Institutions Should Rule in Iraq, Not Personalities

December 24, 2012

The events of the last week were a testament to the fragility of Iraq, the instability of its government and the immaturity of its political process.

When Mam Jalal (Iraqi President Jalal Talabani) brokered the initial steps of the settlement process between Erbil and Baghdad by stopping the media war, everyone breathed a sigh of relief and hoped for Mam Jalal to continue his efforts.

But when he fell ill, everything was put on hold: The future of Iraq and Kurdistan was intertwined with the health of Mam Jalal.

When the bodyguards of Finance Minister Rafei al-Essawi were arrested things became further complicated, triggering another crisis between Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and his rival al-Iraqiya. The whole future of the country and government was once again in danger.

These events have clearly proven the inability of Iraqis to create any institutions of governance and politics. Neither in Kurdistan nor in Arab Iraq has there been an institution of government and politics ungoverned by personalities. Every institution is threatened by the absence of its leader.

The irony is that the past 10 years have been years of crisis for almost everybody involved in the political process, and every decision of any political party was ultimately the decision of one person: The leader.

On the other hand every settlement of a dispute was often the initiative of a person; this person was often Mam Jalal, not to forget the Barzani initiative that formed the current government.

In Mam Jalal’s absence, the other political blocs should now begin depersonalizing their institutions and institutionalizing the organs of state and government. While the difficulty of doing so is discussed by all because of the quota system and corruption, there is no other way to move forward either in Kurdistan or Arab Iraq except to institutionalize governance and politics.

As consultation between the Kurds and Iraqiya started on what to do next in light of the latest developments, the political process is threatened with returning to square one. But that could be for the best.

The two blocs, the Kurds and Iraqiya together with others who are unhappy with the current government, can pull out their ministers and the government will collapse. But this will be meaningless: Because of the personalized nature of our politics, the next prime minister will end up like the present one.

Mam Jalal’s illness should serve as a reminder for all that however great the person or leader, the organization should be an institution that survives any blow or upheaval. After all, true leaders do not create followers. True leaders create more leaders who are not their relatives or loyalists.

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    Mohammed Ali Qaradaghi says:

    Dear Kaka Hiwa

    Very true what you wrote, developed countries are based on political party(es) agendas and not the existence of one person, in Australia for example, there is no doubt that the whole country can have government change without us the citizen to notice any changes. Hope mam Jalal will recover and have rest and for others to learn from his wisdom.

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