On the fifth anniversary of the fatwa (edict) that was issued by top Shia marja’a Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Sistani against the ISIS terrorist group, his remarks addressing the people of Iraq was read by his representative Sheikh Ahmad al-Safi during Friday prayers sermons in the holy city of Karbala.
What follows is the statement by the office of Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Sistani:
Five years ago on June 13, 2014, the Iraqi Shia religious authority issued a fatwa from the Holy Shrine of Imam Husayn (A.S) in Karbala. The edict called on every able-bodied Iraqi man to take up arm and defend the country, the nation and its sanctuaries against the ISIS (Daesh) terrorists who had taken vast swathes of land and were threatening the Iraqi capital Baghdad as well as other governorates.
After this edict -which was al-jihad al-kifa’i or a collective obligation – was declared, Iraqi men from all walks of life, old and young, enthusiastically rushed to the battle fields and fought for more than three years against the terrorists. They displayed acts of heroism and made sacrifices to save the country and its sacred sites, they had tens of thousands of martyrs and injured. As the result, God Almighty granted them victory; they could defeat the terrorists, purge Iraqi lands of nasty aggressors and eradicate terrorists’ delusional state.
Had it not been for the unity and the integrity of the Iraqi people, the political factions’ agreement to overcome their differences and put national interests above their own personal, ethnic, regional interests; had it not been the consistent cooperation of brother and friend countries against the Daesh terrorists, none of these historic achievements would have been made.
However, with the end of the battle, the emerging triumph and liberation of cities from the terrorists, clear and subtle differences once again found their way into the political parties who are in charge of the affairs. Conflicts rose between forces who wanted to keep their previous political status and those who made name during the war against ISIS and now were trying to cement their position. Rivalries over ministerial posts particularly at Defense and Interior Ministry, wrong system of rationing the positions have prevented the formation of the government as well as concrete measures to tackle rampant corruption within administrative ranks. State bureaucracy, limited job opportunities, severe lack of basic infrastructure –except the newly-improved ones- have all lead to hardship for ordinary citizens, making life even more difficult for them than before. Special laws that provide certain group of people with unfair advantages while denying others are still in place and have not been reformed.
This, as the situation in the region grows very sensitive and tensions exacerbate following a period of relative calm that reemerged after the defeat of ISIS.
The continuation of feuds over achievements, inciting security, tribal and ethnic problems here and there to reach certain objectives and lack of attention to problems in the regions hard hit in the war against Daesh, all would give the remnants of the terror group opportunity to target Iraq’s security and stability. To rub salt into injury, some weak people who are still seeking revenge might embrace Daesh attacks and add to the current complicated condition.
Return to normality in hard-hit regions, providing their security in a way that would guarantee respect to citizens and prevent violation of their rights as well as providing them a dignified life are all among necessary principles that if are forgotten would risk Iraq return to its previous unforgettable complicated situation.
All factions involved in security-related cases should remember the danger of above-mentioned factors, how they could change the direction of events and therefore act to deal with these important problems professionally. Those responsible of state affairs have to use their intelligent methods to thwart terrorist plans, monitor the regions that might turn into a terrorist breeding ground and do not allow any failure in this regard.
We praise the high position of our great martyrs, their dear families and all dear people who injured in these battles, all the heroes at the Iraqi security and military forces who spare no effort to support the security of their motherland and protect the lives of the Iraqi citizens. May God Almighty protect them, correct their mistakes and lead all to what is the best for the country and the nation. He is the most merciful of the merciful.