Saturday, April 21, 2012

Erdogan responds to Nouri, Allawi wants a meet-up in the KRG

Ayla Jean Yacklery (Reuters) reports, "Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday regjected charges he sought to inflame sectarian divisions in Iraq with recent criticism of its government and accused his Iraqi counterpart of trying to gain 'prestige' in an escalating war of words between the neighbours." Yesterday, Nouri al-Maliki abandoned his brief 13 day attempt to be nice to the Turkish government and publicly lashed out at them. Al Jazeera adds:

"We don't differentiate between Sunnis or Shias. Arab, Kurd or Turkmen, they are all our brothers," Erdogan told reporters in comments reported by the NTV news channel.

"If we respond to Mr. Maliki, we give him the opportunity to show off there. There is no need to allow him to gain prestige."

Turkey, which is majority Sunni, has been seen as a key ally and even a role model for Iraq, because of its secular constitution and close relations with the West, including membership in NATO.

Iraq is Turkey's second largest trading partner after Germany, with trade reaching $12 billion last year, more than half of which was with the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region. 

With everything else Iraq is facing, you'd think Nouri al-Maliki would have the brains not to also antagonize one of its neighbors. But Nouri's never been known for brains. He's the simpering fool who stalls and stalls over and over as the chaos he creates and stokes rages.

Dar Addustour reports that there is now a large dispute between Nouri and Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaafi over the issue of the Iraq Central Bank which the Speaker refuses to allow Nouri to take control of. Nouri's slate is State of Law, al-Nujaafi belongs to Iraqiya. The two are political rivals. Nouri has made a big push this month to seize control of the bank and Parliament rebuffed him. It is the latest in a series of power grabs on Nouri's part. The two are part of the "three presidencies." That refers to them and Jalal Talabani, President of Iraq. Normally Jalal would be attempting to soothe nerves right now and mediate. However, he's too busy trying to smooth over the situation with Turkey and with the KRG and other things to be much help with Nouri's latest skirmish. Other things?

Dar Addustour also reports Talabani is in Sulaymaniyah speaking with Ayad Allawi (leader of Iraqiya) about how to resolve the political crisis. Also attending the meeting were various political leaders including KRG Vice President Kosrat Rasul Ali and PUK Deputy Secretary-General Barham Salih. (PUK is one of the two dominant Kurdish political parties. Jalal Talabani heads PUK.) Alsumaria adds that the Allawi and Talabani also discussed a recent assassination attempt on Allawi at Baghdad International Airport (Nouri is responsible for the security there) and that Allawi does not feel comfortable returning to Baghdad currently due to that recent assassination attempt. Allawi may be leveraging the attempted assassination to make sure that if a national conference is held anytime soon, it will be held in the KRG. He's called for it to be held there and he's now got a reason to further argue for it to be held there. Since December 21st, Talabani and al-Nujaafi have been calling for a national conference to address the political crisis. March 23rd, Talabani announced that the national conference would be held April 5th. 24 hours before the conference was finally to be held Speaker al-Nujaafi announced it had been called off and State of Law announced they were in no hurry to resume talks.

As the political crisis continues, so does the violence. AP notes 2 Baghdad bombings have killed 4 people and that another thirteen have been injured. Alsumaria reports that a man shot dead in Mosul was discovered ont he side of the road today.

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