Iraq and Gulf Analysis

Kurds Challenge Maliki Ally in Parliament

Posted by Reidar Visser on Tuesday, 3 January 2012 14:09

As Iraqi parliamentarians reconvened for their first session of 2012 today, the full spectrum of ongoing political crises were on display.

Symptomatically, the basic facts of who attended and who did not at times took precedence over the substantial content of the session. In the first place, the secular and increasingly Sunni-backed Iraqiyya party remained absent. A comfortable quorum was nonetheless reached with around 180 deputies present from the Shiite Islamists, the secular White Iraqiyya breakaway faction from Iraqiyya, and the Kurds.

That did not last long, however. Protesting against statements by Hussein al-Asadi, an ally of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, the Kurds withdrew from the session, demanding an apology from Asadi. Asadi had accused the Iraqi president, Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, of illegally providing shelter for the newly indicted Tareq al-Hashemi, the Sunni vice-president, thereby supposedly violating the anti-terrorism law.  

Other members of the Shiite Islamist parties including Maliki’s own State of Law alliance intervened and provided assurances that Asadi would not attend parliament until he had recanted. The Kurds promptly returned to the session.

These developments show two things. Firstly, the Kurds remain committed to the parliamentary process despite the boycott by Iraqiyya. Symptomatically, they did not achieve an outright condemnation of Asadi, but rather a document containing several clauses that would address the matter through parliamentary procedure.

Secondly, there are forces in the Maliki alliance – such as Asadi – that still dream of dominating parliament through a wafer thin alliance with White Iraqiyya, ignoring the Kurds. This trend – which failed to prevail today – should not be underestimated. Already, lawyers in Shiite-majority governorates like Diwaniyya are threatening to sue Talabani for failing to surrender Hashemi.

In another sign of Maliki’s inability to proceed with a bolder course in parliament, no vote of no confidence in vice premier Salih al-Mutlak, also of the Iraqiyya party, was held. The true test, however, will come later in the month with an expected national conference to deal with the latest political unrest. It is noteworthy that Maliki has used the past few weeks to speak out vocally against several power-sharing clauses of the shadowy Arbil framework that led to the creation of his second government in December 2010. This continued a trend seen throughout 2011, when Maliki increasingly sought to evade any discussion of the exact contents of that agreement.

Whether the Kurds attending the national conference will be satisfied with a verbal fudge of the kind seen in the Talabani-Asadi altercation today remains to be seen.

7 Responses to “Kurds Challenge Maliki Ally in Parliament”

  1. Santana said

    The Turks are not happy-they seem to be backing the Kurds for a change..

  2. Reidar Visser said

    Still strange to see the Turks calling for the US to act. The Turks may well be in a better position to influence things themselves now.

  3. Observer said

    Two words: Chapter Seven.

  4. Salah said

    Meanwhile Sadar admitting now publically that he take orders from Khamenei/Iran

    So what about other the come to join the club of publically telling Iraqis are Iran’s teals inside Iraq. wonder why US did not figure out these guys are Iranian proxy rather than Iraqis who care about Iraq and Iraqis, to show other ME countries the gain that US hope brought to Iraq and Iraqis.

    الصدر: خامنئي وباقي المراجع الكبار يحرّمون الانشقاق عن التيار الصدري وإضعافه
    المحرر: SZ | BK الاثنين 02 ك2 2012 18:32 GMT

  5. Thaqalain said

    What do you mean by POL in last twit?

  6. Reidar Visser said

    “Political”. Twitter will be an interesting experiment in terms of identifying acceptable and unacceptable abbreviations. It has occurred to me that those who tweet in Arabic will be able to convey substantially more information per tweet due to absence of short vowels in the written language.

    Observer: The US Chapter 7 leverage re Kuwait reparations has been there for many years. What has the USG done to actually make use of it? What is there to suggest they have the ability and/or willingness to make use of it for fixing the political situation in Iraq in the future?

  7. Observer said

    I believe that part of the calculations that the Obama team made in evaluating the need to extend the SOFA vs. leaving Iraqi basis included the use of Chapter 7 levage to obtain Iraqi government compliance with general needs of US interests. Iraq will never get out of Chapter 7 somehow became an Iranian proxy.

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