ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The leader of Iraq’s national election winner al-Sairoon, Muqtada al-Sadr, directed a message on Monday to the people of the Kurdistan Region urging cooperation to “save Iraq” and turn Kirkuk into a “model of peaceful coexistence.”
The renowned Shia cleric’s words came in a Twitter post a day after a delegation, of which his parliamentary coalition is a part, of the Alliance of Reform and Reconstruction, visited Erbil and met with the head of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), Masoud Barzani, and other senior officials.
“We want you to be united, strong… and not be oppressed or oppressors, and we will share our nourishment between us with justice and equity,” Sadr said in his message to the Kurdish people and politicians.
“We will not allow assaults on you, and we know that there are among you who are fond of moderation, and do not differentiate between the Kurdish or the Arab, except in piety and patriotism.”
The Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) relations with the central government continue to improve after ties deteriorated following Baghdad’s 2017 military takeover of disputed territories, notably, Kirkuk province, in response to the Kurds’ independence referendum in September.
“Let us all save Iraq and leave the quota [system] and oust all the corrupt and renew the Covenant to Iraq with new faces that will preserve your prestige and raise your status,” Sadr said, pointing at the Kurds.
Major political figures continuously call for the abolition of Iraq’s “quota system,” an unofficial power-sharing tradition maintaining that the prime minister must be Shia, the president a Kurd, while the speaker must be Sunni.
“Unite your old generation with the new generation” so that all of the country’s citizens are the pillars supporting Iraq, the cleric continued, and Kirkuk can become “a model of peaceful coexistence for all religious sects and races.”
On Saturday, Sadr directed another message to Iraq’s Sunni people and politicians, calling for the abandonment of partisan ambitions in favor of public interests, and for independent technocrats to steer clear from the “dagger of betrayal and corrupt deals.”
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany