In an exclusive interview with Aljazeera.net Dr Muthana al-Dhari said the Kurds have to understand that they do not live alone, that they are part of the Iraqi people.

"We support a federalism that guarantees the rights of all ethnicities in Iraq. All parties in Iraq including our own agrees with such an approach," Dr al-Dhari said.

"We understand Kurdish aspirations, but sadly our Kurdish brothers are demanding a federalism on the basis of ethnicity. However, we have great concerns regarding federalism, we think it may be a tool to tear Iraq apart in the future."

Recognising the IGC

Al-Dhari confirmed that the AMS considers the occupation as an illegal act from a legal and religious point of view, and therefore its outcome is illegal. The Iraqi Governing Council is appointed by an occupying authority, it does not enjoy any legitimacy, he said.

He said that the Iraqi Governing Council (IGC) is set up along sectarian and ethnic lines and that the AMS is working in unison with other Iraqi parties to contain and avoid the harmful results of sectarianism.

"The existence of a governing council based on ethnic and sectarian divisions is the reason behind tension in many parts of Iraq.

"The latest clashes in Kirkuk would not have happened if there was not a sectarian and ethnically based governing council" al Dhari said. "Even the governmental organisations in Iraq are sectarian and ethnically based. It hinders any progress in Iraq".

Iraqi Sunni Muslims

Dr al-Dhari says US military action against Sunni dominated areas in Iraq is based on false information provided by former Iraqi opponents.

"The occupation authorities target the whole Iraqi people, but there is no doubt the Iraqi Sunni Muslims are suffering the most because of false information given by former Iraqi exiles and opponents.

"We have been making great efforts to prevent the US forces from suppressing and humiliating our people. Our efforts have had some success but the problem is that US officials never keep their promises.

"They have arrested many Sunni clerics who they allege use the Friday prayer to call for resistance, and sent us letters in this regard, but when we check the dates of incidents mentioned we find it is not even a Friday."