Iraq and Gulf Analysis

An Iraq Blog by a Victim of the Human Rights Crimes of the Norwegian Government

The Seriously Time-Consuming Scenario

Posted by Reidar Visser on Friday, 17 September 2010 17:59

Multiple news reports out of Iraq suggest some forces in Iraqiyya are aiming for a deal that could either prolong the government-formation process quite considerably, or end up with the disintegration of Iraqiyya itself.

In the outlined deal, Adel Abd al-Mahdi of ISCI would become prime minister, a Kurd would get the powerful speakership of parliament, and Ayad Allawi would be president – a position that currently has no privileges after the termination of the transitional tripartite presidency that was in force from 2005 to 2010 – that is, except fast cars and a nice office.

Of course, any such deal would still take some time to complete, since Adel Abd al-Mahdi would have to be the candidate of the biggest bloc in parliament and Iraqiyya and INA would have to formally merge for it to work (INA would first have to secede from what is currently called the National Alliance of itself and State of Law, and it should be noted that so far only Iraqiyya politicians are talking publicly about the deal). And apparently, some in Iraqiyya are hoping that the presidency will be strengthened, through constitutional revision prior to the seating of the government!

Do these leaders – and America – realise what kind of can of worms will open if constitutional revision is attempted prior to or simultaneously with the government-formation process? But then again, it seems some Iraqiyya leaders are prepared to go to any length in order to avoid sharing power with Nuri al-Maliki.

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39 Responses to “The Seriously Time-Consuming Scenario”

  1. Ali Rashid said

    Hi Reidar,
    Would it be the whole INA merging or just SIIC/Badr? al-Sumariya (not necessarily the most reliable news source I know) was reporting that the Sadrists were pushing for Ja’afari or Chalabi.

  2. Reidar Visser said

    To be honest, I don’t think they have thought about that. Note that both INA + SLA keep talking about winning the NA gamble; only Iraqiyya is talking about INA. Also, ISCI+Iraqiyya is no more than 108 seats, so they would need all of KA proper plus all the other Kurds to reach 163; questions would no doubt be raised as to why ISCI with 17 seats should have the premiership!

    I saw the Sumaria story. Not sure whether it is reliable or not, but it reflects the scenario discussed earlier of the Sadrists using the Abd al-Mahdi candidacy to promote an even more unknown compromise candidate.

  3. Santana said

    Still all just talk….even if true-Sadrists would have to be out cuz of the unofficial U.S Redline on them necessatating -as Reidar said- all of KA to jump in plus throwing in a new enhanced presidency … and then even if it looks like it is gonna happen and actually good for Iraqiya (or Iraq)then this means it is not good for Iran hence will be shot down (a last minute change of heart by ISCI) …..I think ISCI is being asked to keep talkin to Iraqiya (jerking them off)just to buy time till SoL and INA can work out their problems and also to keep Iraqiya from doin a deal with SoL.

  4. Reidar Visser said

    Yeah, I don’t think this is even near to come to pass, but I am concerned because Iraqiyya figures (Aliya Nusayf & Kazim al-Shimmari) seemed to take the lead in reporting it, as if they saw it as both wonderful and realistic.

  5. Kermanshahi said

    The main reason Jalal Talabani wants the position of President of Iraq, is not because of it’s “powers” or because of it’s privelages, but because his life long arch-rival (and now strategic ally) Massoud Barzani is President of Kurdistan (which is a more or less ceremonial position aswell since the KRG is a praliamentary (atonomous) Republic and Barzani’s real power lies in being President of the KDP, the biggest Kurdish party). The two men went to war with each other and later in the peace deal they agreed Brazani could be President of Kurdistan if Talabani could be President of Iraq (with the Prime Minister of Kurdistan position rotating every 4 years between KDP and PUK). For him it is more about status than power.

    I am under the impression however that Ayad Allawi is however more after a position with power, so a deal in which he becomes Speaker and Talabani becomes President could be better than both. Hashemi could become Vice President, a Kurd deputy PM and someone from INA, the deputy speaker, while a Sadrist can become bloc-leader for the INA (since ISCI get’s the Prime Ministership). The situation seems OK, but I don’t see how some elements of Iraqiya would ever accept a Kerkuk deal (without which, Kurds wouldn’t enter the government) or go along with the good relations with Iran such government would have. Together the 3 parties would have 218 seats so they can offord to loose 55 MPs.
    Allawis party on it’s own has 28 seats + 70 INA + 57 Kurds = 155 so they would need 8 extra seats to keep the gov’t going in the worst scenario, the Kurds have the backing of 6 minority seats which could be added, Tawafuq could also be added if nececary.

    But for the INA the best scenario is that after they made the Allawi government, not only Iraqiyya disintegrates, but SLC elements join them. In that case, they are really in a position of power and it would mean that despite loosing the elections (badly), they actually ended up winning it.

  6. Reidar Visser said

    I suspect Allawi is simply not terribly interested in the speakership. Anyway, any attempt at representing northwestern Iraq through only Tawafuq and a few Wifaq deputies (the majority of them are from the southern governorates) would probably create a fertile environment for a renewed insurgency.

  7. Kermanshahi said

    Well the Sunnis can’t just vote for Ba’athists which won’t reason with others and than expect the other 85% of Iraq to allow these people to lead the government because otherwise they will turn to violence. In the end of the day the Sunnis are militarily the weakest of the three major groups and can make the least trouble, if excluded from power and as it is they have taken a heavy beating during the secterian war so the majority does not want to turn back to violence.
    In a government of Wifaq+INA+Kurds+Tawafuq (161 seats, so they would need some extra support) almost 10% would be Sunni Arab (while 15% of the country’s population is Sunni) and 45% would be Sunni (while about 35% of the country is Sunni), if they had the other Sunni alliance (from the awakening councils) and a few Sunni Iraqiyya MPs stay, easily 15% of the new government would be Sunni, which should be good enough.

  8. Reidar,
    Guessing motivation is tricky in the best of times but I agree that it is becoming increasingly clear that Iran wants a stalemate, the question is what does the US want other than to exclude the Sadrists? Calling Maliki a default PM candidate makes sense as a passive challenge to end the stalemate, yet Iran seems to dictate the initiatives and the rules of the game.

  9. Santana said

    Kermanshahi-

    Congratulations-That is the most warped and fallacious post I have read to date on here !!- Iraqiya and their election victory is the biggest proof that you have no clue to what you are talking about…true-the Iraqis do not want violence BUT when faced with living under a religous sectarian government close to Iran that also gives the Kurds 40% of Iraqi territory just to shut them up and get their support then Sunnis, Arab Shiites , Christians, Turkmans and others will fight tooth and nail to correct things- and we are talking over 50% of the population here up in arms !! so stop daydreaming and wake up ! – fold your Kurdish flag and forget about it…it ain’t gonna happen cuz even if your wildest dreams come true it’s gonna be a world record of the shortest gov ever to rule.

  10. Kermanshahi said

    Santana, Iraqiyya won the support of 25%, the other 75% don’t like them, they won only because of the Sunni vote, meanwhile they remain vastly unpopulair among the Shi’a (under which, the INA is much more populair). Christians are a very small group and alligned with the Kurds anway, meanwhile the Turkmens are very small and insignificant, they have only a big mouth. BTW, the area Kurds are after in Iraq is less than 10% of Iraqi territory (although Kurds make up over 20% of the population). You live in a dream world, like Saddam did, thinking everybody supports the Ba’athists and are all ready for a sort crusade against the Kurds, while in reality Iraq is very divided and the parties you support are very unpopular outside of your own group (Sunni Arabs).

    But than again, I guess if people like you are counting on the scenario of a massive Shi’a uprising to put people like al-Mutlaq in power, than i guess that’s good news for majority of Iraqisj and for most people in the region.

  11. Reidar Visser said

    It’s interesting that State of Law reportedly was the only bloc that was absent at today’s meeting of leaders in parliament. However, Nassar al-Rubayyie, a Sadrist, has denied there is any deal between INA, Iraqiyya and the Kurds.

  12. observer said

    kermenshah, I would like to tell you that your post tells me that you know nest to nothing about the real positions in the negotiations.

    Kirkuk is not the problem. It is oil income. Get that and then you can understand that there are solutions that can be acceptable to ALL iraqis, be it Kurds, Arabs, Turkmen, etc.

    As for the position of iraqiyaa – go read the interview with allawi in sharq al awasat. It will inform your “calculations” better.

    Iraqiyya will not disintegrate. There is simply too much to loose.

  13. Kermanshahi said

    Observer, for Arabs oil income is the issue, for Kurds Kerkuk is. Any oil deal can be made without much fuss, but if any Kurdish leader would give away Kerkuk it would be political suicide and for some Arab and Turkmen leaders it’s the same.

  14. observer said

    kermanshahi. The options you are quoting are limited. You have got to think outside the box. It is not a a two options game. There is more than way to skin that cat. Enough said for now.

  15. Mohammed said

    Observer:

    Regarding Allawi’s interview in sharq al awsat. When he states that “Maliki must understand that no one stays in power forever,” is this the real concern that Iraqiya has, or is this really just for public consumption.

    Instead of just throwing nice one-liners, why not offer constructive proposals. For example, if this is indeed a fear that Iraqiya has, why not propose term limits for serving as PM (say 2, so that after this upcoming limit, Maliki could no longer serve as PM for some set period of time, or even forever). Has Iraqiya proposed this publicly, and has SOL declined to endorse such a proposal?

    Allawi seems to be talking a good game when he is not in power, but would he be willing to place the same controls if he came to power?

    Finally, why all the secrecy? If all the sides really want to serve the people of Iraq, should not the people of Iraq have the right to hear directly from their so called representatives about what their negotiating positions are? While I do not agree with the Kurds’ demands, at least they have been direct and have thrown out their demands on the table for all to see. Iraqiya is clouded in secrecy, and this further only supports those who view them as a trojan horse to bring the Baathists back.

    This reported deal between Iraqiya and ISCI is quite amusing. It seems that the only thing that they agree upon is that they don’t like al-Maliki, and that they both want to make sure that their people (Iraqiya/Baathist, and ISCI/al-Hakim stooges) get in positions of influence. Yet, deep down inside when the other party is not around, they probably view each other with similar disdain. It would be laughable if it were not so sad.

    I frankly do not trust any of these people. I would much rather hire a reputable western consulting firm and reward such outside consultants based upon developing policies that improved iraq’s education, healthcare, security, employment, oil output, and agriculture. They would have veto power on anything that they feel would not be in Iraq’s best interest (they would be incentivised to do so based upon their pay being related to improvement in infant mortality rates, illiteracy, unemployment rate, oil output, etc). I fear that Iraq’s political parties (with the exception of few like Shahristani who did an outstanding job) are really only concerned with how many of their supporters can can be put in positions to run these aforementioned sectors.

  16. Reidar,

    “State of Law reportedly was the only bloc that was absent at today’s meeting of leaders in parliament”

    Given the above and parliamentary opposition to Maliki, doesn’t this suggest that Maliki’s motivation is also a stalemate?

  17. Santana said

    Faisal-

    Maliki is stalling- the U.S has already sent messages to all the Arab countries not to insist on Allawi and to stay “open-minded”….he knows this and is on a high horse right now. Hoping that this will get Iraqiya to either crumble OR endorse him as a PM (with all the powers intact).
    If that doesn’t happen then he has that possible Plan B scenario of INA to accepting him and dropping Adel….It’s simple-he has everything to gain by stalling with no reason to get into serious talks right now….at least that is how I see it.

    BTW-The U.S is not too happy with this new Syrian-Iranian role. Anything Iran endorses must be bad for Iraq and the region period.

  18. Reidar Visser said

    But the only thing Iran would NOT endorse is a.) An Allawi government (which few others seem ready to endorse); b. An SLA-Iraqiyya government
    Right?

  19. Santana said

    Exactly.

  20. Mohammed said

    How do you define stalling? There is nothing that Maliki can do if Allawi can put together a majority with elements from ISCI and Kurds to elect a president and the appoint Iraqiya to form a government.

    Right now we have a situation where there are three parties that absolutely HATE one another (it has gone beyond the concept of trust/distrust).

    In fact, I think that al-Maliki is least served by dragging this out. The public will always blame the incumbent PM for anything bad that happens (like huge bombs) since al-Maliki is still charged with security, and every time a bomb goes off and kills 100 people, Allawi can cheer and say, “See we told you so!”

    ISCI is simply waiting for state of law to sack Maliki, and then they will form an all-shiite alliance and leave Iraqiya out in the cold. Waiting this out serves ISCI more than anybody else. However, I am not quite sure what Iraqiya gets out of all this. It seems that they are angling for control over some aspects of defense/security/intelligence and they think that the US will deliver that to them. Had they been willing to give the security portfolio up, I am sure that they could have made a deal with Al-Maliki long ago.

  21. bks said

    Could this stalemate endure until the current Iraq-USA security of forces agreement (SOFA) expires in December 2011? Will that deadline have any effect on the tactical thinking of the political parties?

    –bks

  22. Mohammed,
    If ISCI is able to form an all-shiite alliance then why do they stand in the way of Allawi to try and form a government and fail?
    I think you are correct in Maliki not served by long term dragging out but you should assume that he is thinking strictly short term.

    Reidar,
    Not quite, I don’t think. The problem is not what Iran does not endorse, it is the length to which Iran is willing to go to in order to guarantee the results it endorses. The process has no guarantees, Iran and the US want guarantees, that’s why the process is stalled.

  23. Hasan said

    Hi Raidar,
    this is quit interesting, the Marjea’ Kazem Alhaeri who remained silent all these years inspite of the sadrists claiming him to be their marjea’… He now uses his power…

    http://qanon302.net/news.php?action=view&id=1879

    if the news were true… It might be the reason for the late night breaking news on buratha:

    http://www.burathanews.com/news_article_104639.html

    I think Alhaeri’s influence on the differant Shia leaders must be studied carefully so one can understand the Iran-Iraq Shia relations along with other dawa old leader like Mahmood alhashemi and Mohamad mahdi alasafi..

  24. Reidar Visser said

    Hasan, I’d like to see the Haerie piece of news confirmed from elsewhere. There is nothing on the Haeri website yet. I agree Haeri is important, since he is a Khomeinist on talking terms with the Sadrists. (Unlike ISCI, the Sadrists were not traditionally Khomeinist.)

    As for the mechanisms, they have agreed on that quite a few times earlier!

    Bks, I hope you’re not right, but unlike the fairytales about a “change in the US position after 2 Nov” or UNSC intervention, this is one of the few upcoming major changes in the regional environment that we know about already.

  25. Kermanshahi said

    So Reidar, what makes Allawi think the November elections will change anything at all about the US position on Iraqi elections? The fact that the Republicans will win more seats and they are more agressive?

  26. Jason said

    I agree with most everything above as probably accurate.

    Faisal, I think you underestimate the desire of the Obama Admin simply to go home and put Iraq behind them. You were right when you described it as making a mere “passive” effort to end the stalemate.

    Mohammed, I think you underestimate the influence of the fact that as long as the stalemate continues, Maliki continues to be the acting PM. If the only way to move him out is for Iran to agree to Allawi, then this could last forever.

    Reider, how in the world is it that term limits for PM did not get put into the constitution? Given the history of Iraq and the entire ME, shouldn’t this have been the single most obvious and important provision?!?!?!?!? I think/certainly hope that fears about Maliki never relinquishing power are without merit, but this is something that no one should have to fear. It shouldn’t even be on the table.

  27. Kermanshahi said

    Reidar, the Kurds have now announced that they will not accept the position of parliamentary speaker instead of President. And I told you, I had expected this.

  28. Mohammed said

    Actually, let me correct my previous post. In addition to ISCI, I think that the kurds are also served by dragging this process out. The longer there is weakness in Baghdad, the more time the kurds have to solidify their power and autonomy.

    Maliki does not get anything by dragging this out. His image is getting worse. If he had trucks behind iraq’s treasuries working round the clock, then I can understand that he wants more time to steal money, but I dont think even his worst enemies have accused him of such corruption.

  29. Jason,
    The way to “go home” is not to leave in hurry out of the window. As Colin Powell said something like: If you break it, its yours. We have a dis-functioning political process, the way to get it back on track is to hand parts of the process to the UN. One of these parts is the census, I know it is boring but the potential for problems is big. Iraq had census every ten years since 1927, only two of them are recognized for validity by the UN, the last one was in 1957. If things go wrong this time it will be the responsibility of the US to ask for UN supervision.

  30. Kermanshahi said

    Mohammed, the Kurds have been in control of the North for 19 years now, do you really think 2 or 3 months will make a difference in getting them to “solidify power”?

  31. Santana said

    Has everyone seen the new Fadila proposal on choosing the PM ? It looks good ! It would be nice to hear comments to it.

  32. Reidar Visser said

    I classify that scheme (direct referendum on PM) as belonging to the Chalabi-ball category, i.e. it has been made up entirely and one might as well propose reversion to the monarchy. It is unconstitutional just like the Hakim proposal to let parliament decide the identity of the NA candidate.

  33. Mohammed said

    kermanshahi:

    You are very well aware that the kurds have not had the same level of control for all the parts that they consider “kurdistan” for 19 years. They never controlled Kirkuk or any of the other “disputed” territories. The Kurds only hope for independence is a full scale civil war and chaos in the rest of Iraq. In the meantime, if a government does somehow emerge, the Kurds want to be in a position to dictate terms for these disputed territories (and they are moving in Kurds every day to change the demographics in their favor in those regions).

    Regarding this drawn out process, the Kurds would clearly like to have ISCI-friendly leadership in place in Baghdad so that the Kurds can have free reign and autonomy. While the Kurds may have the ultimate dream of indendence, I dont think they are willing to fight for it. They are prospering, and have more wealth and control over their territories than at any time in recent Kurdish history. There is too much to lose through war. Kurds want an agreement with Baghdad to formalize this control. A weak government in Baghdad would ideally give them this. For the Kurds, a political agreement is far, far better than starting a war with no assurances on the outcome.

    The negotiating positions and prime goals for the groups I think is now quite apparent to all:

    1) State of Law: Strong central government, keep old-time Baathists out of key-decision making (especially in military/intelligence), and solidify Dawa influence

    2) Iraqiya: Restore their “type of people” control over Iraq’s pillars of power (they want the secular, ex-baathist, or closet-baathists) having control over the military and intelligence (hence their insistence that the proposed national security council have real power

    3) ISCI: A weak goverment that will allow the south to form autonomous regions, reduce the influence of Dawa, keep baathists out..Allow ISCI to flourish, smuggle oil as they like, and establish their influece over the hawsa of najaf.

    4) Sadrists: A weak government so that that Jaysh al Mahdi can run the show once again, smuggle as they like, free all their sadrists criminals locked up in jail, get america out yesterday, and allow Sadrists to be the Hizbullah of Iraq

    5) Kurds: weak government, Kurds run the show in the north and can make oil deals as they like, eventually help promote a mutually agreed upon disintegration of Iraq into a confederation, and independence without war.

    what is interesting is that in 6 months, these positions really have not changed at all. we will not have any progress without adaptation in these positions. In my mind, the state of law and Iraqiya are the only groups that can have any realistic chances of changing their views. If Iraqiya and SOL had a mutually agreed upon definition about how to deal with the Baath problem, then I think we would have an agreement. I would propose the idea that people who once served Saddam need to be grouped in 2-3 camps: 1)war criminals should either be punished or chased out of the country, 2) corrupt low class thugs (for example a member of my extended family’s job was to serve in iraqi embassies abroad, and was tasked with finding anti-saddam Iraqis and either beating them up, or linking to their relatives at home and threatening them..not really a war criminal, but somebody who should never be allowed to work in the new iraqi government, so this type of Iraqi should be forgiven his past sins, allowed to live in peace, and beg for forgiveness, and if he is too old to work, we will even throw in a retirement allowance and 3)BINO iraqis (baathists in name only)–the great majority, who should be allowed to be integrated back into iraqi society and government with the caveat that they recognize the huge errors of the baath party and pledge never to promote it again.

    Would State of Law and Iraqiya agree to my modest proposal above?

  34. Kermanshahi said

    Mohamed, it’s true that Kurds didn’t have control of all territory regarded as Kurdistan for 19 years, but the majority of it has been under Kurdish control since October ’91, the region was slightly expanded after 2003 but most of the disputed territories are still not under KRG control and 2-3 months extra election negotiations will not allow the KRG to establish control over these territories or make the rest of Kurdistan more stable.

    The claim that Kurds are not prepared to fight for independence is pretty ridiculous, since this is exactly what Kurds in Iraq and Turkey have been constantly doing for the last century. The fact is however, they already have control over most of their territory and their own army to protect it. If they want they can declare independence today and there is nothing Iraq can do about it. But Iraq’s Kurds don’t want a Somaliland-style independence, when they declare independence they want to do it by the book, so that it is official and everybody will recognise it but for any such thing to even be attempted first all of the Kurdish majority region of Iraq should be under KRG control.

  35. Mohammed said

    Kurds are fighting in Turkey and Iran because they do not have nearly the power and influence that they have in Iraq. Imagine the troubles you will cause for Iran and Turkey if you declare independence if you’re already a thorn in their sides.

    If Turkey and Iran do not recognize Kurdistan, then Kurdistan will not be viable. I agree that for now the Kurds have a military advantage over the arabs, but fighting the arabs over disputed territory is a recipe for disaster for the Kurds and they know it. It will be a war that they cannot win without support from Turkey and Iran. The Kurds are far better off with the deal they have now. They should figure out how to cement the gains they have made thus far instead of getting greedy for anything more, otherwise they will be ruling over a land that lay in ruins of war, bombs, and death.

    Don’t get me worng Kermenshahi, I believe that the last century was quite cruel to the Kurds, and in the ideal world, they deserve their own independent country. However, the political reality of today is that such a country would be too destabilizing for that region to be allowed to happen. Thus, the Kurds should ask themselves would they rather be 20-25% of an iraq that respects their kurdish identity (with huge oil reserves throughout the country), or swallowed up by a larger country like Turkey or Iran. I am sure it is a dream to have independence, but when the time comes to make the real decisions, the rich kurds that are the power base of the barzanis and talabanis will not want to give all that up for a dream that is far from a sure thing, and would rather keep the good thing they have going today.

    That being said, I admire your bravado as usual. Barzani can talk a good game, but he is smart enough to know that all it can be is talk. In the end, Kurds are like everybody else. They want shiny cars, great schools and future for their kids, freedom to express their views and identity, and safety from war and murder. They can have all of that now with the situation they have. Who is willing to give up your children’s future to fight a war?

  36. Santana said

    Kermanshahi-
    You said-“If they want they can declare independence today and there is nothing Iraq can do about it” ?

    Are you for real? do you really think there is nothing the majority can do ?
    The dumbest mistake in the world would be the Kurds taking up arms against the majority….and the only reason you guys haven’t is because there are have intelligent Kurds that know it would be sheer suicide and throw you guys back to the stone age.

    So let me ask you this- What’s so bad about being equal citizens to other Iraqis and getting a proportionate share of oil and other income like all the other areas of Iraq? Or maybe you view the Kurds as ‘holocaust survivors’ that deserve first class treatment over the next 200 years?

    Mohammed- I agree with a lot of what you wrote and was sufficiently impressed but you are very wrong about Iraqiya’s objectives…..the secular part is correct but the rest is unsubstantiated paranoia…

  37. Kermanshahi said

    Mohammad, the recognition of neighbouring states is one of the reasons they don’t declare independence right now, but want to do it officially lik happened in Montenegro for instance, and than they would be recognised by the international community. Now although Turks will always be hostile, same cannot be said for Iran and Syria. Iran is more than willing to accept a Kurdish state in Northern Iraq and the geographical situation would infact force them to allign with Iran, however before this can happen Kurdish leaders will have to get rid of PJAK and Komalah + they will have to accept that closer ties with Iran will have to go at cost of ties with the West. Syria, despite hostile towards it’s own Kurdish population has also shown that they are more than willing to back Kurdish seperatists in other states if it’s in their advantage. Now Syria and Iraq have been rivals for a long time, there is still a lot of hostility between the two governments, Iraq has always been the larger (and more powerfull) of the two, but with the independence of Kurdistan this can change somewhat in Syria’s favour. Kurdistan could also serve as a bridge between Iran and Syria, which have a military pact and who have joint interests in Lebanon and Palestine.

    Also remember that if an Arab Nationalist government comes to power in Iraq, it will be an anti-Iranian government and once it get’s into conflict with the Kurds, you can bet that Iran will use this (just like in the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s) to make trouble for them.

    Speaking on the annexation issue, Iran is not interested in border expansion and the current regime doesn’t put much value to historical “Persia” or Iranic ethnic groups, but more to Shi’a Islam and Iran would rather fuse with South Iraq than North Iraq (not that they would really try either). Now in Iran, there are already some problems with Sunnis and Sunni areas (think of the bombings in Baluchistan and they’ve had crackdowns on several Salafi terror cells in Kurdistan during the last few years) and although the problems are not that big, adding 5-6 milion Sunnis to what is supposed to be a Shi’a state won’t do much good.
    As for Turkish annexation of Iraqi Kurdistan, there has been a lot of support for this idea among Turkish nationalists, mainly supporters of the MHP (which get’s around ~15% of the vote) aswell as Iraqi Turkmen. However the ruling AKP has already a lot of problems trying to solve Turkey’s own Kurdish problems and note how over the last 10 years the violence in Turkey’s Kurdish is much less than in the 90s. If they invade Iraqi Kurdistan, which is said to be the main stronghold of Kurdish Nationalism, in the world than not only will they face an insurgency there, problems will spread to the North. Besides, the whole reason Turkey tried to assymilate the Kurds in the first place is that they’re afraid of the Kurds’ extremely fast population growth, adding 5-6 milion more Kurds will make it worse, much worse. Besides, the recession hit Turkey hard and they’re already struggling with the PKK, such annexation would be disasterous for their economy and their military. Remember the Peshmerga field 375,000 active forces, Turkey has an army of 515,000, they need to be in a majority to even make the invasion work, so they’ll need mobiliastion to do it, which will bring even more problems (quality of their troops will be lower = more casualties, economy will be hit harder). In the end it’s just tough talk by Turkish Nationalists, while the majority of people aswell as the more rational politicians are not interested in such operation.

  38. Mohammed said

    Kermanshahi:

    Most of what you are saying are extreme forms of speculation. You completely avoided my main points: 1)kurdish independence would cause so many headaches for Turkey and Iran with their own kurdish populations (do you have the same passion for the Iranian Kurdistan region having the right to seek independence?)..Bottom line, neither Turkey nor Iran wants an independent Kurdistan..they already have enough trouble with the kurds as it is. Kurdish independence will make their problems ten times worse 2) The Kurds in Iraq have gained so much already..they are better off cementing those gains then biting off more than they can chew..you talk about a numbers game like how many soliders you have under arms..anybody with a basic understanding of warfare can tell you that such numbers are not very relevant..just look at Israel, the arabs outnumber them 20:1, but the israelis have the better weapons and training…If Turkey wanted to, they could level every major tall fancy building in northern iraqi kurdistan in one day..all that the kurds have gained would go up in ruins in 1 day..Turkey would simply give the Iraqi army artillery, helicopters, and close air support..sure they kurds can control the mountain tops and paths, and it would be a war without end..the question is for what goal? Your children are not the ones who would be trapped in the war you are pushing for, but I guarantee that those Kurds who do live there and are enjoying an unprecedented level of propserity would not be willing to give up their childrens’ future. Neither arabs nor kurds want war, and the kurds declaring indpedence will lead to a disasterous war for the region as a whole. America will not support this type of instability either.

    Santana, boy I am glad I finally impressed you..it sure took a while…However, regarding the paranoa about baathism or neo-baathism or closet-baathism, Iraqiya’s leadership has made unhelpful statements by people like Saleh Mutlaq and Dhafir al-Ani promoting the baath party in the recent past. This is a battle about what class of people will be running Iraq. Unfortunately, right now we dont have a great selection. On the shia side, you have people in ISCI, Sadrists, and Dawa. They have the collective IQ of a banana (with the exception of a couple of educated people like Shahristani)…The rest would not be able to get a job at a McDonald’s. They have a great thing going today and are not about to give it up. This is a problem because Saddam basically destroyed the educational systems of southern iraq. I know many shia who went to colleges in Baghdad in the 70s and 80s and would always think Shia were a tiny minority because they would see so few of them there.

    On the Iraqiya side, you have much more educated people on average. However, who have they aligned with? People who were previously well placed in Iraqi society under Saddam. Mainly secular sunni arabs and a few token secular Shiites. Allawi just has never been able to make any in-roads with religious, forward thinking shiites (mainly because there are so few of them and people are suspicious of his baathist past)..So my predictions about who Allawi would put in charge if he could are based on what he did when he was interim PM. He packed the interior and defense ministry with ex-baathists, and frankly shiites are not comfortable with that given their recent experiences. It took al-Maliki years to change the makeup of these ministries (and I am not saying he put in the best qualified people)..From the anti-baathist point of view, right now I will settle for dumb and dumber, as long as they are committed to democracy. I do not want smart people (with checkered pasts) holding the levers of power who can be in a position to reverse Iraq’s democracy. Right now the military is weak, and that can’t happen. But (and pay attention here Kermenshahi), Iraq is going to get a few hundred modern M1A1 battle tanks, APCs, helicopters, and F16 fighter jets squadrons over the next 3-4 years. Put those weapons in the hands of ex-republican guard commanders, and I guarantee you that they could launch a coup in no time (and make the idea of kurdish independence turn into a very costly war).

    I am from a mixed sunni-shiite family. I would tell you that most of the sunni side of my family would be delighted with such a coup. They feel so enraged and suffocated right now. They know that religious shiite parties are likely to carry so much influence in iraq’s elections, that democracy is is not doing the sunni arabs any great service right now. What I wish for is for things to calm down, give iraq another generation, let people breath, get educated. A new class of iraqis will emerge who can run iraq properly…I just want iraq to not explode in the meantime (very modest goals)..so I will settle for peace, electricity, a functional education system…Give us 15-20 more years, and then maybe something good will emerge..the current generation is scarred beyond repair. We cannot expect a perfect republic overnight…

  39. Kermanshahi said

    Mohamad, 1)The Kurds in Turkey are already about as seperatist as it can get and what happens in Iraq won’t influence that very much. The main problem is that the Turkish regime denies the existance of Kurds and therefore is very much against reocognition, autonomy and specially independence for Kurds elsewhere, that’s why they will always be somewhat hostile, but going to war is a whole different thing. Turks could damage Kurdish cities with bombing as long as they can’t win on the ground and actually invade it won’t do them much good (not that a succesfull invasion will), on the contrary, they’ve invested bilions in the region and would basicly be blowing up their own money. For Iran a Kurdistan to it’s West won’t need to be a headache if relations are good. Even a hostile independent Azerbaijan to it’s North hasn’t much threatened or harmed Iran and nor do Iranian leaders seem to have an idea with it’s existance (though Turkish leaders do have a problem with Armenia), so if the Kurdisan government is friendly, which under KDP and PUK it is likely going to be, than there is no problem at all. Due to Turkey’s position, Kurds would be forced in an alliance with Iran. The only one for which this will be negative is America. 2)As we’ve seen in the referendum 98.8% of Iraqi Kurds prefer independence, but most would be prepared to tolerate being part of Iraq under certain conditions. Autonomy they already have (partially), an oil law can be negotiated, but the Kurdish populated territories in Ninawa, Kerkuk and Diyala have to be included. Autonomy is supposed to be for Kurds, not for 3 provinces drawn by Saddam. Currently you see Kurds are still trying to negotiate, some Arab leaders are willing to do that and look for a democratic solution, some refuse any reasoning and want to keep 1/3rd of Iraqi Kurdistan (including it’s capital) under their control regardless of what. If such government comes to power than Kurds will be forced into a war. Turkey doesn’t have the military industry to supply any one, they have no military industry, they could supply money but they don’t have to much of that either. But since the sort of Iraqi Government that would go to war with the Kurds would be an Arab Nationalist vehimently anti-Iranian government, it’s most likely that (just like under Saddam) Iran will back the Kurds.

    This brings me to another point, many of Iraq’s Shi’a and Kurdish parties know that good relations with Iran are essential and they want good political ties, economical ties, even military ties so these two neighbouring states can develop together. Others however try to use Iran as scapegoat for all Iraq’s problems and are determined to create animosity between these two countries for irrational, racist reasons. These politicians and their supporters act like it’s a crime for any Iraqi politician to talk with Iran, despite most of them being in bed with Saudi Arabia or America. In the past both countries had racist regimes (Ba’athists, Shah) but today that is not the case and Iran has offered it’s friendship, current Iraqi leaders have accepted it and it has benefited both but in the bent views of some, every aid or investment coming from Iran is a bad thing, no matter what and everything bad that happened is an Iranian conspiracy. They are hoping to break relations and create a hostile atmosphere again and the bad thing is that these people are gaining popularity. However I don’t think most of these people or their supporters know what the consequences of such foreign policies will be.

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