KR PM, Braham Salih hold joint conference identifying date of conducting PC elections in KR
Monday, 18 November 2013 21:23
Erbil (AIN) –The Prime Minister of Kurdistan Regional Government, Nechirvan Barzani, announced reaching an agreement with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan to identify the 30th of next April 2014 as a date to conduct the elections of provincial councils in Kurdistan Regional to coincide with conducting parliamentary elections in Iraq.
The media office of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan reported in a statement on Monday that ''The Undersecretary of Kurdistani Patriotic Union, Braham Salih, held a joint conference with Nechirvan Barzani, who is tasked by the Democratic Kurdistani Party to form the new Government, regarding the formation of the 8th KR Cabinet.''
At the beginning of the Conference, Salih stated that ''We discussed the file of forming the new cabinet and we have informed the Kurdistani Democratic Party that the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan wants to participate in Kurdistan Region Government to cooperate together in this stage in order to take opportunities offered for Kurds and achieve the success that citizens desire by forming a real unified government in KR.''
Turkey’s ‘Good Kurds, Bad Kurds’ Concept Still Lingers
By Hiwa Osman
Events of the last week and weekend in North Kurdistan (Turkey) and West Kurdistan (Syria) testify that the Kurds have moved to the next level in the Middle East: They are now interconnected and interdependent across the international boundaries that have created so much of their misfortune over the last century. In Syria, the Kurds have declared a self-administered region. In Turkey, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan used the word “Kurdistan” and vowed to continue “the peace march.” Both events were regarded by many as historic, and connected the Kurdish issues in Syria, Turkey and Iraq through the relationship between the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The central figure in all of this was the president of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region and leader of the KDP, Mr Massoud Barzani. He supported Erdogan’s peace march by visiting Amed (Diyarbakir), a trip described by some as historic. That made Erdogan's remarks also historic. At the same time, he opposed the declaration of autonomy in Syrian Kurdistan, which also was largely seen as historic. Kamran Qaradaghy, a prominent Kurdish journalist and writer who has worked extensively on Kurdish-Turkish relations, wrote on the day of Barzani’s visit that the Kurds have moved from being “cards” in the hands of regional powers to “players” in the region. The turbulent relations between the KDP and PKK and their differences over big issues could turn the Kurds into cards again. Turkey and the United States will suffer most if they do not accept some realities. Barzani’s stature is very important, but he is not the one that Turkey needs to make peace: Turkey's only peace interlocutor is the PKK, its jailed leaderAbdullah Ocalan and Qandil. The Kurds of Syria should look at Iraqi Kurdistan's experience in self-rule in the 90s and make a decision. The PYD will have to ask itself whether it can afford to fight the others, or should it find a workable relationship to govern together. The situation today has clearly changed for some Kurds and is starting to change for others. The key reality in all of this is that we have two types of Kurds. One the one hand, Iraqi Kurds are under pressure to behave like a state because of their legal and constitutional obligations. On the other hand, there are still Kurds who must continue their cause, because they are still very far from realizing what the Kurds have in Iraq. This is probably why the “good Kurds, bad Kurds” attitude still exists in the region. The value of events like those of the weekend will be different for each of these types of Kurds.
Hiwa Osman is a media development specialist based in Erbil
Last week I visited the Domiz refugee camp for the third time in six months and saw many children at school and play. Once again, I was struck by their cheeriness and resilience. I wanted to find some of the children I met in June but the camp has mushroomed since then from 50,000 to 75,000 so it would have been difficult.
These children will probably be there for years to come and possibly forever. They don't yet realise it.
Even if Assad were overthrown tomorrow, many refugees probably wouldn't return. They would calculate that Al Qaeda is growing and could target them. Maybe they wouldn't wish to be governed by what some say is increasing authoritarianism in Syrian Kurdish areas. Maybe they can be successfully absorbed into Iraqi Kurdistan whose booming economy can use their talents.
I am angry because their plight could have been avoided. It is now utterly unprovable but it is entirely probable that prompt action against Assad when he decided to brutally repress initially peaceful protests against his police state would have toppled him or at least cut his killing machine to size.
We all know that over 100,000 people have now died, over 700,000 have been injured and that chemical weapons have been used for the first time since Hawija and other attacks in Iraqi Kurdistan. International inaction has allowed extremism to grow to the point where practical measures such as no-fly zones, humanitarian corridors and safe havens are much more difficult. They may yet be necessary.
Nearly three years ago it seemed possible that Assad would be overwhelmed. Senior figures in neighbouring countries gave him a few months. Assad had learnt, however, a very basic lesson from the revolts of the Arab Spring elsewhere: complete brutality is the only way to keep power.
Assad used chemical weapons because he reckoned that a war-weary west would not take action. Yes, it is true that they have insisted on a process of decommissioning, which seems to be going well, but what this actually means is that he is guaranteed power for at least a year
We failed to understand Assad and have, through our omissions, condemned the children and their families at Domiz and elsewhere to years or decades of temporary shelter and wasted opportunities.
But most of all, I am angry because the lethal Syrian imbroglio is the result of a catastrophic failure of political imagination and will in the west, which has resulted from too many people learning the wrong lessons from Iraq.
Time and time again throughout active involvement with Irish and then Iraqi issues I have been reminded of the powerful words in WB Yeat's often quoted poem, the Second Coming which was written in the wake of what became known as the First World War. The most immediate extract is: "The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity."
Those who are moved by Domiz should have more coherence and conviction. I am angry that those who should know don't seem to understand that the presence of 250,000 refugees in Iraqi Kurdistan is a massive strain on its resources.
Assistance is growing but needs to be boosted much more. Efforts to build more and better classrooms and health facilities are urgent.
A lesser point is to call the Kurdistan Region by its correct name rather than inaccurately referring to "northern Iraq." Kurds have died for their right to a federal region. It is disrespectful to use the wrong name.
As for anti-war forces full of passionate intensity, why they haven't organized demonstrations against Assad? Why do some see Assad as an anti-imperialist check on American power? Why do they ignore the support to Assad from Russia, Iran, Hezbollah and some in Baghdad?
Why do they ignore the Syrians in favour of a futile search for proof that Tony Blair conned us into Iraq? Blair can defend himself but I wonder what they would make of the Syrian Kurdish leader who promises to build a statue of Blair when his country is liberated.
Liberation may take some time. But learning how we got things so wrong over Syria is urgent so that we can take action when it becomes necessary, even in much more difficult circumstances. The children of Domiz deserve to be at the front of political passions in Westminster and more widely.
* I was in the Kurdistan Region with the latest delegation from the all-party parliamentary group. It consisted of Conservative MPs Nadhim Zahawi and Robert Halfon and Labour MPs Meg Munn and Mike Gapes – a senior member and former Chair of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, plus Leo Docherty of the Conservative Middle East Council. More to come on the visit in due course.
How can we understand the future of Iraq? In the minds of Iraqis, Iraq's future is worse than the present. Many Iraqis perceive their coming days will be dark and grim. Intellectuals do not hesitate to acclaim the past and dwell on it, as if it were the perfect era.
This situation has psychological, historical and philosophical dimensions, and is certainly related to Iraqis having always had low expectations of the future.
The perception of the past and future is certainly linked to the present, for Iraqis have been experiencing political, economic and social crises. This justifies their reminiscence about the past, where life’s requirements were less complicated. This gloomy present does not bode well for them in the future.
This introduction is necessary to address two major points in the Iraqi status quo:
First, the Iraqi political arena is dominated by the same grim prospect that prevails among the public. Politicians are not reluctant to state that “Iraq is moving from bad to worse.”
Second, there is this emotional and political duality that confuses the perception of the past, which prevents Iraqis from rising up and advancing their country once again.
Regarding the first point, this state of popular and political frustration justifies failure economically, politically and at the administrative level. This has produced unsound governing systems and ruling regimes and led to a state of confusion at the level of the government’s administration and its inability to invest its resources. It also resulted in sharp social struggles and a serious security collapse.
This general frustration is also linked to the high expectations of Iraqis on April 9, 2003, which marked the end of the former Iraqi regime and the beginning of a new era.
Many politicians were wrong when they raised their expectations about the rapid advancement of Iraq following the entry of US troops into the country. Many intellectuals were wrong about monitoring social movements apart from the past. They believed that “everything will return as it was.”
The truth is that nothing will be back as it was.
Therefore, we are to look at the second point because it is substantial in understanding the current frustration plaguing the Iraqi arena.
“How do we deal with the past?” This is the question that has not been answered yet.
By the past, we mean the legacy or remnants of the regime of Saddam Hussein and the Baath Party. In 2003, when all parties were not sure how to deal with the remnants of the previous regime, former American civil governor Paul Bremer made his famous resolution to eliminate the remnants of Hussein’s regime by dissolving the army, security apparatuses and media institutions, and launching the “de-Baathification campaign.”
What matters today is that the Iraqis restore their ability to come to terms with the future, through a less violent and more humane settlement.
The unending accusations hurled at the the thousands of former Baathists will not be a logical solution to the problem. Ten years after the decision to “de-Baathify” and isolate previous security and military officials, the state has yet to determine who has the blood of Iraqis on their hands and who does not, for they were re-integrated in society as normal citizens.
The fundamental crisis over the past lies in that laws that were supposed to be a fair tool to overcome the transitional phase have become a big rock preventing Iraq from moving beyond this stage. This would not have been the case had these laws not been misused. In many cases, they caused injustice, rather than serving to achieve justice.
People cannot move toward the future when they are preoccupied with the past. They cannot move forward without taking bold steps based on the logic of truth and justice, rather than on political bargaining and investment.
Iraq desperately needs to come to terms with its future — to see more light at the end of the dark tunnel. But before this can happen, the country needs a bold and just resolution to settle old scores.
Mustafa al-Kadhimi is an Iraqi writer specializing in defense of democracy. He has extensive experience in documenting testimony and archiving documentaries associated with repressive practices.
The upcoming Iraqi general election in April 2014 is likely to be characterized by strong intra-sectarian competition, as opposed to previous elections that witnessed rivalries between predominantly Shiite and predominantly Sunni alliances. This is particularly true in the Shiite political arena, where rivalry is centered on three major forces: the State of Law Coalition (SLC), led by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki; the Muqtada al-Sadr current; and the Supreme Islamic Council, headed by Ammar al-Hakim.
Ali Shalah, a SLC lawmaker, recently said that the Shiite National Alliance is probably going to break up into several groups. Previous reports indicated that the political bloc of Deputy Prime Minister Hussein al-Shahristani, Mustaqiluun (Independents) — which is still part of the SLC — is studying the option of entering the elections as a single party.
The same is true for the Iraqiya List, which has broken up into several groups within parliament also fractured during the last provincial election. Zuhair al-A’iraji, a lawmaker from one of these groups — Free Iraqiya — predicted that the coalition will be replaced by three competing groups. The Mutahidoun bloc, led by parliament speaker Osama al-Nujaifi, has recently emerged as the largest Sunni bloc but it failed to become an alternative umbrella for all Sunni factions, as has been shown by the results of the provincial election.
For many, this might come as good news. The fragmentation of large coalitions with sectarian leaning could help de-escalate intercommunal tensions and direct electoral campaigns toward less sectarian agendas. However, this is not enough to say that sectarianism is no longer a powerful force. The intra-communal rivalry may become a conflict about who is better attached to the communal interests and, therefore, lead to more radicalization in the political discourse. Furthermore, this fragmentation is accompanied by the decline of cross-sectarian coalitions that were represented by the Iraqiya List, Unity of Iraq Coalition and, to a lesser extent, the SLC during the last general election in 2010.
In the current sectarian polarization, any genuine cross-sectarian alliance would be fragile and risk losing some traditional votes that could be won by relying on its sectarian constituency. Only small parties can take such a risk, but the current electoral law and the dominance of big parties on state institutions and the media prevent those small parties from winning more than a few seats.
Many prefer forming a cohesive alliance rather than joining a larger — but fragile — one. That preference can be traced back to the conflict that followed the general election in 2010, when the Constitutional Court interpreted the meaning of the “largest bloc,” which the law stipulates as the one allowed to form a government. The court ruled that the “largest bloc” means either the largest electoral coalition or the largest coalition that forms after the elections.
As a result, most of the major powers will avoid forming fragile coalitions that seek to reap the largest number of votes possible. They prefer to enter into cohesive coalitions to avoid fragmenting their real votes. For example, the Islamic Supreme Council previously complained about losing many votes in favor of the Sadr group after the two sides formed a single coalition.
In addition, the new electoral law adopted a “modified Sainte-Lague” system, which decreases the advantages previously granted to big parties.
Sectarian and ethnic rivalries shaped the electoral map in previous years and will continue to do so. But the next election will introduce a new and crucial element represented by the political division caused by the legacy of Maliki’s rule. The reciprocal criticisms between Sadr and Maliki suggest that the two sides are unlikely to ally and that the conflict between them will be centered on which side will attract the most Shiite votes.
There is a growing rift between Maliki’s supporters and those who fear that a third term for him will weaken their political influence and strengthen his grip on power. That rift will play a decisive role in determining the electoral alliances. The main issue in the upcoming election will not be the Sunni-Shiite conflict, but Maliki’s future.
As diplomacy around a possible US-Iranian nuclear deal enters a critical phase, Naftali Bennett, Israeli minister of economy, religious services, and Jerusalem and diaspora affairs, traveled to Washington last week to lobby key members of Congress. His goal was to persuade them not only to resist any relaxation of sanctions on Iran, but indeed to ratchet them up. Speaking at the Brookings Institution on Nov. 14, Bennett made a powerful argument whose potential resonance with lawmakers makes it worthy of closer scrutiny.
Iran, he said, is like a boxer who has been knocked to the mat, gasping for air as the referee counts, "Six, seven, eight ... " Why, then, should we help him to his feet just as we are about to win the match? Furthermore, Bennett asked, does anyone really believe that relaxing sanctions will lead to more leverage over Iran six months down the road when trying to extract further concessions and close the deal? Of course not. It is a simple matter of logic that we would have less leverage and thus that Iran would wiggle off the hook and continue along the path to a nuclear weapon.
Speaking the same evening at the Middle East Institute's annual conference, in Washington, US national security adviser Susan Rice made an equally important and powerful counterargument. Iran, she said, will not be bouncing rapidly back to economic health as a result of the very modest sanctions relief on the table with the current deal. Any economic relief would be “limited, temporary and reversible,” and crucially, “the amount of revenue that Iran will lose during the next six months would far exceed any amount of relief they might obtain as part of a first step agreement.” In other words, in Bennett’s analogy, even if Iran were slightly less groggy, it would remain punch-drunk on the mat.
A serious look at Iran’s economic situation shows this to be the most likely outcome. The reason that Iran’s economy has been so paralyzed is not only the extreme severity of the sanctions applied by the US-led coalition. Of equal importance is the eight years of inept economic management by former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that exacerbated the Iranian economy’s deep structural flaws and primed it to be uniquely vulnerable. As Dariush Zahedi and I have argued elsewhere, Iran’s downward economic spiral will continue unless there are serious and sustained reforms, which cannot be magically implemented overnight, even in the absence of sanctions. A slight relaxation of sanctions will only slow the rate of decline, not initiate a burst of economic recovery that might lead Iran’s leaders to resume their intransigence. Iran will be on the mat for a long time to come.
The stakes attached to digesting these facts and acting accordingly are high, but not only because of the historically rare US-Iranian alignment that could yield a major victory for nuclear non-proliferation. In addition, Syria's fate and regional stability are dependent on the success of a US-Iranian deal.
Syria’s civil war, already monumentally destructive, is close to crossing a new threshold that could unleash even greater military carnage and humanitarian misery inside and outside its borders. A string of regime military victories, coupled with the deal to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons, has secured President Bashar al-Assad’s position, meaning that continued attempts to defeat him militarily will simply lead to the further shredding of the country’s infrastructure and flight of its human capital. Reconstruction costs are already estimated to exceed $50 billion, underscoring the urgency of reaching a deal. In the meantime, fighting is set to enter a new and deadly phase that is even more explicitly sectarian in nature.
With the help of Iran and Hezbollah, the regime has hedged against its own collapse by building a 60,000-strong array of sectarian militias, the so-called National Defense Forces, which are mostly in Damascus but also in Aleppo, Hama, Homs, Latakia, Sweida and Tartous. The emergence of these forces, when pitted against the rising military power of Sunni extremists, has primed the country for severe episodes of ethnic cleansing. Meanwhile, Turkey, Jordan and especially Lebanon are reaching the limits of the refugees they can absorb. In Lebanon, for example, numerous provinces now host so many Syrian refugees that they outnumber the local population. This has led to a buildup of ethnic and sectarian tensions that could easily be ignited by a single provocation. With diseases such as polio resurfacing inside Syria, the upcoming third winter of the conflict is set to send the human cost of the conflict soaring.
Most critically, however, Syria has entered a de facto state of partition — among the deeply stalemated forces of the regime, opposition and the Kurds — and the burden of proof has shifted to anyone who wishes to argue that this could be reversed and the Syrian state reconstituted in the foreseeable future. Six more months of fighting would consolidate a Somalia-like trajectory, with a territorial entity split into hundreds of local fiefdoms ruled by militias, infested with al-Qaeda and possibly ungovernable for years to come. All regional actors would suffer from such an outcome.
All this makes it essential to emerge from the next six months with an Iran deal, because it is now clear that any agreement to end the Syrian crisis largely depends on it. While Russian intercession with the Assad regime will be important, there can also be no solution without active Iranian participation. The intertwining of Iranian and Syrian security forces during the course of the conflict, driven by the high strategic stakes for Iran as it tries to preserve its strategic depth and deterrent capability in the Levant, has given Tehran more leverage than any other outside actor in facilitating, or preventing, the mechanics of a leadership transition. Iran may well come to the conclusion that Assad needs to go, but it is exceedingly unlikely to take the risky steps necessary to act on that conclusion until it has secured a nuclear deal.
Ashour: the formation of the new coalition is subject to bargaining and there are those who join for more than a block
19/11/2013 - 10:06
Alsumaria News / Baghdad
Said the Iraqi political independent Hani Ashour, Tuesday, that the formation of some political blocs new for the upcoming elections is subject to bargaining, noting that the owners of these blocks offer amounts to those who join the bloc new, as pointed out that there are those who join for more than a block at a time.
Ashour said in a statement issued today, and received "Alsumaria News", a copy of the "attribute amounting to form some political blocs new for the upcoming elections is subject to bargaining, where he plays political money total of corruption role in the collection of some of the characters to form," noting that "it threatens the integrity of the upcoming elections. "
He added Ashour said "some owners of those blocks and capital existing began offering amounts and ministries and positions of those who join the bloc new", adding that "there to join more than a block at a time and gives promises to more than one person, and attend meetings more than the formation of a political, in order to fall into the arms of who pays more than the last moment. "
Ashour warned of "the danger that the future of Iraq, which will be in the midst of people have made bargains and deals a way for them to get into parliament and power."
It seemed most of the politicians to form coalitions and new parties to participate in the forthcoming parliamentary elections scheduled to be held on 30 April 2014, where he announced the Minister of Agriculture Izz al-Din state, in the November 12, 2013, the formation of a political bloc as new "way" to contest the next election, and among This bloc includes politicians, intellectuals and tribal leaders, pledged to work to remove Iraq from the abhorrent sectarian conflicts.
He also revealed the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs طورهان Mufti, in the November 13, 2013, the formation of Turkmen Front free to participate in the upcoming parliamentary elections 2014, and among that this front will be independent of the Iraqi Turkmen Front, called entities and parties Turkmen to the alliance with them.
National Alliance stresses the importance of the continuation of all its components in the upcoming elections
Tuesday, October 19 2 / November 2013 08:50
[Baghdad - where]
Held the political body of the Iraqi National Alliance held a regular meeting headed by Ibrahim al-Jaafari, and in the presence of representatives of the blocks in which all internalized.
According to a statement of the National Alliance Agency has received all of Iraq [where] a copy of it, "It was during the meeting held on Monday, the Office of Jaafari evaluate the work of the National Alliance, and the role he played in the political process, and stressed the importance of continuing the alliance components of all in the next phase and during the electoral process" .
The statement added that "the conferees discussed the rules of electoral behavior in the next season, and ways of creating a positive atmosphere promotes democracy in the country; through the coordination of positions between the rival blocs."
The statement pointed out that "present استذكروا the saga Alashouraúah, and the role of the masses Husseiniya in the revival, and emphasized the need to draw inspiration and lessons learned from this great event; including reinforcing the unity of Iraq's land and people." Is over.
Deputy for Iraq: the Kurds to clarify the mystery about Talabani بتحسنها of health or death
Tuesday, October 19 2 / November 2013 08:05
[Baghdad - where]
Demanded the MP for the Iraqi List, Nora Albjara Kurdish bloc to give information about the health of President Jalal Talabani.
Little that Talabani is subject to treatment for 11 months after suffering a stroke summoned him to a hospital in the German capital Berlin for treatment and follow-up of his health.
The Bijari told all of Iraq [where] "We have ambiguous about the health of the President and the Kurds and the government should be frank and honest with the people," pointing to "pride charismatic president of the republic, but Iraq so far without a president or any information contained on improved health or does he deceased" .
She added that "this vacuum is a great imbalance suffered by Iraq's President of the Republic is a safety valve and should keep people on the health status of the President and announced both his health has improved or that he died."
The head of the House of Representatives Osama Najafi had said earlier that the "deterioration of health, which passes by President Jalal Talabani, if you stop an obstacle to the possibility of his return to carry out its functions must elect a new president," adding that "the family of the President of the Republic has apologized and rejected a request made by the prior nearly five months to Talabani's visit and check on his health and knowledge of constitutional and legal matters for the position, but the family has apologized, stating that the president is undergoing treatment and can not see him. "
The Kurdistan Alliance's response to an invitation Najafi, as "Najafi has no right to decide the continuation of President Jalal Talabani, whether or not his duties and that the job needs to be a political consensus in the event of continued Talabani was unable to exercise his duties."
For his part, said the cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, he was "not true that Iraq will be without a president known determination and alternative, however, the people that democracy was instituted and ask God wellness of the current president, Jalal Talabani," reiterated his call for "send a delegation to check on the health of Talabani."
As promised the MP for the coalition in Iraq Faiza al-Obeidi not named President of the Republic, rather than Talabani, who is undergoing treatment for months, as a "breach of the Constitution and the legitimacy of the government, and can not miss the President of the Republic for months without filling his spare."
For his part, Necmettin cream governor of Kirkuk, a doctor authorized to declare health Talabani said "the president's health is very good, and there are people whenever approaching elections are spreading incorrect statements about the health of Talabani."
The statement issued by the Presidency of the Republic on 17 December last in 2012 announced that President Talabani suffered a stroke and he been ill due to exhaustion and fatigue, was taken to a private hospital in Baghdad to control his health, under the supervision of a medical specialist, and after three days, any day 20 of the same month, the German doctors were brought in haste President Talabani transfer to Germany, where he was admitted to a large hospital there.
Board of Commissioners approved a number of regulations and procedures for parliamentary elections
BAGHDAD / obelisk: spokesman announced the election commission Safaa al-Musawi for approval of the Board of Commissioners on a number of systems and procedures for the election of the Iraqi Council of Representatives 2014.
Moussawi said in a statement obtained "obelisk", a copy of "The Council endorsed the system of complaints and appeals, and procedures for international observers, as the council also approved the procedures for the electronic system to update the register of voters for the election of the Iraqi Council of Representatives 2014.
The Board of Commissioners and in the readiness and preparedness for the election of the Iraqi Council of Representatives Saq on a number of regulations and procedures previously and is in the process a number of other study for the purpose of organizing and managing the election of the Iraqi parliament scheduled for 30/04/2014.