The conflict of positions within the Kurdistan Union on the verge of an armed confrontation
Employing the party's local forces in the political dispute threatens to split within them, which turns the party's areas of influence into a theater for militia war.
Sulaymaniyah (Iraq) - Efforts to bring the two main factions of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan closer together did not succeed in reaching clear understandings in light of the insistence of the heirs of the late President Jalal Talabani to exclude their cousin Lahore Sheikh Janki from the co-presidency, which threatens armed confrontations between the two parties. After arresting a number of Lahore supporters on Wednesday evening and issuing a statement vowing revenge.
In the latest episode of the series of disputes, the security forces raided, on Wednesday evening, an orchard belonging to the Lahores in the “Kilah Spi” area in the Sargnar district of Sulaymaniyah Governorate.
Local media reported that the forces entered the garden by order of the judge because there were a number of gunmen who did not belong to any of the military forces inside the garden, noting that a number of gunmen were arrested in the operation.
The “Asayish” forces in the governorate also confirmed the raid, and stated in a statement issued on Wednesday evening that “the security force seized silenced weapons, drugs, and evidence of the establishment of militias.”
Local observers warn that the employment of local forces, which are historically considered to be the party's forces in the political dispute, may lead to splits within them, and push towards the formation of armed groups belonging to the Lahors, which turns the party's areas of influence into a theater for militia war.
It was known from Lahore that he had influence within the security services in Sulaymaniyah, but sources say that the heirs of Jalal Talabani worked during the past years to limit that influence in preparation for a coup against him, which was finally done.
Observers believe that this conflict will weaken the strength of the Patriotic Union and its influence in front of its opponent, the Kurdistan Democratic Party, especially since the Union is currently complaining of its marginalization and is demanding more gains in front of a strong opponent that places its hand on most of the elements of the Kurdistan region's power.
As a result of the arrests that targeted supporters of Lahore, the city of Sulaymaniyah witnessed an intense deployment of “Asayish” forces in public and side streets, and more personnel were deployed in markets and near commercial centers.
These tensions constantly raise citizens' concerns about their development and their impact on the situation in Sulaymaniyah Governorate, northeastern Iraq, especially since Pavel Talabani, the head of the party, has official forces, while some clans support his cousin Lahore, who is demanding his right to co-chair the party.
After the security operation, the Lahore office issued a statement holding his cousins, Pavel and Qubad Talabani, responsible.
The office said in a statement that "an illegal group accompanied by a security force and without an order from the judge and without any excuse raided the Lahore orchard in the village of Claspi in Sulaymaniyah."
He explained that “the orchard has not been used by any force for two years, and there are a few people from the area who work as farmers.”
He added, “We blame Pavel Talabani and Qubad Talabani, and we hold them accountable for the safety of the workers in the orchard, and we will take all necessary measures against this violation of the law,” stressing that “this illegal group will pay the price for its inappropriate and unacceptable actions, and its plots will be thwarted as soon as possible.”
After the death of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani in 2017, the Patriotic Union Party elected his son, Pavel Talabani, and his nephew, Lahore Sheikh Genki, to co-chair the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan.
Lahore is popular within the Patriotic Union, but Pavel succeeded in investing his leadership of the party in removing Lahore supporters, especially from the historical leaders, and installing elements close to him in their place.
In July 2021, Pavel overthrew a number of key officials in the intelligence and counter-terrorism units within the party who were loyal to Lahor. He also closed a media outlet supported by him and excluded him from the co-presidency, so that Pavel became the head of the National Union alone, and after that a series of media and judicial battles began.
And a court in Erbil ruled last month that the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan has two co-chairs, Pavel and Lahore, after a judicial decision was issued by the Sulaymaniyah Court, earlier, considering the dismissal of Lahore and a number of leaders from the ranks of the party as correct.
The Talabani heirs party practically controls the provinces of Sulaymaniyah and Halabja, among the four provinces of the Iraqi Kurdistan region, which takes its center in Erbil, and it is also the stronghold of the Barzani family party, whose influence also includes the province of Dohuk.
Iraq, after twenty years of American occupation a transformed or distorted country?
A transformation that expanded the influence of corruption and the corrupt, and mortgaged the future of Iraqis to the militias.
The 2003 war lasted less than a month, but its repercussions continued for two decades, leaving Iraq divided and the Iraqis poor and unsure of the future that awaits them and the fate to which the rulers preoccupied with their ambitions and narrow self-interests will take them.
Washington - The American occupation of Iraq was a fateful event in the country's contemporary history. It changed many of its political, economic and other conditions, and its repercussions are still continuing in the memory of Iraqis and even observers of the country. Twenty years after the overthrow of the late Saddam Hussein's regime, researchers and analysts are still wondering: Has Iraq become a transformed or distorted state?
Journalist and author Ghaith Abdel-Ahad spoke about his country as a transitional country during the Chatham House symposium, which was held on the sixth of March. And he specified that it was a republic that held elections and tracked
Constitution, which enables it to be called a democracy, or at least a partial democracy. But the country's laws impose a division of power among the elites, with warlords and their armed militias wielding power in parliament at the expense of the central state.
Ghaith Abdel-Ahad wrote about the 2003 war, the occupation, and the era of the American ruler of Iraq, Paul Bremer, in his latest book entitled “A Stranger in Your City.” In it, he considered that the new occupation authority, called the “Coalition Provisional Authority,” brings together young people
Naïve fanatics occupying undisputed powers to remake Iraq the way their masters want it. He saw them as the worst combination of colonial arrogance, racism and incompetence.
Bremer's decisions aimed at dissolving the Iraqi army and dismantling the civil administration to end the existence of the Ba'ath Party. The dissolution of the army left a vacuum that was quickly filled by armed militias (the lower ranks of the army are said to have informally dissolved themselves following the defeat). The consequences of these decisions are still dire.
Bremer sacked civil administration employees without considering their duties while ignoring the fact that anyone in a government position of any seniority needed to be a party member.
In its 2013 report, the International Center for Transitional Justice noted that the de-Baathification process had been flawed since its inception in 2003. It considered that the ineffective and incoherent approach was what polarized Iraqi politics and caused severe instability in the army and government. He stated that the consequences went beyond the first regime change, and extended until the 2010 parliamentary elections, nearly seven years after the invasion.
Within the framework of de-Baathification and the drafting of the flawed and hasty constitution of 2005, rampant corruption grew, the damage of which exceeded all that the Iraqis suffered during the years of Saddam's rule. This corruption crippled the country's ability to forge a path beyond its history of violent dictatorship. The jihadi insurgencies in Iraq reached their peak of brutality with the rise of ISIS.
The head of the Iraq Initiative Project at the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House), Renad Mansour, stated that the allegations of the 2003 war were regime change and that “the decision was taken to destroy the state, dissolve the army, and dismiss the civil administration.”
Western analysts view this catastrophe as nothing more than blunders that are too late to correct. But Mansour wonders if it was a mistake or logic followed? All of this enabled “outsiders to become powerful” and supported the new elites. The Iraqi people are facing a large number of aspirants armed with ideologies and sectarian militias that enable them to adopt violence while competing for the spoils among themselves rather than the power being in the hands of one strong man.
Nuri al-Maliki was among those who tried to inherit the position of the strong man in the state. He served as prime minister from 2006 to 2014. He won the support of Joe Biden when US Vice President Barack Obama was in his second term, after winning a disputed election. Maliki, confident of American support, waged an anti-Sunni campaign that saw the army purged of adherents of this sect and also waged campaigns of violence against civilians.
His policy helped ISIS achieve success in 2014, when many Iraqi Sunnis initially saw the jihadists as liberators.
And the expert in Iraqi affairs, Lulua Al-Rasheed, considered that Al-Maliki failed in his efforts to monopolize power, similar to Saddam, because the highly competitive political system that emerged after 2003 does not allow any personality to monopolize power. But the politics of greed among the new elites prevailed during the Maliki era, during which corruption was rampant. Al-Rasheed said his only achievement was to ensure that corruption was distributed evenly.
Sir William Patty was the UK's ambassador to Iraq from 2003 to 2005, and he acknowledged that there were many shortcomings in the 2005 constitution. He said, "The pressure was only there to get it done." I was asking for more time, but US President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair did not allow it. I was told: it should be ready by the end of August.”
The constitution formalized the sectarian-based quota system introduced by the coalition after the war. The quota system enables the division of government ministries along sectarian and clan lines, and supports rampant corruption that has left an energy-rich country lacking secure electricity supplies, and plagued it with a broken health system marred by counterfeit medicines. The country also suffers from a lack of clean water, and an education system that betrays Iraqi youth. Iraq has thus become a state that fails its people.
Al-Rasheed and other analysts agree that change and the struggle for equality and good governance must come from within Iraqi society. And she talked about the “deformed state” after the invasion, where “Ayatollah al-Sistani has the right to declare war, and the warlords deputies allocate a budget from the state for their militias, and the Iranian-backed militias are proud of their chauvinism, and Basra, which collects much of the country’s oil wealth, suffers from extreme poverty.” The expert on Iraqi affairs said, "Iraq is a volatile society... and we do not know, after 20 years, who will rule or who will win at the end of the process."
Renad Mansour expressed his regret for dragging Iraq into the circle of conflict between America and Iran. He believes that reform requires accountability for those who invaded the country and the internal parties that benefited from this military move at the expense of the people. But where will this accountability come from and who will supervise it? Ghaith Abdel-Ahad also put forward a final idea that democracy in the Middle East is the "great casualty".
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