Furious at Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s violent crackdown against peaceful protesters in Ramadi, Sunni Arab MPs are resigning from the Iraqi parliament en masse today.
The crackdown came against protesters demanding the release of an arrested Sunni MP who Maliki charged as a “terrorist,” and the offensive against the sit-in camp killed a large number of civilians. Maliki declared the protest camp “al-Qaeda headquarters.”
All told 44 MPs have resigned today, including parliamentary speaker Osama al-Nujaifi’s entire list and the list of deputy PM Saleh al-Mutlaq. This is nearly half of the entire Iraqiya movement, which won the last election but ended up with little influence because of a US-imposed power-sharing deal.
The mass resignation of Sunni MPs comes after months of sectarian bloodletting, which was itself the result of a previous violent crackdown on Sunni protesters, and reflects growing dissatisfaction with Maliki’s centralization of power.