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NRC Handelsblad - Netherlands | Thursday, June 12, 2014

PM Maliki fanned extremism in Iraq

The Islamist militant group Isil has taken control of further areas in northern Iraq and announced plans to start an offensive against the capital Baghdad. Roughly half a million people have been compelled to flee. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki bears the responsibility for the country's impending collapse, the liberal daily NRC Handelsblad believes: "Maliki only has himself to blame for this dramatic situation. In his eight years as prime minister he has remained the representative of the Shiite majority. The Sunnis feel they've been treated dishonestly - with good reason. The prime minister excluded them from power as best he could. Economically they've had a harder time of things than the Shiites, their leaders are persecuted and even the moderates have been labelled as terrorists. ... In this way the prime minister has driven ever more Sunnis into the arms of the extremists. ... His election victory in April has only exacerbated the bitter confrontation in the country, while at the same time increasing the danger of all-out civil war."

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