Iraq and Gulf Analysis

Why Iraqiyya Should Accept the Speakership

Posted by Reidar Visser on Thursday, 4 November 2010 12:56

[Update 5 November 19:30 CET: The meeting in parliament has been postponed until 11 November]

Fuad Masum, the temporary speaker of the parliament, has issued a call for the assembly to meet on Monday in order to select a speaker in accordance with orders from the federal supreme court. Iraqiyya is reportedly hunkering down and trying to make up its mind about what to do; the option of a boycott is reportedly on the table.

The best option for Iraqiyya seems perfectly clear: They should accept the speakership of the parliament offered to them by Maliki and the Kurds. Not with reference to the government-formation process, which is increasingly going in a direction which makes it futile for Iraqiyya to participate anyway. But because the position of the speakership offers an excellent opportunity for dominating the agenda of parliament and showcasing Iraqiyya as a nationalist party before the next parliamentary elections, scheduled for 2015.

By now it should be evident to Iraqiyya that there is no point in participating wholeheartedly in the next government. The last month has been a competition between Allawi and Maliki in giving further decentralising concessions to the Kurds, which is a game Iraqiyya can never win without stultifying itself vis-à-vis its own electorate. Iraqiyya is in principle against most of the 19 points demanded by the Kurds and it would be too much of an uphill struggle to try to pretend that there is agreement. Besides, all the miracles Iraqiyya had been hoping for involving regional and international forces seem to come to nothing, as expected. After all, there was no Syrian miracle, no UN Security Council miracle, no Saudi miracle, no international court on the Wikileaks, no Arbil meeting this week… The list could be made longer. And, now that the midterm elections are over, perhaps Iraqiyya leaders will also realise that there will be no shift in US policy towards greater intervention in Iraq, even after 2 November. The Americans keep telling Iraqiyya they should have a beefed-up presidency, yet they cannot explain how such a dramatic constitutional change would come about prior to the seating of the government. It is simply time to stop believing that Washington possesses any atomic option in this regard.

The decision by Masum of the Kurdish alliance to call parliament into session signals basic acceptance among the Kurds for a process that will eventually end up giving the premiership to Nuri al-Maliki, either by the creation of a new government or the continuation of the current one. It is perfectly conceivable there will be some further dithering from the Sadrists or even those Kurds that are most sceptical about Maliki, but that will be for the sake of extracting more concessions for their own personal gain and will not go to a point that will make it more attractive for Iraqiyya to participate. Instead, Iraqiyya should see the speakership as a unique opportunity for obstructing the legislative agenda of the next government, naming and shaming it whenever it tries to destroy the Iraqi state even further, and highlighting the unconstitutional nature of many of the Kurdish demands that will serve as its legislative programme. Instead of muttering in regional capitals, Iraqiyya could be centre stage, speaking with a clear voice and managing the discussion of laws on a Kirkuk referendum, oil and gas and constitutional revision under article 142.  In reality, there probably is no better vantage point for making a critical contribution to Iraqi democracy than the parliamentary speakership.

Of course, right now the other parties are offering the speakership to Iraqiyya on the premise of junior participation by Allawi in a Maliki-led government. But there is no problem in Iraqiyya accepting a couple of ministries and then resigning from them once the next government begins making mistakes, which will be soon after its formation. At that point, Iraqiyya can focus on the speakership as its main plank in Iraqi politics, and it will be difficult for critics to take it away from them, not least because the mechanisms for sacking the speaker in the bylaws of the Iraqi parliament are poorly defined. In sum it would be a much more honourable option than fighting for spoils in an oversized government defined by a pro-Kurdish agenda.

And one more thing: If possible, don’t give them a Sunni Arab. What better way for Iraqiyya of protesting the whole concept of ethno-sectarian quotas and its avid promoters across the globe than having a parliamentary speaker with some kind of complicated, unexpected and quintessentially Iraqi ethno-sectarian background?

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48 Responses to “Why Iraqiyya Should Accept the Speakership”

  1. Good suggestion Reidar, a secular Shia speaker is more likely to influence the parliament. And if ever there was a vote of no confidence then the position is critical.

  2. amagi said

    Excellent suggestion. Now, lest anyone confuse it with a prediction, you should write another post about why it will not happen. Would Iraqiyya’s electorate even accept such a move? Indeed, just how does their constituency feel (besides frustrated) these days? I fear a boycott is seen as the only ‘legitimate’ response to the way Iraqiyya has been relentlessly sidelined. How does one say, “to cut off one’s nose to spite one’s face,” in Arabic?

  3. Kermanshahi said

    “highlighting the unconstitutional nature of many of the Kurdish demands that will serve as its legislative programme.”

    First of all I’d like to see them point out how article 140 of the constitution, is unconstitutional…

    Secondly, I don’t think that the Kurdish demands will serve as the new government’s legislative programme at all, the new government’s program will be nothing else than al-Maliki’s programme, I doubt that more than 1 or 2 of the lesser important Kurdish demands will even be submitted to parliament.

    So coming back to my first point, eventhough it’s Iraqiyya which is being unconstitutional for trying to oppose a referendum, which according to the Iraqi constitution Kerkuk has the right to, for racist reasons, I doubt they’ll need to do anything. The referendum is keep going to be postponed anyway until we get to a certain point that al-Maliki once again feels strong enough to say he’s not gonna hold it at all.

    PS. I hope most Shi’a parties realise that they will be commiting suicide…

  4. Reidar Visser said

    Not talking about 140, although the Kurds seem to forget that it may be cancelled by 142. I was thinking mainly of the draft oil and gas law which violates 112 and 115 (by treating governorates and federal regions differently), and also the idea of prolonging the presidency council without a referendum first.

  5. Jason said

    I think it’s a great idea. I would even go so far as to suggest that a strong Speaker, by railing against the “dismantling” of Iraq, could become so powerful as to challenge the government, conceivably even bringing it down. Why not be that person?

    I wish there were some way to impress upon Iraqiya how very quickly the worm can turn in a democracy. What initially looks like exile can result in a dramatic comeback when the other side starts passing its policies against the wishes of the electorate.

  6. Kermanshahi said

    Reidar, they don’t need a referendum if they can get a 2/3rd majority and with 89+70+50+5=214, so they need like 2 more deputies, if Gorran changes it’s mind or mayve if they offer Tawafuq a position in this Presidency council…

    As for article 140 and all other elements of the constitution about federalism (which all enable Kerkuk to have a referendum), if they are reverted through article 142, wouldn’t that mean they’d also have to disband the Kurdistan region itself? That would just be a declaration of war.

  7. Reidar Visser said

    Kermanshahi, *any* constitutional change requires a referendum, see article 126-3. Where is the constitutional justification for the course you’re advocating?

  8. Kermanshahi said

    I recall you saying in previous posts here that to enhance the presidents power, either a 2/3rd majority or a referendum would be needed, but if that isn’t the case, than OK.

  9. Reidar Visser said

    Please read the posts carefully! I have referred to the need to have a two-thirds majority AND a referendum (126) OR an absolute majority AND a referendum with no referendum rejection by two-thirds of the electorate in any three governorates (142).

    At any rate, in general, I encourage you to read the constitution yourself in Arabic instead of relying on secondary sources (such as this blog).

  10. Jason said

    My impression is that Iraq’s parties (Kurds excepted) have very little ideological glue to continue holding them together after a govt is formed. And I also think that the closer the Kurds get to realizing their demands, that nationalist sentiment will rise from the ashes and threaten to tear apart whatever parties are aligned with them (SOL, Sadrists, etc). Thus, I see a Kurd/SOL/Sadrist alignment as creating the underpinnings for a future shakeup and major realignment. Does anyone else see this as a possibility? Where would revolting MP’s turn? Would they go to Iraqiya, or form a new nationalist Shia group?

  11. Reidar Visser said

    Obama picked up the phone today — to talk to Talabani???!!! Is he still working on giving the fictitious “strong presidency” to Iraqiyya???

    اوباما و طالباني يبحثان هاتفيا سير مفاوضات تشكيل الحكومة

    Again, Iraqiyya should accept the speakership, and forget about the useless, powerless presidency.

  12. IMARK said

    I only wish that Ayad Allawi reads Reidar Visser!
    Any body Knows Allawi’s email or a way to contact him !. As an Iraqi citizen I plead to him to listen to the voice of reason! It is the only chance to pull the rag from under the sectarian parties and prove that he is a patriot and not a foreign agent.

  13. Assumptions said

    The basic assumption in this post is that Iraqiya is a united entity, purely looking out for Iraq’s interests.

    If that was true we would have had an SOL-Iraqiya government months ago. Each faction within Iraqiya wants to get its hands on the “spoils” of government. They won’t want to just sit back and let one of them get a good position (assuming they could even agree on such an individual – since Speakership is too lowly a position for Allawi, who else can they actually agree on while the rest of them sit back and watch for another term?)

  14. Santana said

    IMark-
    I know one of Allawi’s advisors reads this blog….just not sure if he actually shares it with him.

  15. SK said

    So all this talk about a Saudi initiative is useless?

  16. Jason said

    Reidar, what can you tell us about the power and prestige of a Parliamentary Speaker? Is it a mere procedural referee, or does it have real power over committees and the introduction of legislation. The Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives is considered to be quite a powerful position.

  17. Reidar Visser said

    Jason, the speaker sets the agenda of the parliament, calls it into session, breaks up sessions, decides on emergency sessions, influences the division of work between the committees, supervises the day-to-day management of the assembly bureaucracy and, generally – and this is my main point – has a lot of opportunity to *SPEAK*.

    It is true that the bylaws adopted by the Iraqi parliament in 2006 to some extent replicated the presidency council by making it more collective: There are two deputies, etc. However there are major differences with the presidency council too. The consensus rules are not hard and fast and basically the speaker can act alone in many contexts, for example by going ahead with a session if he wants to. Also the speaker is elected separately from his deputies.

    SK, I think the Saudi initiative was mainly a media thing. Since SLA and the Kurds rejected it, the others realised it was going nowhere so even the Sadrists made some positive noise about it, although most seemed to agree it came too late in the day. I don’t really see the Sadrists boycotting next week’s session in parliament because they want to be in Riyadh instead!

  18. Reidar,
    Obama should have picked the phone and spoke to Barzani instead of Talbani!!

  19. Reidar Visser said

    Apparently, the problem is that even if Barzani might be prepared to give the presidency to Iraqiyya, Talabani isn’t. On top of that, even people in the Barzani camp have come out supporting the Talabani bid for the presidency lately, citing “ethnic entitlements”. The same persons that called Hashemi’s claim for an Arab president racist!

    Most surrealistic, of course, is the fact that the US president spends his time pressing for an outcome that does not even exist in the Iraqi constitution, i.e. the imaginary beefed-up presidency. Maybe he’d better concentrate on the economy from now on.

  20. Surrod said

    What are Masum’s credentials, is he liked by others, is he clean?

  21. Reidar Visser said

    I’ll leave that for others. But the reason he is temporary speaker is because he is old. Oldest in fact of all the deputies except Hasan al-Alawi of Iraqiyya who excused himself for health reasons. The Iraqi media literally call him the “[parliament] president of age”.

  22. Santana said

    Barhim Salih is now asking for the next Arab summit to be held in Irbil instead of Baghdad….If I remember correctly- the last summit was in Libya and Talabani did not even attend…he was too busy at the Nowrooz summit kissing up to Sulemani and Ahmedenejad….man…the Kurdish hypocrisy never fails to disgust me and God help Iraq survive the Kurdish kingmaker status.

  23. Reidar Visser said

    So, the parliament meeting has been postponed until Thursday next week, with some suggestion that there may be talks in Arbil prior to that. We’ll see. If Iraqiyya wants a power-sharing deal involving the presidency as a precondition for attending the meeting, then it really seems hard to get all they want in place in less than a week, especially since the scheduled meeting is on the last day before the Eid al-Adha holiday period. And, as pointed out here before, even if they think they’ll get a strong presidency they won’t, at least not for many months to come.

    Also, I don’t think Iraqiyya is particularly interested my suggestion above:

    الدملوجي: فرض رئاسة البرلمان على العراقية كأمر واقع مرفوض من قبلنا

    Damluji complains that the speakership is being forced upon Iraqiyya, meaning she thinks it is worthless… Instead she is chasing an imaginary presidency!

  24. Reidar,
    I appreciate your information regarding opposition to Talbani’s retirement but this is not what I had in mind. Had Obama picked the phone and called Barzani, then this is what I expected Obama to say: Iraq will not get out of Article 7 if the Kurds insisted on keeping the presidency.
    I want to add something in the ears of Nujaify and the other members of Iraqiya who would like to join Maliki’s government: There will be shortage of money and you will be the first to let go, being in the opposition is more honorable.

  25. Santana said

    Reidar-

    I don’t think she thinks “it’s worthless” everyone knows it is a powerful position….but Iraqiya is going for all or nothing…in other words- the real risk here is that once Iraqiya agrees to the Speakership and a few Ministries (regardless what the strategic manuever behind it is) then they have accepted forfeiting their right to form the government and the constitution and elections are meaningless when Talabani is Pres again, Maliki is PM again and Dawa is still in control…..at least this is how I view their position.

  26. Reidar Visser said

    But Santana, Iraqiyya has tried to push the message about electoral entitlements for more than 7 months now. First there was a belief that the Sadrists would deliver an Allawi premiership, but it came to nothing. Now there is the hope that the Kurds may deliver an Abd al-Mahdi premiership plus a beefed-up presidency The second of these elements is just a constitutionally impossible American hallucination, and with regard to the first, where is the evidence that Barzani is really shifting from Maliki to Abd al-Mahdi? (And more fundamentally, Iraqiyya should ask itself what the Hell it is doing in that kind of government!!)

    That’s why I think it’s time to try something new.

  27. Santana said

    Yeah but “the something new” gives legitimacy to a flawed system and even though Iraqiya can have tons of fun making life miserable for NA and the Kurds….but where does that leave Iraq and 27 million Iraqis….?? It’s not fair…pulling out alltogether is more honorable and will throw more wrenches in Iran’s plans and possibly lead to some serious compromises when they see a major revolt brewing.

  28. Reidar Visser said

    I’m telling you, Iraqiyya could do a lot more good for the Iraqi people from the speakership than from 5 ministries in a dysfunctional government (and with a non-existent presidency).

  29. Santana said

    Reidar-

    We never got to the point of a neutered presidency plus 5 ministries….this is your assumption…it was gonna be more involved than that…otherwise if it is the way you describe it than you are right.

  30. Kermanshahi said

    Jason, the Sadrist MPs won’t desert, neither will the Kurdish ones, some of al-Maliki’s MPs might, but I don’t think they will desert in to significant numbers.

    Faisal, if Barzani sais he won’t back Talabani’s Presidency (meanwhile Talabani backed his), the alliance will collapse which will result in a new Kurdistan government without the KDP. This needs to be discussed with both of them, but most of all with Talabani himself.

    Reidar, al-Hashemi sais Kurds have to be part of the Iraqi nation but without the right to have the Presidency or Prime Ministership, because it is an “Arab Nation,” which highlights the point many Kurds try to make which is that Iraq is not their country but it belongs to the Arabs, which is why 99% of Kurds don’t want to be part of this country anymore. Kurdish leaders however say that if they are to remain part of this country, atleast they should have the right to be represented and thus also get some of the important positions, like the Presidency, rather than what al-Hashemi suggests: an everlasting opression in someone else’s nation without representation. So who’s racist…

    Surrod, Fuad Masum, a prominent PUK figure was the very first Prime Minister of Kurdistan, this as part of the first PUK-KDP power sharing agreement, which was made just after the 1992 elections (and collapsed in ’96). Jawhar Namiq Salim (KDP) would become Speaker of Parliament (of Kurdistan) and Fuad Masum became Prime Minister. But after a year he was replaced with Kosrat Rasul Ali, I don’t really know why. Anyway, after the PUK-KDP reconciliation and their new power sharing agreement all of the former Prime Ministers of Kurdistan (from both the Barzani republic and the Talabani republic) were given important positions, as Massoud Barzani and Jalal Talabani themselfes became President of Kurdistan and President of Iraq, Kosrat Rasul Ali (PUK) became Kurdistan Vice-President, Nechervan Barzani (KDP) became Prime Minister of Kurdistan (Omer Fattah Hussain (PUK) becoming his Deputy PM), a post which would rotate between the two parties and therefore has now been given to Barham Salih (PUK) who first became al-Maliki’s Deputy PM, succeeding Rowsch Shaways who was Jaafari’s Deputy PM. Now that’s what happened to all the other Kurdistan Prime Ministers. Faud Masum was given the position of the representative/leader of the Kurdistan Alliance’s bloc in Iraqi Parliament, a position he seems to kept. And yes, he is in parliament on a compensatory seat, however note he did actually win enough votes to get in parliament (he had quite a lot of votes actually) only he didn’t make it due to the female quota. If Kurds are to be given the Speakership position rather than the Presidency (due to deal with Iraqiyya), it’ll definetly go to Masum.

  31. Reidar Visser said

    Kermanshahi, I remember Hashemi claiming the presidency for the Arabs and he was roundly criticised in Iraqiyya internally for that. Could you please provide a quote to back up the assertion that he said the Kurds should have neither the presidency nor the premiership?

  32. Kermanshahi said

    OK, he didn’t actually say they shouldn’t get the Premiership either, but that they’re not going to get that is pretty obvious. They will never get the biggest bloc and even if they did they wouldn’t get that position. The entire Iraqiyya bloc has never even considered a Kurdish Premiership, so when al-Hashemi said the Presidency of an Arab Nation should never be given to a Kurd I’m pretty sure he didn’t mean: “For the man who rules this “Arab Nation” (Premier) to be a Kurd, no problem. But they will not have the powerless symbolical position of Presidency because this is an Arab country!”

  33. Reidar Visser said

    Hadba has got Kurds in prominent positions in Mosul; Bayan Jabir (a Turkmen) was once considered a PM candidate for INA (not that I would support his candidacy!!) What if Ali Baban, a Kurd, became an NA compromise PM candidate, just to raise a hypothetical question? My point is that the whole idea of a “national entitlement” to particular posts is flawed and has no constitutional basis.

  34. Kermanshahi said

    It’s al-Hashemi who made the comments, not me, so you gotta ask him (if, alghtouh he opposes a Kurdish Presidency, he doesn’t oppose a Kurdish Prime Ministership if the Kurds in question comes from a non-Kurdish list).

  35. Reidar Visser said

    Hashemi withdrew the “Arab” demand for the presidency many months ago. However, Barzani made a “Kurdish” ethnic demand for it just days ago, as did Kerkuki:

    بارزاني: مطالبتنا برئاسة الجمهورية كقومية ثانية وليس ككيان سياسي

    كركوكي : رئاسة الجمهورية إستحقاق قومي للاكراد ومرشحنا طالباني

  36. Mohammed said

    Hi Reidar:

    Did you read Allawi’s recent interview in sharq al awsat:
    [Allawi]”We will not relinquish our rights. How can we relinquish our rights? Al-Iraqiya must assume its role in leading the Iraqi nation. He who asks us to relinquish our right is asking us to depart from the political process and sit at home. We will have our position: we either sit at home or we will not accept the situation. Therefore, I leave the issue to see what comes out of the meetings.”

    Allawi strikes me as an intelligent man, but stubborn to the bone. However, he says things in this interview that are clearly a joke regarding the Saudi initiative. It is obvious that the Saudi King favors him over al-Maliki. How could al-Maliki accept a saudi initiative when King Abdallah in the past refused to meet with al-Maliki and humiliated him. Now he wants al-Maliki to talk? The chickens are coming home to roost. It will never happen. I don’t understand the thought process here. Sure, Saudis can influence Iraqi sunnis (and maybe sway Kurds), but they have ZERO influence or even respect with Iraqi shia (the majority). For Iraqi shia, having saudis host a conference is like having the Ku Klux Klan mediating between the Tea Party and african americans…

    Finally, with all of this obsession regarding an enhanced presidency, exactly what powers has Iraqiya demanded as being part of the presidency? What drives me up the wall with Allawi is that he remains so vague. What the hell does he mean when he says “Partnership?” Has there been anything published in terms of what powers a president should have, and what powers the PM should have?

    Your insight into these questions would be most appreciated Reidar.

    thanks,
    Mohammed

  37. bks said

    Three comments:

    (1) Thanks to all of you who take the time to contribute your thoughts here.

    (2) Someone in Iraq should call Obama, rather than vice-versa. If Iraq could
    get a government up and running and restore order it would be a fantastic prize
    for the administration. I’m sure that person could wrangle some quid pro
    quo, perhaps a seat on the board of Halliburton, or similar sinecure. (No
    I don’t know who that is or how thay establish the government. Ask Chalabi?!)

    (3) Some here thought the November elections in the USA would affect the process
    in Iraq. I’ve been searching high and low for any substantive discussion of Iraq
    and finding nothing. Many of the new Republican congressmen want to “Win the war in
    Iraq” [sic] according to their public statements. Am I looking in the wrong place?

    –bks

  38. Reidar Visser said

    Mohammed, the one I can answer right away relates to the presidency. The Kurdish demand is simply continuation of the presidency council with its current veto powers (which are supposed to expire according to the constitution) until a senate has been formed. I would imagine that additionally Iraqiyya may be interested in picking up on some of the discussion about article 73 in the constitutional revision process between 2007 and 2009, where there was talk about strengthening the presidency vis-a-vis the premiership but nothing was agreed on.

  39. Kermanshahi said

    Allawi should stop wasting everybody’s time, just accept article 140 already and than the government can be formed and if he’s not planning to accept it, than just give up cause it means there is 0% chance he’ll ever get to form a government.

  40. Zaid said

    Re Mohamed’s comment above: “Sure, Saudis can influence Iraqi sunnis (and maybe sway Kurds), but they have ZERO influence or even respect with Iraqi shia (the majority).” Just for the sake of clarity: the Saudis do not have any influence on Iraqi sunnis. There are no historical, political or cultural ties between them. There is some form of religious overlap, but obviously it would be completely wrong to think that Iraqi sunnis and Saudi muslims share the same practices. Saudi Arabia or Saudi influence is never brought up in Iraqi sunni circles. They are simply not present in that sense.

  41. M said

    ” not with reference to the government-formation process which is increasingly going in a direction which is making it futile for iraqiyya to participate anyway”. ” But because the position of the speakership offers an excellent opprtunity for dominating the agenda of parliament and showcasing Iraqiyya as a nationalist party before the next parliamentary elections, scheduled for 2015.”

    I agree in the sense that this assessment will test Iraqiyya’s core claims of Iraqi nationalism (not Arab nationalism), particularly if the role is utilized to curb further Kurdish demands and protect against more degredation of Iraq’s statehood. Two obvious problems with this analysis: one is expressd blatently in Allawi’s recent statement in Asharq Al- Awsat indicating his relentless pursuit of “power”, more as a personalistic claim to leadership than a constitutional merit or a nationalist’s vision. And the other problem is in imagining Allawi’s blocking agenda expanding to ensure the failing or poor delivery of the new government.

    Here, I want to argue: no matter what shape the new government takes, we want it to work. We should want it to work for two reasons: 1) For people, as simple as this may sound to sophisticate analysts and 2) The Maliki-Sadrists-Kurd-Others government may fall short of a total inclusiveness if Allawi decide not to join (esp. if he happens to read above!)But will not lack the constitutional legitimacy. Most of power-sharing (PR) arrangements in the world requires governing parties to enter parliament with either a winning single/multi-party majority or a post-electoral majority formed by parties whose interests are more aligned. Allawi only got a plurality and his claim of legitimacy falls into the mistaken category of majoritarian electoral system Iraq has decided not to adopt. Then, Allawi has failed or is failing to attract others for reasons known to many. Iraqi Sunnis, Saudis and other Arabs took a risk under Allawi and all came to no avail, perhaps by ignoring history and political culture, underestimating the power of people choice, undermining the legitmacy of elections, and not paying enough attention to the credibility of the constitution – All new in the glorious Arabia. Now, Allawi should accept his defeat and step aside or accept a form of participation in government dictated by the winners. Offering Allawi anything is not constitutionally-binding.

    A true nationalist must respect the rule of Law, the constitution, the will of the majority and to abandon this political bullying. The plurality he gained in the elctions has disillusioned him into a claim no longer obtainable. Allawi’s claim of trans-sectariansim is as weak as the Shiite identity of his 12 Southern deputies. The Sunni trapping under Allawi is a problem. They should begin to express their independent wishes and be a part of the government if they so desire. Besides being accommodated as a political minorty by speakership or otherwise, the only other consitutionally viable alternative is to be a constructive opposition in the parliament, serving the noble democratic role of holding the government to account and await the next electoral cycle while exercizing all rights and duties as citizens of the state.

  42. Reidar Visser said

    I’m just talking about blocking poisonous legislation that would be detrimental to the Iraqi people like a Kirkuk referendum bill, the current oil and gas bill and the financing of private warlord militias over the national budget as demanded by the Kurds.

    Note also that in theory Iraq *has* a majoritarian system after the end of the transitional provisions of the 2005-2010 period. It’s just that its politicians are not waking up to that potential (i.e. Allawi and Maliki forming a government together).

  43. Kermanshahi said

    Reidar, Kerkuk referendum is poisonous to the Iraqi people? For the people who don’t live in Kerkuk but feel they have the right to enforce their will on the people of Kerkuk and forcefully prevetn the people of Kerkuk to decide formthemselfes democraticly, maybe. To the people of Kerkuk which have been waiting 7 years for this referendum and who will definetly vote yes, being deprived of their constitutional right to a referendum is poisonous. And what you refer to as “private warlords militias” (but are infact the paramilitary force every Iraqi autonomous region is constitutionally entitled to), happen to be the only efficient security force in the country and hardly has the kind of militia problems the (incompetent) Iraqi national security forces (which still can’t provide security to their own capital and are BTW financed (partially) by Kurdish oil – so it’s fair enough that the central government pays for Peshmerga), have.

  44. Santana said

    Has anybody seen this….Talabani’s people are launching an aggressive Anti-American media campaign….wonder who’s behind this?…Talabani has no guts whatsoever to initiate something like this…

    http://almadapaper.net/news.php?action=view&id=29882

  45. Reidar Visser said

    Kermanshahi, right now Kurdish oil isn’t paying for anything in the federal budget since it is not being exported, only sold locally. Furthermore, where is the constitutional provision for making the central government pay for the forces of the regional government?

  46. Santana said

    Reidar-

    Even if there were exports the Kurds will keep all the cash, use it to payoff tons of folks in DC and still send a bill to the Central government to pay for their Pesh Murga ala timmen thugs expenses.
    Then everyone wonders why there are Nationalistic and Patriotic people like the Nujaifis….

  47. Kermanshahi said

    Reidar, the only reason it’s not being exported is that Maliki wants all the money earned from Kurdish oil and on top of that he wants Kurds to pay things such as the Peshmerga with their own money, that’s why there should be changes now.

    Santana, call the Peshmerga whatever you want, but in the end of the day, everywhere where they are in charge is peacefull and safe, while everywhere which is under control of those “not-thuggish, great partiotic, nationalistic” Iraqi policemen of yours, everybody is killing each other and the police is joining in. But I understand you don’t like the Kurds having a force to protect themselfes, this way those former partners of Saddam, like the Nujayfis which you like so much, can’t start a new al-Anfal.

    And as occupying forces leave you’ll see every Iraqi party starting to bash America, that’s what’s populair all over the Middle East, that’s what the people want (even Ahmed Challabi has started to realise this). Even your Sunni brethren don’t think like you when it comes to the US and pro-American leaders like Mubarak, Aliyev, Harriri, Mahmoud Abbas (heck this one actually lost) and Gulf-state kings (and you probably like all these dictators) would never win a democratic election. Fortunetly for them, there no democracy in their countries, unfortunetly for you, there is (still somewhat of a) democracy in Iraq and doing America’s biding won’t win anyone any votes.

  48. Santana said

    What “Kurdish” Oil?? There is no such thing….only Iraqi Oil whose proceeds are to be shared thru the Central government with all provinces….and yes we have more violence in the Central and Southern regions where your Iranian brethren roam freely – the bliss in the North is temporary and can change in a second…it”s somewhat peaceful now cuz Talabani did enough rear end kissing in Tehran to ensure they leave the North alone and in return Talabani is at their service when needed.
    The Gulf States all treat their citizens royally and have stability, peace and a great standard of living…I am sure the Iraqis living under your so called democracy would give it up in a heartbeat to live in peace and prosperity……get real…besides since when do you or the other hardcore Kurds care about Iraq?? The Kurds are the most selfish bunch in Iraq.

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