Kurds and the post-Maliki era

By Payraw Anwar:

Nothing worth speaking of was achieved during the past ten years of Maliki’s rule. Nothing changed politically except for increased tensions and crises. Maliki was clever at causing crises and creating dilemmas for all sides in Iraq. Throughout his tenure there have always been bad relations between the Kurds and Arabs, and particularly the Shias. His policies also worsened the economic and social situation. Health, education, transportation, security and irrigation sectors have all deteriorated during his term. Iraq has collapsed once again under Maliki. The economic infrastructure has not been re-built. Instead, sectarian conflict, ethnic conflict and the monopolizing of power have been the cards repeatedly played by Maliki. Eventually the game was over, and the power left him, rather than he left the power.

A new stage starts, with a different name and different face, but maybe the same political mentality. Politically, a new man has been recommended to form a new cabinet and end the tensions. He is Al-Abadi. There is no guarantee that Abadi will build up a new Iraq, but the post-Maliki era will be different.

The biggest problem is the ‘thought contradiction’. When I speak about thought I mean ‘sectarian contradiction’. We have an inherited conflict between two religious fronts that impacts on politics and government in the Islamic world, especially the Arabic world. No one can accept anyone else. Iraq needs a prime minister whose thinking is bigger than this sectarian and ethnic conflict. He must think broadly; he must be a conduit for diverse colors and voices. Abadi must fulfill this role. The main task for him is to differentiate himself from the previous model of ruling, thinking and leading. There will be no choice, no chance except for this kind of change in the model of ruling and administrating.

How will Kurds participate in the new cabinet?

There are many hypotheses concerning Kurds’ participation in the next cabinet in Baghdad because their experiment with the central government during the past ten years has involved many problems, such as over the budget, natural resources, the disputed territories (Article 140) and the Peshmarga budget. None have been solved yet and they await a new phase to be resolved.

Kurds must demand a solution to these issues, but not just a solution in words: they must seek strong political guarantees from the other sides. I prefer that Kurds take part in the central government on the basis of a political agreement which gets approved by the Iraqi parliament with the formation of the new cabinet. This is very important to us and otherwise there will be no legitimacy to the arrangements. Retrieving the disputed areas and the oil and gas law should be put in the agreement. The essential point is to end government by just one-third of the members of the council of ministers. This pact could be called the ‘Agreement for the formation of the government’. Kurds can use it as a pressure card if we feel our demands are being neglected or we are being marginalized from power-sharing.

Payraw Anwar was born in Hawler, capital of the Kurdistan region, in 1989. He is a political writer and journalist. 

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