Back in the sandbox
Ahmed, like the view of Irbil
Yes, Amir, it's a wonderful
view of our new province.
Juan Cole has a cheery update about the sandbox
Barzani Threatens Secession;
Sistani Aide Assassinated;
4 GIs Killed
Massoud Barzani reacted angrily to criticisms of him by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and many other Iraqi politicians for his call that the Iraqi flag not be flown in Iraqi Kurdistan. Al-Hayat reports [Ar.] that in a speech before the opening session of the Kurdish parliament on Sunday, Barzani said that he had discussed the flag issue at some length with President Jalal Talabani and with PM Nuri al-Maliki, and that this was not a unilateral decision. He characterized the present Iraqi flag as that of the Baath Party, the Anfal chemical weapons campaign against the Kurds, and mass graves. He added,
' If the Iraqis are not enthusiastic about creating a new flag, the Kurds also are not in a hurry on the issue . . . [my message to all is] that the time of threats has passed, and we will not accept the language of threats from anyone at all. The will of the Kurdish people will not be held hostage to others . . . The Kurdish parliament decided to remain now inside the federal framework, but at any moment the Kurdish parliament and the Kurdish people perceive it in their interest to announce independence, we will announce it without fearing anyone."
He made fun of his critics, saying that they cannot even administer their provinces, are failures, and just want to reduce Kurdistan to a similar failure.
Al-Hayat says that the Iraqi National Security Council will look into what is driving Barzani's emotionalism on this issue.
Meanwhile, the Higher Commission for Reconciliation and National Dialogue has decided to seek a site other than Irbil (Barzani's base) for the holding of its conference. Obviously, an attempt to reconcile Sunni and Shiite Arab Iraqis will require that the Iraqi flag be flown.
Fadil al-Sharaa, the political councillor to the Iraqi prime minister, implied that Barzani was making a bid to take the focus off the substantial problems facing the Kurdistan Region, and said that Barzani's occasional attempts to portray himself as a Kurdish national hero standing up to an oppressive anti-Kurdish government in Baghdad targetted not only Arab Iraqis but also prominent Kurds serving in the Federal government, including the president.
He said that Prime Minister Maliki had put the ball in parliament's court.
Unknown assailants assassinated Shaikh Hasan Muhammad Mahdi al-Jawadi, 56, in the southern city of Amara on Sunday. Al-Jawadi was a senior aide to Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani. Amara is a rough neighborhood, dominated by displaced Marsh Arabs, where the Sadrist Movement and its splinters are strong and maintain paramilitaries. It is alarming that this assassination is almost certainly a further manifestation of Shiite on Shiite violence, of the sort that shook Diwaniyah last week
If I was Barzani, I would worry more about Ankara than Baghdad. A lot more.
posted by Steve @ 1:58:00 AM