Mithal al-Alusi leads Iraq's Ummah Party. Photo: AP
BAGHDAD, Iraq—Iraqi Sunni politician and leader of the Ummah Party Mithal al-Alusi says that Iraq has failed its people and that the Kurds are justified in their quest for separation and the establishment of a state of their own.
“This is a cardboard state,” says al-Alusi in an interview with al-Iraqiya state television. “The Kurds have the right to say: I don’t want to be part of such a failed state.”
Al-Alusi, who describes himself as a secular politician from Anbar, cites the interference of regional countries as proof of Iraq’s failure.
“Is Qasem Soleimani entering Iraq on a visa? Does he have residency permit?” he asks. “Iranian intelligence working as advisors is this sovereignty? Saudi money piling up with the Sunnis, is this Iraqi sovereignty and an intact state?”
Soleimani is the commander of Iran’s Quds Force who is said to have been hired by the Iraqi government as an advisor to the defense ministry.
Al-Alusi who has been elected twice to the parliament and is a proponent of good relations with the West, including Israel, believes that Iraq has violated its own constitution which has given the Kurds a reason to seek a path of separation.
“We all voted for and agreed on this constitution that stipulates the unity of Iraq, but where has it got now and what democracy have we Iraqis got?” he says.
He argues that you cannot keep a nation together by force.
“A referendum is not against the nation of Iraq, and the nation you are talking about was created by sword and stick by Saddam Hussein,” he tells the Iraqi news channel. “If that’s the nation you want then I’m neither part of it nor represent it.”
Al-Alusi says that Iraqi politics, especially the structure of the government does not reflect the country’s diversity.
“Kurds, Yezidis, Christians, Sunnis and even some Shias cannot feel that this sectarian government represents them,” he retorts. “Bring me ten Iraqis who would say this has been working system. Ten ordinary people not politicians.”
“When you say that the PM must be a Shiite I as a secular man won’t accept that. When the speaker of the house must be a Sunni, I won’t accept,” he goes on to say. “Why not a Yezidi or a Christian?”
Al-Alusi refers to a time when Iraqi politicians were seeking to change the former Iraqi regime from inside Kurdistan.
“We all Iraqi politicians used to fight on Kurdish soil under one slogan: democracy for Iraq and freedom for Kurds,” he says. “Have we given the Kurds any of their rights?”
He concludes that not only the Kurds, but all Iraqis have the right to choose their own path as he warns that that might be the case given today’s reality.
“If the Kurds chose this path, are we going to fight them with an army?” he says. “With this situation there is going to be a hundred states.”