Kurdish leadership: Hysteric and imbalanced Maliki should step down
The Kurdish Ministers have boycotted Iraqi Cabinet meetings. The Kurdish Peshmarga forces have taken control of two oil fields. The Iraqi government has halted cargo flights to Kurdish cities in response.
Officials in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region of Iraq lashed out at a “hysterical” Prime Minister Nouri Maliki urging him to step down as Iraq’s abortive governing structure seem to plunge into a political disarray.
The Presidency of Kurdistan Region has published a statement in reaction to Maliki's most recent allegations against Erbil.
As the two sides ratcheted up the rhetoric, long-simmering tensions between Kurds and Baghdad seemed headed for a showdown.
“Maliki works very hard to find excuses for his mistakes and blames his failure on others,” the presidential statement read.
When we think of Maliki’s words, the statement reads, we can conclude that he has become “hysteric and imbalanced.”
In his weekly speech, PM Maliki said that Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Region, has become a haven for terrorists and fighters of Islamic State [earlier known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, ISIS].
“Erbil was also a safe refuge for Maliki when he was running from the former Iraqi dictator,” the statement read.
Now people are escaping from Maliki’s dictatorship and flee to Erbil, the statement strongly reacted to the failed Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki.
“You offered the ISIS a place. It was you and your army who handed over Iraqi territories, the weapons and the equipment of six brigades of the Iraqi army to ISIS.”
The Kurdish leadership very strongly accused Maliki of plunging the coun- try into a further perilous situation, asking him to seek contrition and resign from his post.
"You [Maliki] must apologize to the Kurdish in particular and Iraqi people and then step down. You have destroyed the country and someone like you cannot save it from crises.”
PM Maliki accused the Kurds of exploiting the crisis to push for statehood. Meanwhile, Iraq’s highest Shiaa religious figure Ali Sistani asked the politicians to “close ranks” and to stop what he called their “radical discourse”.
PM Maliki is a member of the political bloc "The State of Law" representing Shiaa Muslims, Iraq’s majority population, concentrated in Baghdad and the south.
The intensified war of words between Iraq's Central Government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in the north would most likely diminish prospects of a coherent reaction to a Sunni-led insurgency that has captured large swaths of land in the north and west parts of the country.
After April elections, the Iraqi political groups have not been able to sit together at a table to agree on the nation’s leadership. Maliki has resisted efforts from critics to refrain from seeking a third term.
Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Nouri Shawez, the highest ranking Kurdish member of the government, said that Mr Maliki's statements were "meant to hide the big security fiasco," BBC reported.
At the same time, the Kurdish political blocs in Baghdad declared that they would boycott Cabinet meetings. The move would certainly make Iraq’s political process halt as the harsh words from the Kurdish leadership followed Maliki's weekly speech.
Iraq's Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari announced on Friday that the Kurdish politicians would stop running their ministries, a day after they had declared a boycott of the Government Cabinet meetings.
The ministries that are affected include: Zebari's Foreign Ministry, the Trade Ministry, the Ministry of Migration, the Health Ministry and the Deputy Premiership, the Reuters news agency reported.
Zebari said that the Kurdish MPs would continue attending Iraqi Parliament’s sessions, adding that the country falls apart if a national inclusive government would not be formed soon.
He further added that Iraq is at the moment factually divided into three states; Kurdish in the north, a black state which is led by a Sunni Islamic State Group and a Shiaaled state from Baghdad down to the south of the country.
Later, PM Maliki threatened the Kurdish Ministers and said that he would fill their posts with new ministers.
But Kifa Mahmud Kareem, an advisor to the Kurdish Regional Government’s President, told the Iraqi semi-official television that the Kurdish ministers consider themselves to be “on leave”.
He further added that they would go back to Baghdad when the Parliament agreed on the nominations of the presidency and the parliament speaker and his deputy's posts.
The Kurdish Peshmarga forces advanced in the oil-rich Kurdish majority province of Kirkuk and controlled two oil fields on Friday.
Later, the Iraqi Ministry of Oil claimed that the Kurdish forces expelled the Arab workers of the oil fields and replaced them with Kurdish personnel.
The KRG’s official spokesman Safin Dizayee strongly rejected the claims made by the Iraqi Ministry of Oil, saying that none of the Arab workers had been expelled or quitted.
The Kurdish Peshmarga forces [means those who face death in English] had advanced in Kirkuk in June soon after the Iraqi army soldiers ran away in the face of an offensive by the fighters of ISIS.
The Kurdish zone in the north of the country remains under the protection of the KRG. But much of Kurdish-controlled territory at the moment borders with lands under the control of Islamic State Group and the Sunni Muslim separatists. However, the Kurdish officials have not hidden their fear of being neighbours with the Islamic State Group and described them as a “terrorist group.”
In the latest development, aviation authorities in Baghdad have halted cargo flights to Erbil and Iraq's second major Kurdish city, Sulaimaniyah, Reuters news agency reported.
The UN said at least 2,417 Iraqis, including 1,531 civilians, were killed in "acts of violence and terrorism" in June.
More than a million peo- ple have fled their homes as a result of the fighting in recent months; many of them have taken refuge in the safe cities of the Kurdistan Region.
Kurdish authorities say they are also preparing a referendum on independence.
The President of Kurdistan Region Massoud Barzani last week asked the Parliament of the autonomous Kurdish region to plan a referendum on Kurdish independence, signalling his impatience with Baghdad.
However, regional and international powers such as Iran and the United States are in general reluctant to accept such development, emphasizing on Iraq remaining intact.
The Kurdish media several times quoted the Turkish officials on the independence issue. The Turks announced that the Kurds have the right to determine their future. The Turkish government does not consider an independent safe Kurdish state as a threat anymore, as the two sides have established long-term strategic energy ties recently.