The tale of Bagh­dad-Kur­dis­tan Re­gion is­sues

Many think Kur­dish in­de­pen­dence is the best so­lu­tion for the Bagh­dad-Kur­dis­tan Re­gion is­sues

The Kurdish Globe - - FRONT PAGE - Zakaria Muhammed & Blind Ibrahim

There have been sev­eral on­go­ing is­sues be­tween Bagh­dad and Kur­dis­tan for sev­eral years now. The is­sues, which mostly con­cern oil and gas, the re­gion’s budget, Ar­ti­cle140 and the Pesh­marga budget, have been deep­en­ing day by day. No so­lu­tions have yet been found.

The oil pipe­line car­ry­ing oil from Kur­dis­tan Re­gion to Turkey have be­come the most crit­i­cal is­sue be­tween Bagh­dad and the Re­gion. The Iraqi Govern­ment is wor­ried about the project and has im­posed penal­ties upon the re­gion which in­clude cut­ting the Re­gion’s share of the Iraqi Gen­eral Budget in case the Re­gion proves un­able to ex­port 400,000 bar­rels of oil per day. Since the Kur­dish rep­re­sen­ta­tives are not yet ready to vote on the law per­tain­ing to the project, the is­sues have re­mained out­stand­ing and the two sides are still in dis­cus­sion.

Kur­dish of­fi­cials be­lieve it will be im­pos­si­ble to find a per­ma­nent so­lu­tion to the is­sues, and that what­ever so­lu­tion is found will be tem­po­rary.

The for­mer ad­vi­sor on Kur­dis­tan Re­gion Af­fairs to the Iraqi PM, Adel Bar­wari, said an at­tempts should be made to solve the long­stand­ing is­sues: “The Iraqi con­sti­tu­tion talks of the Kurds be­ing op­pressed and of the need for com­pen­sa­tion. It talks about Ar­ti­cle 140, which re­lates to the dis­puted ar­eas. These is­sues have to be solved first.”

Bar­wari said that, con­sti­tu­tion­ally, no govern­ment can be formed with­out the Kurds, since the Kurds and the Arabs are the two main na­tions in Iraq. Un­for­tu­nately, the Kurds have al­ways been ne­glected.

In Bar­wari’s view, if Turkey, Amer­ica, and Iraq’s neigh­bors want to see a quiet and safe Iraq, they should try and help solve the is­sues be­tween Bagh­dad and the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion.

The best so­lu­tion for the is­sues, ac­cord­ing to Bar­wari, is to di­vide Iraq into three re­gions.

The Iraqi Trade Min­is­ter, Khair­ul­lah Has­san, be­lieves the so­lu­tions for the Bagh­dad-Kur­dis­tan Re­gion is­sues are based on im­ple­ment­ing the ex­ist­ing laws and is­su­ing new ones.

“We al­ready have some laws that can solve some of the is­sues, but un­for­tu­nately they are not im­ple­mented. We also need to have some new laws, but no at­tempts have been made to draw them up. In Iraq, is­sues are not solved us­ing the law, which is why ev­ery so­lu­tion is only tem­po­rary,” he ex­plained.

Has­san said any­one in the coun­try can in­ter­pret the con­sti­tu­tion as they want based on their own in­ter­ests and crit­i­cise the other for not ad­her­ing to the con­sti­tu­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to Has­san, PM Ma­liki is against pro­vid­ing the Pesh­marga’s budget, be­cause he says the Pesh­marga are not part of the De­fence Min­istry.

Has­san ac­cused the Iraqiya list of de­lib­er­ately im­ped­ing the im­ple­men­ta­tion of Ar­ti­cle 140. He also said the Kurds are ac­cused of not abid­ing by the agree­ments, which is why the oil is­sues are not yet solved.

In terms of a so­lu­tion, Has­san dis­agrees with Bar­wari and thinks the Kurds should come up with a longterm strat­egy for in­de­pen­dence. But Has­san be­lieves that eco­nomic in­de­pen­dence has to come first.

“As long as we are not in­de­pen­dent eco­nom­i­cally, we as Kurds will not be able to make de­ci­sions. Cur­rently, Kur­dis­tan has to find tem­po­rary so­lu­tions for is­sues to stop the eco­nomic con­di­tions de­te­ri­o­rat­ing. Then in the next step we have to think of in­de­pen­dence,” noted Has­san.

To some people like Mah­mud Oth­man, a Kur­dish MP in the Iraqi par­lia­ment, there is no in­di­ca­tion of when is­sues are solved since the at­tempts have been un­suc­cess­ful for the last 11 years.

“The oil is­sues, the Pesh­marga Budget and the se­cu­rity is­sues have re­mained as they were. No progress has been made, and some of them may well have be­come worse,” said Oth­man

As Oth­man sees it, the Kurds have to deal with the is­sues as na­tional is­sues and all the Kur­dish par­ties have to be united and en­gaged in con­tin­u­ous dis­cus­sions aimed at find­ing so­lu­tions.

“If so­lu­tions are not found, the Kur­dish of­fi­cials have to let their people know why. Some of the is­sues can be solved in the cur­rent cab­i­net pe­riod, if se­ri­ous at­tempts are made, but some other is­sues may re­main out­stand­ing even in the next cab­i­net,” Oth­man said.

Some oth­ers be­lieve that the main is­sue be­tween Bagh­dad and the Re­gion is the con­sti­tu­tion, which most of the Shi­ite and Sunni groups out­side Kur­dis­tan do not be­lieve in. In con­trast, the Kurds played a sig­nif­i­cant role in form­ing the con­sti­tu­tion.

“There are sev­eral sides try­ing to change the con­sti­tu­tion or to amend it. Many Shi­ite and Sunni groups con­sider the con­sti­tu­tion to have been im­posed on them,” said Moayad Tayyeb, the Kur­dis­tan Al­liance List spokesman.

Tayyeb thinks the Federal Court, the place where most of the se­ri­ous is­sues need to be solved, is not in­de­pen­dent and is thus in­ca­pable of solv­ing the se­ri­ous is­sues.

“The best thing for Kurds is to plan for in­de­pen­dence,” con­cluded Tayyeb.

When the Federal Court prove un­able to solve the is­sues, the po­lit­i­cal en­ti­ties will re­sort to po­lit­i­cal agree­ments.

Tayyeb is not op­ti­mistic about per­ma­nent so­lu­tions: “Day by day, the Iraqi side puts more pres­sures on the Kurds, and the Kurds have to look for other mech­a­nisms like in­de­pen­dence, since the federal sys­tem has proved un­suc­cess­ful in Iraqi.”

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