Iraq's top cleric sends subtle message to Maliki - step aside




 
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Iraq's top cleric sends subtle message to Maliki - step aside
 
July 25th, 2014  
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Topic: Iraq's top cleric sends subtle message to Maliki - step aside


Iraq's top cleric sends subtle message to Maliki - step aside
By Raheem, Salman and Isra' al-Rubai'i BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq's senior cleric on Friday urged political leaders to refrain from clinging to their posts - an apparent reference to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who has defied demands that he step aside. Speaking through an aide who delivered a sermon after Friday prayers in the holy city of Kerbala, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani said leaders should show flexibility so that political deadlocks could be broken and Iraq could confront militants. Last month, Sunni militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant swept through northern and western Iraq, posing the biggest challenge to Maliki's Shi'ite-led government since the departure of U.S. forces in 2011. Critics say Maliki is a divisive figure whose alienation of Sunnis has fueled sectarian hatred and played into the hands of the insurgents, who have threatened to march on Baghdad.

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