Ankara Worried Over Iraq’s Future

Article Summary
Ömer Çelik, the ruling AKP’s chairman of foreign affairs, admitted that he is wary of Iraq’s future. Muharrem Sarikaya writes that the cause of his anxiety is Iraq’s prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, who is driving his country toward civil war. The growing opposition against him and his attempts to crush it will end badly, he fears.

“Our biggest concern is the possibility of a civil war in Iraq.”

These words were uttered by Ömer Çelik, chairman of foreign affairs in the Justice and Development Party and advisor to the prime minister.

He did not hide his concerns regarding Iraq, pointing out that a war there could escalate the region’s current tensions. In a nutshell, he was wary of Iraq’s future.

This anxiety stems from the attitude of Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, who is also known for his harsh statements against Turkey. He wants to rule the country as a “cabinet regime,” and under his rule, with even legal decisions needing to be confirmed by his cabinet. Maliki is dragging Iraq into a dictatorship, thinking that he can crush the opposition with tanks and weapons.

As Çelik said, six months after the US withdrawal, Iraq is on the verge of disintegration.

Antony Blinken, US Vice President Joe Biden's national security adviser, said in March: “Iraq today is less violent, more democratic and more prosperous … than at any time in recent history.”

However, evidence soon emerged that proved him wrong.

Maliki, who took power with the State of Law coalition, has surrounded the houses of opposition figures and leading actors in the Iraqiya coalition. The residences of Vice President Tariq Hashimi, Minister of Finance Rafi İsavi, and  Vice Prime Minister Salih Mutlak are all encircled by tanks under the command of Maliki’s son, Ahmad. By taking refuge in Turkey, Hashimi is possibly saving his life.

“What is happening in Iraq is a new dictatorship,” said Allawi, the leader of the Iraqiya bloc. He warned that Iraq is headed toward one-man rule, However, these warnings did not stop Maliki.

He made only arbitrary changes to his cabinet, appointing his relatives to the security and defense ministries. Maliki now wields power over the Ministry of the Interior and the intelligence and security agencies, and the command of the army was granted to his son.

In response to his growing power, Maliki’s opponents attempted to bring him down in a vote of no confidence. President of the autonomous Kurdish region Massoud Barzani, Patriot Union of Kurdistan leader and president of Iraq Jalal Talabani, Iraqiya and the Sadr bloc all have united against Maliki. However, his opponents have failed to muster enough support to bring him down in a vote of no confidence. The letter had only 160 valid signatures as 13 lawmakers either withdrew or suspended theirs. There were also rumors of vote-selling.

However, the opposition met in Selahaddin last week and began a new initiative to gather signatures against Maliki.

It seems that his days are numbered, but we have no clue as to what will happen after his downfall.

Iraq is headed toward a new era, and arms will be fired. We all know this will end up with the disintegration of Iraq into three parts: a Kurdish state in the north, a Shia state in the south and a Sunni state in the middle.

Found in: sadr bloc, sadrists, state of law, talabani, sunni-shia conflict, nouri al-maliki, kurdistan, iraqiya, iraqi kurds, disintegration of iraq, disintegration, barzani

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