Maliki’s new steps that escalate tension

January 31, 2012 at 9:24 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Maliki’s new   steps that escalate tension
Hasan Kanbolat
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has been making comments   targeting Turkey since mid-December 2011.
Maliki, in his statements, has argued that Turkey   is interfering with the internal affairs of Iraq; however, he has failed to   accuse the US, which occupied the country as of 2003, or Iran of doing the   same, especially given that Iran even interfered with the appointment of its   government. Nobody can argue that Maliki holds constructive and positive   views on Turkey. However, he has never made such strong public statements   before. Why is he making them now?Maliki has argued that Turkey has strong ties   with the Sunni Arabs in the country through bonds with Sunni leader Tariq   al-Hashimi. However, it is a known fact that Turkey has good relations with   the Iraqi Islamic Supreme Council and its leader, Ammar al-Hakim, as well as   the Sadr movement. It is obvious that not all Shiites have trouble with   Turkey and that only relations with Maliki and the Dawa Party have   deteriorated. This is the best indicator that Turkey has been relying on a   discourse that does not put emphasis on sectarianism.

Maliki’s new policy of targeting Turkey since   Dec. 2011, which has escalated tension with Ankara, appeared to come to a   halt on Jan. 25, when Hakim paid a visit to Ankara. However, Maliki still   keeps criticizing and condemning the Sunni-Arab leaders in the country. Over   the past week, the Baghdad deputy governor, the Diyala deputy governor and   the Salahaddin parliament speaker have been arrested for supporting terrorism.   All of them are members of the Sunni al-Iraqiya movement. Vice President   Hashimi, another Sunni-Arab politician, is still in Erbil. His motion to be   tried in Kirkuk has been dismissed by the Iraqi Supreme Court. Deputy Prime   Minister Salih al-Mutlaq may be replaced by another politician from Iraqiya.   It is useful to recall that Mutlaq is a former Baath member and that he   participated in the elections due to strong demand by the US and Turkey   despite the fact he was on a list of those banned from running for office   before the March 7, 2010 elections.

As Maliki takes a stronger stance against the   Sunni-Arab politicians, the troubles within Iraqiya are manifesting more   visibly. The leadership of the party, which protested the cabinet and the   parliament after the arrest of Hashimi and did not join the parliamentary   sessions, is now unable to control the party group. Some ministers and   deputies did not comply with the party’s decision to boycott the   parliamentary activities. The Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITC) in the Iraqiya bloc   endorsed the party’s decision; however, some of its ministers did not support   it.

To what point will Maliki escalate tension? When   he was elected prime minister in 2006, Maliki did not have strong tribal or   political support. He was appointed prime minister because he was not strong   not because he was strong. However, over time, he proved that he was a smart   politician, showing that a weak prime minister could actually turn into a   strong political figure. He attracted the support of civilian and military   bureaucracy, putting emphasis on the unity and integrity of Iraq. It has   become a fashion to wear badges and tags of the Iraqi map. Only nine months   after the general elections on March 7, 2010, Maliki was able to form the   government on Dec. 21, 2010. The new election system and the parties’   preference to take part in the elections as coalitions and political blocs   created a divided parliament and government. For this reason, after the   withdrawal of the US troops, Maliki has been trying to intimidate the   Sunni-Arab politicians. If he succeeds in this plan, Maliki, as argued by   reports and analyses, could turn his attention to the Shiite parties and then   the Kurds as well to secure a Shiite union in the country.

Maliki’s policies that have been escalating   tensions as of late have also led to escalated violence, particularly in   Baghdad, Mosul and Kirkuk. The manageable chaotic environment is about to be   replaced by an unpredictable chaos in the country.

http://www.todayszaman.com/columnist-270053-malikis-new-steps-that-escalate-tension.html

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