Irrespective of the result of Iraq’s next elections and the parties’ gloomy slogans, the aim behind all of them is to secure key positions in Baghdad.
Iran’s policy from the beginning of the liberation of Iraq up to now has been unchanged. That policy has been to ensure that the position of prime minister is occupied by a Shiite who has absolute allegiance to Iran and that the ceremonial position of the country’s president be held by a Kurd rather than a Sunni Arab in order to undermine the Arab identity of the country.
After Jalal Talabani was elected president of the country for his second term, it became apparent that the Kurds have no executive or legislative power in Baghdad. The Kurds have been distracted with a ceremonial position.
The insistence of a Kurd occupying this position has not been based on a strategic goal, but rather on appeasing the desire of Talabani who wanted to fill this position right from the beginning of writing the constitution.
The intent was for Barzani and Talabani to play a role in the governance of Iraq. However, the Talabani family inherited the presidency position and it was taken more as a source of income rather than a political position.
That is why over the past four years, despite all the constitutional violations by Baghdad, the president of the republic has not had the courage even once to prove himself as the guardian of the constitution.
The president of the republic didn’t play any decisive roles with respect to problems between Erbil and Baghdad, even when the constitutional court convened to discuss the question of Kurdistan Region’s budget and finally ruled in favor of Erbil.
He was either neutral or merely hopeful. He only spoke up and filed a lawsuit against the speaker of the parliament over the issue of the country’s 2018 budget when he knows that he will leave his position in a few months.
This is mere acting on his part and he knows that it is futile because what has been done with respect to the constitution cannot now be undone.
Had the president of the republic taken a stance on the referendum question of the Kurdistan Region, many of these bad things wouldn’t have happened.
Who will be the next president of the republic?
Because the position of the Kurdistan Region president has now been dissolved, disputes over positions of power in Erbil and Baghdad have ended.
The position of the KDP on this is clear. It’s said that the position of the president of the republic is the share of the Kurds, although this is not enshrined in law or the constitution.
This is only according to political agreements and was desired by Iran. But the KDP will no longer be prepared to support the PUK taking this position as well as that of Kirkuk governor.
That is why Barham Salih declined to accept the position of the president of the republic when the Talabani family offered it to him, because Salih knew that it was no longer in their power to give the position to him.
This time, the Arab world and Turkey want this position to be filled by a Sunni Arab in order to change the appearance of Iraq from Shiite and influenced by Iran to an Arabic identity.
This way, they want to further strengthen their relations with Baghdad and dedicate more resources to the reconstruction of ruined Sunni places. That is why many Sunni Arabs want this position to be held by them.
The Kurds have not benefited much from this position or their other honorary powers. That is why it is a big mistake to insist that this position is the share of the Kurds.
Instead, taking the position of parliament speaker is the best option for Kurds. There, they can influence events in Baghdad. Having the position of the speaker of the Iraqi parliament, which works on the basis of majority vis-à-vis minority, is important so that the legislative body doesn’t turn into a place where conspiracies are made against the Kurdistan Region.
Over the past four years, tens of laws were passed against the Kurds to punish and deter the people of Kurdistan. Having the speaker role will strengthen the position of the Kurds for any future negotiation on their fate in Iraq and will cement the influence of Erbil over decisions made in Baghdad.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of Rudaw.