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Shiites Demand Autonomous Zone In Southern Iraq (moved from ATSNN)

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posted on Aug, 11 2005 @ 11:37 AM
A group of powerful Shiite Iraqi islamists have demanded a large swathe of Iraq to become a Shiite controlled autonomous zone. The autonomous zone would be ruled much like Iran, a theoracy. The demand comes 4 days before a final deadline for an Iraqi constitution. The demand was quickly rejected by Sunnis, secular Iraqis and rival Shiites within the national government.
NAJAF, Iraq (Reuters) - With four days left until Iraq's leaders have promised a draft constitution, powerful Islamist leaders made a dramatic bid on Thursday to have a big, autonomous Shi'ite region across the oil-rich south.

The head of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) spelled out his demands to tens of thousands of chanting supporters in the Shi'ite holy city of Najaf.

But minority Sunni and secular opponents, as well as rival Shi'ite Islamists in the coalition national government, swiftly poured cold water on an idea that fueled fears about sectarian battles over oil and Iranian-style religious rule in the south.

Some saw it as a negotiating tactic ahead of a self-imposed deadline on Monday to present the draft to parliament; a top Shi'ite negotiator, who dismissed the demand made by SCIRI chief Abdel Aziz al-Hakim, said 16 points were still in dispute.

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There is absolutely no chance of this zone being created. It does however fuel speculation of a civil war and a major split amongst old religious divides. This is extremely bad news for Iraq's reconstruction and development.

Im worried about this unexpected call for an automous zone. Shiites have been well represented in the new national government and I can sense the hand of Iran in this manouver, even if it is not they will be blamed for it. Iran is a Shiite powerhouse and has major enmity with both Iraq (sunni) and the United States.

[edit on 11/8/05 by subz]

posted on Aug, 11 2005 @ 11:44 AM
I voted YES for this Story, and just to let you know, we have already a Debate going on here:

Iraq Shi'ites hammer home autonomy demands


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