What solution to Iraq’s crisis: Centralism or Federalism?

By Harem Karem:

Maliki could face no-confidence vote

Maliki could face no-confidence vote

Iraq’s self-promoting demagogues have been demonstrating reckless imprudence while enjoying a luxurious several months without bad headlines, despite their conspicuousness. Whether this is due to hard-nosed Western journalists concentrating on other parts of the planet or because these leaders have acquired a new set of demagogic skills – to prolong the semi-literate nation’s submissiveness and disguise Iraq’s three-legged political table with its endemic corruption, unaccountability and violation of human rights with impunity, this shining example of a dysfunctional representative democracy system still has more holes in it than Swiss cheese. And, most likely, these demagogues will soon pave their way back into undesirable headlines as we witness the trajectories of unfolding political dynamics.

Deteriorating relations between the Kurdistan region and the central government and Maliki’s dictatorial behaviour since the US withdrawal pose the question of whether the central government is enhancing Iranian interests or fostering Iraqi development, while the Kurdistan Regional Government stands accused of being in cahoots with its Turkish counterpart.

Following numerous meetings, Maliki’s foes have ganged up to oust the unpopular prime minister, gathering 186 parliamentary signatures — although only 164 were needed to force a no-confidence vote. The signature breakdown is as follows: Iraqia 86, Sadr 41, Kurdistan alliance 53, and independent MPs 6. At the same time, article 64 of Iraq’s permanent constitution could enable Maliki’s government to dissolve parliament should they need to. Either way, the politicians are going around in circles and nobody is going to be able to form a strong majority government under this rotten centralist system.

The failure to implement the 19-point Hawler (Erbil) coalition agreement between Maliki and Barzani – in particular, concerning hydrocarbons, article 140 of the Iraq’s permanent constitution, the budget and Peshmerga – is supposedly the main cause of their tensions.

Barzani’s tribal politics during this process appear to be stronger than ever as he has failed to secure the backing even of his long-term strategic partner, let alone the opposition in Kurdistan, while being drawn into trading cheap personal attacks with Maliki instead of focusing on the main issues that are of great concern to Kurds.

Barzani’s use of the independence card, in his desperate bid to gain popularity in Kurdistan and without any due regard to the absence of an adequate infrastructure, is nothing more than a fairy-tale. He is well aware of the implications of declaring an independent state under current conditions. These could be disastrous for the oligarchs: The requirement for a digital banking system might be too transparent for their money-munching monsters; a democratic constitution would limit the exercising of excessive powers by the president; a united army and intelligence agency would give the warlords not a snowball’s chance in hell of starting another civil war; an independent judiciary system would hold them and their puppets accountable when harbouring murderers; and last, but not least, an appropriate democratic system with free and fair elections would no longer legitimise the ‘one family rule system’ where the father is president, the son-in-law is prime minister, the eldest son is head of intelligence, the brothers are money-generating machines, and the cousins and younger sons are running the armed forces.

Dismounting Maliki under the current circumstances and replacing him with another rider won’t change the fact that the camel is still limping. It will only add to the chaos and deficiency of action by the Kurdish president, deputy prime minister, deputy speaker and other officials in Baghdad. Enough time, energy and resources have been devoted to the failure of centralism and the concentration of power in Baghdad. The time is just right to look into an alternative that’s neither Barzani’s fairy-tale nor Maliki’s dictatorship.

It has become apparent that the only viable solution to this ever-deepening crisis is federalism and, inevitably, all parties will have to accept this. With federalism comes the golden opportunity for Kurdistan to reclaim its territories that provide a lifeline to Iraq – the oil reserves, rivers and Khanaqin port.

Instead of rhetoric and false promises, it’s time for Barzani to start accepting his responsibility for the failure of the Hawler coalition agreement with Maliki and end his devotion to centralism.

Copyright © 2012 Kurdistantribune.com

3 Responses to What solution to Iraq’s crisis: Centralism or Federalism?
  1. K.I.M.
    June 4, 2012 | 05:27

    Neither Federalism nor Centralism.
    Nothing less than a 100% independence for S.K.


  2. Haval
    June 4, 2012 | 12:24

    Barzani got all the element for Kurdish state.i am not sure why he is so hesitate to act on it srightaway

  3. Nermeen
    June 4, 2012 | 19:47

    Very well written…its a vicious circle, one we’re not meant to get a gasp of – due to the lack of transparency which holds the belief of our people not knowing where to turn to. The so called trusted governmental bodies are letting their people down once again however not all but most. For an enhanced transparency will/if only rise to the surface; as mentioned new systems run by our skilled people should be most favorable to create a fairer societies into the region – more and more transparency will bring the truth to the surface to those, who so deserve it!

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