Iraq’s top Shiite cleric calls for unity, more ‘effective’ government

 

Iraq Watch

The latest news from Iraq. For more Iraq coverage, visit McClatchyDC


McClatchy Washington Bureau

Iraq’s top Shiite cleric urged Iraqis to unite to expel radical Sunni militants from the country and called for the formation of a new government during a sermon on Friday.

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani said the winning parties from Iraq’s recent parliamentary elections need to “engage in dialogue” in order form a government that will function well and avoid “past mistakes”_a thinly veiled critique of Nouri al-Maliki, a Shia politician who has served as Iraq’s prime minister since 2006.

Maliki has come under increasing criticism for failing to include Iraqi’s Sunni and Kurdish minorities in the political process.

Sistani’s message was delivered by his representative Ahmed al-Safi during Friday prayers in the holy city of Karbala.

The 83-year-old Iranian-born cleric decried the Sunni militant group, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, as a “plague” on the region. If Iraqis don’t overcome sectarian differences and join together to fight the militants, he said, “everyone will regret it tomorrow, when regret has no meaning.”

He said his call for Iraqis to fight ISIS was intended for all citizens regardless of sect. Volunteers should join the official security forces, not religious militias, he said.

The sermon comes a day after President Barack Obama announced he would send up to 300 American military advisers to Iraq to help the country assess how best to fight ISIS, which has taken over much of northern Iraq, including Mosul, the country’s second-largest city.

Read more World Wires stories from the Miami Herald

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category