Monday, 18 June 2012, 07:37 GMT
The Kurdish unity and the gloomy future of Iraq

Iraqi leaders meet in Erbil about the political crisis in Iraq and the issue of the Prime Minister Nuri al Maliki./GLOBE PHOTO/Safin Hamid

Globe Editorial
Azad Amin

The ongoing political crisis in Iraq rapidly evolves towards an uncertain and unpredictable future. The lack of cohesion among those who oppose Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and the latter's insistence to remain in power with his absolutist and dictatorial tendencies push Iraq deeper into murky water.

The recent bloody terror waves throughout Iraq with the exception of Kurdistan region is only one of the outcomes of this growing uncertainty and political turmoil. Iraq's chaotic internal affairs are combined with regional qualms that service to provide an even gloomier picture.

One thing is certain, however, that since 2003 Iraq has failed over and over again to establish sound democratic and plural governance and a stable and peaceful political system. Recent developments signify the fact that formation of a new Iraq was and is a doomed attempt. For Iraq to preserve its integrity and its political entity there is only one way to do it and that is through a new dictatorial and iron fisted regime. Maliki actions precisely fill this inevitability. In other words it is not Maliki that attempts to establish another dictatorial regime but it is the historical background of Iraq and its political system that corrupts anyone who come to power and force one to such dictatorial tendencies.

The flourishing of democracy and development of civil society in Iraq, if it ever happens, will fasten disintegration and dismemberment of Iraq. Artificial formation of Iraq's political entity and forceful and involuntary union of Iraq's different national and religious groups at the end of the First World War is the main culprit for such a dusky Iraq and its despairing people.

Since its inception, Iraq has always contained two main tensions and conflicts within its political system. On the one hand, the irreconcilable Arab-Kurdish national conflict and on the other hand the incompatible and historical Shiite-Sunni quarrel. With the removal of Saddam Husain these historical enmities clearly appeared on the political arena and each group with their specific historical background and experience attempted to utilize the post-Saddam period for their groups' interests. Nobody has the right to blame them for such behavior either, particularly of the Kurds and the Shiites. Both groups suffered tremendously under Sunni rule. The Sunnis on the other hand endeavor hard to snap back into the power that they lost with the collapse of Baathist rule in Iraq. Nine years after the fall of Saddam, Iraq is a sinking ship with no hope in sight.

The Kurds as a nation for itself has sufficient experience and abundant reasons not to remain in this wrecked ship any further. Neither the Kurds have any moral responsibility to be part of denominational conflict that is engulfing Iraq nor do they have any rational reason to mediate between the historical Shiite Sunni conflicts in Iraq. The Kurdish attempt since 2003 to keep Iraq intact and to remain a part of it has proved to be a failed attempt.

The growing discontent over removing Maliki from his post and the attitudes of Kurdish political leaders on this issue has to be critically examined. The worrying disparity between the two powerful Kurdish leaders, Kurdistan Region's President Massoud Barzani and Iraq's President Jalal Talabani, over the removal of Maliki may endanger the strategic agreement between the Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan that they lead respectively. The Kurds of today need a united stand more than ever in order to overcome today's challenges.

It is not really important whether Maliki is removed from his post or not unless a genuine democratic and inclusive political system established in Iraq. Maliki can be removed but who is going to replace him? How can the Kurdish leaders make sure that a new premier performs better than Maliki? These are the critical questions that have to be contemplated. At the same time, failing to remove Maliki from power is a welcoming of a new dictator in Iraq. Should Maliki manage to pass this crisis and remains in power he would be able to further consolidate his power effortlessly and transform Iraq into another phase of dictatorial rule. It is because of this alone that Maliki has to go or has to be removed from his post. The contrary is a bigger devastation for Iraq and for the people of Iraq.

Maliki's removal will not resolve anything. As mentioned above Iraq, has no historical record as a democratic plural country. The burning question for the Kurds is what path to follow? What is the main strategic policy that the Kurds should follow?

Concentrating on Maliki's removal alone could easily prepare another trap for the Kurds and without doubt this would be a waste of energy and time. It would sidetrack the Kurds from the more strategic national issues and would bog them down into the abyss of regional intrigues and manipulation.

The Kurdish political leaders and actors should bring this issue to the Kurdistan Parliament and a decisive and strategic road map should be developed by the parliament. Any negotiations with other Iraqi Arab political groups should be conducted according to the road map that is to be formulated by the parliament and conducted by a special committee to be set up by the parliament. The Kurdistan President should not waste his time and energy with never ending meetings and negotiations with various Arab political actors. Instead the Kurdistan President should concentrate on the general Kurdish national interests and should bring cohesion and unity to the Kurdish house.

The Kurds should focus on the developments in Syria and particularly on Syrian Kurdistan and assist their brethren to seize their historical opportunity in order to realize Kurdish self-determination in that part of Kurdistan. The Kurds should give attention to Kurdistan of Turkey and deal decisively with the PKK question. It should be kept in mind that immense political cultural and social upheavals that engulf the region soon will knock on the door of Iran and other untouched parts of the region. Consolidation of Kurdish national liberation movement and political gains in one part of Kurdistan will be insurance for the political and national rights of Kurds in other parts of Kurdistan. Deviation of Kurdish national concentration from bigger issues for the sake of petty issues will prove to be a historical mistake.

Cadets and leaders of both KDP and PUK must be extremely careful and vigilant not to let the Kurdish house slide down for the sake of a dictator in the making.