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Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Orderly Transition to a State of Pandemonium 

Officially speaking, the Iraqi government won't even exist for another three weeks, and it's already on the verge of collapse. Should've seen it coming, I guess, but when did those Bush boys ever pass up a chance to sell out the Kurds? From Reuters (courtesy of Zemblan patriot J.D.):
Kurdish members of Iraq's government will resign if asked to do so by their leaders after the failure of the latest UN resolution to recognize Kurdish autonomy, a senior Kurdish minister said on Wednesday.

"If the leadership calls on us to withdraw from the government, then we will do so," Public Works Minister Nisreen Berwari said. "All the struggles we made last year have been lost," she said in reaction to the Security Council resolution, unanimously passed late on Tuesday.

The resolution endorses the transfer of sovereignty to Iraq's recently formed government by the end of June, while allowing U.S. and other coalition forces to remain in Iraq.

But it does not endorse Iraq's interim constitution, agreed to in March, which recognized special Kurdish autonomy in three northern Iraqi provinces, a clause gained after a hard campaign by Iraq's two Kurdish leaders, Jalal Talabani and Masoud Barzani. Before the UN vote, Talabani and Barzani threatened to withdraw Kurdish officials from the interim government. They said also that Kurds would not take part in national elections next year and would "bar representatives of the central government from Kurdistan" . . . .

That would amount to something like secession, which Kurdish officials have been hinting at privately for months but now appear to be actively considering . . . .

But a senior UN official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that U.S. officials rejected the Kurdish request because of concerns over offending the country's Shiite leaders. Berwari said she, other Kurdish ministers and Kurdish officials were awaiting word from the Kurdish leadership on what to do. She said she expected a decision shortly.
UPDATE: Allawi has apparently caved:
Prime Minister Iyad Allawi said Wednesday that his government would adhere to the interim constitution agreed to in March until elections are held next year, in an effort to defuse, at least temporarily, a looming crisis with the Kurdish leadership . . . .

But the commitment made by Dr. Allawi will likely only postpone a solution. His statement binds the new Iraqi government to the constitution only during "the provisional period," which will end when elections are held.

Many Shiite leaders say it is at that point, when the Shiites will likely hold a majority of the seats in the national assembly, that they would remove the language that grants the Kurds effective veto power over the permanent constitution.

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