Sunday, April 8, 2012

Efforts mount to remove Maliki

ERBIL – Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who has been accused of running an autocracy and dictatorship, may face a vote of no confidence if he continues his current political behaviors, claim political parties.

The accusations against al-Maliki increased recently after his Shiite-dominated government started firing Sunni academics from universities on charges of belonging to the outlawed Baath party, detained former Baath Party affiliated Sunnis on charges of planning a coup after the withdrawal of the US forces and chased after Sunni politicians with terror charges.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki
He also went against the allies in Kurdistan Region over long awaited issues of oil and gas. The political crisis erupted between Baghdad and Erbil recently after Kurdistan Region stopped the export of crude oil in protest against the federal government's non-payment of dues owed to foreign companies operating in the region.

The Kurdistan Regional Government claims to have asked Baghdad to pay the foreign companies some $1.5bn (1.7tr IQD), while the latter stated it would pay only $450m (522bn IQD).

On Sunday, Maysoon al-Damlouji, the spokesperson for al-Iraqiya bloc - the main Sunni bloc in the Iraqi parliament - said the list was seeking a consensus to remove al-Maliki from his position.
Al-Iraqiya Spokesperson Maysoon al-Damluji
Damlouji said a national consensus would be sought to withdraw confidence if Iraqiya and the Kurdish Blocs Coalition (KBC) were able to collect 163 votes. He added, Iraqiya has also established ongoing dialogue with parties in Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's own National Coalition (NC) bloc for this purpose.

Damluji's statement was immediately echoed by Kurdish observers. Falakaddin Kakayi, a former KRG minister, said Kurds may join other Iraqi forces in an attempt to remove the prime minister if he continues his current political behavior.
Falakaddin Kakayia has been known as a close personality to President of the Kurdistan Region Massoud Barzani,
"I believe that if Maliki continues his current behavior, and dealing with the Kurdistan Region, then I think the Kurds in the future will join those parties who are after such a bid."

Maliki has been accused of creating more issues in Iraq than solving them - those of a national level that affect all Iraq and others regarding Erbil-Baghdad relations.

On a national level, the PM has rejected al-Iraqiya's candidates for the ministerial positions they were entitled to under the 2010 Erbil agreement, when political parties came to a power-sharing deal following an eight-month deadlock.

But ever since, Maliki has been working as acting Defense Minister, National Security Minister, Interior Minister and acting intelligence chief – and this has been described by the political parties as a monopoly of authorities.

Bukhari Abdullah, a Kurdish political sciences academic said: "The administration of these positions is not Maliki's specialty and this is a serious indication that Maliki's behaviors have lead him to a dictatorship. "Over the last two years he has even entered disputes with parties who are his allies too. His disputes are not only with the Kurds and the Sunni Arabs, but also with some of the Shiites as well."

President of Kurdistan Region, Massoud Barzani, also criticized Maliki for his "autocratic" rule last month in an address during the Nawroz festivities in Kurdistan Region. 
Barzani with US Vice President Joseph Biden
He also warned that if problems between Kurdistan Region and Baghdad remained unsolved then the Kurdish leadership would take action according to the will of the Kurdish people.

Barzani also said during a U.S. Congress address last week: "Iraq is heading towards a crisis, autocracy has emerged; control of the majority of state institutions is growing every day.

"After I am back [to Kurdistan] we will seriously make efforts to find radical solutions for them in a specified time frame. "We will not be convinced with futile promises like before."

MP Salman al-Musawi, who is close to Nouri al-Maliki, said Sunday that the Iraqi PM has instructed all Iraqis to remain silent about the ongoing crisis with Kurdistan Region, to preserve the historic relationship which brings together Shiites and Kurds.

"On the Kurdish side, [they] must understand that our position comes from our sense to keep a good relationship with Kurds and that does not mean or is interpreted as a position of weakness," he said.