Former Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi has co-authored article in the New York Times today, along with fellow Iraqiya members Osama al-Nujaifi (Iraq’s parliament speaker) and Finance Minister Rafe al-Essawi, warning that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is taking the nation down the path of “sectarian autocracy.”
Tensions have been on the rise in Iraq since Maliki ordered the arrest of his Sunni Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi as a terrorist, leading the mostly Sunni Iraqiya and both major Kurdish blocs to withdraw from the government.
Maliki’s efforts to centralize power, and his warnings that those blocs that withdraw from the government won’t be allowed to participate in Iraqi politics any long, have many openly wondering if he is following Saddam Hussein’s example in his style of rule.
Interestingly, however, most Iraqis are so fatigued by the political circus of Iraq during US occupation that many see the latest row as a cynical “political theater” aimed at keeping Iraqis uncertain while the regime continues to fail at bringing basic security to the nation.
Efforts at negotiating some sort of direct talks on the situation still aren’t successful, with Allawi saying he will only take part if Kurdish leaders and Moqtada al-Sadr do, and Kurdistan’s President Barzani refusing to travel to Baghdad over fear that Maliki would arrest him.