Kurdistan Region Responds to Iraqi Prime Minister’s Accusations

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In a press conference held on 20 November 2008, the Iraqi Prime Minister accused the Kurdistan Region of committing unconstitutional acts. The Kurdistan Region has made public a detailed response today. The following is an abridgement of this response.

among the best constitutions in the world because it is based on freedom, democracy, respect for human rights, and the rule of law.

In a press conference held on 20 November 2008, the Iraqi Prime Minister accused the Kurdistan Region of committing unconstitutional acts. The Kurdistan Region has made public a detailed response today. The following is an abridgement of this response.

“It is unfortunate and deeply regrettable that the allegations made against the Kurdistan Region by the Prime Minister illustrate efforts being made to take the people of Iraq back to a period we are desperately trying to get beyond. It was a period where the excessive concentration and centralization of economic and political power condemned all Iraqi peoples to unimaginable suffering.

Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki’s press conference focused on a letter from the Iraqi Presidency Council questioning the formation of “Support Councils”. In reaction to this letter, the Prime Minister singled out the Kurdistan Region and described certain of its policies and actions to be unconstitutional.

Given the seriousness of these allegations, it is important that all Iraqis are better informed and become educated regarding the issues and facts.

The “Support Councils” are tribal councils directly affiliated with the Office of the Prime Minister of the federal government. This Office has been contacting people in the Kurdistan Region, and in the so-called disputed areas. The people being contacted include former collaborators who were closely linked to the security and intelligence agencies of the defunct regime of Saddam Hussein.

Enlisting such pro-regime collaborators into “Support Councils” in the Kurdistan Region and in the “disputed areas” could easily lead to instability and discord within the Kurdistan Region. It could also lead to the creation of divisions in national reconciliation and security lapses that allow infiltration of terrorists into the Region.

The duty of the government is to create an environment conducive to reconciliation, not to reverse the progress already made. The government has the responsibility to provide security, not to create insecurity. The mission of the government is to create tolerance, not to plant the seeds of division.

The Kurdistan Region is fully ready to enter negotiations to resolve all outstanding issues based on the Constitution. All sides, including the party of the Prime Minister, feel that the whole process is not moving in the right direction and that something needs to be done.
A great deal is at stake. The Prime Minister calls on everyone to abide by the Constitution. In 2006, he described the Constitution as “among the best constitutions in the world because it is based on freedom, democracy, respect for human rights, and the rule of law.” In a speech on 8 November 2008, however, he said, “The Constitution was written in a hasty way and under extraordinary conditions. It limits the powers of the central government and it is feared that federalism will handicap the country.”

In other words, the Prime Minister considers the Constitution of Iraq to be the problem, a constitution which he took the oath to protect and implement. In fact, failure to abide by the Constitution is the problem.

The Prime Minister believes that centralization is the key to the problems of Iraq. Iraq’s history, however, has proven that centralization is dangerous. It has resulted in the country being controlled by a select group, and eventually by a single party and single individual.

The party of the Prime Minister was a victim of centralization. The people of southern Iraq were marginalized. The people of Kurdistan Region were considered second-class citizens. And the elite members of the Dulaimi tribe and western Iraq were brutally oppressed like others.
Not abiding by the Constitution portends the ominous:

  •     The Prime Minister aims to suspend the Constitution. Despite his talk about the need to make amendments to the Constitution, what he really wants is to suspend the Constitution; a constitution which he participated in drafting and for which he has expressed admiration. The idea of suspending the constitution is a very dangerous action indeed. Amendments can be made to the Constitution and there is a mechanism set out in the Constitution for this purpose.
  •     Militarization of society by using the Iraqi Army for political purposes and establishing political groups armed and funded by the government. The Federal Prime Minister attempts to militarize the society and create Support Councils.

The Federal Prime Minister keeps maintaining that he is the only one in charge of the executive branch. But this is not the case when we look at Article-66 of the Constitution which says, “The federal executive power shall consist of the President of the Republic and the Council of Ministers and shall exercise its powers in accordance with the Constitution and the law.”

The Kurdistan Region is committed to the Constitution of Iraq. We are also committed to and believe in, the principle of consensus. We respect all agreements that are in the interests of all the people of Iraq. We want democracy for all Iraq.

Iraq will remain strong when all its components are united. Iraq will progress through the strengthening of its federal foundations. It will remain a democratic country through distribution of political powers and revenues. We will continue on our march forward in providing security and peace for our people.
All this requires faith in the principle of consensus, partnership in government, and joint decisionmaking.

We reiterate that our guide to the future is the Constitution of Iraq on which we shall always rely. While the time for political niceties may well be over, we cannot – indeed, we shall not - accept anything that is contrary to the Constitution.”

Full Text of the KRG Response to Iraqi Prime Minister's Accusations

For further information on this press release please contact
Karim Zibari
Kurdistan Region Presidency
Tel: 00964 66 223 5500
Fax: 00964 66 223 5505
Web: http://www.krp.org

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Karim Zibari
KRP.org
00964 750 498 5500
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