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Iraq: Sunni Arab Cleric Says New Government No Different

Muthanna Harith al-Dari, secretary-general of Iraq's Muslim Scholars Association, an influential Sunni Arab organization, was interviewed by RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq (RFI) correspondent Fa'iqah Rasul Sarhan in Amman, Jordan, on April 29.

Al-Dari began by denying reports that the United States has offered him a post in the new Iraqi cabinet.

Al-Dari: I have not been offered any post by anyone, neither by the [U.S.] occupiers nor by anyone else. We do not demand posts. We have not strived and will not strive for them, today as well as before and after, God willing. Concerning our views on the political opening, I think that the political situation has not been eased and will remain as it is.

RFI: Will the new government manage to lead Iraq out of the swirl of violence?

Al-Dari: We wish so if [the government] makes steps different from the previous governments, if it is indeed neutral and for all Iraqis, if it follows the correct methods for installing security and a stable situation.

This is what we wish but reality, statements, and attitudes of the leaders of this government have from the very beginning indicated that it will probably not leave the path of the previous governments. That is why we are pessimists on the foreseeable future developments of the situation.

RFI: Do you see any way out of this crisis?

Al-Dari: Yes. The way out of the crisis is that the occupiers leave Iraq.

RFI: [Al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Mus'ab] al-Zarqawi has recently appeared on television screens. What is your comment on al-Zarqawi's threats to Iraq?

Al-Dari: I have no comment on this. The issue is beyond our agenda and the area of our own particular concerns.

(Translated by Petr Kubalek)


Copyright (c) 2006. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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