(Reuters) Qatar promoted a plan to split Iraq along sectarian lines, Iraqi Vice President Iyad Allawi said on Saturday, voicing support for the isolation of Doha by some Arab states.
Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have broken off ties and imposed sanctions on Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism and courting regional rival Iran – allegations Doha denies.
Allawi is a secular Shi’ite politician who has some support within Iraq’s Sunni community. His position as vice president is largely ceremonial and his views do not reflect those of the government in Baghdad, headed by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.
Abadi has refused to take sides officially in the Gulf Arab rift but criticized the sanctions imposed on Qatar, saying they hurt the population, not the Qatari government.
The prime minister belongs to the Dawa party, which traditionally has close ties to Iran, Saudi Arabia’s regional foe.
“In Iraq, Qatar adopted a project similar to that of Iran; to split Iraq into a Sunni region in exchange for a Shi’ite region,” Allawi told a news conference in Cairo. “Unfortunately, some Arab states were silent when it came to Qatar.”
Allawi was in Cairo to meet Egyptian leaders including President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi for discussions about oil and the conflicts in Syria, Yemen and Libya.
“It is time we all spoke honestly and made things clear (to the Qataris) so we can reach some results,” Allawi said. “After that confrontation, comes reconciliation.”