Friday, May 7, 2010

Grand Kurdish Alliance Next Step In Forming A New Iraqi Government

In April 2010 it was announced that all of the winning Kurdish lists would join together in a grand alliance called the Kurdish Coalition. While some of the internal dynamics of the new list have yet to be worked out, they are likely the next partners with the new Shiite partnership made up of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law and the Sadrist-Supreme Council led Iraqi National Alliance to form a new Iraqi government.

On April 18, 2010 the Kurdish Alliance, consisting of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), that won 43 seats, the Change List that won 8 seats, the Kurdistan Islamic Union with 4 seats, and the Kurdistan Islamic Group that took 2 seats in the March election announced that they would be joining together in a new Kurdish Coalition. Together they would have 57 seats in the new parliament. Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Massoud Barzani was instrumental in putting the new list together through in a series of meetings he held with Kurdish leaders. The point of the Kurdish Coalition is to provide a united front for Kurdish demands vis a vis the central government in Baghdad. The Kurds are likely to ask for a full and immediate implementation of Article 140 that calls for a census and then referendum on the future of the disputed areas like Kirkuk, the right of the Kurds to export their own oil that has been by the Oil Ministry, the election of Jalal Talabani for a second term as Iraq’s president, to have the government pay the salaries of the Kurdish militia the peshmerga, and 25% of all the top posts in the new government, including control of key ministries such as oil, defense, and finance.

In order to form the new coalition, the ruling KDP and PUK needed to make some concessions to the Kurdish opposition. One important move was an agreement to hire back supporters of the Change List who were fired from government jobs after the July 2009 Kurdish parliamentary elections. The Change List and the two Islamic parties have consistently complained of harassment, arrests, and firings of their followers by the KRG. The smaller parties also demanded a real say in the new alliance, not just to be under the leadership of the KDP and PUK.

The next step is to negotiate with the other winning parties in forming a new Iraqi government. After the two leading Shiite lists recently came together, they immediately said that they would hold talks with the Kurds next. Although the KDP and PUK have had running feuds with Prime Minister Maliki over the last few years, he has tried to make up with them, and they have a longstanding relationship with the Supreme Council, which should ease negotiations between them. Most importantly, the Shiite and Kurdish parties are interested in holding onto power, which outweighs any political or ideological disputes the various politicians might have with each other. When the Shiites and Kurdish Coalition come together, that will be one more step towards a new regime in Baghdad that will look a lot like the old one that was formed after the last elections in 2005.


AK News, “Kurdish lists build unified parliamentary bloc in Baghdad,” 4/18/10
- “Kurdish lists demand 25% share in new Iraqi govt,” 5/3/10

Dagher, Sam, “Election Victories Help Kurds in Iraq Push for More Sovereignty,” New York Times, 5/2/10

England, Andrew, “Iraqi Shia groups form alliance,” Financial Times, 5/5/10

Taha, Yaseen, “kurds unite,” Niqash, 4/15/10


AndrewSshi said...

Okay, Iraq having a government is a good thing, but...

I'm worried that this isn't going to be the best either for the Iraqi people or U.S. interests. I'm worried about the same arrangement of power that gave us Bayan Jaber and the Interior Ministry death squads of 2005-2006. And of course most of of the Shi'ite parties dance to Tehran's tune.

Anonymous said...

Joel, some of their demands seem too harsh!! Especially when the shia slate only need four more seats?

I think they should leave the kurds, strip some memebers from INM, bring unity of Iraq and Tawfuq, that way it will be a smaller but stronger government.

Joel Wing said...

Andrew I doubt the new government will lead to death squads but it will be as dysfunctional as the old one because it will include so many divergent agendas that it will never agree upon anything. The ministries will also contiune to be fiefs for the parties that control them. And yes the government is to Iran's liking.

Anon, the Shiite parties have said all along they would include the Kurds regardless of the circumstances. Many have long standing ties. I don't know how much of the Kurdish demands will actually be met after a government is formed because it'll include so many different views. I would predict more deadlock on kikuk, but the oil ministry just announced a deal had been made to allow the Kurds to export oil.