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Iraqi Premier Threatens to Quit If Political Stalemate Drags On
By Staff, Agencies
Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi threatened to step down if Iraq remained inside the political imbroglio that has left the country incapable of forming a new government since last October’s parliamentary elections.
Speaking on Tuesday, Kadhimi said he could “vacate his post” in protest at the political uncertainty, asserting, "Enough of the duplicity of state and non-state [actors]."
Violence erupted in the capital Baghdad after the cleric Muqtada al-Sadr on Monday said he was resigning from politics and closing his movement’s offices.
Sadr's supporters pulled down the barriers outside the government palace and breached its gates on Monday. The Iraqi Army announced a nationwide curfew, but armed clashes raged overnight.
At least 30 people were killed and 700 others wounded in the two days of unrest, which came after three years of relative stability in Baghdad.
Kadhimi said a commission of inquiry had been formed to probe the origin of the weapons that was used in recent clashes.
On Tuesday, Iraqi protesters, however, withdrew from the high-security Green Zone in the capital after Sadr called on his followers to end the violence within an hour.
“It saddens me a lot what happens in Iraq; I apologize to the Iraqi people, the only ones affected by the events,” Sadr told reporters. “We had hoped that there would be peaceful protests, not weapons.”
Kadhimi warmly welcomed the move by the cleric.
“His Eminence Muqtada al-Sadr’s call to stop violence is the epitome of patriotism and respect to the sanctity of Iraqi blood,” Kadhimi wrote in a tweet. “His speech emplaces national and moral duty upon all to protect Iraq and stop political escalation and violence and, to immediately engage in dialog.”
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