Iraqis fret over U.S. vision for democracy

April 9, 2012 at 12:33 PM
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BAGHDAD, April 9 (UPI) -- The U.S. vision for a united and democratic Iraq is coming unraveled, an Iraqi lawmaker from the Sunni-backed Iraqiya slate said.

Political tensions in Iraq erupted almost as soon as U.S. combat forces left the country in December. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite, following the drawdown charged Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi with operating a death squad. Hashemi denies the allegations.

Alaa Mekki, a lawmaker from the Sunni-backed Iraqiya slate, said Washington wasn't doing enough to ensure Iraq is headed down the best political path.

"Their goal of a united, democratic Iraq is now under threat because of what we describe as the dictatorship attitude," the lawmaker told The Washington Post.

Meanwhile, differences between the semiautonomous government in the Kurdish north of Iraq and the central government in Baghdad have escalated. KRG President Masoud Barzani has threatened to sever ties with Baghdad, the Post notes.

Sunni leaders in particular are frustrated with Washington's nomination of Brett McGurk to take over as U.S. ambassador to Baghdad. They claim he's too cozy with Maliki, a move seen as exacerbating political tensions in Iraq.

But Khaled al-Sadi, a lawmaker from Maliki's Dawa party, said the concerns are unfounded.

"All American interference in the internal situation of Iraq is over," he was quoted as saying.

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