Shiite leader calls for autonomous Shiite region in Iraq

The leader of the Supreme Islamic Council of Iraq Ammar al-Hakim on Wednesday called for the creation of an autonomous Shiite region in Iraq.

Shiite leader calls for autonomous Shiite region in Iraq
"We strongly believe in the efficiency and significance of founding the autonomous region," al-Hakim said ahead of the Shiite religious gathering to commemorate Imam Hussein, the grandson of the Muslim prophet Mohammed, in Karbala, some 100 kilometres south of Baghdad.

He added: "It (an autonomous region) will surely help in solving many security, political and social problems in Iraq, in addition to balancing the administration in the country."

Al-Hakim urged Shiites to seriously consider the idea, describing it as "vital and sensitive while planning the future of Iraq."

Iraq's Shiite leaders have since the US-led invasion in 2003 been calling for the implementation of an article in the constitution that allows for the establishment of independent regions within the country.

The region they have mapped out for Shiites covers the southern cities of Nasseriya, Amarah and Najaf and other areas in southern Baghdad, such as Diwaniyah, Samawa and Kut.

The Supreme Islamic Council of Iraq, previously known as the Supreme Council of Islamic Revolution in Iraq, was established in 1982 in Iran but was moved to Iraq after the US invasion in 2003.

It is currently a major Shiite group in Iraq - headed by al- Hakim's father, Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim - and is supported by the highest religious authority in the country and falls under the umbrella of the United Iraqi Alliance, a Shiite coalition with more than 85 seats in parliament.

Agencies
Güncelleme Tarihi: 27 Şubat 2008, 16:59
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