American Vision: stroke that hit Iraqi President revives fears of Arab division – Kurdish

American Vision: stroke that hit Iraqi President revives fears of Arab division – Kurdish

Published 24/01/2013 11:05 AM

Simon Henderson and David Pollock

Reports indicate that the health status of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, has improved since suffering a stroke on the eighteenth of December / December, but concerns about the president’s health – which is the title of honor – is still serious. The doctors were brought foreign specialists to Iraq, and then decided to Iraqi medical teams and global flown Li Germany, where he arrived on the twentieth of December / December.

Whatever the type of treatment he needs Talabani, there is great concern in Iraq and the region about the consequences that could lead to the situation if Iraqi President difference life or you will not be able to continue to perform his duties. For Washington, often helped Talabani to facilitate the difficult relations with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki since the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq a year ago.

There is no clear alternative to the president’s 79 years old. It has helped to unite the country after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, and has sought recently to ease tensions between Iraqi Kurds and the central government in Baghdad over disputed areas and the role of foreign oil companies to exploit the vast reserves of potential (to learn more about these tensions, Read PolicyWatch 2000) . During the past few weeks the situation between the two sides on several occasions, to a dangerous situation so that the Iraqi army and Kurdish Peshmerga forces are about to engage in active combat in the disputed areas around Kirkuk – a major city ethnically mixed and rich in oil. Has resulted in divergent positions between Baghdad and Erbil, which appeared recently on border issues with Turkey and Syria to complicate the situation more. On Syria, Baghdad still supports the Assad regime, while supporting Kurdish Arbil peers in opposition.

Talabani was a political leader and a warrior for the duration of his life as an adult, where he fought against the government that preceded the reign of Saddam in the sixties of the last century, but he also knew when choosing temporary exile or to negotiate a cease-fire, even with Saddam. The power center is around the city of Sulaymaniyah in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq, near the border with Iran, which is wary of ties and contacts. In political terms, activities practiced by “the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan” (his personal basis), which was often at odds with the “Kurdistan Democratic Party” based in Arbil, which is led by Massoud Barzani.

According to the Iraqi constitution, is a Vice President of the Republic the presidency of the country on a temporary basis if Talabani died or became unable to continue to perform his duties. And then, within thirty days parliament elects a new president. However, one of the Vice-President is Tareq al-Hashemi – a Sunni Arab – now lives in self-imposed exile in Turkey after fleeing Baghdad across the land ruled by the “Kurdistan Democratic Party”, amid allegations that he had issued orders to the implementation of political assassinations. The other is Khodair al – Arab and Shiite political ally of Maliki. The deteriorating health of Talabani expands the challenge of maintaining the political and ethnic balance and maintain the concept of one Iraq Shiites and Sunnis, Arabs and Kurds, and other minorities.

Because of the large risks involved in these developments, especially in Baghdad conflicts with Kurds over oil and land issues, Washington should deal with the situation carefully. The Constitution does not impose that Kurdish be the next president, but political wisdom suggests that it must be of the Kurds, especially a character like Talabani that can mediate between Kurds and Arabs. However, it would be difficult to implement in the current political environment, but the involvement of Washington swift and decisive manner could push al-Maliki and Barzani to defuse the tensions between them and cooperate on finding personal occupies the position of President on a temporary or permanent basis. Otherwise, the quest for the option suggests the dominance of Shiites on the top positions of the country could be catastrophic.