretary general of the Arab League to "explain the position of the presidency council which must be consulted and give approval" when it comes to fundamental and important issues.

VP Abdul-Mahdi was the most vocal in his criticism of Maliki. He basically warned against "having one party make dangerous decisions" in reference to Maliki's call for an international tribunal to investigate Syrian involvement in violence in Iraq.

The presidency council also seems very upset by Maliki's orders to fire several senior officers and the arrest warrant that was issued against Iraq's ambassador to Jordan. In this regard, the statement adds that "The council has taken steps to prohibit acts of defamation or other unconstitutional measures against ambassadors and senior officers as such acts damage Iraq reputation and disrupt the legal frameworks of the state".

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