Iraq’s crisis is not ours
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.