What Barzani wants from the dispute with Maliki

Maliki and Barzani

By Mufid Abdulla:

Over the past four weeks the atmosphere in the south of Kurdistan has reflected the war of nerves between the Iraq central government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). If this situation continues the tensions will only deepen. Neither Kurdistan president Masoud Barzani nor Iraq prime minister Nuri Maliki – the two main protagonists – are rushing to reach a settlement although it seems more likely that Barzani would be the first to compromise if pushed. Many observers are asking what Barzani wants from Maliki although it is clear enough that Maliki has breached Iraq’s constitution on several issues and it’s as if the KRG is awaking from a long sleep. However, if all the political leaders refuse to play ball and reach a settlement that could be disastrous for the whole of Iraq.

The remaining political parties in the south of Kurdistan – the PUK and opposition groups – have made no firm response to this issue. Gorran’s foreign bureau member Mohammed Tofiq has told Lvinexpress and other news outlets that Gorran does not understand the crux of the conflict between Maliki and Barzani. Gorran is adamant that it wants to resolve this dispute through the constitution but it has no idea how to do this. The other two opposition parties are of more or less of the same view as Gorran. The President of Iraq, PUK leader Jalal Talabani’s position is harder to understand. He has always expressed himself in the language of vague aspiration, rather than reasoned argument. Two weeks ago, he submitted a signed paper to Masoud Barzani stating that he was prepared to resign should the need arise, as a means to bring down the Maliki government. Can Masoud Bargain play this card? Just two days ago the PUK issued a statement supporting the KRG, but sources close to the KDP have confirmed to me that the KDP believes these types of statements cannot be relied on. Talabani, when it comes to certain issues, is clearly a vote swinger. That is precisely the sort of comment by their leader that infuriates the PUK grassroots.

Taking a step back from the immediate crises, the ongoing volatility of the relationships between the KDP and PUK on one side and the KRG and central government on the other is something we have grown used to though it is an extremely difficult environment for all sides in these disputes. Trust has not been built – and it won’t be built, at least not in the near future. Iraq is in turmoil and a long way from being a democratic society but Maliki’s sectarian movement has not helped either, and that is the reason it must be stopped. But everyone has to share the blame for not implementing adequate strategies over the last six years.

However, what Barzani wants is an amazingly risky strategy: He is pushing towards removing Maliki from power, even though he knows that the alternatives to Maliki would probably be no better. This strategy is to, first, teach Maliki a lesson that dictatorship in the new Iraq has limitations beyond which it cannot go. Second, to show that Iraq has been set up with Kurdish lifeblood; without the Kurds it would be dissolved into anarchy and Iraq cannot afford to fall for Maliki’s false charms. Third, bizarrely, Barzani wants to strengthen the self-proclaimed federal Iraq. Fourth, Iraqi history has been about various neighbouring powers, such as Iran, trying to dominate the region; Barzani is trying to stop this with the help of the US and Gulf states.

Copyright © 2012 Kurdistantribune.com


One Response to What Barzani wants from the dispute with Maliki
  1. Haval
    June 3, 2012 | 14:04

    Maliki will be defeated by the course of history.maliki is new brand of dictator unprecedented in new iraq narratives.

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