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Osama al-Nujaifi: 'We want an Iraqi solution'

The speaker of the Iraqi parliament discusses the threats facing his country, and what can be done to stop them.

Last updated: 02 Feb 2014 11:23
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In Iraq's Anbar province, government forces are clashing with al-Qaeda and other armed fighters for control. The death toll there and across Iraq is rising - and so too is the fear that the country’s Sunnis and Shias are on the verge of civil war.

Unfortunately the Iraqi government works against the constitution, which stipulates decentralisation and the federative government. It tries to converge more powers in the hands of the prime minister and the authority in Baghdad. This is in violation of the Iraqi constitution and complicates life in Iraq. It also marks a security and economic failure in running the country, at a time where we need to fairly distribute duties across Iraq.

Osama al-Nujaifi

It is a complex struggle and the fault line divides the entire Middle East. People are calling for something to be done, quickly, to prevent the chaos from spreading and getting completely out of control.

Osama al-Nujaifi, the speaker of Iraq's parliament, is one of them.

Although he is fiercely critical of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, he admits both sides, including his own, the Sunnis, are to blame for nearly a year of political and security disarray.

He says it is time for an international peace conference with leaders from Saudi Arabia, Tehran and others to sit down to bridge Iraq’s sectarian divide and to drive al-Qaeda out for good. If not, he says the entire idea of Iraq as a sovereign state is at risk.

"The security solution and the political resolution should go hand-in-hand. A security solution alone would not suffice, to finding a political resolution is part of the overall solution to the crisis; and eradicate the incubators that allow al-Qaeda to rise. In doing so, we would win over the people of al-Anbar and they won’t be suspicious of the Iraqi government," he says.

And yet, he insists it is not too late to put the country on the right track. 

"I don’t deny that there is foreign interference and meddling in Iraq, but this is happening only because there was an environment that gives rise to for such intervention. That’s because there are parties that lack confidence and are not able to blend, since those in power are perceived to be working against their interests, identity and future.

"That’s why some divisions may accept foreign intervention, which may be an additional factor for further turmoil. But this can also be addressed if we manage to strengthen and clarify the internal front and find Iraqi solutions. Hence, such foreign interference or meddling will be limited to a great extent.

"Obviously people have certain interests but we are against interference, and want an Iraqi solution to the Iraqi problem," he says.

But how can it be done?

We find out when Osama al-Nujaifi, the speaker of the Iraqi parliament, sits down to Talk to Al Jazeera.

Talk to Al Jazeera  can be seen each week at the following times GMT: Saturday: 0430; Sunday: 0830, 1930; and Monday: 1430.  

 Watch more Talk to Al Jazeera


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