Time To Set The Rules Of The Game

November 19, 2012

The events of the past few days and possible armed clashes between the Peshmerga and Prime Minister Maliki’s Dijla forces south of Kirkuk, reminded everyone that there are certain red lines that Kurds cannot afford to be divided on.

Meanwhile, the Kurds should seize this opportunity and translate the results into a framework that would set the rules of the game in Kurdistan, and the new Iraq.

Events such as these should also be a wakeup call to pseudo Iraqi allies who claim to be with the Kurds, but neither do nor say anything when the Kurds need them.

It is obvious that Maliki has been building up for the moment of conflict between the Kurds and Arabs. Furthermore, his arrogance after the failure of a motion to withdraw confidence from him led him to believe that he can divide the Kurds into two or three blocs.

But this behavior backfired and brought the Kurds closer to each other. The developments of the past few days showed that the Kurds see certain areas as red lines behind which they stand unanimously. Article 140 is one of them.

The Kurds should use the unity emerged out of the Dijla blunder to dictate the terms of their relationship with Baghdad, set the basis of inter-Kurdish relationship and a mechanism realizing Kurdish demands.

As the Kurds are mulling over the strategic agreement between the two ruling parties of Kurdistan, it could be a good opportunity to discuss the establishment of a charter that can be subscribed to by all parties in Kurdistan.

While it is becoming clearer that Maliki’s Dijla step is to gather support for himself in the run-up to the election season in areas otherwise known to vote for the Iraqiya bloc, the Kurds and their allies need to be aware of the prime minister’s intentions and conduct a strong campaign explaining that his action has nothing to do with keeping security in the areas of Article 140.

The Kurds need to remind those who see themselves as the rightful owners of Iraq and that they are doing the Kurds a favor by allowing them to be in Iraq, that the new Iraq comprises all groups and no one its exclusive owner.

However, the sad reality is that anti-Kurdish sentiment is growing in the Arab Iraq and the Kurds cannot change this all by themselves. They need their allies—who talk about historic relations with the Kurds—to play their role and help dissipate these sentiments against the Kurds.

At the end of the day, the danger of dictatorship looms larger over them than the Kurds.

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