MESOP EDITORIAL : Neither Barzani nor Maliki

By Kamal Chomani: Kurdistan Tribune – 24-11-2012 – Although the recent political tensions between Baghdad and Hawler are, more or less, problems between Masoud Barzani, the Kurdistan Region’s President, and Nouri Al-Maliki, Iraq’s Premier, ultimately they may explode into violence. Iraqi people – those who love peace and coexistence – do not want to see Arabs killed by Kurds or Kurds killed by Arabs. Those who do, should be damned!

In our region, Kurdistan, we have two ruling parties that have controlled everything. People are fed up with them, due to the corruption, nepotism and undemocratic rule. At the same time, we are more developed than other parts of Iraq. So – if Kurds are fed up with our authorities – Arabs in other parts of Iraq are even more unhappy with the reign of Al-Maliki. In brief – in terms of corruption, nepotism, monopolizing the markets, undemocratic rule and human rights violations – Masoud Barzani and Nouri Al-Maliki are two sides of the same coin.

Al-Maliki is doing his best to be another Saddam. He has already started assimilating his political rivals. He has taken control of the security forces, Intelligence Corporation, military and executive power and even the judiciary. What did Saddam have in his hands that Mr Maliki does not have now?

For his part, Barzani has done the same. The Peshmarga forces with which Barzani wants to defend Kurdistan are the same forces that killed innocent Kurdish protesters in Slemani last year when they demanded an end to corruption and nepotism. I have already written some articles about this, and I do not want to repeat myself.

I believe most readers surely know who Barzani and Maliki really are.

So what’s important for Iraqi people to do in the current situation?

Of course, if Iraq’s army intends to occupy Kirkuk and the disputed areas, Kurdish people must certainly defend their land. We have shed a river of blood to change the regime; we never want to be under another regime that seeks to take us back to the 1980s. Meantime, it is not our ambition to have any conflicts with Arabs in Iraq. If a political party or leader has some personal problems with another Arab leader, why should all the people pay the price!

For all Iraqis – Arabs, Kurds, Turkmens, Shi’as, Sunnis, Christians and Assyrians and so on – it is important to have better public services, a better education system and health care, better transportation and roads, better universities and real security. We all want these minimal ‘luxuries’ that people elsewhere enjoy. It is absurd that people lack drinking water, but they want another war between Kurds and Arabs!

It is a shameful that the Iraqi people have not tried to put an end to their politicians’ dirty ambitions. Meantime, it is a big disgrace on the politicians that, while they have no projects to serve the people, they pursue dozens of conflicts for power.

I believe that Barzani and Maliki are inter-dependent because each uses the other to boost their own popularity. And neither threatens the other because, simply, Maliki will never have supporters in the Kurdish region and Barzani will never have any in the Arab territories. The harsher is Maliki towards the Kurds and Kurdistan, the more his clout with nationalist Arabs and former Ba’athist remnants invigorates. Similarly, the more violent is Barzani’s rhetoric against Maliki, the stronger grows his clout with the common people, who do not understand these political conflicts. Barzani and Maliki are the main cause of their respective territories’ problems. Their people want radical change. Both leaders need these external conflicts to conceal their failures in governance. Maliki even betrayed Talabani, just to strengthen his clout with Sunni Arabs because Iraq is getting closer to the local elections.  Although he had promised Talabani to stop Dijla Operations Command, in reality he advanced it.

The problematic thing is that, even though we know all these things, nonetheless, because we have already experienced them, when it comes to ethnic conflicts, we all behave the same. Eventually, we will see Barzani and Maliki shake hands and smile with each other. So people should be more curious and serious. Neither Barzani nor Maliki are concerned about the people, they are just concerned about their power. In a power struggle, it is always the people who are victimized. The people of Iraq have been victims for decades: It’s time to live in peace if Maliki and Barzani will leave them alone.