Iraq and Gulf Analysis

In Salahaddin, a Confused Federalism Bid

Posted by Reidar Visser on Thursday, 27 October 2011 17:38

The most spectacular fallout from the recent de-Baathification escalation is the declaration by the Salahaddin governorate council today that in protest against arrests and sackings they have “established Salahhadin as an administrative and economic region within a unified Iraq”.

The move, while clearly reflecting a growing pro-federal trend in some Sunni circles, is confused, illegal and unconstitutional. Firstly, the council does not have the powers to declare anything of this kind. A third of its members can submit a request to the government to hold a referendum on a federal status – but it is the people, not the politicians, that ultimately decide.

Second, the council members seem to be making a point that they had a two-thirds majority in the council. What are they trying to tell us? Is this a flawed attempt at reading the law on the formation of regions? The only special status granted to a bid by two-thirds of the governorate council members in the law on forming regions is that it will automatically trump alternate federal combinations in the case of multiple competing schemes (say, some want to have Mosul plus Salahaddin to form one region) and thus avoid a pre-referendum poll (istibyan).

It should be noted that similar language about “declaring regions” has previously noted in places like Maysan, but it later died down again. The bottom line is that the only thing the governorate council can do is to request a referendum. According to the law, the government should automatically (and promptly!) enable them to hold such a referendum by activating the elections commission. Basra and Wasit have submitted such requests in the past without any response from the central government. The significant aspect of the Salahhadin bid is that it could put more pressure on Maliki to allow federal referendums from Basra in the south to Mosul in the north. But to get there, the politicians of Salahhadin must first submit a request within the existing legal framework instead of making up their own procedures.

53 Responses to “In Salahaddin, a Confused Federalism Bid”

  1. Salah said

    clearly reflecting a growing pro-federal trend in some Sunni circles

    The weak central government and continuous corruptions and lack of its work toward restore and rebuilt a state that Iraqi all hope will have after toppling the tyrant with all what they tried by supporting religious parties and in some time protesting, make no mistake they pushes for “a growing pro-federal trend ” not in most dominate just Sunni part also Shiites also.

    If this make the central government happy with more scattered communities then we can a sure some if not more parties behind this policy. Most Iraqi neighbours do not like to have back one strong Iraq state from Kuwaitis to Saudis also Iranians or Turkey, furthermore there is some support by American for more portioning for Iraq also UK.

    Let wait and see how this policy folded and what Iraqis can do….

  2. Reidar Visser said

    Salah, I’m not suggesting it is the dominant trend. Each time someone in Anbar calls for federalism, many prominent politicians still rush to condemn any such idea. But it is a trend, and it is certainly new compared with the situation in, say, 2007.

    One of the bad things in the Iraqi constitution is the impossibly low threshold for calling a federalism referendum via governorate council initiatives, i.e. a mere one third of the members. This can easily turn in to the tyranny of the opportunistic minorities.

  3. I half expect Maliki to put troops back in there like he did after their governor fiasco.

  4. Salah said

    My CommNet not about “ a trend” I did disagree in that mater I am totally with your view, Southern Iraq before the west or North they trying with same calls but they did not have enough numbers to back their right according to Iraqi constitution.

    In the past, I pointed that Iraqi constitution had many holes and explosives between it’s clauses that should be close or reviews in realistic time not in rush. According to constitution it should be a review few years back till now none of the parties come forward to deal with this although all they talking about Iraqi constitution holes why ? God knows…

    I endorse my point there are elements inside and outside Iraq pushing for more partitioning of Iraq state this not secret we knew it and we hear it from time to time but the new “ a trend” is now become from voices inside Iraq more than those voices from outside, as I believe most Iraq appose these scenarios so the best thing let hire those proxies to deal with it. Voice comes and goes all these calles is in fact test balloons to see is the time come or more time needed or new approach.

    ورأت تلك الاوساط ان “حملة المالكي على الانبار تحت ذريعة الثأر لجريمة النخيب، وحملته على صلاح الدين تحت ذريعة الاساتذة المشمولين بالاجتثاث، وحملته ضد شخصيات عراقية ترفض الاحتلالين الاميركي والايراني تحت ذريعة مؤامرة البعثيين لاسقاط الديمقراطية في العراق تنذر باكثر من اقليم صلاح الدين” في اشارة الى إعلان مجلس محافظة صلاح الدين امس الاول تشكيل اقليم استنادا الى الدستور العراقي.
    الاوساط السياسية المستقلة رأت ان “العراق يعيش الان مرحلة تغيب معها الثوابت الوطنية لصالح توجهات ومشاريع طائفية وتفتيتية”، مشيرة الى ان “استمرار تفاقم الخدمات وصعود مظاهر عسكرة البلاد وحكمها بقبضة مركزية قوامها اجهزة امنية غير دستورية مرتبطة بمكتب المالكي سيدفع كثيرين الى التفكير بجدية الى إعلان أقاليم وفيدراليات لاتبدو اوضاع البلاد الان قادرة على استيعابها والتعامل معها بجدية وموضوعية وقد تعرض وحدة البلاد الى خطر جدي”.
    واستغربت الاوساط العراقية اصرار المالكي على تأييد وزيره علي الاديب في سياسة اجتثاث الاساتذة مشيرة الى انه “في الوقت الذي يزدحم فيه مكتب القائد العام للقوات بضباط كبار مشمولين بالاجتثاث وكانوا يعملون مع نظام صدام، ويغض المالكي النظر عنهم، يقوم بالتشدد مع اساتذة واكاديميين”، متسائلين” ايهم اخطر على استقرار العراق قادة اجهزة امنية بعثيون استبدلوا ولاءهم من صدام الى المالكي ام اساتذة جامعة بعثيون”.

  5. Reidar Visser said

    In Iraq reactions to the bid have been somewhat slow to emerge since it is in the middle of the weekend there. But depressingly, even Latif Mustafa from the Kurdish Gorran party labels the Salahaddin initiative “constitutional”, which it clearly isn’t:

    لطيف مصطفى : إعلان محافظة صلاح الدين إقليما قرار دستوري والإعتراض عليه استخفاف بالدستور

    The new White Iraqiyya leader calls it “legitimate” but still expresses the view that it should be dropped:

    قتيبة الجبوري يدعو مجلس محافظة صلاح الدين الى التراجع عن قرارهم بجعل المحافظة اقليما ويصف القرار بالمتسرع

  6. Kermanshahi said

    Wasn’t these guys’ victory 2 years ago in the Salahadin election praised by you Reidar for them being secularists, non-secterian, nationalists, pro-centralisation? Well guess what, as I have been saying for years, those politicians were all lying, they never meant a word of it and see they’re not against federalism, they’re just against Kurds having federalism, because they are anti-Kurdish, these people are racists and that’s what motivates them, these names they use for themselfes are just to justify their actions. What they really want is that if Kurds are stripped of their autonomy and protection, they will be outvoted in elections and then opressed and ignored like in Turkey. But as it happened, the Ba’athists themselfes were outvoted, and now feel the opression of an authoritarian central government, which they would have liked to direct at the Kurds and religious Shi’as – so now all of a sudden, when it comes to their own procince, federalism is suddenly not a bad idea. But when it comes to Kurds, the Nujayfi brothers and these clowns in Salahadin are suddenly against federalism. As keeps becoming clearer and clearer, is that as I said many times before (and am saying again), these guys are not “nationalists” they are not “non-secterian” they are not “centralists,” no they are racists.

  7. Reidar Visser said

    Not true, Kermanshahi. I ddin’t have a blog proper back then, just the other website and here is what I wrote:

    I highlighted Salahaddin as one of the places where the more sectarian oriented Tawafuq prevailed. Maliki and some of the more secular Sunnis actually tried to challenge them; those were the days…

  8. Salah said

    Looks things get more ugly in western Iraq:

    متظاهرون يغلقون الطريق الدولي السريع شمال الرمادي
    28/10/2011 22:03

    الرمادي /اور نيوز
    اغلق متظاهرون اليوم الطريق الدولي السريع ، الذي يربط العراق مع دول الاردن وسوريا والسعودية ،شمال مدينة الرمادي مطالبين بايقاف الاعتقالات وتوفير الخدمات. وقال مصدر في غرفة عمليات الانبار “ان قوة من الشرطة حاولت التفاهم مع المتظاهرين بوجوب فتح الطريق امام المسافرين لأهميته ، الا انهم لم يستجيبوا ما دعا تلك القوة الى تفريقهم بالقوة واطلاق العيارات النارية بالهواء لتفريقهم واخلاء الطريق وفتحه امام حركة المرور “.
    وكان الالاف من ابناء مدينة الفلوجة تظاهروا بعد صلاة الجمعة مطالبين بايقاف الاعتقالات وتوفير الخدمات والقضاء على البطالة. وردد المتظاهرون هتافات تطالب باجراء اصلاحات سياسية حقيقية وعدم استبعاد اي طرف عن العملية السياسية وتوفير الخدمات ومعالجة مشكلة البطالة ، مؤكدين انهم سيستمرون في التظاهر كل يوم جمعة لحين الاستجابة لمطالبهم.

    In other bit of news reported there are delectations in UK doing homework from there for “BIG” Sunni Partition

    مباحثات (متكتـّمة) في عمان ولندن تمهّد لإقليم (سُنّي) كبير
    23/10/2011 15:01

    بغداد/ اور نيوز
    كشفتْ مصادر سياسية خاصة عن وجود مباحثات شديدة التكتم والسرّية، بين ممثلين لزعماء كتل سياسية، ورؤساء عشائر، ووجهاء، وضباط جيش، وتجار ومقاولين كبار، بشأن “إقامة إقليم سُنّي” كبير، يتمتع بما يتمتع به إقليم كردستان من “استقلالية” في جميع المجالات. وبيّنت المصادر، التي تحدثت لـ (اور)، شرط عدم ذكرها، ان الاجتماعات تمت في العاصمة الاردنية عمان بحضور النجيفي والخنجر برعاية ودعم بريطاني، مشيرة الى ان اجتماع عمان هو الثاني بعد الاجتماع الذي عقده رئيس البرلمان اسامة النجيفي في لندن مع مسؤولين بريطانيين وشارك فيه كل من خميس الخنجر وسعد البزاز.

  9. Sumerian said

    Well, It seems that the people in that province are happy with the decision. Iraq news Network reported that thousands in many cities in that province celebrated the decision in the streets. We never saw the Shiites celebrating any federalism-related project in the streets! Their decision must be respected. It’s a democracy, isn’t it?
    This is a dream coming true. Thank you Salahaddin! I cannot thank you enough… yet another proof that the “theory” of a united Iraq is just a “theory”!

  10. Salah said

    Reidar Visser,

    In your view do you think US troop withdraw from Iraq escalating the fragmentation of Iraq?

    Iraq is almost certainly lost now. Already the tempo of purges of Sunnis and even Shi’a not loyal to Prime Minister Nuri al Maliki–or Iran–is accelerating. The prospects for renewed sectarian fighting are growing by the hour. Reports of Iranian efforts to consolidate their control of Iraq are piling up. It is impossible to know exactly what situation will face the president on January 20, 2013,
    After the retreat from Iraq

  11. Reidar Visser said

    I used to answer “No” to that question. Now I’m not so sure and the main reason is Maliki’s continuing inability to win friends in Sunni areas and the growing interest in territorial solutions to the crisis in those areas, most markedly over the past five months or so. Again, if I had heard that answer two years ago I would have said fragmentation scenarios were unrealistic. But the remarkable success of the pro-Iranian parties in bringing back de-Baathification on the political agenda in 2010 (and the spectacular failure of the USG to prevent it) may have finally done to Iraq what the sectarian conflict of 2006-07 failed to do.

  12. bb said

    Salah, am afraid have to agree with you. It was always Bush who was committed to the united Iraq and it was Bush (through the US ambassador Khalilzad) who resisted Iran and vigorously protected the political interests of the sunni arab minority. As we may recall it was the cynical Biden and US foreign policy establishment who always pushed for disintegration and washing of hands. Now it is they who are in power and with the disinterested, uncaring Obama, are setting the scene for it. With the US removing its protection; Iran being given a free hand and the puppet sadrists signalling their intentions what else are the sunni arab constituencies to do but look to each other?
    Iraq may pay a high price for Hillary Clinton losing the nomination back in 2008.

  13. Salah said

    may have finally done to Iraq what the sectarian conflict of 2006-07 failed to do.

    Ohh yah, sadly looks like…

    Now Basrah calling

    ريدة صوت البصرة:
    بين النائب عن التحالف الوطني جواد البزوني ان هناك مطلبا شعبيا في البصرة لإكمال مشروع إعلان المحافظة اقليما.وقال البزوني في تصريح صحفي ان ” شوارع البصرة غطتها اعداد كبير من اللافتات تطالب الحكومة المركزية بالنظر في الطلب المقدم للموافقة على تحويل المحافظة الى اقليم ”

    مضيفا ان ” هناك جلسة ستعقد يوم الاحد القادم لمجلس المحافظة وعدد من اعضاء البرلمان العراقي عن محافظة البصرة للنظر بالطريقة التي سيتعامل بها المجلس حول التعمد من قبل مجلس الوزراء عدم النظر في طلب المحافظة “وزاد ان ” الطلب أصبح جماهيريا وهناك مشاورات تجري حاليا لانضمام محافظات ذي قار وميسان والمثني لهذا المشروع لتكوين اقليم يضم أربع محافظات”.

  14. Observer said

    The fault is not the US per se. The main fault is that of Iraqi politicians themselves. The She3a Islamic parties need sectarianism to stay in power. If my fellow She3a continue to vote for the likes of Maliki and Sader, then the fault should be on their shoulders as well.

  15. Whether or not Iraq will be decentralized the big question remains: Which side will end up in control of Baghdad in an escalation?
    There are many factors running against the pro-Iranian status quo: Iran cannot provide air cover over Iraq, open confrontation is not Iran’s style in running conflicts (Iran prefers under-the-cover), Syria’s popular uprising, and most importantly the undercurrent of anti-Iranian sentiment among the Shia which could solidify into long term rejection in case of confrontation.
    Wishful thinking aside, Baghdad is surrounded by Sunni areas from three sides, its fate is highly undecided in case of a conflict.
    I think Salaheddine and Anbar governorates are calling for confrontation, not just separation, if their demands are not met, and the chances are their grievances will be addressed rather than rejected by the Maliki government, because his Iranian sponsors can’t afford an escalation.
    Sumerian’s elation for separatist sentiments in Salaheddine seems premature.

  16. Sumerian said

    It’s always the Shiites’ fault… all the time. It was al-Maliki and the Shiites who ruled Iraq for decades planting the seeds of sectarian divisions and calling the Sunnis “Persian” and “not true Iraqis” and mascaraing them. Now, that thousands of Sunnis celebrating the “partition” decision in many cities in the Sunni part of Iraq, of course it’s the Shiites’ fault who forced these people to leave their homes and declare their support to that decision in the streets. It’s the Shiites’ fault as usual because why can’t the they forget about the fact that they are the majority in Iraq and want to rule (a desire that all Arabs tend to cherish so much)? A quick look at every single textbook that was printed in Iraq during the Sunni rule of that country gives us a scary definition to the word “sectarianism”. Did Sunnis really expect that the Shiites won’t have “issues” after all the decades of discrimination and second-class citizenship? Not that I think it’s a good thing, but it’s the Middle East and that’s how unfortunately people operate.

    What happened in Salahaddin is a clear example of the true feelings that gather the three groups that make up the state of Iraq. Salahaddin doesn’t care about the unity of Iraq now, because that’s the only way to regain some sort of power and self-rule. The funny part is that Sunnis were so angry at the Kurds for demanding federalism and now they are asking for the exact same thing.

    Iraq’s fake unity was always the product of a superpower that managed to keep the country together… the British, the Arab Nationalists and lately the Americans. Now that the last superpower in Iraq is about to leave, the base that holds the foundations of that fake state will evaporate… plain and simple!

    Self-determination is a basic right to all the people on this plant. Salahaddin and its people have the right to create their own region. They voted for their provincial council and they also celebrated the council’s decision so we’re all set.

    faisalkadri is already discussing the notion of gearing up for war over Baghdad! I believe that that also could sound “premature”. But, again that makes it clear that Iraq’s unity is not real and that’s the only point I support.

  17. Salah said

    Iraq’s fake unity?
    The above statement its ridicules, in all history of Iraq we never heard or read Iraq have a “fake unity”!

    Around the world looks for states and countries, give me on country having one ethnic/ sec nation. Are all them fake united nations? Even US what’s make them one country… isn’t power?

    In the last 1000 Iraq as a country and as a nation have been in wars or occupied 100 times, give me one nation on earth have kept its self-united facing those enemies who came after the richness of Mesopotamia land?

    To most Iraqis the commentator with his/her with fake name ” Sumerian” either he is not Iraqi or his heart somewhere else but defiantly not with Iraq.

  18. Salah said

    it was the cynical Biden and US foreign policy establishment

    Not just those, in fact US Senates voted for the partitioning of Iraq, that means there is quite substantial believe with the matter it’s not a few within US foreign policy makers who believes in that.

    On September 26th 2007 overwhelming majority of US Senates voted to pass Senator Biden’s amendment to PARTITION IRAQ along SECTARIAN and ETHNIC lines and it passed with overwhelming support of 75 to 23. In the NEXT 2 WEEKS the US Congress will be making a FINAL VOTE in a Conference Committee to pass the Biden’s amendment.

  19. Sumerian said

    Amazing! The typical perspective that if you don’t agree with me you’re not a “true” Iraqi. Did I just talk about that in my previous comment! What is ridicules is that people think that they are willing to accept other opinions yet they label those with different opinions “not Iraqi enough”.

    What makes America a strong union is the simple fact that people value that unity and consider themselves one nation. Salahaddin’s decision doesn’t value Iraq’s unity or maybe it does I don’t know. After all, “the true Iraqis” have the right to manipulate that trademark (Iraq) the British gave them.

    I will be the first to celebrate a true unity among the people of Iraq but the reality and the history of the modern-day state of Iraq indicate something totally different.

  20. Reidar Visser said

    Salah, I am known for criticising Biden but the news story exaggerates a little in this case, as usual. He eventually dropped the idea of ethno-sectarian partition. See

  21. Observer said

    Your logic is twisted. Even allowing for your “theory” (that all sunnies are racist bigots and sectarian), your statements do not justify the sectarianism of the She3a Islamic parties. Do two wrongs make a right?

    Gimee a break and stop claiming VICTIMHOOD. The answer to Iraq’s problems is not proscribed in Islamic Political Manifestos (be they of the She3a or Sunni variety).

    Do try to learn from the good things that you have been exposed to in the west.. Did you ever hear of forgive and forget? (3afa allah 3an ma salef?) Do you know anything about forgiveness. SInce you are still on the outside of Iraq, please spare me your outdated theories. Once you come here and live in Iraq, then I am sure your theories will be modified based on reality.

  22. Santana said


    You are one of many dissappointing examples of why Iraq is a mess because I can just imagine how many Iraqis have the same warped thinking as you but are actually on the inside which is dangerous……..I remember running into Emad Dhia Al-Khersan once (he is mentioned in Bremer’s book as the liason between Bremer and Sistani during the Interim government of 42 Iranian-loving retards that the Neocons put in power) like you he is a pro-Iranian sectarian that cares nothing for Iraq’s unity….I said “Hey, don’t you think the shiites have gone overboard a bit ? I mean doesn”t Sunni marginalization concern you as problematic down the road” ? He shouted back ” You guys have ruled Iraq for 80 years – it’s our turn” ! So there you have it….what unbelievable wisdom !! and where is he now? He joined the ranks of hundreds of Iraqis that made a ton of cash (2003 and 2004)and retired early- but I am sure it was all legal and they claimed it on their taxes……’s for bringing democracy to Iraq.

    I completely disagree that the Shiites were second-class citizens pre-2003….Saddam the tyrant (which I hated) still gave them a helluva lot more rights then what Maliki and Dawa give the Sunnis….the only time Saddam lashed against them was when they had their uprising after the Gulf war…and he would do the same against ANYONE going against his rule…even Sunnis from Tikrit if he had to. Maliki and Co do it cuz Iran tells them to.

    The Shee3a Islamic parties are the cancer that will bring the demise of Iraq…any Islamic party for that matter- Sunni or Shiites the sooner we get these morons out of the government the better…..but easier said than done.

  23. Salah said

    The race for partitioning going on…..

    صلاح الدين تطلق سباق الأقاليم في العراق .. محافظ نينوى لـ المستقبل العراقي: الكرد يشجعوننا على إعلان إقليم الموصل

    الكاتب: المستقبل العراقي

    30/10/2011 12:00 صباحا

    المستقبل العراقي/ فراس القيسي :
    تباينت ردود الأفعال السياسية عقب إعلان محافظة صلاح الدين بتحويل المحافظة الى إقليم إداري واقتصادي،حيث شهدت تصريحات المسؤولين بين المؤيد والرافض، فيما جاءت تصريحات المسؤولين في محافظة الانبار عن قرب التوصل الى اتفاق بشان إعلان المحافظة إقليما، بينما كشف نائب عن محافظة البصرة اجتماعا لمحافظي المدن الجنوبية لاستكمال الموافقات لإنشاء إقليم الجنوب، مشيرا الى ان البصرة هي اول من طالب بإنشاء إقليم خاص بها، الى ذلك كشف محافظ نينوى لـ(المستقبل العراقي) عن وجود دعوات سابقة من كردستان لإقامة إقليم نينوى.عضو دولة القانون والنائب عن التحالف الوطني جواد البزوني قال: هناك اجتماع قريب سيعقد لأعضاء مجلس محافظة البصرة وميسان وذي قار والمثنى لإنشاء إقليم الجنوب، مشيراً الى أن المحافظة ستبدأ بالضغط الجماهيري على الحكومة الاتحادية لإكمال الموافقات وتشكيل الإقليم. وأضاف: أن محافظة البصرة أول من طالبت بإنشاء إقليم البصرة وننتظر الآن تحويل طلبنا من قبل رئيس الوزراء الى المفوضية العليا للانتخابات لكي نباشر بإنشاء الإقليم، مشيرا الى أن هناك طلبات جاءت من مجلس محافظة ميسان وذي قار والمثنى للانضمام الى إقليم البصرة وتشكيل إقليم الجنوب، كاشفاً عن وجود استعدادات لدى محافظة البصرة بدعوة مجلس المحافظات الأربع لعقد اجتماع حول إنشاء إقليم الجنوب.من جهتها انتقدت النائبة عن ائتلاف دولة القانون سميرة الموسوي إعلان محافظة صلاح الدين إقليما، وعدّته غير ناجح ولن تكتمل خطواته في الوقت الحاضر.وقالت: ان الإقليم حق كفله الدستور، لكن إنشاءه في الوقت الحاضر بصورته التقسيمية للعراق، غير ناجح ولن تتكامل خطواته ويحتاج الى نضج للعمل به بصورة صحيحة.وأوضحت: ان التهميش ذريعة غير منطقية استندت إليها المحافظة في إعلانها إقليما، وهي غير واقعية والجميع يعلم بذلك، والأسباب التي تدعو لإعلان الإقليم غير موجودة، على حد قولها.في هذه الإثناء عد النائب عن كتلة الاحرار التابعة للتيار الصدري جواد الجبوري إعلان محافظة صلاح الدين إقليما بالأمر المقلق. وقال: برغم ما نص عليه الدستور بأن تشكيل الأقاليم استحقاق لكل من يرى في نفسه قدرة وإمكانية على تشكيل إقليم ، إلا ان هذا الأمر في الوقت الحاضر غير مرحب به من اغلب النواب والسياسيين، وقد يشكك به.وأضاف الجبوري: ان العراق بأمس الحاجة في الوقت الحاضر الى وحدة وطنية مشتركة وعمل موحد، بخاصة في هذه المرحلة الحرجة التي يمر بها العراق حالياً

    More from Southern Iraq….

    البزوني: اجتماع يجمع البصرة والمثنى وذي قار وميسان لإعلان إقليم الجنوب

    Read more:

    This to both “Sumerian” & Joker in next post to read of their pride Malikistan State and see what Southern Iraq having so far under regime those “now have their voice and will never give it up or let it be taken away.”

    خبير اقتصادي : خط الفقر في البصرة يشكل نسبة 33% مع ان احتياطيها النفطي يفوق قطر والجزائر ونيجيريا مجتمعة

  24. Reidar Visser said

    Here is a quote in which Salahaddin federalists explicitly reject former a bigger Sunni region:

  25. Sumerian said

    See that’s the problem… why do we have to have “turns” ruling Iraq? Why Iraqis never managed to create a true unity in that country? I don’t support any religious party or having religion as part of the public and political life. You labeled me religious and somehow I’m now pro-Maliki with no evidence whatsoever. All of you rushed to judging me for things I never said. I never said that Shiites have the right to treat Sunnis as second class citizens. In fact, allowing Sunnis to have their own region or state is something I think would help them feel better when it comes to overcoming the ruling complex (something most people in the Mid East struggle with).

    I’m sorry I have a different opinions regarding the history and the future of Iraq. Before you teach people to forgive and forget maybe you can learn how to respect others’ opinions even if you totally disagree with them. In the West, I learned that the Czech and the Slovak decided to put and end to their unity and moved forward as two different nations when things didn’t work out. Now, both nations are making progress instead of wasting time on trying to figure out “who’s turn to rule”. For the record, I understand the Sunnis’ dilemma in Iraq and if you read every single comment I made here, I never said something that contradicts that.

    Sorry to disappoint you “Santana”! Although I don’t think what I said is disappointing as your recent albums!

    People take off when relationships don’t work. Iraq as a unified country never really functioned in a healthy manner… Sunnis brutalizing Shiites and Kurds, and as you mentioned now it’s the Shiites’ turn to RULE… why not SELF-RULE? Why not allowing the three nations to try to work on their own for a while… you never know they might fall in love again and decide to reunite or something.

    In the meanwhile, we can all enjoy the “federalism” festival Salahaddin has started. Thank you, Salahaddin!


  26. Sumerian,
    It is not your opinion that I have a problem with, it is your sense of reality: You state repeatedly that “Iraq as a unified country never really functioned in a healthy manner”, this is not “opinion”, its a statement of reality that needs support and you do not support it.
    As far as I can see, your sense of reality is based on victimhood.

  27. Sumerian said

    Mr. faisalkadri, I think my statement/opinion (call it whatever you want) can be proved by what happened in Salahaddin recently. That didn’t look healthy from the perspective of pro-central and unified government that can work in a healthy manner. Iraq functioned as a united country under dictatorships. That is NOT a “healthy manner” unless dictatorships sounds healthy to some people out there. Minorities and even majorities were/are still always marginalized in Iraq. Whenever an ethnic group in Iraq takes over, it tries to marginalize the others’ rights? Can we actually call that a country that functions in a healthy manner? The complains about the Shiites’ failure to include the Sunnis in the post-2003 political process is actually vindicates that statement/opinion/”crazy thought”!

    From your prescriptive, of course it’s victimhood that motivates me!! It’s always the same old definitions and labels used against the “Persians” and Safavids” in Iraq. Your “statement” has no proof whatsoever. How can the support for allowing Sunnis to control their destiny be labeled victimhood? In fact, I want the Shiites to stop complaining about their past and try to focus on their local communities. For that reason I support putting an end to this failed policy of keeping Iraq as a unified nation and making each group responsible for its own future. Shiites are scared of/have issues with the Sunnis, Sunnis blaming the Shiites and question their Iraqihood and Kurds can’t stand both and so on and so forth… why wasting time on this? Why not trying self-rule so each group can be responsible for its own fate for the first time. It is not victimhood… it is a call to take responsibility and stop blaming others’ for past failures! But hey if people can’t see that reality, my statement/opinion will never have a clear proof to them. Same old… same old… some things never change!

    You know what? Fine! Iraq is the strongest unified nation in the world, and Iraq’s spot as the world’s 9th “failed state’ will change overnight pretty soon!! I will be the first to stand up and say kudos to you guys for building a unified nation and let’s move forward and build the country and develop our communities instead of wasting almost all the time on trying to figure out “who rules next?” or “why I can’t have enough power?” or “why the other group has more power?”, etc. What we all can do now I guess is to wait for that to happen. In all cases, I will support what all Iraqis choose to do even if they choose to live in the same old Iraq and waste all the time bickering over the same old issues including the “victimhood” mentality in the Shiite community. I just hope that they take responsibility for their choices.

  28. Reidar Visser said

    Well, press reports say “hundreds” of people demonstrated in favour of federalism in Salahaddin, which is something we haven’t seen in Basra yet as far as I recall.

    Sumerian, in your long lines of history you are skipping quite a few centuries with peaceful sectarian coexistence. I would suggest you read some of the writings of Kazim al-Dujayli, a Shiite Iraqi proto-nationalist in the late Ottoman period who praised the works of numerous Sunni Iraqi historians.

  29. Sumerian said

    Mr. Reidar,

    Aliraqnews reported that “thousands” not just “hundreds” of people demonstrated in favour of federalism in several towns and cities Salahaddin. Whether it’s thousands or hundreds, the idea does have support in that province.

    I thought we’re not discussing the Ottoman or Safavid Empires and their rule as great powers forcing their agenda on the locals of Mesopotamia. The focus is the political entity that was shaped by the British after WWI. Why do we consider self-rule or decentralization as an enemy of peaceful sectarian coexistence? I consider it a call to stop blaming others and be responsible for your own future. Fighting over power and trying to have one identity of the “true Iraqi” are the real enemy of peaceful sectarian coexistence. It would be such a transformational move if the three groups overcome their fears and desires for power or revenge, but is that happening or gonna happen anytime soon? I think what happened in Salahaddin or the whole debaathification campaigne can answer that.

  30. Salah said

    Reidar Visser
    Please excuse me been bit out of topic just to give some clarification about Iraq “Creation”

    Some keep calling Iraq crated by Britt’s after 1914, this the invader creation term, Iraq had 5000 year history no denial of that, What Britt’s did after invading Iraq they defined new borders to the land of Iraq chopped Kuwait and Al-Mohamarah ( Ahwazi) which was ruled & controlled by Sheikh Khaz’al, from north some land lost.

    What I can say to those keep repeating the invader words, you all knew the history of wars always written by the winners of that wars,

    Here some of historical examples defined Iraq as a word, as land and region from Islamic time before Britt’s falsely claiming their “creation” of Iraq state by 1300 years:

    The Imam Ali (كرم الله وجهه) and his famous speech about Iraqis when he said:
    يا اهــل العـراق يا اهــل الشقــاق والنــفاق لقــد ملئتـــم قلبـــي قيحـــا …. الى اخر الخطبه

    Before that the Islamic expansion in land during Khalifa Omar Bin Khatab (رضي الله عنه) and his orders to his military commander preparing to the mission of going to Iraq and open that land…….

  31. Reidar Visser said

    Sumerian, the point I was making was that those locals of the Ottoman period – like Kazim al-Dujayli – were talking about an Iraq from Basra to Mosul that you seem to refuse to recognise.

  32. Sumerian said

    I get your point, Mr. Reidar. The Austro-Hungarian Empire was praised by many Austrians and Hungarians who lived there as a unified nation 100 years ago. Did that mean it worked out for them? I’ll recognize a true unified Iraq from Middle Earth to Hogwarts (not just from Basra to Mosul which Iraq got from Turkey in 1926… thanks to the British efforts) once I see that such project can actually work.

  33. Sumerian,
    You based your conclusion on one event, as they say one observation does not make a trend.
    Reidar covered the historical identity of the Iraqi people extensively in the past, there is a lot of material on this blog, I would suggest you go back and read it.

  34. Santana said


    I think if things were ever left to Iraqis then we can see peaceful coexistence – the problems of Iraq at the moment are 99.9% the work of Iran and “wilayet-Elfaqih”…the U.S opened up pandora’s box in 2003 and we can’t close the damn thing. We are fighting symptoms and not the disease…as long as Iran’s evil plans go unhindered I cant see any improvement at all not even Federations will work cuz they will be attacked or economically choked by the Iranian run Central government…….nor would future elections change anything…the cancer is still there. The way things are going now -the Sadrists will get over 60 seats in the next elections. Iran will muster up a majority in no time…Sunnis will be in refugee status outside Iraq getting UN rations – beans, rice, Nido milk powder and maybe Corn flakes every now and then…but the Iranians and their Iraqi stooges will not live in peace….I guarantee that there will be fierce resistence by honorable Iraqis against them and against all those guys with spare tires on their heads, those guys will pay dearly for selling out Iraq to the Persian majoos.

  35. Salah M. Yahya said

    I think if things were ever left to Iraqis then we can see peaceful coexistence – the problems of Iraq at the moment

    Santana, you make very important point here, as I said in the past 1000 years Iraq & Iraqis subjected by 100 war/invasion and occupation, this means each 10 years they have distraction as always Iraqi history telling us.

    I doubt any nation hold their unity exposing this mass of distractions.

    We saw and seen in western world in 2011 when God disaster happen how some people/ethnics behaving from looting to distraction of states and citizenry assets the one in Australia’s flooding last year were people went wild killing and looting. Other like recently in UK, another one during Bush senior when chaos spread, US military and special forces called to deal with them If we multiplied those events under the loses of security forces, military capabilities to stand up against those criminals just like in Iraq for 8 years what will happen their?

    Above one aspect of distraction by wars, if we take in a count the of distraction complete public service and a state infrastructure destroyed not ones but twice leaving 25 million of people suffering for 13 years pulse 8 years, doubly any western nation today will stand untied under these circumstances and their democratic elected politicians.

  36. Sumerian said

    Mr. faisalkadri, first I can’t provide one single proof of sectarianism in Iraq and when I did it is considered a “one incident”. Are we allowed to consider the ethnic genocides that took place in Iraq in the past decades as a proof to sectarianism there? You know what? My apologies! Iraq is a united nation that never witnessed ethnic genocides in Kurdistan and the Sumerian Marshes!!! Iraqis are always unified and of course the reason why they can’t make things work is a foreign power. It’s has nothing to do with their hunger for power, the demons of their past, and their mistrust of each other. It’s always the foreigner! If that statement doesn’t sound messed up and a total rejection to hold oneself responsible, then I really can’t debate this issue!

    There was fighting against the Americans in Iraq that was initiated due to sectarian reasons, and the Americans ended up fighting instead of focusing on building the devastated communities in Iraq that suffered from 33 years of stupid wars and sanctions. Now, the Americans will leave and Iraq will be “more free” when it comes to the presence of American troops than any other Arab country. It’s time to take responsibility seriously. If that doesn’t happen, then maybe we should ask ourselves why?

    It is Iraqis who allow themselves to give power to Iran, or Arabs, or the Dark Side… you name it! it is Iraqis who focus on their religious identity. It is Iraqis who shelter al-Qaida and Sunni Arab “foreigner” fighters who initiated the sectarian killings in 2004. It was Iraqis who bombed Kurdistan with chemical weapons. It was Iraqis who destroyed an entire community in the Mesopotamian Marshes. It was Iraqis who prevented the Shiites from celebrating their identity hence intensifying their resistance and fears! Yes, these people don’t represent all Iraqi, but they are Iraqis whether we like it or not! It is fair to ask why this happens all the time!

    I choose to respect all Iraqis and never label them with degrading names, because I know that diversity means richness, but in the Mideast and the Muslim World, people are taught that diversity and “the other” are evil! Just look at every single textbook we have there! I don’t think that this is going to change any time soon and if it changes; God bless Iraqis and kudos to them… go for it, and build a great unified nation that employs the lessons of the past to move forward. All I can say and I know we all agree on that is that we have to wait and see.


  37. Observer said

    Facts deny your claim that She3a and Sunna can not live together. Fully 30% of the marriages in Iraq prior to 2006 were mixed sects. That dropped to 10 percent at the height of the sectarian war in 06/07 which was started by Qaada and fueled up by Sadris after the bombing of Sammraa. Glad to report to you that it is now on the rise once more when in fact it should have stayed low if your “theory” is rational.

    The sectarian feelings are fueled by outside forces that are intent on keeping Iraq weak and divided. Opinions, such as yours (and I must admit that you are not unique) are abated – nay, encouraged by those who benefit from it. Namely, these are the sectarian based Islamic parties as that is the only way they can continue to control the voters. No different than the Republicans talking about “the right to life” every two years before elections, and Democrats motivating those voters who believe in abortion lest they loose their hard earned right in raw vs. wade. When there are no elections, this issue is moot and does not make it to the pages of news papers.

    As for respecting your right to an opinion – who said that I do not respect your rights? Just like you have the right to an opinion, I have the right to disagree with it. If you are too sensitive and do not have the gumption or logic, or facts that support your “opinions/theories” then do not publish in public bulletin boards. Taking you to the matt to defend your theories does not equate to denying your right to have opinions, regardless of how wrapped they may be.

  38. Sumerian said

    It’s always “outside forces” that cause the “perfect” Iraqi unity to be little bit less perfect!! Why do we have to hold ourselves responsible? Why do we have NOT to pretend that ethnic genocides did not take place in the perfect united Iraq and it could happen again for the same old reasons? Of course responsibility and dealing with the reality is not an option here. It was never an option in the Middle East! In every single comment I left, I kept saying I respect others’ opinions and theories and it doesn’t really matter if people disagree with me. I was the one who was irrationally called “not true Iraqi”, “religious, playing the victim card” and “pro-Maliki” for having a different opinion: the usual technique of demonizing those who don’t believe in the one single true “fact” and “truth” being recycled by those who promoted the British definition of the state of Iraq. It’s totally healthy to disagree with people and say they have wrong views, but saying that people are bad and not true citizens for having different views is totally a different story! Anyway, again the very near future will tell the fate of the ‘perfect” unity of the very “unified” state of Iraq. All we need to do is wait.

  39. Observer said

    You are a master at inserting words into the mouths of others and playing the straw man maneuver in argumentation.

    Who claimed there is a perfect unity in Iraq? Do not set that up as something somebody (or I) have stated and then proceed to demolish that argument (that is the definition of straw man maneuver by the way). Is there a place on earth where all the population lives in perfect harmony? Point that out to me so I can plan for my retirement please.

    As for victimhood – in the words of the immortal Reagan, “here you go again”. Now you are a victim of people ganging up on you and preventing from airing your opinion(s). Never mind that these opinions are presented to the reader as FACTS of history and refusing to deal with evidence that is presented to refute your claims/opinions.

    Learn how to debate using facts and logic, then you can “win” your arguments. Crying that you are a victim of bullies on a bulletin board is not going to win you any sympathy or converts to your “opinion”.

  40. Sumerian said

    Yes! You are absolutely right! I still need to learn how to be a “true Iraqi” I guess because all these comments and anger reflect one thing: the failure to access that people can have other views when it comes to the future of the so-called united Iraq. At least I hold myself responsible and not blame others and foreigner and demons for the tragedies that took place in the united Iraq! What people consider facts might not be so to others and that really shows the narrow-minded mentality that still very popular in the Mid East! MY FACTS are FACTS and if you can’t see it then you’re not a true Iraqi! Debating people who always mange to change the main topic and turn the debate into a personal issues topic is something I am not interested in. Again..

    God bless you guys… the Americans are leaving… you got Iraq free of foreign forces and outside powers to build your united and perfect country… oh wait the Persians the Majoos (another name for the Shiites in Iraq) are still there so the fight to put an end to outside forces will never end until the true Iraqis feed their hunger and gain power again! Same old… same old… things never change. What shocks me is that total denial of the horrific history of sectarianism in Iraq, but hey these were not “true Iraqis” so it didn’t really mater I guess! Not looking for sympathy for my opinion from a mentality that cannot recognize decades of discrimination… that is something I feel I don’t actually need so I am all set.

    Good luck and long live your diversity-loving, super-united Iraq that you guys have or will create any time soon I guess!

  41. Observer said

    I really had to hold myself from laughing out loud reading your diatribe. Dude, point out to me where I called you “not a true Iraqi”. Psychoanalysis by reading posts is a really interesting skill that you have developed. Are you sure you are not projecting?

    Try to go read debate books and learn the difference between facts and opinions. “Horrific History of Sectarianism in Iraq” is exactly an opinion of yours. it is not a fact. Reidar gave you argument after argument as to why that is untrue, yet you deny the facts and logic presented by Reidar and instead resort to pouting and stomp your feet as a spoiled child that adults are ignoring. Instead you repeat the same old diatribes and present them as FACTS of history. How about you answer Reidars examples like an adult and stop changing subjects and use “strawmen”.

    Your style of debate belongs in non-specilized blogs where people mix between facts and opinions, but not in a place like this one.
    Good luck right back at you while you enjoy the 24/7 electricity and life style of whatever neck of the woods you hang out in.

  42. Salah said

    you got Iraq free of foreign forces

    Looks you are well informed and known what the reality on the ground inside Iraq, better go read more and do your homework and leave Iraq to Iraqis themselves. they know better than others how to fix it when American failed to fix it.

  43. Santana said


    There is something going on with Barzani…he visted Iran (and they hate him) then off to Turkey…I heard from a Kurdish friend of his that he is trying to get an agreement going with both before anouncing their decision to go for full autonomy….

    Sumerian….you need help bud- and fast.

  44. Observer said

    I think you are reading too much into this. I know from discussions I have had is that the Kurds are threatened by the impending departure of US forces and furthermore there are rumors that large IOC are going to invest in KRG fields. In addition to Barzani going to Iran and Turkey, Barham is in the US and before that there was a large delegation by Talabani, Kosret, etc. in the US.

    It could be that Barzani, et. al., are trying to make sure that the regional strong countries are ok with IOC investing billions in KRG.


  45. Santana said

    Thanks Observer- I hope you are right…but Qubad told me recently (a few weeks ago) that there will be a “surprise” in November that will “knock my socks off”….still waiting to go barefoot….

  46. Sumerian said

    My apologies I didn’t know that Reidar proved that the genocides in Kurdistan and in the Marshes (perfect representation of sectarianism) did not take place and that thinking that “Horrific History of Sectarianism” took place in Iraq” is just an “opinion” and the hundreds of thousands who died as a result were just “not true Iraqis”. I missed that clear “fact” somehow!

    I do need help to understand this amazing ability to be so contradicting and responsibility-dodging! Again the Americans are leaving and if Iraqis manage to turn their failed state (#9 worldwide right now) into a true united nation, that would be something I will recognize right away. I’ll be waiting!

  47. Reidar Visser said

    Sumerian, I have tried to focus on centuries of coexistence, whereas you are zooming in on savage incidents that were nonetheless isolated episodes.

    My point is simply that one should not generalise based on the exceptions to the rule.

  48. Sumerian said

    With all due respect, I don’t reject the idea of coexistence and in all my comments I kept repeating that if this will happen then I will be the first to support it. My point is the impact of what you called “isolated episodes” on the future of Iraq. So I take it that you do believe that these” isolated episodes” did indeed take place in Iraq, that sectarianism does have history there and it’s not just an opinion. Coexistence requires respect and complete understanding of each group’s historical context. If each group demonizes the other, coexistence cannot be accomplished for the simple fact that each group thinks it’s right and the others are wrong. Iraqis have the chance to show us all that they can coexist, it’s their turn to turn that into reality but what is going to happen is that project is not gonna work and they couldn’t do it? I wish things will work out but I won’t be shocked if they didn’t.


  49. Do we know which political blocs in the provincial council voted for this measure? I would think Tawafuq would be opposed, I even recall that in January Harith al-Dari issued a fatwa warranting death for those in favor of federalism and the month prior Abdul Karim Zaidan (former Iraqi Muslim Brotherhood leader with ties to the Iraqi Islamic Party) said it was a religious imperative to resist federalism.

  50. Reidar Visser said

    NJH, the vote was reportedly unanimous except that State of Law opposed it. I don’t think Tawafuq listens much to Dari anymore.

  51. Santana,
    The Kurds declaring independence now means that they are taking the Americans for granted. The Kurds need to guarantee membership of NATO before taking any such step, I think.

  52. Santana said

    Thanks Faisal- You are probably right…just not sure what the surprise will be ?

    Reidar…you are correct- Tawafuq does not listen to Dhari …infact, besides Alqaeda, I don’t think anyone does….he has been a royal pain to everyone!

  53. Observer said

    The surprise could be the rumors I am hearing around here of large IOC coming to KRG. these IOC’s would not invest billions without guarantees. These maybe in the form of military presence of a friendly force. The surprise maybe in the form these guarantees will be achieved. Maybe a military base? Who knows? Certainly not me 😉

    The marshes is the one place you can not teach me anything about as I am a m3aidi and the son of a m3aidi and proud of it. Listen to me one last time, the people of the south are the strongest supporters of a unified Iraq and they can teach you a lesson or two about 3afa allahu 3ama selef. They hold Saddam and the Baath party responsible not the entire mass of Sunnie Iraqis. Are you aware that of the 9 founding members of the Baath party are from the south?

    Do you know what Barazani did to the Kurds who helped Saddam (Jihoosh) who actually were responsible for killing of Barzani clan males and raping their women? He went and had dinner in the house of the head of the Johoosh and after eating, he told them that the food was poison to him, but that he did it for the Kurdish people as revenge is not going to bring the dead back. He asked them to retire from the army and gave them pensions. I heard that story being told with my own ears in the presence of witnesses who were shaking their heads in the affirmative. That is a true leader who puts the interests of his own people above his personal grievances. You can draw your own conclusions about the narrow mindeness and smallness of spirit the She3a Islamic parties political leader.

    So even if you want to extrapolate incidents that took place in the era of Saddam to the entire history of Iraq then I would point out to you the examples of Barazani as opposed to the likes of Jaafary, Malik, and company. By the way, history to me kind of goes to the sumerian times and given your moniker one would presume – wrongly in your case – that your sense of history is not limited to the last 40 or 60 years. Forgive me for my assumption that what you meant by history is different than what I assumed, but given that your name is SUmerian, I think it is understandable that I made such a mistake.

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