Kur­dis­tan pun­ishes Iraq in re­sponse to cut budget

The Kurdish Globe - - FRONT PAGE - By Salih Wal­ad­bagi

Kur­dis­tan is pun­ish­ing the Iraqi govern­ment by con­trol­ling wa­ter re­sources flow­ing from Kur­dis­tan into Arab parts of Iraq. The move is in re­sponse to the Iraqi govern­ment’s de­ci­sion not to pay Kur­dis­tan its share of the na­tional budget.

Kur­dis­tan is pun­ish­ing the Iraqi govern­ment by con­trol­ling wa­ter re­sources flow­ing from Kur­dis­tan into Arab parts of Iraq. The move is in re­sponse to the Iraqi govern­ment’s de­ci­sion not to pay Kur­dis­tan its share of the na­tional budget.

Po­lit­i­cal an­a­lysts say the KRG is us­ing wa­ter against Bagh­dad amidst the oil and budget row.

Over the past few days, it has been re­ported that the KRG has made moves to­wards cut­ting the flow of wa­ter at the Dukan and Darbandikhan dams.

Iraqi MPs called on the federal govern­ment to ask the KRG to let the wa­ter flow to other parts of Iraq to ir­ri­gate agri­cul­tural lands.

The man­ager of the Darbandikhan dam, Rah­man Khani, said the KRG had never com­pletely closed the dam be­cause it is against hu­man rights and the law.

As the dis­putes be­tween the Iraqi govern­ment and the Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Govern­ment (KRG) sim­mer over Bagh­dad cut­ting Kur­dis­tan out of the na­tional budget, Kur­dish MPs be­long­ing to dif­fer­ent blocs within the Iraqi par­lia­ment have called on the Iraqi min­is­ter of fi­nance to at­tend par­lia­ment and an­swer ques­tions re­gard­ing the re­gion’s share of the budget. They de­scribe the govern­ment’s ac­tions as a “vi­o­la­tion of the con­sti­tu­tion”.

De­spite se­ri­ous ef­forts by the Kur­dish po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship to ham­mer out with a ra­tio­nal so­lu­tion to the pend­ing is­sues with the Iraqi govern­ment, the lat­ter has stepped back- wards and in the wrong di­rec­tion.

Bagh­dad has still to send the salaries of KRG em­ploy­ees for Jan­uary and Fe­bru­ary. It is also look­ing for ways to deepen the dis­putes within the KRG as the par­lia­men­tary elec­tion ap­proaches.

An Iraqi MP from the Kur­dis­tani list told Kur­dish me­dia: “What the Iraqi govern­ment is do­ing against the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion, by not send­ing its share while send­ing the shares of other Iraqi prov­inces, is an ap­par­ent vi­o­la­tion of the con­sti­tu­tion. This dis­pute has to be re­solved.”

Po­lit­i­cal sci­ence lec­turer Dr. Marif Gol stated that Bagh­dad’s de­ci­sion had a neg­a­tive im­pacts on the KRG but also on Kur­dis­tan res­i­dents.

He said that cut­ting the share has made people ex­tremely dis­tressed in both Er­bil and Bagh­dad. “This is not ac­cept­able any­where in the world,” he added.

If the prob­lems isn’t re­solved, Gol said, the KRG will have to launch an in­ter­na­tional cam­paign to gain in­ter­na­tional sup­port, just as Kosovo did in the past. The Re­gion needs a huge lobby and in­tel­li­gent diplo­matic ef­forts.

The Kurds can take re­venge on Prime Min­is­ter Nouri al-Ma­liki by not sup­port­ing him in the up­com­ing Iraqi leg­isla­tive elec­tion, which are ex­pected to be held on April 30. The Kurds can make a po­lit­i­cal al­liance with Ma­liki’s ri­vals and force him out of his po­si­tion.

“The KRG can ex­ert pres­sure on the Iraqi govern­ment through diplo­matic ef­forts, es­pe­cially with the US,” he de­clared, adding that Bagh­dad is now act­ing just like the for­mer sup­pres­sive govern­ment. The in­ter­na­tional door is now much more open to the Kurds and lots of Euro­pean coun­tries are now sym­pa­thetic. They need to use this card, Gol said.

Sus­pend­ing Kur­dis­tan flights

Flights be­tween Er­bil and sev­eral Euro­pean coun­tries had been sus­pended for more than ten days. The de­ci­sion came af­ter Kur­dis­tan sought to ex­ploit and ex­port oil in­de­pen­dently through a pipe­line which goes through Turkey to the in­ter­na­tional port of Cey­han.

How­ever, Iraqi of­fi­cials de­nied that there is any link be­tween the Er­bilBagh­dad po­lit­i­cal dis­putes and the re­cent de­ci­sion to sus­pend flights.

The Di­rec­tor of Er­bil In­ter­na­tional Air­port, Talar Faiq, told the Hawler news­pa­per that Iraq air­lines has sus­pended its flights to Swe­den, adding that the rea­sons be­hind the sus­pen­sion are not yet clear.

The Iraqi trans­porta­tion min­is­ter de­clared that Ger­ma­nia and Hur­moz air­lines, both of which fly be­tween Swe­den and Iraq, have thus far vi­o­lated the reg­u­la­tions.

Ac­cord­ing to Faiq, sus­pend­ing the flights has noth­ing to do with the Er­bil-Bagh­dad po­lit­i­cal prob­lems. She said the de­ci­sion might be the re­sult of com­pe­ti­tion be­tween the Iraqi and other air­lines.

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