Maliki wants to topple Kurdistan through financial war
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.