jeudi 3 décembre 2009

Turkmens and Arabs fiercely oppose the inclusion of Kerkuk in the Kurds' autonomous region


I have rephrased the title of the article by Waleed Ibrahim published in Turkish Weekly because it omits to mention the Turkmens.

It is not only Iraqi Arabs who fiercely oppose the inclusion of Kerkuk in the Kurds' autonomous region, all Iraqi Turkmens oppose the annexation of Kerkuk in the Kurd's autonomous region.

Kerkuk is the Turkmens' main cultural centre and capital city in Iraq.

It is the Turkmens who suffered most under the arabization policy of the former regime in their city Kerkuk.

Since 2003 the Turkmens of Kerkuk are the main victims of the Kurds' expansionism policy.

Kurds are kurdifying Kerkuk to the detriment of the Turkmens, who are the original inhabitants of the city.

Omitting to mention the Turkmens when writing about Kerkuk is bias and misinformation.

Another Iraq election law veto looms amid impasse.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Iraqi politicians have 24 hours to resolve an impasse over a law needed for next year's election to take place, otherwise the country's Sunni Arab vice president will veto the legislation again, a spokesman said on Wednesday.

U.N.-brokered talks have not made an agreement any more likely between Shi'ites, Kurds and Sunnis squabbling over the distribution of parliamentary seats, said Abdul Elah Kadhum, spokesman for Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi."A veto is inevitable if the current talks are not fruitful," Kadhum said.

Viewed as a critical juncture for Iraq's nascent democracy as it pulls itself out of sectarian slaughter and U.S. troops begin to withdraw, the election stands little chance of being held by its constitutional deadline of end-January.

A date in mid-February or early March is more feasible now, meaning there may be a period of political vacuum that could inflame the divisions between Iraqi factions, but a short delay should not affect U.S. plans to end combat operations in August.

The electoral law was initially held up by a struggle for Kirkuk, a city surrounded by oilfields that Iraq's minority Kurds want wrapped into their semi-autonomous northern enclave over the fierce opposition of Iraqi Arabs.

The law was approved after heavy lobbying by U.S. and U.N. officials only to be vetoed by Hashemi because it did not give sufficient seats to Iraqis who fled abroad after the 2003 U.S. invasion triggered horrific bloodshed. Many are Sunnis.

Rather than address Hashemi's complaints, lawmakers from the majority Shi'ite and Kurdish communities joined forces to pass an amended law that reduced the number of seats for Sunni areas.

That amended law was sent to the presidency council, which consists of President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, and two vice presidents, including Hashemi. Only Hashemi has not signed the law and has until Thursday to veto it again if he wishes.


Political groups last week struck an initial deal to allow the independent electoral commission to deal with Hashemi's concerns through mechanisms, rather than force parliament to amend the law again.

But that provisional agreement appeared to have hit a reef after U.N. officials said Iraqi politicians could not abdicate their responsibilities by assigning political decisions to the independent electoral commission."The U.N. response was they can't be dealt with as proposals. They need to be written in the law," said Omar al-Mashhadani, a spokesman for parliamentary speaker Ayad al-Samarai."She (the U.N. official) said, 'It can't be solved within a technical framework but within the political framework, which is not my job, but yours, you the politicians'," he added.

Efforts to find a solution were hampered by the Muslim Eid festival, which closed down the Iraqi government and parliament from Thursday last week till Wednesday.

Kadhum said the vice president's office had asked a federal court whether the Eid holiday could be legally excluded from the 10-day limit for the presidency council members to veto legislation. If it could, Hashemi would have more time."It is difficult now to pass the law. I wish the law would not be vetoed but it is up to Hashemi. He has the right," said Mashhadani.

By Waleed Ibrahim

Turkish Weekly is an USAK Publication. USAK is the leading Ankara based Turkish think-tank.

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