MPs Wounded in Blast; al-Maliki Decries Baathists, al-Qaeda; Kurds Threaten Election Boycott

Al-Hayat reporting in Arabic surveyed the reactions of Iraqi politicians to the massive bombings on Sunday. As with Prime minister Nuri al-Maliki, they blamed remnants of the former, Baath, regime and “al-Qaeda” (Sunni fundamentalist militants). I was struck by how they for the most part responded technocratically, by pledging a review and an improvement of security procedures.

As I predicted yesterday, some figures are already using the blasts for politics. Hadi al-Ameri, a member of parliament and a leader of the paramilitary hard line Shiite Badr Corps, implicitly came after al-Maliki. “We’ve heard a lot of brouhaha about successes on the security front,” he said. “Where are these successes?” The Badr Corps is aligned with its parent organization, the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI), which is running against al-Maliki’s State of Laws coalition in January.

Al-Zaman reports on some of the casualties. A woman member of parliament, Maha al-Duri, was wounded and two of her bodyguards were killed. The lieutenant governor of Baghdad Province was wounded. Several members of the Sadr Bloc were wounded as they were commemorating the anniversary of the death of Muhammad Muhammad Sadiq al-Sadr in the Justice Ministry building.

Meanwhile, one of the more contentious issues in the upcoming parliamentary elections is how to deal with the contested province of Kirkuk. The USG Open Source Center translates an article from the Kurdish press in which major Kurdish parties threaten to boycott the elections if a special election law for Kirkuk is passed. (Kirkuk is by now probably majority Kurdish, so the Kurds will dominate its provincial council unless the Kurdish bloc is diluted by special provisions in the electoral law).

Iraqi Kurdish lists to boycott elections if consensus not reached
Patriotic Union of Kurdistan
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Document Type: OSC Summary

Iraqi Kurdish lists to boycott elections if consensus not reached

The Kurdistan Alliance and the Islamic Union of Kurdistan (IUK) lists have said they would boycott the Iraqi upcoming parliamentary elections if a special election law for Kirkuk is passed, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) media website reported on 24 October.

The alliance and the IUK’s representatives expressed their concerns in a press conference which was held today in the Iraqi parliament’s office in Arbil Governorate.

The deputy head of the alliance, Sa’di Barzinji, said in the press conference that there were elements in the Iraqi parliament who wanted to pass a special election law for Kirkuk, adding that such efforts were contrary to the country’s constitution.

We, the Kurds, work in accordance with the Iraqi constitution, and the country’s High Constitutional Court has rejected a special election law for Kirkuk, Barzinji said.

Barzinji said that no changes were made to the voter registration, referring to these elements’ demand for a special election law.

He said that the increase in Kirkuk’s voter registration was only 30 per cent, while in other parts of Iraq was 100 per cent. He added that the number of Kurds in the city was significantly reduced during the country’s former regime and thousands of them were killed in the area.

Barzinji said that they would not allow the special election law to pass, even if it is passed, Iraqi president Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, can veto it twice and that the law also needed 66 per cent of the parliamentary votes to be passed.
Barzinji said that the Kurds would not participate in the elections if such law is passed; and the Kurds wanted an open election system.

Meanwhile, the IUK’s MP in the Iraqi parliament, Zuhair Khoshnaw, said that his list would not allow a special election law to pass for Kirkuk, adding that the efforts to pass the law were contrary to the constitution.

Khoshnaw said that the Kurds wanted Kirkuk to be treated like other parts of the country. He added that if they did not reach an agreement with the other parties in the parliament, they would refer the issue to the Iraqi political council.

(Description of Source: (Internet) Patriotic Union of Kurdistan in Sorani Kurdish — Patriotic Union of Kurdistan media website)

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4 Responses

  1. That would be great if the Kurds boycotted the election. Then they would have less opportunity to disrupt the healing of Iraq over the next five years.

    But it's only a meaningless threat; they won't actually do it.

  2. Professor Cole, The difference between how US media have handled the story of bombs of this magnitude, at key centers of Iraqi governmental power, compared to a similar occurence in the US, is striking. US media particularly lacks the political detail you provide that informs American citizens, giving them the information they need to direct their government. But perhaps the view that US citizens have any power to direct the course of their government is now a quaint fallacy.

  3. When does chaos move to the top of the list for reasons for these two "wars"? Is it not likely that the oil seeking members of our government want chaos above all else? They have done it so effectively in Iraq, and are making certain no person in Afghanistan ever trusts their government or ours again.
    It seems like the goal has been accomplished. Chaos reigns supreme. Now it is a simple matter of jingo. When does the next crusade start?

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