Sunday, May 23, 2010

Talks Between Al-Hadbaa And Kurds Continue In Ninewa

In the January 2009 provincial elections the al-Hadbaa party emerged victorious in Ninewa province. They took all the positions in the governorate, shutting out the Kurdish led Ninewa Brotherhood List which had previously ruled the province. The Kurds ended up boycotting the provincial council in April 2009, ordered the sixteen districts under their power not to cooperate with al-Hadbaa, denounced the list as Baathists, and barred them from entering any Kurdish area. Besides control of the administration, the two sides have diametrically opposed views for the future of Ninewa. The Kurds for example, want to annex northern portions of the province that are disputed territories, and maintain their peshmerga militia and security forces there.

This year, the United Nations and Iyad Allawi’s Iraqi National Movement have attempted to mediate between al-Hadbaa and the Brotherhood list. In March the two met in Istanbul, Turkey at a conference to discuss provincial governance, and in April the U.N. hosted a meeting as well in Baghdad. The two just began another round of talks this month in Irbil. The Iraqi National Movement has also been pushing the talks as al-Hadbaa is a major player within the list, and Allawi wants them to make concessions in Ninewa in an attempt to win the Kurds over to his side in forming a new government. 

According to press reports, the lists have come to some agreement on outstanding issues. They have found compromises on the budget, appointment and distribution of governmental posts, staffing the bureaucracy, and the release of Arab prisoners held by the Kurds. Two other disputes over the border of Ninewa and security have been given to the central government and the Kurdish Regional Government to work out. A joint committee has also been established to work out the details of each one of these points. 

If al-Hadbaa and the Brotherhood List come to any concrete compromise it would be a major breakthrough for Iraqi politics. The dispute between the two encapsulates the larger Arab-Kurd divide, which is one of the leading problems facing the country. It is a major reason why Mosul, the provincial capital for example remains the most violent city per capita in the nation, and the last urban bastion of the insurgency. If the two lists can work together in Ninewa, it would go a long way to lowering attacks and deaths there and re-unite the divided governorate, as well as lower tensions in northern Iraq.

SOURCES

AK News, “Local consensus government likely in Nineveh: source,” 4/7/10
- “New round of negotiations between Nineveh and Hadbaa in Erbil tomorrow, sources,” 5/13/10
- "New session between sub-committees from "Brotherhood " and "Hadbaa," 5/19/10

Kamal, Adel, “signs of a solution in mosul,” Niqash, 5/13/10

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