The various scenarios of Baghdad, what’s the responsibility of the Kurds and what’s next?
Kurd’s problems have always lain in the manner of their participation and power sharing with Bagdad. It’s apparent that this participation should firstly be for gaining the basic rights of Kurdistan as a country with its specific history, its own people, and its interest before the destiny of Iraq. In the past years, the Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri AlMaliki, who has the most absolute power in the new Iraqi system, has been trying to form a government of the majority. What will be the position of the Kurds and who’s going to be in the majority? Which party is going to gain the trust of Maliki’s new cabinet? These are questions waiting for answers. Recently, possible scenarios of forming the coming Iraqi cabinet have been discussed.
The final result of the elections hasn’t been announced yet. It has been revealed that the Nuri AlMaliki- led State of Law bloc has initiated contacts with the various political parties and lists to form the new government. What’s so strange about this is that most of the parties intend to prevent Al-Maliki from taking on a third term. Nevertheless, prior to the announcement of the official results he’s officially sent letters to many parties in order to form a coalition government. Nonetheless, al-Maliki rejected the idea of a coalition once again and insisted that his list will get enough votes to form the majority government by himself. As I have mentioned before, the other political parties are struggling to prevent al-Maliki’s plans. That is why the spokesperson of al-Ahrar list, Jawad Al-Jubury, told Al-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper that their list is planning to revive the Shiite’s “Iraqi National Alliance.” If this plan didn’t work, they would nominate a candidate for the Prime Minister, but choosing this candidate will be after negotiations with the Kurds and some Sunni lists, including al-Mutahidoon.
Al-Mwatin (the citizen) Alliance sees reviving the Iraqi National Alliance as something urgent. Through this old-new alliance they can form the biggest bloc and can negotiate with the other Iraqi lists and political components to form the government. They want the next government to be strong, representing all the constituencies of the Iraqi society. They also intend to secure the participation of both the Kurds and the Sunnis in the government. Everything points at the attempts to impose sanctions on al-Maliki on a certain ground. The majority of the political parties can hardly imagine Maliki’s ability to form the government successfully through the pursuing of his despotic policy which he has been implementing adamantly during his period in the office. But we should keep in mind that the Shiites may win the majority of the seats and consequently be rightful to form the government.
In the past, Nouri al-Maliki succeeded in splitting the Sunnis apart and subsequently weakens them. He’s now working to repeat the same procedure with the Kurds. The reaction of the Kurdistan Region Presidency and the political parties demonstrate that the Kurds should be united in Bagdad as they always have been. Al-Maliki again tries to divide and rule even the Shiites, particularly those who criticize him. Al-Mwatin has witnessed a rise in their votes this time, which could be a kind of awakening to al-Maliki’s opponents, if the neighboring countries keep away from interfering of course.
The "The Week" newspaper has published that " The Iraqi polls and forming the new government will last several months, during this period, al-Maliki will undoubtedly do everything to utilize the results for his own benefit, and one of his characteristics is that he does not easily step down."
The scenarios demonstrate that Nouri al-Maliki plans to form the majority government with al-Mutahidun and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK). And if this didn’t work, the second plan is to form a coalition together with the Sadrists, Ammar Hakim’s bloc, Allawi’s bloc and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP). The third and final scenario is forming a national government including all the components: the Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites, here, the posts are divided among the three major parties. If this scenario is put to work, al-Maliki will not be able to hold his current position.
As we said, al-Maliki is trying to realize the majority government with the team he likes, and wants. He certainly tries to neutralize his opponents. At the same moment, other Shiites blocs know well that no one can form the government on its own, and the government of the majority may not work that well, that is why they consider a coalition and forming a national government with the participation of the three main parties. This was clearly expressed in an article by al-Sabah newspaper’s editor in chief. He says that forming the government of the majority in accordance to the expected results is hard. This direction, which even was used as indications to threat, doesn’t seem to remain effective.
What should the Kurds do and what share will they demand? This is one the crucial questions in Kurdistan nowadays. The results of 30 April polls have created a sort of a new reality that shows that some parties want to participate in Bagdad’s government taking into account their votes rates and power prior to their election’s merits. Some say:" it’s not possible; we couldn’t be real partners in a national government, whilst demanding to be part of the future government in Bagdad. That is why some scenarios are formed on the basis that the KDP and the PUK would divide into the two already sundered fronts of the Sunnis and the Shiites.
Undoubtedly, this would have dire and the most negative consequences as far as the Kurds are concerned. We should not oversee the importance of unity among the Kurds which has been vitally important in the past years. It has averted a wide range of Bagdad’s sinister plans against us. If the same policy and the same unity couldn’t be found, we would end up in a very disadvantageous position. What’s been seen in the political parties’ discourse this week: the KDP hasn’t made any decisive decisions and awaits the final results and observes other bloc’s agendas and programs. The KDP doesn’t seem to have red lines for any party, it looks upon the issues from the strategy that it has had the priority in the election, that’s why it should make strategic and significant decisions which are not against national unity and the public interest.
The PUK on the other hand, wants to put its pressures on the internal and Bagdad’s direction which is thought to be for the sake of gaining many more important seats in the KRG and reducing the public and psychological pressure, and the magnification of votes they’ve gained on 30 April polls.
We should also keep in mind that in politics, one single version of policy does not necessarily have the same results and advantages. Other parties also are in favor of the unity of the Kurds in Bagdad, which gives an opportunity to the authority in Kurdistan to think meticulously about the future of Kurdistan and its unity.
It is of vital importance that the Kurds are unified in the next stage, considering that the future of Iraq is based on who is going to form the government. If al-Maliki will be the next Prime Minister, Iraq is certainly going to witness more division and escalating violence, because he has previously said that he will do everything, use every opportunity to keep the Shiites in power in Iraq. By his denial of the rights of the Kurd's, he has identified himself as a fighter for the Shiites not a Prime Minister for all. This is not just a gossip spoken by us, but the foreign newspapers are honestly referring to the risk of the extension of the Iraqi crises, and believe that Nouri al-Maliki is the main instigator. Consequently, the destiny of the Kurds with Arabs within a federal constitutional Iraq will come under question, as the case already is.
On May 15, 2014, the Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani met with Nawshirwan Mustafa, discussing the results of the parliamentary elections, and the letter of the Iraqi Prime Minister to the political parties. According to news sources, the unity of the Kurds in the political process and the next Iraqi government has been discussed. As mentioned, the mechanisms of forming a joint team of all Kurdistani powers have been discussed as well to manage the Kurd’s affairs in Bagdad and studying the favorable posts in the new government. The media has described the meeting in optimistic terms to form a unified Kurdish front in Baghdad.
We have to remember that the Kurds’ hands have been tied for a long time because of Bagdad’s anti-Kurd policy. That’s why the Kurds should make a crucial decision: they should not involve in any coalition or cabinet without official documents signed by the Prime Minister granting the Kurds what is their legitimate rights. Unity among the Kurds factions is a key to success. No party should think they could achieve more through the policy of appeasement towards Bagdad, because their power in Kurdistan will eventually diminish. Keeping alMaliki in power means the extension and deterioration of the crises in Iraq. That’s why the Kurds should be ready whether to form a coalition and real participation in a national joint government or any other alternatives in the future. The strength and perseverance of the Kurds always lies in their unity.