Inside Iraq
Sunni discontent within parliament
Iraq's vice president wants guarantees the country will not be split into states.
Last Modified: 04 Jul 2007 11:21 GMT

Middle East expert Anas Altikriti
Iraq's Sunni members of parliament are set to walk out of the government next week unless key amendments are made to Iraq's constitution.
Such a drastic step would deal a potentially devastating blow to reconciliation efforts between the minority Sunnis and majority Shia, who have jostled for power amid a violent sectarian war that has killed thousands of civilians.
Tariq Al-Hashemi, Iraq's vice president and the nation's top Sunni leader, wants guarantees enshrined in the constitution that the country will not be split into Sunni, Shia and Kurdish federal states – a scenario that would put the Sunnis at a disadvantage.
Al-Hashemi has said if the key amendments to the Iraq constitution were not made by May 15, he will step down and pull his 44 Sunni politicians out of the 275-member Iraqi parliament.
The withdrawal of the Sunni bloc would unravel months of efforts to foster political participation by Sunnis in Iraq's government.

It also would further weaken Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki just weeks after Shia cabinet ministers allied with Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr walked out of the government.
Inside Iraq looks at the grave implications for the political process of this potential Sunni pull-out of Iraq's parliament.
Our guests this week are Dr Hamid Al-Bayati, the Iraqi ambassador to the United Nations, and Anas Altikriti, a Middle East expert.

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