Iraq President Defends Kurd Chief, Blasts KRG Critic's 'Call to War'

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani has expressed outrage at a member of pariliament calling Kurdish President Massoud Barzani “a real danger to Iraq.” Hussein Ali Dawed reports on the political fallout of comments, which Talabani said he considered "reckless statements that tarnish the spirit of the nation."

al-monitor Massoud Barzani (R), president of the Kurdish regional government, and Iraq's President Jalal Talabani talk while attending a gathering of their supporters before the regional parliament election in Arbil, 310 km (190 miles) north of Baghdad, June 24, 2009. Photo by REUTERS.

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talabani, russia, krg

Oct 16, 2012

Media accusations were renewed between the Baghdad-based Iraqi central government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) as Iraqi President Jalal Talabani expressed his discontent with the statement of a prominent leader in the State of Law Coalition headed by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The coalition MP described KRG President Masoud Barzani as a “real danger to Iraq.”

Talabani said he considered these statements a “call to war.”

In a statement issued yesterday [Oct.15], Talabani said: “The president is preoccupied with creating a friendly atmosphere to normalize and appease relations between different Iraqi political forces, paving the way for bilateral, trilateral and collective dialogues in order to resolve the current crisis in Iraq.

“And while the president has taken a great step forward in this direction, Yassin Majeed comes up with provocative statements, sounding the trumpets of war against President Barzani, who is currently preoccupied with forming a large Kurdish delegation to resume dialogue with the National Iraqi Alliance (NIA) and other forces. This is an endeavor to resolve the Iraqi crisis according to constitutional methods, and based on previous agreements signed by all parties,” the statement said.

The statement pointed out that “[Talabani] cannot help but express his outrage over these reckless statements that tarnish the spirit of the nation and thwart efforts to resolve the outstanding problems of the people and the homeland. The president also urges the NIA to put an end to such statements and to compel its members to respect national-dialogue requirements.”

On Oct. 13, during a press conference at parliament headquarters, MP Majeed attacked Barzani, saying that he was “a real danger to Iraq’s economy and national security. He wants Erbil [in the Kurdistan region] to hold a political role at the expense of Baghdad, and the Peshmerga forces to replace the Iraqi army. Some Iraqi political forces, especially the Iraqiya list, are supporting him.”

Furthermore, the Kurdistan Alliance (KA) held a press conference yesterday [Oct.15] at parliament headquarters, where MP Farhad Atrushi — a leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), which is headed by Barzani — said that “Majeed accused Barzani of being a real danger to Iraq’s national security because [Barzani] is opposed to the policies of Maliki, and to any policies that seek to establish a totalitarian central regime and build an army made up of two million troops, whose allegiance is to a particular party, and not Iraq.

“He also accused the KRG president of being a danger to Iraq’s economy, which is true. [Barzani] stood up against those who steal public money, who have failed to provide the most basic requirements for the Iraqi people, such as public services including electricity — which is only available for few hours a day — despite the billions of dollars that were spent in this regard,” Atrushi said.

“Meanwhile, in almost all Kurdistan’s regions, electricity is available for more than 20 hours a day, made possible by an amount that did not exceed $2 billion, provided by a Kurdish investor.”

Atrushi also described Majeed’s statement as “a means to cover the government's failure and deficit in several aspects, including its fight against terrorism among other things. The government is trying to pin the blame for its failure on others.”

The KA has recently condemned the arms deals concluded by Maliki with both Russia and the Czech Republic last week. The deals included arms contracts worth $4.2 billion and the purchase of warplanes.

Moreover, the parliament failed yesterday [Oct. 15] to vote on draft laws pertaining to the Federal Court and legal amnesty. The vote on electing Falah Shansal as head of the Justice and Accountability Commission was also postponed.

According to a statement issued by the president's office, “Parliament voted the draft law to ratify legal and judicial cooperation in criminal matters between Iran and Iraq, and on a law to ratify a 2008 treaty on the prohibition, use, development and transfer of cluster munitions.”

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