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Sistani Scolds Iraqi Politicians for Seeking Personal Gains

Sistani Scolds Iraqi Politicians for Seeking Personal Gains

Saturday, 15 June, 2019 - 07:15
A street vendor in al-Rasheed street, the oldest street in central Baghdad, Iraq, July 26, 2016. (AP)

Marking the fifth anniversary of issuing a fatwa urging to carry arms against ISIS, Iraq’s Ayatollah Ali Sistani fronted a wave of fierce criticism against the country’s politicians for stalling ministerial hires and delaying effective measures to counter institutional corruption.

Ahmad Al Safi, Sistani’s representative, delivered a Friday sermon in the central city of Karbala whereby he put internal divisions in Iraq under the spotlight.

“Disputes, whether they are overt or hidden, have been renewed among parties in power,” he said, adding that some forces that came to power during the war on ISIS are seeking to “consolidate their presence and achieve certain gains.”

“The continuation of conflicts over gains and bounties among those in power and ongoing tribal sectarian, regional and political problems…could enable ISIS remnants to return and exploit aggrieved and indignant people,” Safi warned.

He also blasted politicians for perpetuating a logjam stopping the assignment of ministerial portfolios from getting finalized and failing to establish clear measures to counter corruption “plaguing government institutions.”

“Delay in resolving vacant ministerial posts is not justified at all,” an Iraqi politician, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Reviewing Sistani’s harshly-worded speech, they pointed out that it is unprecedented and raises the alarm for politicians regarding the country’s faltering public services. This, according to the unnamed source, creates urgency to complete the cabinet lineup.

Newly-elected lawmaker Naim al-Aboudi, in a statement to Asharq Al-Awsat, decried the delay in filling all ministerial portfolios and said it threatens political stability in the country.

“Today, after the speech, and all the clarity it was delivered with, there is no option left before political parties but to swiftly and decisively move towards filling vacant ministerial posts,” he said, hinting that there could be a breakthrough soon with the justice and education portfolios.

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