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2014年8月17日 (日)

イラク首相退陣 過激派排除へ勢力を結集せよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun
New Iraqi premier must gather forces to remove radical Islamic insurgents
イラク首相退陣 過激派排除へ勢力を結集せよ

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s relinquishment of his post must be used as an important step toward eliminating the Sunni Islamic State radical group that has been expanding its sphere of influence in northwestern Iraq.

Maliki has decided to step down and declared his support for Haider al-Abadi, vice speaker of the Iraqi parliament, who has been nominated as his successor. Maliki had lost credibility at home and abroad as he was devoted to protecting his own position while unable to deal with the crisis of his country’s divisions.

During about eight years in office, Maliki concentrated power among his Shiite allies, provoking strong distrust from Sunnis and Kurds. He eventually became unable to obtain cooperation in forming a government for his third term.

The secession of Sunni factions from the Maliki administration was a factor behind the expansion of the Islamic State. It is commendable that a major hurdle in the way of national reconciliation, which is indispensable for overcoming the crisis, has been removed with Maliki’s resignation.

Like Maliki, Abadi is a Shiite, but his politics are relatively moderate, and he is said to be practical-minded. Reconciliation with the Sunnis and Kurds must be realized as quickly as possible.

The first task for Abadi is to establish a cabinet of national unity by an early September deadline. To this end, it is necessary for the new prime minister to put forth a stance of breaking away from Maliki-style politics so as to secure the cooperation of the Sunnis and Kurds. It is essential to unite various political forces under his leadership.

Intl support secured

In addition to the United States and Europe, such countries as Japan, Iran and Saudi Arabia have joined hands to support Abadi. This is because they have judged that backing the new Iraqi government is crucial to cope with the threat of Islamic State militants.

The Islamic State has fought alongside Sunni tribes and remnants of the former Saddam Hussein regime that tried to topple the Maliki administration. Joined also by radicalized young people from abroad, the Islamic State has reportedly increased its membership to about 10,000. It is feared that the threat of terrorism will spread globally if the group is left unchecked.

It is necessary to weaken the Islamic State by severing its links to Sunni tribes through political approaches by Sunni leaders.

Limited U.S. air strikes in the areas around its consulate general in Arbil, northern Iraq, have produced certain results, including blocking the advance of Islamic State insurgents and rescuing some minority Yazidis.

The U.S. military plans to maintain a policy of air strikes in Iraq for at least several weeks and has started supplying arms to the Kurds. However, there are limits to the effects of restricted air raids. It is imperative to fully support and rebuild Iraq’s military security forces, which are on the brink of collapse.

It is essential to provide assis-tance for refugees who are said to total 700,000 in the Kurdish autonomous region of northern Iraq alone. From a humanitarian standpoint, Japan should study effective aid measures in cooperation with the United States and Europe.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 16, 2014)


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