Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Problems facing constituting new cabinet of Kurdistan

London (KurdishMedia.com) 19 October 2009: The Kurdistan-wide election was conducted on 25th July 2009 and yet the new cabinet has not been formed. The outgoing prime minister is still in control.

The primer post is usually has a 4 year term; however, it has been reported that the incoming prime minister, Dr Barham Salih, of the PUK, will only be for two years and after that it will go back to the control of the KDP. Observers believe this is a strong compromise by the PUK to the KDP. One the other hand, observers believe that the PUK has not much to bargain with after their humiliating defeat in their stronghold Sulemani governorate, to the Gorran movement. The PUK even badly lost in Jalal Talabani’s place of birth, Koye.

KurdishMedia.com has learnt that a number of issues are still outstanding between the PUK and KDP, which constitute reasons for formation of the cabinet.

Nechirvan Barzani, the outgoing PM, wishes to control the foreign relations himself or via Falah Mustafa, currently responsible for public relations. In addition, Nechirvan Barzani wishes to constitute a body that controls every aspects of oil and gas in Kurdistan, and also controls trading these natural resources with international companies. Talabani and Barzani wishes to keep the current Finance Minister, Bayis Talabani, a relative of Jalal Talabani, the PUK leader. The incoming prime minister and the president of Kurdistan, Massoud Barzani, have conflicting views on keeping Ashti Hawrami, the current oil minister, whose name has been intertwined with the DNO International, a Norwegian oil company, scandal.

The KDP also wants to control the security services via the current interior minster, Karim Sinjari, or he may be replaced by another KDP security man, Nazhat Ali, who is the head of the Barzani security services in his exclusive residential resort Salahadin (Pirmam), which has been declared by Barzani clan as a “security zone”, where no ordinary people can buy properties – this is a clear constitutional breach. It is not only Sinjari that the incoming PM faces. Parastin is perhaps his nightmare, with which he has already confronted. When he was the Iraqi deputy PM, Dr Barham Salih suggested that Parastin should be dissolved as it is not constitutional. Masrur Barzani issued an attacking statement against Salih, claiming that the Kurdistan Parliament legislated establishment of Parastin and suggested that Salih should mind his own business, which is pursuing Kurdish demands in Baghdad. Parastin is not under control of any authorities and directly controlled by Barzani clan, with Barzani’s son on top of he pyramid.

The incoming prime minister faces internal problems within his own party PUK. Talabani’s wife and Mala Bakhtyar, a member of the PUK politburo and the father in law of Talabani’s son, undermine Salih. In a recent meeting in London by Talabani’s PUK-wing, Salih was heavily criticised for visiting Nawshirwan Mustafa in persuasion to join his government, which was rejected by Mustafa, the head and a symbol of Gorran movement that has 25 members of the Kurdistan parliament. In the same meeting Mustafa was termed as "the cause of all the troubles".

However, Salih is supported by Kosrat Rasul, an influential PUK leader who helped Salih to constitute his own brigade of 1000 armed men. As a former PUK personnel put it, “Salih will be needing his army in order to have control over his government. If the control of oil and gas, security and finance are taken out of PM's control, I am not sure what he would control.”

Source: KurdishMedia.com