Iraq and Gulf Analysis

The Kurds Propose to Change the Constitution

Posted by Reidar Visser on Saturday, 14 August 2010 17:12

It had been expected that the Kurdish demands for supporting a new government would be on the unrealistic side, but what has emerged in press reports over the past days suggests a list of desiderata – reportedly 19 points –  that is completely over the top.

Included are of course predictable items like implementation of article 140 of the constitution (disputed territories and Kirkuk), regional rights to sign oil deals with foreign companies and financing of the Kurdish peshmerga militias by Baghdad without integrating them fully in the Iraqi army as ordinary units. But the latest proposals contain far more. In fact, they amount to a complete revision of the Iraqi constitution, and in particular the removal of any possibilities for the re-emergence of a strong Baghdad. Back in 2006 and 2007, the Kurds played a key role in diffusing power through the invention of committees to be controlled by politicians: The council for national security in 2006 (it is not even in the constitution!); the oil and gas committee in the 2007 draft oil law (why cannot Iraq have a normal oil ministry like any other oil-producing state?) The most important new innovation is the attack on the powers of the prime minister: This is to be checked by making the head of the national security council into commander in chief of the armed forces and by giving some powers to – of course – the president (to be held by a Kurd according to the Kurdish demands). Not least, the ethno-sectarian, tripartite presidency council that was in force with strong veto powers as a transitional mechanism between 2005 and 2010 will be resuscitated, thereby incorporating a key feature of the failed constitutional-revision project from the previous parliamentary cycle.

In other words, the Kurds are seeking to complete the parody-like transformation of Iraq to a loose banana confederation that was attempted back in 2005 when the constitution was drafted, but which failed to go all the way. It is of course not a big surprise that the Kurds are pushing in this direction. The great irony of the proposal, which is supposed to appeal to the Shiite-led Iraqi National Alliance (INA) and the secular Iraqiyya, is that both these parties hope to ultimately achieve the very premiership that the Kurds are seeking to strangle by the proposal. For this reason, the latest  Kurdish document will not solve anything in terms of government formation; since the Kurds do not any longer have veto power (i.e. through the erstwhile two-thirds supermajority requirement for appointing the presidency council) it is the triangular relationship between Iraqiyya, State of Law (SLA) and INA that will ultimately dictate the basics of government formation. If Kurdish demands are seen as extravagant, any combination of those three along with support from smaller blocs is sufficient to reach the magic mark of 163 deputies.

As expected, at least Maliki’s SLA has had the guts to indicate scepticism to the proposals. The shocking development is that Iraqiyya has reportedly said they agree with them in principle! If true that would mean a complete abdication of Iraqiyya’s pretensions as a nationalist party, transforming it instead to a collaborator with the forces of division and the kings of ethno-sectarian quotas. In a way, if the Kurds have it their way, it does not really matter who the next prime minister is, because Iraq, as a centralised state, would be gone anyway. But at the same time, there are no signs that INA is prepared to give up the premiership to Iraqiyya or vice-versa, meaning any rapprochement between the Kurds, Iraqiyya and INA on the basis of these most recent Kurdish demands will be of limited value in terms of progress towards a new government anyway.

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51 Responses to “The Kurds Propose to Change the Constitution”

  1. Reidar – I honestly can’t say that this surprises me. Historically, what lasting benefits have the Kurds ever received from Baghdad? From Qasim to Saddam, olive branches, promises of some kind of regional autonomy, or development monies (especially as oil revenues shot up) were occasionally extended, always to be retracted when it served Baghdad’s purposes. Why would the Kurds have any reason to trust in the good will and beneficence of Baghdad over the long haul?

  2. Reidar Visser said

    Well, to begin with, they get almost all their money from Baghdad, or more precisely, from Basra. It is oil money from the south that makes up much of the KRG budget

  3. Ali W said

    Iraqia is a baathis party with no principles, baathist have always sold their lands to those who give them power.

    The Kurds are just doing whats best for the people, SLA has shown itself the best out of the rest of the parties. Iraqia are tools in the hands of Saudis and will destroy Iraq if they ever rule Iraq, and this proves it!!!

  4. Reidar Visser said

    Not sure whether the entire Iraqiyya leadership agrees with Allawi and his closest people on this (the statement was read by Maysun al-Damluji by the way). Both the Hiwar front (Mutlak) and Iraqiyun (Nujayfi) have in the past taken a principled stand on Kirkuk for example. But if they really mean they “accept” these Kurdish principles, then it is a scandalous, totally unnecessary sell-out, and Iraqiyya will lose the support of its electorate.

  5. zahrataliraq said

    I don’t know how true this is, but I heard that their idea is for the head of national security council to take some of the PM’s powers so Ayad Allawi would accept the role, and then the PM job would go to Maliki. Maliki used to complain that he had to steer Iraq out of a civil war with one hand behind his back. I can’t see him accepting the job with both hands behind his back! perhaps Allawi would insist on commander in chief of the armed forces so he can start planning for iraq’s next military coup…

  6. Reidar Visser said

    Yeah, I am aware that some say the proposal of involving the national security council position as a check on the PM was part of an alleged US-backed plan for Maliki and Allawi to share power. But I think the Kurdish proposal is useful in that it puts this whole unconstitutional idea within context: The sole intention is to make the centre of politics in Iraq so weak that it does not matter anymore. It would be a lot better if Iraqiyya and State of Law could think in terms of normal ministries and the overall policy influence they would get by restricting the coalition just to themselves. That would also mean that any tampering with the constitution as part of the government-formation process would be unnecessary.

    Ironically, though, since this seems to be such a clear attack on Maliki personally and since he is unlikely to accept it, it is a premier from INA that is likely to end up with the reduced powers if the trick succeeds…

  7. Torstein Øygarden said

    Reidar Visser said
    “Well, to begin with, they get almost all their money from Baghdad, or more precisely, from Basra. It is oil money from the south that makes up much of the KRG budget”

    Is it not more correctly to say that Bagdad get all the money from the South and the North ? Kirkuk Field, Khurmala dom and Bay Hassan in the north produce aprox 700.000 barrels pr day. Aprox 30% of total Irak oil production. In addition have the Kurds today an available production capasity of aprox 100.000 bpd in Tawke and Taq-Taq just waiting to benefit all Iraqi.

  8. Mohammed said

    Hi Reidar:

    how can the kurds (or any of the groups for that matter) change the powers enumerated to the PM in the constitution without first changing/ameding the constitution? Does not the constitution state that the PM is the commander in chief of the armed forces?

    I find it difficult to fathom that the iraqi politicians can actually organize themselves to change the constitution prior to actually selecting a goverment. How could this practically be accomplished?

    regards,
    Mohammed

  9. Reidar Visser said

    Torstein, to my mind the key point is that Kirkuk is recognised as an “existing” field even by the Kurds and therefore is unequivocally within the administration of the central government. Moreover, Kirkuk is depleting while Basra is expanding. Over the next decade, Basra is expected to double and then triple its current output of 1 million bpd plus. It is in this context that the Tawke/Taq Taq reserves, even if you take the more optimistic estimates, are dwarfed by the figures for the south.

    Mohammed, I agree. I think the Kurdish proposal involves a special session of the parliament to do the batch of proposed revisions, which would make things more complicated and time-consuming. Also it would be problematic, because constitutional changes normally require a two-thirds parliamentary majority whereas the special one-off batch of constitutional changes provided for under the last-minute clauses that were added to the new constitution in 2005 has to be approved in a popular referendum with 16 governorates approving it. There would not be a new government until well into 2011 even in an optimistic scenario.

  10. Torstein Øygarden said

    Reidar,

    My point was not to discuss the various oilfields potensial, but your statement / insinuation that the south was “subsidising” the north (Kurds). The fact is that the south and the north is providing net income to the central region (Bagdad area) in Iraq.

    You have an analogue situation in Canada where the Alberta region has most of the oil resurces. Here the local goverment has a lot of influence of desition making with respect to Canada oil politic and also control a lot of the income from the industry.

  11. Reidar Visser said

    I guess the point I’m trying to make is that, as of today, constitutionally and legally speaking, Kirkuk and Kirkuk oil has nothing to do with KRG and the KRG budget, Kirkuk being an ordinary Iraqi governorate like, say, Diyala, not part of the KRG. Accordingly, the ministry of oil in Baghdad and the North Oil Company, also answerable to Baghdad, manage its oil fields.

  12. Salah said

    John Robertson & Torstein Øygarden

    You should first looks to what the Kurds got before making these false claims.

    Along the history Iraq as a country was providing all the necessities and public services from Basra south to far north Kurdistan.

    You brought Qassim here did you know that same Qassim was let back Baraziani back to Iraq from exile,
    Do you know that Kurdish peshmerga militias rise their weapon against a state from early 50’s till 2003 against central government did you know that Kurdish peshmerga militias the major task was during 50’s and 60’s mostly smuggling from Iraqi to Iran/Turkey most of food imported products that Iraqi central government was subsidies to keep the prices down for ordinary Iraqi all without differences.

    Do you know during Iran war Kurdish peshmerga militias got paid “millions” in US dollars by both sides of the war to lead their troops to get some important topes of highland & mountain north Iraq and they played their game all along of 8 years of war.

    All above and much more I don’t think that any state including democratic states accepting these criminal records against the country.

    As per Canada and & oil influential matter you should think that those in Canada were controlled by those big oil companies and their lobby while in Iraq all the oil fields and oil industry is controlled by the central government and Iraqis, that the difference you should keep it in mind when making such statements.

  13. “since this seems to be such a clear attack on Maliki personally”

    Reidar,
    As usual, an excellent analysis on time. The Kurdish proposal is not only an attack on Maliki personally, it is an attack on the constitution which they themselves strongly promoted. Since there is little chance of it being accepted its value is mainly posturing, not substantive. As an “attack” Maliki in his siege mentality responded with the expected counter attack while Allawi responded with containment. If the proposal were a balloon of hot air, Maliki shot at it while Allawi said why bother? It will come down on its own.. That’s how I see it.

  14. Reidar Visser said

    Faisal, not sure if I’m so optimistic. What worries me is the following paradox: The Kurds do not have the votes in parliament to impose anything of this or a premier for that matter; nonetheless some of these questionable proposals are being discussed with a degree of seriousness (such as the idea of bringing the national security council into the equation) thereby taking up valuable time and delaying the whole government formation process.

    If this is not taken seriously by the others, why do they still spend so much time talking to the Kurds?

    A more logical outcome would be a reaction similar to the Biden proposals in 2007, when Iraqis united against soft partition. But that would require Allawi and Maliki to talk to each other, rather than to Barzani and Hakim (who have consistently supported soft partition formulas throughout).

  15. Tore said

    “…why do they still spend so much time talking to the Kurds?”

    Because they know that if they marginalize the Kurds and exclude them from the government, they will declare independency.

  16. Reidar Visser said

    As discussed here many times before, many Iraqis would probably feel rather relieved if the Kurds would just seccede and stop playing a double game. But their politicians want both independence and money from the Iraqi central government at the same time!

  17. Salah said

    they will declare independency

    You think they could? Let them do it and see what they will face from Iran, Or Turkey, both shelling the borders and they keep quite.

  18. Ali M said

    So in Allawi’s world:

    Tariq Aziz: a good friend of mine who should be freed
    “Samahat al-Sayed” Muqtada: a nice, simple and fair man
    Kurdish demands: acceptable

    Is there no end to his ideological prostitution and unprincipled stances?

  19. Tore said

    The main problem secession (in addition to Turkey and Iran) is Kirkuk. The Kurds would not secede without having control over that oil field, which would make it difficult.

  20. Reidar Visser said

    And remember that the non-Kurdish lists outpolled the Kurdish ones some 278,000 to 274,000 in all of Tamim governorate on 7 March, meaning that the Kurds are not as strong in the city itself as they used to believe (the Kurdish vote coming to a considerable part from the rural areas).

  21. Salah said

    The main problem secession (in addition to Turkey and Iran) is Kirkuk.

    Sorry Turkey and Iran the main obstacle here they will never let them do so, the only way they can do if US totally behind them, that may be in 2020
    As per Kirkuk, they looking for the oil money, no wonder the thuggish government in Iraq for the last 4 yers have got USD300.0 the Kurds will not been better than Maliki with handling money if they control Kirkuk oil money .

  22. Ali M said

    Reidar, is Kirkuk a province that allows itself to be partitioned along ethnic lines, with Kurdish areas given to the KRG, or do Kurds, Arabs and Turkmen live in the same areas?

  23. Reidar Visser said

    Ali, parts of the countryside are solidly Kurdish nationalist and even the former regime was prepared to cede some of those to the Kurds. I don’t think there would be any objection to that among Iraqis as long as Kirkuk the city is kept as a multi-ethnic urban area and stays with the central government alongside the Arab and Turkmen rural enclaves.

  24. Jason said

    How long are the northern oilfields supposed to last? Seems that a lot of separatist problems might disappear if they dried up.

  25. Reidar Visser said

    Others will know far more than I do about this, but it is my understanding that the current Kirkuk main field will decrease dramatically within two to three decades. At any rate, as said, that is not a KRG field under any interpretation of the constitution. There are also some undeveloped fields there.

    As for the fields within the KRG areas, those are of course new and expanding, although I think that even optimistic estimates are in the range of a couple of hundred thousand bpd in the future. To be honest, though, I’m sure you can find estimates to suit every taste as far as the KRG fields are concerned since there is so much debate about them!

  26. Mohammed said

    Hi Reidar:

    I believe these nonsensical proposals are merely meant as a starting point for negotiations.

    I am sure the Kurds would like to be independent with Kirkuk as their own capitol. The Iraqi government would not be able to stop the kurds from declaring independence tomorrow if they wanted to. But, if the Kurds wanted to annex Kirkuk by force, there would be war, and the group that would suffer the most are the kurds. The kurds have the highest quality of living of all the provinces in Iraq. They would have to risk all their prosperity in a war. Turkey, Iran, and Syria would support the Iraqi government, and the kurds would find themselves alone in a land-locked country besieged on all sides. It would be too destablizing for the region. The Iraqi army is only getting stronger with time and would ultimately prevail in such a conflict.

    They certainly do not want to give up what they already have. In the end, I think this was just a slap in the face of Maliki so that he would not seek another term. The Kurds are just waiting for the INA to prevail in their struggle with State of Law and trying to help that process along. Iraqiya will just be pushed to the side if INA manages to push Maliki out, and the kurds would jump at this.

    This all goes back to Iraqiya’s refusal to accept al-maliki as PM. If they simply did that, we would have a government in 2 days! I beleive that Iraqiya’s international supporters (saudi arabia) and Allawi’s ego, would not allow them to support al-Maliki (just like INA would never be allowed to support Allawi). It is a sad, comical, frozen state of affairs.

  27. Santana said

    Reidar,

    I completely agree with Faisal Kadri’s assessment that this is all just posturing with a snowball chance in hell of being accepted….I think Allawi played it smart.

    Ali W- Iraqiya is the only answer for Iraq- I pray to God all your Iranian friends are wiped out of Iraq – You keep bringing up the Baathists ?? well-the Baathists are 100 times more sincere to Iraq than Hakeem, Sadr, Dawa,Kurds…etc ever will be and that is a fact !. Saudi and Turkey have no evil intentions towards Iraq like your Iranian relatives do. All your religous relatives with spare tires on their heads have no business being in the government and God willing will be kicked out of the government sooner or later….Iraqis are fed up with all these religous parties- Sunnis and Shiites….and please stop saying the Shiites are the majority in Iraq because they are not !!….The Sunnis (with the Kurds) are the majority in Iraq at 53% according to all the historical records from the Ottoman empire days.The criminal Ahmed Al-Chalabi pushed the idea of a Shiite majority pre-2003 and actually convinced certain Washington circles that the Shiites are a majority…he spent money he stole from the Petra Bank in Jordan on lobbyists and PR groups in DC to help him spread these lies and the Neo-cons ate it up !

  28. Ali W said

    Santana, I thought long and hard about whether I should answer you or not, but thought maybe it was worth a shot.

    Obviously we disagree, but it should never get personal, insulting each other, calling each other Iranians, speaking about peoples relatives, generalisation of an entire certain groups etc or else it would turn into a slug match, both looking stupid in front of non Iraqis, we would look barbaric and uncivilised, not ready to accept each other’s opinion.

    Please also if you decide to attack me, attack me on what I say. To state I’m a supporter of Iran is wrong, because I have posted on many previous occasions condemning Iran’s meddling.

    As for what you said about baathist, it will be very hard for reconciliation between us if we are not prepared to admit to crimes committed by Saddam/baathist, Wahabis and yes the shia militias.

    And if you want people like me to stand up to Iranian influence, then you would have to stand up to Saudi influences as well, its no point just saying there is none, or that they mean no harm, because I can post you many links of how many of their scholars denounce us in the most horrible of way, and they have supported the insurgency.

    I hope we can have a civilised discussion in the future and a progressive dialogue or else I will just not reply to you, I will not demean myself or go against my shia religious up bringing and start being rude to others.

    PS- I support the notions of SLA/Iraqia coalition, even though I’m not a big fan of Allawi

  29. Politics is a dirty game, and just like in the souq, you always ask for more than you expect to get.

    Interesting though, to see that the original statement from Reidar: that the kurds “get almost all their money from Baghdad, or more precisely, from Basra.” gets modified to “Kirkuk is depleting while Basra is expanding.”, and Kirkuk is “within the administration of the central government.”

    Now to the question of Kirkuk. It is rather simplistic to make the status of the city a matter of oil revenues only. From a Kurdish perspective Kirkuk had always been a center of Kurdish culture, and (along with Suleimania) the birthplace of Kurdish nationalism (as opposed to tribalism) in Iraq.

    The countryside around Kirkuk was subjected to some of the harshest genocidal attacks by the baathist regime in the late 1980s. Posin ga swas widely used; whole villages were slaughtered, man, woman and child, whereas generally “only” the men were slaughtered in other parts of the Kurdish region. Striving to get the Kurdish population in and around Kirkuk under Kurdish administartion is therefore seen as an important question of future security for the Kurdish population.

    Anuway, since the antin-Kurdish parties polled so well in Kirkuk this year, why are the arabs still dragging their feet about implementing §140? Maybe they don’t feel so secure about their support after all?

    Me, I was more surprised to see the PUK outpoll Gorran among the Kurdish lists in Kirkuk and Tammim

  30. Salah said

    Santana,
    I second your words and statement fully in regards to Iraqis and how turned up with false and les from the start to the end.

    After 7 years time prove that these guys are totally useless and they are not more than gangs who looks to get up with as much as they can hold with their hands.

    hope the day will come and Iraqi will revolts a as Iraqi done in the past which really were innocent and far from been treated cowardly by some uncontrolled Iraqis, but these guys they deserve more what Iraqi done in the past.

  31. Salah said

    From a Kurdish perspective Kirkuk had always been a center of Kurdish culture, and (along with Suleimania) the birthplace of Kurdish nationalism (as opposed to tribalism) in Iraq.

    Jan Bojer Vindheim,
    I don’t know your references that tells you that “Kirkuk a center of Kurdish culture”, the fact historically the other way, Kirkuk were originally none Kurdish culture zone or city in fact they came to this city later even though there are minority according to Othmani and British resources. I had complete reference to Kirkuk region/town which well document with historical facts about the ethnics who settled in the town, but I need to look for it may I posted later when I found it.

  32. Salah said

    Kirkuk province has 6 fields, consisting of 4 that are productive, and 2 that are unproductive and awaiting development. Existing oil reserves in that province are estimated at about 13.5 billion barrels, including 12.3 billion barrels in the current fields, and the remaining in new undeveloped fields. This means that oil reserves in Kirkuk represent about 12% of total reserves, broken down at 7.5% in the Kirkuk field and 4.5%in the other province’s fields. It should be pointed out that production at the Kirkuk field started in 1934 and its accumulated production until now has attained 62% of the original reserves existing in the field. That means that this super giant field is at the final stages of its life and that its current daily production capacity, amounting to about 470,000barrels daily, will plunge to about half of that ten years from now, and to less than100,000 barrels a day twenty five years from now.

    Kamil al-Mehaidi
    Petroleum Adviser

  33. Kermanshahi said

    I think more than anything else this is merely a proof that greed is never good for any country. Back in the 1920s the Kurds wanted an independent state, yet instead they were forced, by use of military force to become a minority within an Arab and a Turkish state. These countries were greedy for more land with more population and resources but all that the forcefully inclusion of Kurds into Turkey and Iraq has ever done is weaken these nations.

    If the Iraqi government would give the green light the Kurds would declare independence that very same day, yet as long as they demand Kurdish inclusion in Iraq they will only weaken Iraq. Reidar, you claim that the reason Kurds should trust Baghdad is that they are getting oil money from the Basra fields, this is not a reason. That oil money and the Kurdish autonomy as a whole can be stopped at any time when Baghdad it is militarily strong enough to take control of Kurdistan again using military force and the Iraqi democracy has all but won the trust of the Kurds. The recent elections has underlined the popularity of anti-Kurdish Arab Nationalist hardliners so Kurds want to weaken Baghdad’s position to ensure their own safety.

    Mohammad, the Kurds want to declare independence but they want to do it by the book. Now it’s not just Kerkuk which is a problem (and it’s a problem for both sides, for both Kurdish and Iraqi troops are present, so if an Allawi-Maliki government would try to establish control over Kerkuk it would lead to war aswell) but they do not want an unrecognised independence. Countries which have declared independence unofficially are being kept alive by other states (Kosovo by America and Albania, Abkhazia and Ossetia by Russia, Karabakh by Armenia, North Cyprus by Turkey) and have still failed to gain international recognition. For a landlocked Kurdistan which does not have that kind of support it would be very difficult.

    That being said, there is no guarantee that Syria or Iran would back Iraq over the Kurds, we’ve seen them back the Kurds over Iraq in the past and it would all depend on who is in power. Syria for instance has a very bad relation with Maliki, like with Saddam in the past and they might like to jump on a chance to weaken Iraq. The two have been rivals for a while and Iraq has always been the larger and the more powerfull of the two, by splitting it up it would more benefit Syria. For Iran it really depends who is in power and what the American stance is. If America backs a pro-Western secular Iraqi government, Iran will back the Kurds to weaken the state, but if Iraq has a Shi’a Islamic led government and America backs Barzani and secular Kurds, than Iran will back Iraq.
    Either way, Turkey will be gainst the Kurds and that’s also a reason they need Iraqi and UN support for declaration of independence.

    Jan Bojer Vindheim, the reason Gorran lost is simple. In 2009 the inclusion of Gorran in KRG elections was seen as a very positive moves, for it is very bad for any democracy to have a completely unchallenged alliance which always stays in power. As result public services, ect. under the KDP-PUK alliance were bad and so many voted for Change (in Kurdish: Gorran), but although the creation of a strong opposition inside Kurdistan was seen as positive the division of Kurds in national politics was seen as very negative. Many felt Gorran standing seperetly in 2010 weakened the Kurds’ national position (and as the results came in we saw it cost the Kurds almost 7 seats), specially since people were unsure whether Gorran would allign itself with Listi Kurdistan, or become an insignificant small list merely making “the Kurdish bloc” smaller and at the time Nawshirwan said he wouldn’t back a Talabani presidency. Now considering a Gorran presidency is more or less impossible, people thought his personal feud with Talabani could ruin the chance of having a Kurdish presidency. Imagine if al-Hashemi would become president instead…

  34. Kermanshahi said

    Santana, the Sunnis (Arab+Kurd) might have been a majority in Iraq 100 years ago according to Ottoman records, however today the Shi’a make up well over 60% of Iraq’s population. Provincial population numbers aswell as election results prove this.

    And the Iranians are evil for trying to bring friendly and brotherly relations between Iran and Iraq which have for decades been prevented by Western puppets such as the Shah and Saddam. Meanwhile the Ba’athists are great for having killed over 1 milion Iraqis.

    But let me guess, it’s all a cospiracy? The Iranians rigged the election results to make Shi’a seem more (although they couldn’t rig it to prevent ISCI’s seats from being halved) and Saddam never did kill any innocent people, all evidence has been fabricated by the Americans?

  35. Salah said

    Meanwhile the Ba’athists are great for having killed over 1 milion Iraqis.

    Same talk can be stated that the lunatic Khomeini did killed more than million Iranians by refusing many offers by Iraq, UN to ceasefires along 8 years of war, first offer was madev few months after the war brook.

    As for Mullah “Iranians are evil for trying to bring friendly and brotherly relations between Iran and Iraq” or the “evidence has been fabricated ….it’s all a conspiracy” this very laughable statement, obviously very biased statement most Iraqis from all spectrum well informed about Iranians fiddling in Iraq from Quds forces and Badar militia with their dirty work from killing top Iraqi military commanders who were commanding Iraq/Iran war may I pick your attention to the fights that brook in Karbala in one of the town were there was one of the top head of squadron who were did the accurate bombing on one of the most major Iranian airbase that fight were directed towered him and his family and tribes which they lived and farm for generation in that town.
    Anyway you proven Mullah biased dude.

  36. Santana said

    Kermanshahi- I disagree with the 60% + number you stated.
    As far as your comment that Iran wants friendly/brotherly relations with Iraq is a joke and an insult to the intelligence of all the readers on here. You obviously have no idea of the deep hatred the Persians have for Arabs….Iran wants nothing good for any of their Arab neighbors and it considers all these countries as part of Iran. Iranians in the U.S tell Americans how they are the true Aryans and superior to the rest of the human race. As far as Saddam goes – I have never defended Saddam and have always been angry why Iraq has to be run by a cruel dictator or pro-Iranian elements? Are these the only two choices for Iraq? This is what burns me up. At least Saddam killed those that revolted against him REGARDLESS whether they were Sunni, Shiite, Kurdish….etc…he never discriminated on that basis- his military did not go house to house pulling people out and executing them for their sect like what has and still happens in Iraq since 2003 by these Shiite gangs tied to the government. More innocent Iraqis were killed in the past seven years than at any time in Iraq’s history and the proof to that is 3 million Iraqis/refugees still living outside Iraq.As far as blaming the U.S- I only blame the U.S for being gullible enough to buy all the crap Chalabi sold them and allowing the neocons to hijack the U.S foreign policy post 9/11-

    I advocate for strong relations with the U.S and most Iraqis would say “Please turn Iraq into a 51st state !” we want prosperity, peace, Stability and you can have all the bases you want just help us keep the country in one piece and Iran the hell out ! I envy how the citizens of the GCC countries live compared to Iraq….sure- the U.S controls all those governments -but so what ? the people are happy !!Look at the crap Iraq is in or Syria or Iran or any of these countries that are anti-west.Look at Libya now…BOOMING economy and the people have never been happier….where did all this “anti-west” “anti-Israel” get Libya in the past? – nowhere !….only problem is that Libya can turn back in a second under Qaddafi he is so unpredictable…..LOL…

  37. Santana said

    Ali W-

    I apologize for my comments- I should not make them personal…I will try and control my temper but I honestly cannot see why you think there is ANY Saudi meddling at all ?? I mean sure- during the insurgency there were many volunteers coming from Saudi and other countries but these were Al-Qaeda elements and not supported by their governments and had infiltrated into Iraq due to loose border controls. The Wahabis or Alq elements in Iraq were wiped out by Sunnis (Sons of Iraq/Sahwa)- Sons of Iraq were supported by U.S and GCC money at the time.
    As far as the Baathists – answer this for me…who are more patriotic Iraqi leaders – Tareq Aziz and his group or Ahmed Chalabi, Bayan Jabr ….etc ? I am just curious what you are going to say…??

  38. Ali W said

    Kermanshahi, there is a hadith by Imam Ali (as) that states “I have never debated a thinker, without winning the argument, and I have never debated the ignorant without them winning the debate”, sometimes there is no point.

    Santana I accept your apology, but I can tell you now we will not agree, therefore its best when we discuss with each other to stick to the current topic set by Reidar, which is the Kurdish issue and the surrendering of Iraqia to KA on their principles.

    Please read this article

    http://ar.aswataliraq.info/?p=240563

    This backs the comments made by Reidar, and shows that they are going out of their way to please KA.

    Like I said before, I dont blame the Kurds, they are working for the benefit of the Kurdish people, not the whole of Iraq though.

  39. Kermanshahi said

    Salah, at the time Saddam offered his first cease-fires there was not a single reason for Iran to accept it and at the end of the day those milion Iranians died fighting a war against another country which attacked Iran. Meanwhile Saddam did not only kill a milion Iranians in the war, he also killed a milion Iraqis during his brutal reign.
    And I am not a fan of Khomeini or his bent religious views but Saddam’s regime is defineetly worse than anything Iran or Iraq has seen in the past century.

    And Iran definetly did have a role in Iraq’s civil war when pro-Iranian Iraqis killed Ba’athists responsible for war crimes against both Iraqis and Iranians. But than the Iraqi civil war is an example of at one side Iraqi people with similar intentions to the Iranian government for religious brotherhood between the two nations and at the other side Ba’athists and Sunni extremists who only want animosity which is bad for both nations.

  40. Kermanshahi said

    Santana, those racist Iranians you speak of are the Shahis. They go around in America calling themselfes “Persian” rather than Iranian and talking about how much they hate Islam. These people aren’t only racist to Arabs, when the Pahlavis were in charge of Iran they were racist to everyone, Lurs, Kurds, Arabs, Azaris, Gilakis, and the vast majority of Persian Iranians never backed their racist views either. But Iran put this part of history behind it, the anti-Iraqi, Iranian racists are exiled in Los Angelos and hold no political power anymore. Inside Iran anyone can tell you these are the worst of the Iranians.
    Now there is another government in Iran, a religious government which initially went as far as disowning everything which has to do with the Iranian identity. Khomeini at first wanted to take the word Iran out of Islamic Republic, now although this stand has thankfully been moderated the government still views itself as Islamic and Iran as an Islamic state, not as a Persian or Iranian state. Meanwhile there is no nationalism anymore in Iranian politics and the government’s of the last 30 years have been more ethnicly diverse than would have ever been possible in Ba’athist Iraq. A Turk was for instance given the position of Supreme Leader without any consideration of his ethnicity, a Lur (who’s people suffered most of anyone under the Shah’s father) was long the head of the IRGC and later succeeded by an ethnic Armenian, no problem as long as you ar Muslim.

    Now it is up to the Iraqi people, do you want to join Iran and Syria and cooperate with these two nations, or do you want to hold an old Ba’athis grudge? I think it would be clever for Iraq to join a winning alliance which is growing powerfull in the Middle East rather than to pick fights with it’s larger neighbour, either to serve the interests of a fading power located thousands of miles away or cause of unnececary religious or racial hatred.

    As for Saddam “never having discriminated on religious or ethnic basis,” it only randomly happens to be that the vast majority of people he killed were Shi’a and Kurds. He gassed thousands of cities and villages in Kurdistan killing hundreds of thousands of people while in the South he destroyed entire cities during the riots killing so many people and Shi’a were always already massivly over represented in the number of executed by his regime. We are talking about hundreds of thousands of civilians here. Meanwhile few thousand Sunnis were killed because they were politically active against him.

    And one more thing, when you suck up to America you don’t become rich. You loose your dignity meanwhile a fortunate few get rich off the rest of the population. In Iran there is problem today due to American sanctions, granted, however during the Shah’s days Iran had nothing. The Shah let Western companies rape the oil reserves and in return hired other Western companies to built him some fancy buildings and toys. The country had no industry, it produced nothing (except oil which was being pumped out of Iran by the West) and people were actually dying of starvation in regions where he would through 700 000 milion dollar parties for Western leaders who dictatred the countries policies.

    You might want to trade your soul for riches, but I don’t think majority of Iraqis would. Iraq is not Libya. Libya is located far from Iran and Syria, surrounded by American puppet states. Meanwhile it never developed in it’s anti-American days (unlike Iran), instead it was a Soviet puppet and when the Soviet Union collapsed… Libya is a massive desert with only 3 milion people living there, it’s incapable of defending itself or bringing forth a proper insurgency (like Panama or Grenada) unlike Iraq, where the Americans found themselfes a new Vietnam. They left cause the war cost them to much and it ruined Bush’s carreer. It will be pretty safe for Iraq to take whatever policies they want now.

    America can make Iraq a 51st state policy-wise, however in living standards it will never be like an American state (although you could say this is not very positive either, seeing how tens of milions of people live in ghetto’s and are forced to live off food-stamps), it would become like Mubarak’s Egypt, so if that’s what you want…

  41. Salah: For Kirkuk to be a center of kurdish culture, does not necessarily imply that the kurds at any time have been the majority in the city. But as Reidar point sout, they ar the majority populaion in the surrpundign area. Intellectuals and artists go to the cities, where they can discuss and create cultural expressions of all kinds. The presence of different cultures enhances the artistic and intellectual milieu.

    Kermanshahi. Yes, I noticed the Listi Kurdistani made an issue out of Kurdish unity. I just did not think it would be so effective.

  42. Ali W said

    Kermanshahi read the hadith I wrote earlier, I’m prepared to change my mind if you have a good argument, for example I did not support the notion of SLA-INM coalition, but Reidar’s argument was persuasive, however its not the case with everyone.

  43. Salah said

    The presence of different cultures enhances the artistic and intellectual milieu.

    I think 5000 years of Iraq history well proven your statement well before with many time raising to the top of world history, only problem here that the invaders and occupiers are not willing to let that continue in Iraq, isn’t Jan Bojer Vindheim?

  44. Maybe not the only problem.

  45. Santana said

    Kermenshahi…I think you have been dipping into the cactus juice bud….what you wrote is the most flawed/warped thinking I have read in a long time….No one is “Sucking up to the Americans”…you suck up to your countrymen and do whatever it takes to improve their living….besides if that is considered “suckin up” well…then-I would not only suck up to the Americans for the sake of Iraq but I would even suck up to the Israelis if they would help us keep Iran the hell out of Iraq! The Israelis can be trusted a thousand times more than the Iranians!

  46. Santana said

    Ali W.

    If you believe Iraqia will give in to KA’s 19 points then you will be shocked later-trust me on this one-. Also- FWIW- I do believe you when you say you are against Iranian meddling into Iraq. I also oppose any meddling into Iraq by any government that has ill-intentions….in other words if I were to see that Turkish or Arab or ANY interference in Iraq with a hidden agenda that would hurt Iraq and benefit the intruder then I will take the same strong position against it that I take against Iranian interference….I do hope you believe that? just like I believe you when you stated your position on Iran. Peace.

  47. Salah said

    Santana,

    The only country in the world were top ruling guys are the enemy of that country is in Iraq now.
    Most if not all of them are enemy to Iraq and Iraqi none of them care or have attentions to give anything good for Iraqis.

  48. Ali W said

    I guess we both agree that any agreement to the 20 points would be a disaster.

  49. Santana said

    Salah,

    I agree with you in general but I do believe there are a few leaders that actually love and care for Iraq as well. The others are mostly Iranian agents!

  50. Kermanshahi said

    Ali W, you said you wanted me to give you a persuasive argument. However I am not really aware on what subject you are referring to? Why the State of Law-Iraqiyya coalition is not a good idea?

    Sanatana, you want Iraq to suck up to America because you think it will help improve Iraqis’ living standards, yet all it will do is improve America’s position. Being an American puppet state has done nothing for poor Yemenis, Egyptians or Iranians in the 70s and will do nothing for the Iraqis.
    And no self-respecting Muslim would be calling on his country to trust and be friends with the Israelis.

  51. Santana said

    Kermanshahi- Yemen and Egypt are not exactly “American-Puppet States” if they were they would be stronger economically….and my Iranian friends long for the days of the Shah…..and one last thing- who told you I was a Muslim??? Iraq also has Christians you know….

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