BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Shi’ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and his security officials are to blame for the rise of Sunni insurgents who have seized parts of Iraq, the country’s Kurdish foreign minister said.
Hoshiyar Zebari’s comments are likely to further strain ties between Maliki’s Shi’ite-led government and the Kurds, complicating efforts to form a power-sharing government that can counter Islamic State militants.
“Surely the man who is responsible for the general policies bears the responsibility and the general commander of the armed force, the ministers of defense and interior also bear these responsibilities,” Zebari told al-Arabiya television. “There are other sides who bear responsibility, maybe political partners, but the biggest and greatest responsibility is on the person in charge of public policies,” he said.
In July, the Kurdish political bloc ended all participation in the national government in protest over Maliki’s saying that Kurds were allowing terrorists to stay in their capital Arbil.
Maliki is currently ruling in a caretaker capacity, having won a parliamentary election in April but failing to win enough support from the Kurdish and Arab Sunni minorities as well as fellow Shi’ites to form a new government. The United States, the United Nations and Iraq’s own Shi’ite clerics have urged lawmakers to form a new government swiftly to deal with the Sunni insurgency.