Iraq’s cri­sis is not ours

The Kurdish Globe - - EDITORIAL - Azad Amin

The Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Government (KRG) be­lieves that Iraq’s cur­rent cri­sis can be ended through mean­ing­ful di­a­logue. In a re­cent meet­ing with the US Am­bas­sador to Iraq, the Pres­i­dent of Kur­dis­tan Re­gion ex­plained the steps KRG has taken to ease Iraq’s po­lit­i­cal dilemma. Am­bas­sador Beecroft ex­tended the US ad­min­is­tra­tion’s sup­port to­wards the ef­forts of Pres­i­dent Barzani to bring Iraq’s po­lit­i­cal groups to­gether in Er­bil. In 2009, Pres­i­dent Barzani took the ini­tia­tive to re­solve Iraq’s po­lit­i­cal cri­sis dur­ing the post elec­tion pe­riod, and dur­ing that time the Iraqi po­lit­i­cal par­ties failed to form a government. Only with the ini­tia­tive of Barzani, the cri­sis was re­solved in Er­bil. De­spite the fact that all par­ties agreed to the con­di­tions of Er­bil meet­ing, fol­low­ing the for­ma­tion of the Iraqi government un­der the lead­er­ship of Nuri-al-Ma­liki, the ar­ti­cles of the Er­bil con­ven­tion were not im­ple­mented or even re­spected. In re­al­ity, once Ma­liki se­cured his post, he dis­re­garded the Er­bil agree­ment, and acted in­de­pen­dently to es­tab­lish his dic­ta­to­rial poli­cies.

Through­out the process the US im­plic­itly and ex­plic­itly sup­ported Ma­liki and his un­con­sti­tu­tional and dic­ta­to­rial poli­cies. The US pol­icy to­wards Iraq seems to be based on prag­matic cal­cu­la­tions with­out any eth­i­cal val­ues and strate­gic vi­sion.

The Kurds and Kur­dish re­gion pro­vided un­lim­ited sup­port to the US-led in­va­sion of Iraq, and help­ing top­ple Sad­dam Hus­sein’s regime in 2003, the Kurds have not en­joyed sup­port from the US Ad­min­is­tra­tion. Since the in­va­sion, the US Ad­min­is­tra­tion has sup­ported Bagh­dad over Kurds on sev­eral con­tentious is­sues. For in­stance, Kirkuk is a dis­puted area and KRG has con­tin­u­ously claimed ter­ri­to­rial rights over it, but the US Ad­min­is­tra­tion has not ex­tended any sup­port in this re­gard or the oil dis­pute re­gion­ally.

KRG has re­ceived crit­i­cism from the US Ad­min­is­tra­tion for its pol­icy to de­velop oil and en­ergy re­la­tion with Turkey. How­ever, the same crit­i­cism has not been levied on Bagh­dad for at­tempt­ing to re­duce Kur­dis­tan’s share in its bud­get. It seems clear that Bagh­dad is try­ing to re­duce the KRG’s eco­nomic strength by prevent­ing the Kurds to ex­ploit its nat­u­ral re­sources.

While Bagh­dad has sadly failed to pass the coun­try’s hy­dro­car­bon law and at­tempts to mo­nop­o­lize the coun­try’s main source of in­come, the Kurds have suc­cess­fully devel­oped their own oil pol­icy, at­tract­ing in­ter­na­tional oil ex­plo­ration com­pa­nies, which will help Kur­dis­tan to de­velop its nat­u­ral re­sources.

Ma­liki formed the Di­jla Op­er­a­tion forces in Kirkuk province to con­trol the re­gion, and this cre­ated fears of civil war start­ing be­cause of the pres­ence of Pêşmerge forces, and in this in­stance the US Ad­min­is­tra­tion showed its pro-Ma­liki stance dur­ing the mil­i­tary cri­sis be­tween Er­bil and Bagh­dad. As a re­sult, the cri­sis is still on­go­ing and all at­tempts to re­solve the cri­sis has failed so far.

In a state­ment dur­ing the mil­i­tary cri­sis, Pres­i­dent Barzani em­pha­sized that “I would like to in­form the peo­ple of Kur­dis­tan and Iraq that the for­ma­tion of Di­jla Op­er­a­tions Forces by the Iraqi government will lead to more in­sta­bil­ity, and will not help the im­ple­men­ta­tion of Ar­ti­cle 140 of the Iraqi con­sti­tu­tion. The in­ten­tions, the aims, the for­ma­tion, and the ac­tions of this Com­mand are against the Kur­dish peo­ple, the po­lit­i­cal process, co-ex­is­tence and the process of nor­mal­iz­ing the sit­u­a­tion in the dis­puted ar­eas”.

Pres­i­dent Barzani has in­flu­ence over the Iraqi po­lit­i­cal ac­tors, and is able to re­solve the cri­sis. How­ever, the ques­tion is whether re­solv­ing Iraq’s po­lit­i­cal cri­sis in this way is ap­pro­pri­ate since the coun­try does not have a cri­sis man­age­ment process. Short term so­lu­tions can be of­fered by Pres­i­dent Barzani, but as we have seen in Barzani’s post-elec­tion ef­fort, the so­lu­tions are not long-last­ing but rather re­oc­cur­ring. In­stead, Ma­liki ben­e­fit­ted from the res­o­lu­tion, and was able to get his pre­mier post. Ef­forts to re­solve the po­lit­i­cal dead­lock serves the in­ter­est of Ma­liki, and strengths his in­flu­ence in Iraqi pol­i­tics.

The prob­lem is, there is no ev­i­dence which il­lus­trates that Ma­liki wants to work on Iraq’s po­lit­i­cal prob­lems in an in­clu­sive way that serves the in­ter­est of the masses. The Kurds, par­tic­u­larly Pres­i­dent Barzani should not waste time, or en­ergy by at­tempt­ing to re­solve Iraq’s cri­sis. We should in­stead fo­cus on our in­ter­nal af­fairs, and strengthen our eco­nomic struc­ture. Any res­o­lu­tion the Kurds come to with Bagh­dad will not lead to greater rights, but will fur­ther re­strict them. We are a pros­per­ous re­gion, and help­ing Iraq re­solve their cri­sis does not give us a head­start in any field.

There is suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence which shows that when­ever Kurds help re­solve Iraq’s cri­sis, we don’t in re­turn strengthen our pol­i­tics or econ­omy. We sim­ply use our re­sources for their ben­e­fit, while Bagh­dad at­tempts to strip away the bud­get of this re­gion, and when­ever Iraq’s cri­sis are tem­po­rar­ily re­solved, guide­lines pro­vided by Kur­dis­tan re­gion is later ig­nored and dis­re­garded.

Kur­dish pres­i­dent Mas­soud Barzani wel­comes Shi­ite cleric Muq­tada al-Sadr upon his ar­rival in Er­bil for talks about ed­ing a po­lit­i­cal cri­sis that has dead­locked the na­tion's government,Thurs­day, April 26, 2012.

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