Monday, June 13, 2011

Barzani "concerned" about feuding bloc leaders

Erbil, June 13(AKnews) – Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani is said to be concerned about Iraq's political process and has called on rivaling political blocs to settle their disputes through dialogue.Sarok barzani , Kongrai Hsk

Presidential office head, Fuad Hussein, said Barzani was particularly worried about the ongoing row between the two major political blocs led by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and former interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi.

Tensions between the two leaders came to a head on Friday when a group of pro-Maliki demonstrators, calling for the execution of the perpetrators of the al-Dujail wedding massacre, clashed with anti-Maliki protesters in Baghdad.

Maliki's supporters were allegedly paid by the government to chant pro-Maliki slogans.

The two groups eventually clashed and Maliki's supporters ripped and burned Allawi's photos and struck them with their shoes, a highly disrespectful gesture in Arab Culture.

Yesterday the al-Iraqiya bloc expressed outrage at the burning of photos of its leader with spokesman Shaker Kattab describing the act as "unacceptable".

The Sunni-backed al-Iraqiya list then announced yesterday its boycott of parliamentary sessions following a brawl between the list's spokesman and a leader in the State of Law Coalition (SLC) led by Prime Minister Maliki.

The scuffle is said to have broken out when a leader from the State of Law (SLC), Kamal al-Saadi, allegedly hit al-Iraqiya spokesman, Haider al-Mulla, with his walking stick.

Hussein said these tensions pose a serious threat to the political process and the country's security.

Al-Iraqiya, led by former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, narrowly beat Maliki's State of Law Coalition in the March 2010 elections but Maliki controversially overcame Allawi's list by forming a super-bloc, the National Coalition (NC), with the Sadrist Current after the results of the poll were announced.

Following a nine-month political impasse with both leaders refusing to relinquish claim to the country's leadership, Kurdistan President Massoud Barzani stepped in with a model for a national unity government and a power-sharing deal.

Under the agreements signed in Erbil, Maliki and Iraqi President Jalal Talabani – a Kurd – were to retain their offices for a second term, while al-Iraqiya leader Ayad Allawi, who secured a narrow majority of votes in the elections, would head a new executive body called the National Council for Strategic Policies (NCSP) as an attempt to maintain balance.

With the NCSP still un-formed six months after the Erbil accord was signed, the al-Iraqiya list has several times threatened to withdraw from the partnership government, accusing Maliki of monopolizing power and failing to implement all terms of the deal.

This view was also shared by the Kurds. MP Mahmoud Othman accused the government of failing to honor the prerequisite demands of the Kurdistan Blocs Coalition (KBC), submitted to the feuding political blocs in September 2010.

"None of the 19 demands handed to Maliki have been implemented," Othman said on June 6, "…the most important of which are the application of article 140, the hydrocarbon law and the Peshmarga issue".

Article 140 outlines a three-stage process to resolving the disputes over areas contested by the Kurdistan Regional Government and the central government in Baghdad.

In recent weeks, a number of Iraqi politicians, most notably from among the leadership of al-Iraqiya, have appealed to President Barzani to intervene once more and oblige the political blocs to adhere to the terms of the Erbil accord.

 "Part of Barzani's initiative has not been implemented," Hussein said, "and it is up to the political blocs to resolve that".

Written by Raber Y. Aziz, reported by Fryad Mohammed