No, New Iraq.. without Kurds

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS -

A cou­ple of weeks ago, I wrote that the Kurds are very close to reach­ing a fi­nal agree­ment, with the Iraqi govern­ment (the Shi­ite ma­jor­ity).

Now I will re­it­er­ate that the Kurds have al­ways been a sta­bi­liz­ing fac­tor in the new demo­cratic Iraq, and that the Kurds hold the win­ning cards in the game of pol­i­tics in the re­gion, not only for the Iraqi po­lit­i­cal groups of the Shi’a coali­tions and Sunni groups, but even for su­per­pow­ers like the US and the EU.

Sooner or later, Mr. al Ma­liki, the Shi’a coali­tions and the Sunni po­lit­i­cal groups will re­al­ize that… there can be no New Iraq without the Kurds, and no demo­cratic mod­ern Iraq, and hence no bright fu­ture for the peo­ple of Iraq, without the Kurds!

Al Ma­liki’s last of­fi­cial trip to Kur­dis­tan was in 2010, when the Er­bil Agree­ment was struck which al­lowed him to form a power-shar­ing govern­ment of ma­jor­ity Shi­ites, Sun­nis and eth­nic Kurds af­ter months of wran­gling.

That deal, like oth­ers af­ter it, was never fully im­ple­mented, and Bagh­dad’s cen­tral govern­ment and the KRG have been at odds ever since over oil and dis­puted ter­ri­to­ries along their in­ter­nal bor­der.

With the coun­try’s Shi’a lead­er­ship fac­ing fall­out from the Syr­ian con­flict, which has in­vig­o­rated Sunni in­sur­gents in Iraq and prompted warn­ings of civil war, bet­ter re­la­tions with the Kurds could ease the pres­sure on Ma­liki.

As an au­ton­o­mous part of Iraq since 1991, Kur­dis­tan runs its own ad­min­is­tra­tion and armed forces, but the re­gion re­lies on the na­tional govern­ment for a share of the bud­get fi­nanced by the OPEC na­tion’s oil rev­enues.

In re­cent years, the Kurds have signed con­tracts on their own terms with the likes of Exxon Mo­bil, To­tal and Chevron Corp, an­tag­o­niz­ing Bagh­dad, which in­sists it alone is en­ti­tled to con­trol the ex­plo­ration of Iraq’s oil.

Eas­ing re­la­tions with the Kurds would help Al Ma­liki, who is fac­ing an in­ten­si­fied cam­paign by Sunni Is­lamist in­sur­gents and months of protests by Sunni lead­ers who ac­cuse the Shi­ite premier of marginal­iz­ing them.

Re­la­tions be­tween Ma­liki's Bagh­dad-based cen­tral govern­ment and Iraqi Kur­dis­tan have been tense for years, with both sides dis­agree­ing about who should con­trol Iraqi oil re­sources and ter­ri­to­ries along their in­ter­nal boundary. No break­throughs on those is­sues were ex­pected dur­ing Ma­liki's talks with Iraqi Kur­dish of­fi­cials.

The Kur­dish re­gion has been build­ing a pipe­line that would al­low it to ex­port oil ex­tracted from its ter­ri­tory to neigh­bor­ing Turkey, by­pass­ing pipe­lines con­trolled by Bagh­dad. The in­de­pen­dent pipe­line could help Iraqi Kur­dis­tan to re­duce its re­liance on cen­tral govern­ment funds for a sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of its bud­get.

Kur­dish lead­ers have also long been de­mand­ing an ex­pan­sion of their au­thor­ity to in­clude oil-rich ar­eas of north­ern Iraq ad­ja­cent to the three au­ton­o­mous Kur­dish prov­inces. Bagh­dad has re­sisted those de­mands.

Iraqi Sun­nis have held months of protests de­mand­ing the res­ig­na­tion of Mr. Ma­liki, a Shi'ite whom they ac­cuse of con­cen­trat­ing power in the hands of fel­low Shi'ites and un­fairly tar­get-

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Iraq

© PressReader. All rights reserved.