Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki today blasted calls for Sunnis to consider a secessionist movement in the nation’s west, insisting that any effort to form an autonomous region or to secede outright would lead to bloodshed.
“If it happens, people will fight each other and blood will reach to the knee,” insisted Maliki, whose Shi’ite “State of Law” Party is currently ruling in a coalition with support from the Shi’ite Iraqi National Alliance bloc.
Tensions between the two religious factions have been on the rise for years, and the 2010 election, which saw the Sunni-dominated Iraqiya bloc winning a plurality but winding up mostly irrelevant in ruling the nation has many Sunnis convinced they have no real say in their government.
Indeed, top Iraqiya figure Osama al-Nujaifi, the speaker of the Iraqi parliament, recently warned that secession was vital as a check on national power, and could be exercised if the Sunni minority did not receive more equitable treatment. Nujaifi’s brother, Atheel, is the governor of the Nineveh Province, and has come under fire for the sectarian nature of his faction’s government.