The government of Nuri al-Maliki, Iraq's prime minister, has been accused of sectarian bias - distributing posts and favour according to religious identity.

A broad coalition has been formed - comprising politicians, tribal sheikhs and civic leaders - demanding al-Maliki end political sectarianism.

The say many policies have been created to give the Shia majority an edge over the rest of the country. 

Such policies they claim have filtered down to the civil service and security forces, wrecking havoc on the country, affecting the economy, jobs and basic needs.

Some government critics claim political sectarianism has fuelled a violent Sunni-led insurgency against the Shia-led government and US forces, resulting in chaos and bloodshed in the country.

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Critics of this coalition say that it is doomed to fail in its demands. They argue that sectarianism is inherent in the Iraqi political system and that the only way to get rid of it is to tear up the Iraqi constitution.

Debate on sectarianism is a potentially explosive issue that touches on fundamental issues of identity and influence.

To what extent will the Iraqi government heed the call by this coalition to end sectarian policies? Will the coalition within the government boycott al-Maliki's camp if their demands are not met?

And how credible is an allegedly 'anti-sectarianism' organisation that includes figures such as Moqtada Al Sadr, who derive their support from sectarian-based politics?

Our guests this week:

Dr. Adnan Pachachi, a member of the Iraqi parliament, Dr Sabah Al-Mukhtar, the president of Arab lawyers in London, and Dr Hamid Al-Bayati, the Iraqi ambassador to the UN.

Watch part one of this episode of Inside Iraq on YouTube

Watch part two of this episode of Inside Iraq on YouTube

This episode of Inside Iraq aired on Friday, May 02, 2008


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Source: Al Jazeera