Maliki is Staying

March 21, 2012

Iraqi MP Yasin Majid’s comment about Kurdish morals, with a reference to Iraqi troops marching into the Kurdistan Region on 31 August 1996, in response to a recent statement by Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani who said Kurdistan would not hand over Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi to Baghdad, should tell the Kurds two things.
First: this is not Yasin Majid, but Prime Miniter Nuri Maliki saying this. Second: when Majid said this about Barzani, he was confident that Maliki would not remove him.
The reason is simple: although all of Maliki’s rivals are “in one box” with Erbil as one Iraqiya MP said, they are only in that box until the moment comes that Maliki is removed and everyone backs off for a different reason.
For Maliki, although the conflict between the political groups is reaching a critical point again, just like all the previous times, nothing will happen. Meetings will take place, each bloc cuts a different deal with him and he will continue to stay.
He will get a period of calm and then a new crisis starts.
To go a little deeper, each bloc has its issues with the ruling bloc and almost all of them use the Kurds in the conflict to strengthen their position.
Since day one of the new government, the Iraqiya bloc has had its problems with the State of Law Coalition. Iraqiya leaders feel they should have been the ones to form the government and not Maliki. Thus they often use the Kurdish region to mount the pressure on Maliki.
The Shia alliance (i’itilaf) is in competition with Maliki and his State of Law Coalition, creating their own pressure and believing that the leadership of the Shia in Iraq should be in their hand and not Maliki’s Dawa party.
The Sadrists swing between supporting Maliki and talking against him and his performance, in accordance with the issue of the day.
The Kurdish conflict with Maliki or with Baghdad has been over agreed upon issues and most of the time another problems has got in the way, often from the two major Arab blocs, and steered the attention away from the strategic issues to the problem of the day.
In many ways that status of the Kurds in Iraq has worked against them more than the times it has been in their favor. As a result of the ongoing Kurdish disagreement or conflict over the Kurdish issues, Erbil has become a willing partner for anyone who wants to be against Maliki. Every time a bloc has a problem with Maliki, it would easily drag Erbil into the conflict.
But this kind of partnership is temporary and goes as far as the other bloc cutting a deal with the PM, who is by now confident that in almost all crisis he prevails because his foes are not united in their demands or their vision for the future. Each one is against him for a different reason. Hence they cannot meet or agree on one strategy to remove him or agree on his replacement.
As a result Maliki plays all sides. He is becoming more and more confident and with each bloc he feels comfortable to do or say whatever he wants. With Iraqiya, he is holding the Hashimi case and he will go ahead with the trial in absentia and get a death sentence against him.
With the Kurds, the comment about the 31st of August 1996 is only the beginning.

    follow me
    mail me