Officials, citizens for Anbar as autonomous region to end “marginalization”
ANBAR / IraqiNews.com: Officials and citizens from al-Anbar on Wednesday said they would support declaring the predominantly Sunni province as an autonomous region in a bid to what they called “marginalization” by the Baghdad government against local residents. “The Baghdad government has not delivered on its promises for the people of Anbar although our demands are so simple. Accordingly, we’re going to declare Anbar as an autonomous region within the next few days as the local council in the province now believe the Iraqi government failed to meet the demands raised more than three months ago,” said Muzhir al-Mulla, a local council member, in statements to IraqiNews.com news agency.
He said there is constant marginalization for local governments in Iraq, particularly al-Anbar, which cannot even set up an investment or service project, namely in the electricity and energy sector, plus a growing rate of unemployment among youths.“If the Baghdad government really wanted to meet the demands of the Anbar people, it could have done so in just a couple of days,” he said.People in Anbar had urged the government to release non-convicted persons, withdraw the army from cities in Anbar, give back the sums withheld from the province’s budget in the past years, establish projects and use the al-Habbaniya Airport for civil aviation.Arkan al-Dulaimi, a member of the Anbar residents assembly group, told IraqiNews.com that all the people in Anbar support unity of Iraq but after the Baghdad government’s failure to achieve their demands, they would support any constitutional decision to declare the province as autonomous region and bring to an end the (Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri) al-Maliki government’s hegemony over Iraqis in the province.He pointed out that the Baghdad government is evidently surreptitiously penetrated by Iran.“There are some persons observing Iranian schemes in all ministries in Iraq.Iran is even interfering in Syria with backing from Baghdad’s government to kill the Syrian people.Accordingly, we call for declaring Anbar a region as soon as possible,” said Dulaimi.Haider Ubaid, a 34-year-old local resident of Ramadi, the capital city of Anbar province, 110 km west of Baghdad, said the region project is a constitutional one.“We need to declare an autonomous region so we can build service organizations and invest our own wealth away from the ambitions of Maliki and Iran,” he told IraqiNews.com.