Iraq and Gulf Analysis

Shiite–Kurdish Relations Get Strained over Talabani Statement on Kirkuk

Posted by Reidar Visser on Thursday, 10 March 2011 14:11

There are basically two ways of looking at the relationship between the dominant Shiite and Kurdish political parties in Iraq since 2003. One view emphasises converging interests – such as constructing a black and white narrative of the country’s past as “Sunni Arab discrimination” against everyone else; systematically playing up ethno-sectarian identities in politics; distributing leadership posts not on the basis of merit but according to ethno-sectarian quotas; and generally keeping any tendencies of the re-emergence of a strongman ruler in Baghdad in check. The contrarian position is to emphasise differences between the two, such as the tendency of many Shiites to maintain at least a façade and rhetoric of Iraqi nationalism (even if recruitment patterns may well be sectarian in practice), hold on to the vision of a mostly centralised state ruled by a strong prime minister in Baghdad, and reject the multiplication of new federal entities south of Kurdistan as well as Kurdish moves to annex additional territories outside the ones recognised as part of the Kurdistan Regional Government in the Transitional Administrative Law of 2004.

Key developments since 2005 present a mixed scorecard as far as these two competing perspectives are concerned. The new constitution of 2005 itself was of course basically the creation of the Shiite and the Kurdish parties, but there are two trends within that constitution. Some clauses favour the Kurdish view of unlimited decentralisation, which at the time resonated with the views of at least one Shiite party (SCIRI). The very limited powers of the central government and the award of residual powers to both governorates and federal regions in article 115 point in this direction, as do the provisions for creating new federal regions south of Kurdistan in what could theoretically turn in to a cycle of perpetual federalisation. On the other hand, other constitutional articles such as 121–122 point towards a more centralised form of government south of Kurdistan. Similarly, the constitutional arrangements for the end of the transitional veto-wielding presidency after the first five-year parliamentary cycle foreshadowed a potentially strong prime minister with a centralist and Iraqi nationalist language emerging in the future. Later on, the failure of the Shiite and Kurdish parties in 2007 – arguably at the point of their greatest influence – to amicably agree between themselves on an oil law and the disposition of the disputed city of Kirkuk highlighted the extent to which centralist ideals continued to make themselves felt in the Shiite camp, at the expense of Kurdish interests.

At one point between 2008 and 2009 it looked as if Nuri al-Maliki was making decisive moves towards establishing himself as the nationalist centralist enabled by the 2005 constitution, again to the detriment of the Kurds. But with the re-emergence of sectarian politics in the autumn of 2009, the Shiites refrained from re-entering into conflict with the Kurds over Kirkuk during the debate of the elections law. More recently, as Maliki emerged with a poorer result than he had hoped for in the March 2010 parliamentary elections, he saw no other option but to turn to the Kurds for support and has recently made conciliatory moves regarding Kurdish oil exports.

It is interesting, therefore, that the latest statement on Kirkuk by Iraq’s president, Jalal Talabani, a prominent Kurdish leader, seems to have once more created strains in the Shiite–Kurdish relationship. Talabani said Kirkuk was the “Jerusalem of Kurdistan”. This prompted strong reactions from Iraqis south of Kurdistan – Sunnis and Shiites alike – who objected to the connotations of “occupation” assigned by Talabani to the current situation (in which Kirkuk at least formally remains part of the central-government domain) and the concomitant discourse of an ethnic “liberation campaign” that would appeal to ethno-racial Kurdish sentiment to annex the area to Kurdistan.

Significantly, today there is a strong condemnation of Talabani’s statement by Maha al-Duri, a Sadrist leader. In a press statement also published on her website, she says that Talabani’s statement was “irresponsible”. Moreover, she went on to escalate the issue by saying that if Talabani considered Kirkuk his Jerusalem, it would “force Iraqis to consider Kurdistan their Jerusalem”. She seemed to modify that perspective somewhat when she went on to say that all of Iraq should be considered “occupied” (by the Americans) and that Talabani should understand the need for US forces to leave.

It is significant that this statement is not coming from the usual suspects. On Kirkuk and Kurdish issues more broadly, certain people close to Maliki are in the habit of making strong statements apparently without being able to influence the overall direction of policy to a significant extent. This includes Turkmen leaders like Abbas al-Bayati. Duri, on the other hand, is considered a high-ranking politician among the Sadrists who unexpectedly fell silent during the debate (or, more correctly, the non-debate) on Kirkuk during the passage of the revised election law in parliament in autumn 2009. A 38 year-old mother from Baghdad who graduated top of her class from Baghdad’s leading veterinary college in the late 1990s, Duri stands out as one the few female deputies who has asserted herself beyond women’s affairs.

Duri’s statements are not an isolated case either. Today in parliament, an interesting echo was produced by Mansur al-Tamimi, a Basra deputy from State of Law, who called for expanded powers for the governorates, but “with a strong supervisory role for the prime minister”. This prompted a Kurdish outburst and charges that Tamimi had failed to recognise the “federal” character of Iraq. Parliament speaker Usama al-Nujayfi of Iraqiyya duly sustained the objection and confirmed the standard ittihadi (“federal”) adjective for describing Iraq. But among the Shiites, those who vocally protest against “excessive centralisation in Iraq” now mostly seem to belong to ISCI, which after all is a small minority. A more immediate and material dimension to the whole affair has been provided by the recent influx of Kurdish peshmerga troops into Kirkuk, presumably to deal with potential disturbances, but a breach of past protocol according to which they have stayed away from the city.

Prime Minister Maliki himself was present  in parliament to give an update on the progress of the government and its programme. He sounded somewhat exhausted when he finally uttered the mandatory “federal” word towards the end of his speech. The Kurds may remain his best friend in troubled times, but at a juncture when the nationalist Iraqiyya is remarkably silent on Kirkuk (they are still seeking the good offices of the Kurds in their dealings with Maliki and have not said much except from some criticism from members who are themselves from Kirkuk), he is probably increasingly aware of the challenge from Iraqi Shiites who prefer to speak in the name of the centralist state.

25 Responses to “Shiite–Kurdish Relations Get Strained over Talabani Statement on Kirkuk”

  1. Al Rafiq said

    Referring to Kirkuk as al-Quds by Talabani is nothing new and is meant for internal consumption [Kurdistan region], not for Iraq.

  2. Reidar Visser said

    But it is getting noticed outside Kurdistan and is perhaps one of the most important sources of potential tension within the alliance of NA and the Kurds.

  3. amagi said

    On a related note, who is this Safiya al-Suhail who broke with SoL today? Is this in any way significant?

  4. Reidar Visser said

    I do not find it terribly significant. She is somewhat opportunistic and switched from Iraqiyya just before the elections. Interestingly, unhappiness with religious hardliners formed part of her grievances and the break with SLA.

  5. Ahmed Al-Shammari said

    When will we Arabs admit to the crimes comittied against the Kurds AND Turkomen in Kirkuk in Iraq during Saddam’s time?!

  6. Reidar Visser said

    It is perfectly possible to recognise the suffering of the Kurds in the past without endorsing racist policies by them today.

  7. Ahmed Al-Shammari said

    Yes but I have studied Iraq history and I believe that many of my Arabic friends do not seem to admit or acknowledge the Arabisation of Kirkuk. When I read statements made by some MP’s about Kirkuk it saddens me. I have been to Kirkuk many times since 2003 and was there last week. I find that the city has been massively ignored by the federal Iraqi government. I compare that to the progress made in the cities that are part of the Kurdistan Region.

    Implementation of Article 140 is not a racist policy. I have written and strongly believe that the implementation of Article 140 will help unify Iraqis and make Kurds feel like Iraqis. You are free to disagree but the razing of villages, the mass murders of Kurds and Turkoman is not happening in Kirkuk today. It is easy for Arab politicans to deflect the fact that the federal government of Iraq has failed Kirkuk by blaming the peshmerga, but the fact that many top Arab MP’s such as Ayad Allawi himself hire peshmerga to keep them safe should speak volumes.

    I grew up in Baghdad, I remember when there was over 500,000 Kurds easily…..most have had to leave. You don’t hear them complaining about racist Baghdad policies. You will accuse me of being on the payroll of the Kurdish political parties but I believe injustice is injustice.

    Still love reading your column, always great articles. This is my opinion and many will disagree, that is for sure. All the best

  8. Reidar Visser said

    Ahmed, many thanks, being an historian myself, I am bemused at the lack of recognition of the comparable recency of the Kurdification of Kirkuk (the urban centre), which was Turkmen-dominated until the 1960s. This aspect seems to have drowned in the often ahistorical analyses that have been promoted by instant Iraq experts in the post-2003 period.

    There is no incompatibility between recognising the fact that horrible crimes were committed against the Kurds by the former regime and at the same time warning against using an ethno-sectarian logic for dealing with the painful legacy of the past. It’s like the situation with Israel and the Palestinians: One can recognise the horrors of the Holocaust and the grotesque crimes against the Jewish people – mainly by Europeans it has to be said – without endorsing Zionism as a political ideology.

  9. Ahmed Al-Shammari said

    I agree with you. Historical documents have proven that Kirkuk (the city itself & not the province) has been since the creation of the modern state of Iraq through the British Mandate more Turkomen than Kurds. The rest of the province was majority Kurds.

    The days when the Kirkuk oil fields were used by the British, there was an active program of Arabisation of Kirkuk, the city and the province. This process accelerated under the Ba’athist regime.

    I believe that the Palestinians deserve their own state with Jews having the right to remain there as Palestinian citizens. This might be a biased view because I am an Arab but this is what I see as just. The same can be said for Kirkuk. The Turkoman Front are a fascist political party that as I am sure you know supported by the Turkish government and do not represent all Turkomans of Iraq. I would hope that you visit Kirkuk and speak to many of the Turkoman there. I don’t do percentages or numbers but there are as many in favour of being part of the Kurdistan Region as there are against it. The problem is that stateless nations such as Palestinians & Kurds will only compromise to a certain level. The constant tactics of delaying the implementation of Article 140 is only delaying the inevitable.

    I am not sure if you are comparing Zionism with the Kurdish political parties, but if you are then I am not sure how the two are even close. Either way, at the end of the day reconciliation in Iraq requires compromise. Some of these include the understanding by Kurds and Shi’ites Arabs that many Sunni Arabs love Saddam. Sectarianism and ethnic issues in Iraq is a result of the British mandate that created Iraq, not a result of 2003.

    I also do not claim to be an expert. I read your column and many others and learn from them. I believe we always, as Iraqis, need to strive to learn as much as we can from different points of views. This is why I have sat down with Ba’athists who were in prison with Saddam to Kurds that want no part of Iraq to Shi’ite Arabs that wish to have a secular Iraq, and then I try and come up with my own OPINIONS. Sadly too many so called ‘Iraq experts’ make sweeping and categorical statements in the hope of promoting their agenda.

    Many thanks for your prompt replies.

  10. Reidar Visser said

    Thanks again Ahmed. Some Iraqiyya sources now claim there is a movement afoot to summon Talabani to parliament over the statement.

    عثمان الجحيشي : حملة تواقيع بمجلس النواب لطلب استجواب طالباني على خلفية تصريحاته بشأن كركوك

    Will be interesting to see if that gets anywhere or not.

  11. Talabani has used the phrase “Jerusalem of Kurdistan” to describe Kirkuk before; what I think is most explosive here is the advocacy of a ‘strategic alliance’ between the Kurds and Turkoman against what he referred to as ‘terrorists and neo-occupiers,’ a phrase which Arabs view as directed at them. In light of the recent Arab-Kurd and Turkoman-Arab violence in Kirkuk, many Arabs are taking this as a declaration of war. This seems to me to be much beyond what Talabani has said before.

  12. Salah said

    I find that the city has been massively ignored by the federal Iraqi government. I compare that to the progress made in the cities that are part of the Kurdistan Region.

    I hope Reidar excuse me to note about Ahmed Al-Shammari in regards to Kirkuk did you travelled South Iraq? did you found what progress made to those cities and towns in Southern Iraq? I think city of Kirkuk left for many reasons not taking care of it as its hot zone few argue to get control of this Iraqi rich city.Another note to Ahmed Iraq is far deep well know than what you stated with your comment and Brits creation this is miss reading of history of Iraq.

    However The Kurds they have in many incidents comparing their straggle to have their own state (Kurdistan) similar to Jewish Stet in Palestine despite 2500 years historical and other major differences between the two. Talabani’s phrase “Jerusalem of Kurdistan” is in same dircetion in that matter.

  13. Kermanshahi said

    Reidar, the center of Kerkuk was only Turkmen majority because it was under Ottoman occupation and Ottoman, Turkish occupiers settled in administrative centers. At the time majority of people in the Middle East lived in the country-side and all around Kerkuk’s Turkish administrative center, it was populated by Kurds. When urbanisation started in the early 20th century it was only natural that elitist rulers and their families would loose their majorities in the towns, as they were filled with the land’s native populations.

    Now, as it is today, the people of Kerkuk want to be part of the Kurdistan region. According to the Iraqi constitution, which you seem to value so much, they have the right to such referendum. So if the constitution gives the people of Kerkuk the right to a democratic peacefull solution, and the people of Kerkuk want this democratic and peacefull solution, than why not do it? Because some people living in the South of Iraq want to have more powers? How can you not support a Kerkuk referendum?

  14. Reidar Visser said

    Kermanshahi, we’ve been discussing this a hundred times before so let’s not go over ground that we’ve already covered exhaustively. So those Turkish “occupiers” were not human beings with a right to live somewhere? The Turkmens were after all a vital element in Iraq’s administration from Basra to Arbil in the Ottoman days and an integral part of the population. Many prominent Iraqi families have some Turkish blood in them, and to venture into some kind of retro-active ethnic cleansing strikes me as an exceedingly primitive way of addressing the problem.

    As for second-guessing the outcome of a referendum, if the people of Kirkuk are so pro-Kurdish why was it that Iraqiyya and not the Kurdistan Alliance won a plurality of votes there in the last election – note that we’re talking governorate level here; Iraqiyya is probably even stronger in Kirkuk itself, i.e. the city.

  15. Kermanshahi said

    The Turkmens are not indigenous to Iraq, they were settled there during the Turkish occupation. Now does that mean they should all be killed or deported, like Turkey did to it’s minorities? No. They should be allowed to live there in peace and their rights should be respected, but they have no legitimate claim to any of the land, also, because they are not a majority anywhere.

    As for why Iraqiyya became the biggest party in Kerkuk, it’s because the elections were rigged. Turnout for Sunni Arabs in Iraq was about 55-60%, in Kerkuk turnouts in Arab districst varied 95% to an impossible 130% and if al-Iraqiyya really had so much support, than why is it they oppose to a referendum, something which the Kurds support? Those who are afraid to let the people choose, always do so because they are going to loose.

    Look the Kurds are not asking anything unreasonable here. They say, “look, many people of this governorate want to join Kurdistan, according to Iraqi law they have the right to hold a referendum on it, as a matter of fact this has already been agreed on and has even been put into the Iraqi constitution. So let’s let the people in this governorate chose their own faith.” Is there anything unreasonable about that? On the other hand Arab Nationalist politicians are saying “There might be a problem here, but let’s just ignore that. It may say in the constitution that a referendum should be held, but let’s ignore that. There is a law which gives any governorate the right to federalism through referendum, but let’s ignore that. There is public outcry for autonomy in Kerkuk, inside Kerkuk, but let’s ignore that.” They oppose a peacefull solution (referendum) and instead the only solution to this problem they have is that the Kurs should “just” give Kerkuk to them. Is this a reasonable thing to ask?

  16. Ahmed Al-Shammari said

    Reidar, The vote was split because there was no united Kurdish list, if you look at the total numbers you would see that kurds would have 8 seats to Iraqiya’s 6.

    That is not the point and I won’t get into the Turkish argument but want to point to Salah that I goto Baghdad often but I will not lie and say that I have been to southern provinces of Iraq. I will not pass judgement on there. I do know that Kirkuk and Baghdad have not been able to achieve what the Kurdistan Region has in 8 years. I hope that the city I was born in Baghdad gets rebuilt and results in a city that is like Erbil. Perhaps that is because I am secular, and also because I grew up with Arabs, Kurds, Turkomen so I am biased. I think that Salah, you should study the history of Iraq, and read up on how Wilayat Mosul was a power struggle between Turks and the west which ended up with it being part of today’s Iraq.

    Sadly, many Iraqis think that today’s borders have been the same for 1000’s of years but in reality just like most of the Middle East and Africa, these borders were western made.

    The Kurds did not immigrate to the region they live in from abroad. The Zionist entity was created by bringing in Jews from abroad on an ideology quite different. I am sure if you read your history you will find that Palestinians and Kurds have a lot more in common than you like to admit.

    I regret my vote because I thought I was voting for a secular party but I find Baghdad to be more religious than ever, and this is what makes me worried. I want to be able to see religion play a smaller role in politics. In today’s parliament they were arguing about having Islamic scholars on a judicial committee. This worries me more than Kirkuk having a referendum to be a part of the Kurdistan Region. I will be worried if the Kurds declare independence, only because I love Iraq but I still think that Iraqi Arab politicians deflect from the real issues of basic services by using the old, ‘Kurds want to seperate.’ This has been the case for decades now.

    Sorry Reidar to use your comment section as a long column but people such as Salah start repeating the same type of rhetoric that Saddam used.

    You will find Arab nationalists such as Osama Al-Nujaifi have said they hope Ninewah becomes like Erbil province after visiting it, is that so bad? To want to see all 18 provinces become good ya Salah?

    Mo 3aib, kafee 3ad a7na bas ni7chee 3al akrad.

  17. Reidar Visser said

    So, we are offered ever more interesting explanations for Iraqyya’s performance in Kirkuk. Ahmed, on this I have to disagree with you, because only 12 seats proper were on offer in Kirkuk and 6 of them went to Iraqiyya and 6 to the Kurds (as said, Iraqiyya got a few more thousand votes) so there is no issue with Kurdish subdivisions here. The 13th seat in Kirkuk is a Christian minority seat.

    Also, regarding Mosul, please note that the big Mosul vilayet which included Kirkuk only existed for short periods, I think mainly from the 1880s to 1914. Before that point, Kirkuk was frequently attached to the big Baghdad vilayet and even earlier formed a separate vilayet (Shahrizor). Mosul in the nineteenth and eighteenth century was sometimes independent and sometimes subordinated to Baghdad, but always far smaller than in 1914 – more like the city plus the rural hinterland.

    Kermanshahi, could you please provide some credible sources for those rigged results that you talk about? As said before, it would be shocking if Iraqiyya had managed to trick the electoral commission since it is poorly represented on its board – in contrast to the Kurds, who also control the IHEC chair.

    In other news, it is interesting that the debate about Talabani’s comments appears to be gaining some momentum. It is a major issue in the Iraqi press today. Here are a couple of headlines:

    النائب اللبان : محافظة كركوك /قدس العراق/ بمكوناتها المتنوعة
    وليد المحمدي : كركوك لكل العراقيين وتصريح طالباني ليس في محله
    حسن العلوي : لا يمكن لأي عراقي ان يكون مع تصريح طالباني بأن كركوك هي /قدس كردستان

    Those politicians are from State of Law, Wasat and the new breakaway faction of Iraqiyya respectively. I have heard Hamid al-Mutlak as well as Iraqiyya deputies from Kirkuk make similar statements earlier, but isn’t it remarkable how the putative leaders of the nationalist trend in parliament like Allawi, Mutlak and Hashemi remain silent? It makes you wonder once more whether cameraderie forged during the days of the governing council trumps ideology in today’s Iraq.

  18. Shwan Fatah said

    Interesting article.

    To be honest, there is no real answer to this problem that I can think of. I worry and I agree Kirkuk is a ticking timebomb. As a Kurd myself, obvious from my name, I don’t consider myself to be a separatist but I do support the fact that the people who inhabit the disputed areas choose in which way they are governed.

    I would also be interested in an article about the plight of both Arab Sunnis and Kurds in Baghdad. Ask any Arab who lived in the Baghdad in the 60’s and 70’s how many Kurds lived among them, and how many were forced to leave after 2003, and before you say it, I know some chose to leave but many were given no such choice.

    As for the elections in Kirkuk, we made a strategic error in having 4 Kurdish lists running in competition with one another which led to a 6-6 which made analysts supportive of a centrist approach happy. The truth is Arab and Turkomen both voted for Iraqiyah so there is no doubt in who is the majority in the province of Kirkuk and that is not counting those killed and those displaced and as for your views on Faraj Al-Haidari, ask him how many Kurdish votes he threw out abroad. In the United Kingdom alone 8,000 Kurdish votes were thrown out alone, and I am not really looking for an argument here but you call Ayad Allawi and Saleh Mutlaq and Tareq Hashimi out for being silent?

    Many Arabs do sympathise with us Kurds. You may not like that, and it may not be sincere but the fact remains that the Kurds are the largest stateless nation in the world. If all these so called nationalists as you call them insist on keeping Kirkuk as it was post-Saddam then you give us no reason to want to stay part of Iraq.

    To be honest, I’m biased as you can tell, and the reality is that I am a moderate Kurd, compared to others I know and I will tell you that the implementation of Article 140 is a concession made by Kurds rather than a demand.

    I would also be very interested in your definition of an Iraqi nationalist 🙂

    Many thanks

  19. Reidar Visser said

    Shwan, thanks for your comments. To me, the minimum definition of an Iraqi nationalist is someone who puts Iraqi identity and loyalty higher than sub-identities, be they ethnic, sectarian, regional or tribal. There are of course many ways of doing just that, ranging from the xenophobic (as seen in the bloody regime campaign against the Kurds in the 1980s) to the legal/constitutional (advocating constitutional changes that would promote Iraqi identity instead of the various sub-identities).

    I should add that unlike many Iraqis I have no problem with the idea of an independent Kurdish state, and I honestly think it would be better for both the Kurds and the rest of Iraq if their leaders made up their mind in this respect. But as an historian, given the comparative recency of the true beginning of systematic Kurdish claims to Kirkuk – in the 1960s – I just have to object to the idea that Kirkuk has somehow a natural connection with any such Kurdish state.

  20. Shwan Fatah said

    Thank you Reidar.

    I find the problem with the term Iraqi nationalism is that it means something different to every Iraqi. Some people confuse Arab nationalism with Iraqi nationalism, and that is not something I am accusing you of. I appreciate your insight. It is difficult for me to objective, so sometimes reading an objective piece helps educate and shape my thoughts.

  21. Santana said

    To me a true Iraqi is one that wants Iraq to stay in one piece as it always has been since the 20s, 18 governates all receiving the same services and benefits, true patriots are those that have no problem voicing and upholding the truth about Iraq’s Arab identity(especially since Iraqi Arabs are 85%), good and friendly relations with all Iraq’s neighbors.

    The true Iraqis I know want everyone to enjoy the same freedoms , responsibilities and benefits . Also-if God is smiling on Iraq then true Iraqis will one day push all the religous leaders the hell out of the government….and I don’t care what religion or sect they are….they have NO business being in the government and contribute to the chaos and are influenced by Iraq’s neighbors.

  22. Salah said

    ut people such as Salah start repeating the same type of rhetoric

    Go read my comment well give answers if you genuine in a discussion don’t take things with personal attack.

    But this shows how people have empty handed to replay to what is said.”Mo 3aib, kafee 3ad a7na bas ni7chee 3al Saddam.”

  23. Salah said

    I am asking you again what progress made to other cities inside Iraq that we can compare them with Kirkuk. Did you give visits to cities south? How much progress you found there?
    What did you find there, Golf yards just like Galabi promised to make nasirya full of Golf land?

  24. Salah M. Yahya said

    وقال الدكتور فؤاد معصوم في تصريح لصحيفة (الاتحاد) البغدادية، نشر في عددها لاصادر اليوم الأحد 13/3/2011، إن تصريحات رئيس الجمهورية جلال طالباني عن كركوك لا تمثل اي مس او خرق بالدستور او القانون او الاعراف، وان الرئيس طالباني عندما تحدث عن كركوك بإعتبارها (قدس كوردستان) كان يقصد التشبيه وليس المطابقة بين الحالتين.
    وأوضح معصوم أن اعادة كركوك الى اقليم كوردستان هي أولوية عند الكورد كما ان تحرير القدس هي اولوية عند المسلمين بمن فيهم الكورد، وقال: :إن تصريحات الرئيس طالباني هي تعبير عن الاهتمام بكركوك وتشبيهها بالقدس ليس فيه ما يسيء الى الدين أو الدستور”.

    There is new twisting explanation for Talabani about Kirkuk “Jerusalem of Kurdistan”, Fuad Masum, Kurdistan Alliance candidate side that the president he meant Kirkuk important for the Kurds just like al-Quds its importance for Arab/Muslims and Kurds?

    Also he added the president did not break any clues of the Iraqi constitution
    But As I said this is just hot air for the case of Kurds leaders to defined themselves and their case with Israeli case as Jewish state which in many times was said after 2003 also before that date.

    I should add that unlike many Iraqis I have no problem with the idea of an independent Kurdish stat

    Riedar, the problem of independent state for the Kurds its far from just Iraq /Iraqi subject I think its more a regional matter if we take the idea of Kurds leaders the promotes for Kurdistan includes part of Turkey, Iran and Syria and off course north Iraq.

    Shwan Fatah, Thank you for the honesty and your thoughts/believes expressed here.I would like to say Thank You from my heart

  25. Shwan Fatah said

    Akhooya Salah Ya7ya,

    Shukran, inshallah fad yoom tijee il khair, salam wil khadamat lee kul il sha3b il 3raq. Anee ikhwanee 3rab bas moo weeya il akfar il 3unsiriya.

    Tislam, best wishes

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