Ma­liki wants to top­ple Kur­dis­tan through fi­nan­cial war

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS - By Gazi Has­san

The prob­lems be­tween Kurds and Arabs on the one hand and be­tween Kur­dis­tan’s po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship and the Bagh­dad Govern­ment on the other hand are long-term. Nuri Ma­liki’s cur­rent cam­paign against Kur­dis­tan is linked to sev­eral years of on­go­ing prob­lems be­tween the Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Govern­ment and Bagh­dad. The prob­lems could now es­ca­late into a po­lit­i­cal process into a cri­sis, but it is worth ask­ing about Nuri Ma­liki’s tim­ing. Why es­ca­late the con­flict with Er­bil now when Iraq is at a new low, the war against the Sun­nis and ter­ror­ist groups at fever pitch, Muq­tada Al-Sadr has quit pol­i­tics, and the Sun­nis are un­der pres­sure and may de­clare their re­gion in­de­pen­dent? A sec­ond ques­tion would be who is back­ing Ma­liki’s govern­ment?

Let’s make it sim­ple: Nuri Ma­liki needs other crises to take people’s minds off the crises he al­ready has. When he lurches into a cri­sis, he is try­ing to open up a new door into an­other place and field. No po­lit­i­cal power can deal with sev­eral crises at once. His ac­tions are de­signed to get the Shi­ites to vote for him, be­cause “I’m the only party that de­fends your fu­ture,” while they also send a mes­sage out to the Sun­nis: “I will pre­serve the unity of Iraq and I will deal with Kur­dish threats.”

At the same time, his ac­tions are send­ing out a num­ber of clear mes­sages:

He’s telling Amer­ica he needs its help in re­in­forc­ing his army and his weapons, in elim­i­nat­ing ter­ror­ists. He’s telling Syria, Iran and Rus­sia “Help me! If things go on like this, ter­ror­ist groups will oc­cupy Iraq and the Sun­nis will re­gain power”. He’s telling Iran that he won’t let the Kur­dis­tan Demo­cratic Party, which has es­tab­lished close po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic re­la­tions with Turkey and won in the Kur­dis­tan par­lia­men­tary elec­tion, re­lax—he is de­ter­mined to be­set its time in of­fice with prob­lems. He also wants to tell Turkey that it should not co­op­er­ate with the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion, and Europe and other coun­tries that they should not come to Kur­dis­tan and open con­sulates and treat the Re­gion as a state while treat­ing Iraq as sec­ond grade.

Nuri Ma­liki wants to stop the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion de­vel­op­ing po­lit­i­cally, eco­nom­i­cally and diplo­mat­i­cally. That is why he has launched this fi­nan­cial war and blocked the pay­ment of salaries to Kur­dis­tan Re­gion em­ploy­ees, which has an­gered both the po­lit­i­cal par­ties and people of Kur­dis­tan.

So where is all this leading? The KRG will con­sider us­ing pres­sure cards if the crises re­main un­solved. Some think Ma­liki is push­ing the Kurds to­wards sep­a­ra­tion by in­cit­ing more anger at Bagh­dad—af­ter all, the only pow­er­ful party ham­per­ing Ma­liki’s poli­cies has been Kur­dis­tan Re­gion Pres­i­dent, Ma­soud Barzani. Last March, the prob­lems be­tween Hewler and Bagh­dad looked deep and fever­ish, it should not come as a sur­prise that Ma­liki has cut off people’s salaries, even though this goes against the uni­ver­sal dec­la­ra­tion of hu­man rights, which for­bids ac­tions aimed at ex­ter­mi­nat­ing people and starv­ing cit­i­zens. He is clearly seek­ing to pe­nal­ize the po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship of the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion through this acts.

The Kurds will not seek re­venge. Kurds never step to­wards war, but it seems only nat­u­ral, psy­cho­log­i­cally and po­lit­i­cally, to start think­ing se­ri­ously about mak­ing a strate­gic move to­wards self-de­ter­mi­na­tion or even sep­a­ra­tion. This will be the last card the Kurds use, but it isn’t clear how many oth­ers they hold right now. Be­cause an in­de­pen­dent Kur­dis­tan, even a hun­gry one with wages in ar­rears, is bet­ter than Bagh­dad’s fi­nan­cial, eco­nomic and psy­cho­log­i­cal war against the people of Kur­dis­tan, whom it would en­slave.

The po­lit­i­cal at­mos­phere in Kur­dis­tan is in­flamed; Bagh­dad wants to use its people’s hunger against the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion’s author­ity. So do Amer­ica, Rus­sia and some other Euro­pean coun­tries who have agreed to sac­ri­fice the calmest and most un­prob­lem­atic area in the re­gion to the to­tal­i­tar­ian and na­tion­al­ist in­ten­tions and wishes of Bagh­dad. Who have as­sented to ren­der un­sta­ble a sta­ble and de­vel­oped area and per­haps, even, to push it to­wards war. Even if the Kurds ac­cept this war and this pun­ish­ments, po­lit­i­cal logic, hu­man val­ues and the com­plex crises in the re­gion should not.

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