*** " Evict Maliki " Countdown is 37 Days until the SCHEDULED Election *** * NOTE that the countdown notice has been amended to qualify the Election as " Scheduled " to give emphasis to the tenuous state of political / constitutional affairs in Iraq in recent days and specifically the mention in the news of a possible delay in the election due to the Anbar diaspora.
*** is Chattels
~~ is Red Lily
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Hajim al-Hassani: Implementing laws is as important as making them.
Hajim al-Hassani, former speaker of the Iraqi parliament, believes that elections or changing leaders will not solve the problems in Iraq. “We need to establish the state institutions,” he said in an interview with Rudaw. “These laws will create a sound foundation for an institutionalized state.” Remarking on the several disputes raging between Erbil and Baghdad, he said that,” the cause of all these crises is rivalry over power and gaining control over the others.” For Hassani, “The process is wrong from the very beginning and we have to remind ourselves about how we want the governance system be in Iraq.”
Rudaw: How do you evaluate the issues between Baghdad and the Kurdistan Region? Have they reached a deadlock?
Hajim al-Hassani: These problems should have been solved in the beginning of the political process. But rivalries over power have delayed solving these issues time after time. The process is crystal clear, as some people intend to take Iraq back to the first square by establishing a central government and exercising control over the Kurdistan Region and other governorates. It is obvious that we are against these attempts and will not allow Iraq to have a centralized form of governance and dictatorship as in the past. Sincere dialogue is needed for solving the issues.
We have been making and drafting laws for eight years, but none of them were addressing the important laws that are required by our constitution, such as the law of gas and oil, the law of the federal court and the law of the political parties. These laws will create a sound foundation for an institutionalized state.
Rudaw: These issues exist because of the lack of laws or failure to implement them, because as you stated, many laws have been legislated in the past years?
Hajim al-Hassani: It is clear that making laws does not solve the problems. Implementing laws is as important as making them. We have made many laws but have they been implemented? Laws have to be made, implemented and the implementation method evaluated. Sometimes laws are made but they are full of holes, and they need to be amended.
We need serious dialogue and open talks in order to detect whether we have a true partnership in running this country or one side, which intends to impose its authority on the rest.
Rudaw: When you were the speaker of the house, the problems were not out of control like now. Is it because the parliament had more power at that time?
Hajim al-Hassani: The situation was different then. There was no single party who could control everything, like now. Today, the situation is different, especially after the withdrawal of the US troops, some groups have used that opportunity to seize power and exercise control over the others and marginalize them in the political process. It is not important to mention names, because it is obvious who they are.
We have to ask the question of whether we want a modern state or not. If so, we have to work to prioritize the state institutions according to the standards and principles of institution building. In the beginning we all agreed upon partnership and consensus in dealing with the issues, at least in the transitional period. We could have passed through the transitional phase into the phase of stability if the partnership agreement was honored, but we could not because one side wants to marginalize others in every way possible. This has caused a series of economic and security crises and the spread of corruption. The cause of all these crises is rivalry over power and gaining control over the others. This means the process is wrong from the very beginning and we have to remind ourselves about how we want the governance system be in Iraq.
The peaceful intention of the government and principles that are mentioned in the constitution are both key elements in this matter. When we talk about the federal system, this means a group of regions and not one single region and a central government.
Rudaw: Maliki currently seems to be above everything in Iraq including the constitution. Where does that take us?
Hajim al-Hassani: No doubt Maliki has a great share of responsibility, but he is not the only one. The other parties are also responsible. Maliki cannot pass bills in the parliament on his own as he controls less than 85 seats. Passing a bill in the Iraqi parliament requires 163 votes. Sometimes you need supermajority rule in passing certain laws. This means Maliki needs the assistance of others to do what he wants. So our point is that there are other parties beside Maliki who are also responsible by assisting Maliki. Those other parties must make their stance clear and declare their opposition.
All the parties are waiting for the upcoming elections and hoping for a change in the political map and an opportunity for progress to occur... It is true that Maliki is acting unilaterally in matters of military and armed forces, but the core issue in leading the military forces is the lack of a clear law that specifies those posts and their powers. Till now, the type and the limits of the powers of the General Command of the Armed Forces is not clear. We still do not have interior and defense ministers, no head of intelligence, and no agreement exists in this regard. He runs all those posts and ministries by proxy.
Rudaw: What do the other parties have in common with Maliki? Are they thinking like him or they are forced to assist him?
Hajim al-Hassani: Those groups must prove that they are against the path of Maliki. Their words are not enough. The parties that support Maliki must reveal their true intentions. They can either choose between supporting autocracy and opposing it. They have to take a side.
Rudaw: On the opening day of the Sulaimani Conference, Nechirvan Barzani spoke harshly against Baghdad. The Arab guests criticized the speech for being too harsh, while the Kurdish people continuously criticize the Kurdish leaders for being too soft towards Baghdad.
Hajim al-Hassani: Moderation will be needed in this process. It is the language of diplomacy and dialogue in solving the problems, but when you know that the country is in danger, soft words will not change anything. You have to say decisive words to send a message to your opponent that you have other options. The Kurds are saying that they have other alternatives and we are saying the same thing. Those who previously were against the constitution are now accepting it despite its shortcomings, but even that has become hard to achieve. The Sunnis demand their constitutional right to become an autonomous region. This is their right, but we saw how the similar requests of Salaheddin and Diyala governorates were rejected.
Rudaw: We have been hearing about the importance of dialogue in Iraq since 2003, but what has dialogue brought us?
Hajim al-Hassani: We have two options, either resort to dialogue or fight. I believe dialogue is the better option if it reaches a conclusion. Conflict will harm everyone in the end. I hope we will not resort to war and complications, but we are also not very far off. Decision making in Iraq is not totally Iraqi. The regional countries are influential in the domestic issues of Iraq. There is always the external factor, and what happens in Iran and Syria impacts Iraq as well. I do not want to see a repetition to the Syrian events in Iraq, but it is very possible.
This leads us to two choices. First, is to have elections to change the situations. Second, is to create regions in Iraq in order to distribute power and prevent concentrating it in the hands of one group or sect. If none of these options succeeded, then we will come face to face with a very dramatic option, such as the dissolution of Iraq into Kurdistan, Sunnistan and Shiistan. Of course, we do not wish that, but freedom means dignity for people, and when the dignity is trodden on, people will definitely reject it and matters will take a very dangerous turn as each side will form its own group.
Rudaw: The problems between Baghdad and Erbil made Maliki withhold the salaries of the employees in Kurdistan Region. Do you see this as an economic embargo?
Hajim al-Hassani: The current embargo is not only on Kurdistan Region, it has been imposed on the Sunni and some Shiite provinces as well. When the ideology becomes autocratic, all the people become under siege. Hence, we see opposition within the Shiite coalitions as well. Insisting on this policy means you want to push the country to a catastrophe.
Rudaw: If you became the speaker of the Iraqi parliament at this current situation, what will you do?
Hajim al-Hassani: Changing the leaders will not solve the current problems. We need to establish the state institutions. Leaders do not have superpowers to solve all the problems, but they need to believe in the constitution and implement it.
Rudaw: Whenever federalism is mentioned, Maliki claims that Iraq is going towards division. Can you see that division?
Hajim al-Hassani: Federalism does not mean division. Why did you accept federalism in the beginning and claim it leads to division? They were the main parties that demanded federalism. The unity of Iraq is only a slogan. The unity of Iraq can be protected when everyone feels free, when the state is institutionalized, corruption is eradicated and monopoly of power is prevented. We have not made these changes to prevent the current situation.
Hajim Mahdi Saleh al-Hassani (Arabic: حاجم مهدي صالح الحسني), (born 1954, Kirkuk) to a prominent Kirkuki family is an Iraqi politician and was the speaker of the Iraqi National Assembly under the Iraqi Transitional Government. A moderate Sunni Arab and relative outsider, having spent much of his life in the United States, al-Hassani was tapped as a compromise candidate for the speaker's post after weeks of deadlock between Iraqi political parties. al-Hassani had previously been a member of the Iraqi Islamic Party in exile and was Industry Minister under the interim government of Iyad Allawi.
Born in Kirkuk, Hassani attended Mosul University and relocated to the United States in 1979. He studied at the University of Nebraska and earned a Ph.D. degree from the University of Connecticut and then spent 12 years a CEO for an investment and trading company in Los Angeles. While in the U.S., he was involved in the opposition to the Saddam Hussein regime in exile, and was actively involved with the Iraqi Islamic Party (IIP).
Hassani returned to Iraq following the U.S. invasion in 2003 and worked with the Interim Iraqi Governing Council appointed during the period of the Coalition Provisional Authority. As the IIP wielded influence in the dangerous Anbar province, Hassani was involved in negotiating a temporary truce with Fallujah-based insurgents in 2004 and successfully stopped an imminent attack on the city.
Under the Iraqi Interim Government of Iyad Allawi, formed in 2004, Hassani was named industry minister in the new administration. He left the party when the IIP withdrew from the government, retaining his ministry post.
He joined the Iraqis coalition of Interim President Ghazi al-Yawer for the election in January 2005. After the election the post of speaker was reportedly reserved for a Sunni Arab, and al-Hassani, one of only two candidates deemed acceptable to the range of parties, was offered the post.
He was elected to the Council of Representatives of Iraq in the Iraqi legislative election of December 2005 as part of the Iraqi National List coalition led by Iyad Allawi. He resigned from that coalition in September 2007, claiming Allawi was high-handed and lacking in vision. Later he formed Nationalist List and participated in the provincial election. He is considered by Iraqis as one of the moderate and liberal politician in Iraq after Saddam's regime and widely respected by most of politicians in Iraq.
Baghdad (AIN) –The head of the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council, Ammar al-Hakim, stated that building of Iraq depends on building strong Government.
The Presidency of the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council quoted Hakim as saying during his visit to the book international fair situated at Baghdad international fair that ''The Iraqi community face many challenges and many social disputes which only can be addressed through science and knowledge.''
''Iraq underwent many political and security circumstances that required to focus on development of construction while we should focus on building the Iraqi individual in order build a strong State that can serve its people,'' he concluded.