Where is the President?

Dr. Sherzad Al-Khalifa

By Dr. Sherzad Al-Khalifa:

It is more than nine months since Jalal Talabani was moved to hospital treatment after suffering a stroke and, in that time, practically no credible report has been published about his health situation.

The extraordinary thing is that his position as President of Iraq has been left vacant for all that period without any serious consequences: a clear indication that it is a position of no real value.

However, his absence from his position as leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), has had tremendous consequences to his party.  It is a well-known fact that Mr. Talabani was dispensing positions, privileges and wealth on leading members of the PUK, and in the end this created a class of corrupt groupings of party ‘leaders’ with conflicting interests and no political cohesion or principles, and with no real power while Talabani was there.

In fact no one knows for certain where is the accumulated wealth of the party from many revenues, including exporting oil from the PUK-controlled area. Talabani, and perhaps his wife and one or two other people, must know where the money is. In effect the way Talabani was running the Kurdish area under his control was not very different from the way that other dictators run their countries, without ever delegating power to any of their own state institutions. As we all know from many examples in recent history, when the dictator dies then their entire system will collapse and that will put the nation in a very dangerous situation. The army will split into different sections following different emerging powers, the economy suffers – and this type of scenario may lead to armed clashes between the ‘cronies’ in the PUK with all the disastrous consequences of that.

The Talabani family and one of his associates have kept saying for many months that he is coming back to Kurdistan very soon, although they know that they are not telling the truth about his actual health. This is a disregard to the people of Kurdistan and it is selfish. What seems to be happening is that the ‘family’ wants to keep things undercover in order to keep their privileges, together with one or two groupings inside the PUK, without any regard even to their own party, to the extent that no other member of the Politburo of the PUK has any clue as to the real situation of Talabani.

Dr. Sherzad Al-Khalifa is a senior academic who worked from 1985 to 2010 at the School of Engineering, Warwick University, UK and as Director of Research at Duhok University from 2010 to 2012. He is now back in the UK as an Emeritus Follow.

2 Responses to Where is the President?
  1. Haval
    September 16, 2013 | 16:05

    We all know Talabani is a history but the way the issue has been addressed was unrealistic and misleading .

  2. Omar
    September 18, 2013 | 21:54

    Arabic Iraqi channels showed people in Baghdad wishing Talabani well etc but saying they’d forgotten about him…too busy trying to make ends meet. I wonder what will happen if the PUK enjoy success in the elections. Will Jalal Talabani pop up out of nowhere? Watch this space.

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