The borrowing law widens the gap between the Kurds and the Arabs
The borrowing law widens the gap between the Kurds and the Arabs
At a time when the Iraqi President Barham Salih expressed his regret at the passage of a law on financing the fiscal deficit by the parliament without a national consensus due to the Kurdish boycott of the voting session, the Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani, head of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, went further, He promised to pass this law as a stab in the face of the Shiites and Sunnis against the Kurds.
Political observers in Baghdad were the enemy of passing the law in the absence of the Kurds, a dangerous shift in the context of the Arab-Kurdish relationship, which went through various historical stages before and after the fall of the previous regime in 2003. Under the previous regimes, especially the regime of Saddam Hussein (1968 – 2003), the relationship between Baghdad and Erbil was based on a unilateral vision, often imposed by the central government in Baghdad, to the extent that it was the one that controlled even the institutions that were supposed to be Kurdish, Through the appointment and selection of figures loyal to the regime at the head of these institutions, whether in the region or in the capital, Baghdad, including the presence of a Kurdish vice president and ministers of the Kurds.
On the other hand, the Kurdish opposition that had arisen even before the arrival of the Baath to power in 1968, in order to topple Saddam Hussein’s regime, established an alliance with the Shiite parties that were classified as opposing the regime, until this alliance between the Kurds and Shiites was considered a historic alliance.
After the US invasion, the historical “Shiite – Kurdish” alliance was strengthened at the expense of the Sunni Arabs who were a minority at the time of the opposition against the former regime, and they classified themselves as opposition against the new regime or the US occupation. This resulted in the production of a permanent Iraqi constitution (voted in 2005 by 80 percent, the vast majority of which were Shiite-Kurdish), with a Shiite-Kurdish consensus, and a weak representation of Sunni Arabs. But the honeymoon of the authority among the main actors in the Iraqi political scene (Shiites and Kurds) only lasted for years, until problems and difficulties began on the ground, starting with the constitution itself, which was designed by the will of both parties.
While the management of the political process proceeded through two ambiguous concepts, namely partnership and consensus, with the succession of parliamentary sessions, and the governments that it produced, the gap between the two sides began to widen, although political bargaining returned to the fore through every parliamentary election every 4 years, so that the Kurds remained represented. What is called the “egg of the bars”. But this egg was quickly broken more than once during the past years through a single (Shiite) vote once, or Shiite – Sunni again, while the Kurds boycotted the parliamentary session or the political scene for a period of time. But what happened at dawn the day before yesterday seemed different this time because it included – for the first time – the strength of the Iraqi citizen, whether he was Arab or Kurdish, when the parliament voted by the majority, according to democratic criteria, on the law on financing the fiscal deficit, with a Kurdish opposition. And the danger in this vote, according to what Kurdish politicians have promised, is that it will deprive millions of Kurdish employees of salaries. This is what the Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani considered “a Shiite-Sunni stab in the back of the Kurdish people.”
Barzani said, in a strongly worded statement: “It is with great regret that the political parties from the Shiite and Sunni components in the Iraqi Parliament have challenged once again the people of Kurdistan have appeared; They resorted to using the budget and sustenance of the people of Kurdistan as a card to put pressure on the Kurdistan region. ” He added that «the law legislated by the Iraqi Council of Representatives, without taking the partnership and the agreements concluded with consideration, we consider it a political paper and pressure on the region and punish the people of Kurdistan».
For his part, Iraqi President Barham Salih said, in a presidential statement, that “it is regrettable that the law was passed in the absence of national consensus, specifically from the Kurdish component, which constitutes a negative precedent in political action.” He pointed out that “welcoming the provision of salaries for employees in Iraq cannot be complete without a solution to the salaries of their fellow employees of the region, who are Iraqi citizens who have their rights stipulated in the constitution.”
Saleh stressed the need “not to hold citizens and employees responsible for the consequences of the political conflicts that have brought us to where we are today.”
Majid Shankali, a former representative in the Iraqi parliament for the Kurdistan Democratic Party, told Al-Sharq Al-Awsat that “the passage of the law to bridge the fiscal deficit in parliament in this way was a blow to the government of Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kazemi, and the lack of respect for its agreements with the region that stipulate that it pay The government of Baghdad is 320 billion dinars per month for the region to pay the salaries of employees until the end of this year, and after that there will be a comprehensive dialogue that guarantees the region’s dues, and the responsibilities it has within the 2021 budget.
But Ali Hama Saleh, the deputy in the Parliament of the Kurdistan Region for the Movement for Change, had another position, saying, in a statement, that “the law has a good opportunity for the region, as it guarantees 750 billion dinars per month, if the regional government commits to handing 250 thousand barrels of oil Monthly, with half of the proceeds from the border crossings, and this is better than the previous agreement which stipulated paying 320 billion dinars per month to the region.
For his part, the General Coordinator of the Movement for Reform and Development in the Kurdistan Region, Muhammad Baziani, considered that the House of Representatives and the federal government want – in public – the independence of the region from Iraq.
He said in a post on his Facebook page that “Parliament and the Iraqi government are telling us – publicly – to go and remove the Kurdistan region from our shoulders, and we do not want anything from you, and enjoy the good things that you and your people possess.”
And he adds, wondering: “Isn’t the opportunity ripe for those who dream of declaring a Kurdish state?”