Iraqi secular bloc united in opposition to Maliki as PM

October 5, 2010 at 2:08 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Iraqi secular bloc united in opposition to Maliki as PM

MICHAEL JANSEN

 published in

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/world/2010/1005/1224280400430.html

 The Kurds seek to annex the northern city of Kirkuk and its oil fields and to conclude contracts with foreign firms for the exploitation of oil resources in the Kurdish autonomous region. While any attempt by the Kurds to absorb Kirkuk could be met by violent resistance from Arab and Turkomen residents,

THE SECULAR Iraqiya bloc, which came first in Iraq’s parliamentary election last March, yesterday insisted that it stood united against a second term for prime minister Nuri al-Maliki. Spokesman Haidar al-Mulla dismissed reports that Iraqiya was divided on the issue.

 

Since the faction loyal to anti-US Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr declared support for Mr Maliki, his State of Law bloc and its allies came within reach of the 163 majority in the 325-member parliament needed to form a government.

A second Shia-Kurdish government will be seen by secular and Sunni Iraqis who voted for Iraqiya as a divisive sectarian administration forged by Tehran, which pressurised Mr Sadr to support Mr Maliki.

He has not only refused to reconcile with disaffected secular and Sunni Iraqis but has adopted policies deepening antagonisms.

If he succeeds in forming a Shia-Kurd cabinet, Iran would have trumped the US vision of a grand coalition of Iraqiya and State of Law, which Washington had hoped would forge Iraqi unity.

Mr Maliki has not yet got the top job. If three key members of the Shia National Alliance do not lift their objections to him, he would have to rely heavily on the Kurdish bloc, which is likely to exact a high price for its support.

The Kurds seek to annex the northern city of Kirkuk and its oil fields and to conclude contracts with foreign firms for the exploitation of oil resources in the Kurdish autonomous region. While any attempt by the Kurds to absorb Kirkuk could be met by violent resistance from Arab and Turkomen residents, Baghdad sees the Kurdish demand over oil contracts as a threat to central rule.

Meanwhile, Baghdad postponed until December a census, the first since 1987, because of fears of violence between Arabs and Kurds.

Iraqi oil minister Hussein al-Shahristani meanwhile announced that its extractable oil reserves are 143.1 billion barrels, an increase of 24 per cent over the previous estimate. This makes Iraq’s reserves the third-largest in the world after those of Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.

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