Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The federation of Iraq?

Alsumaria TV reports, "Turkmen in Iraqi National Alliance called, on Sunday, for the establishment of two new provinces northern Iraq while stressing the necessity to preserve the country's unity." Iraqi Christians have also called for their own province. In addition, some provinces look to the semi-autonomous KRG. Anbar Province has floated the idea of becoming its own semi-autonomous province and Salahuddin Province is seriously exploring it. Al Mada notes yesterday there was a meeting to explore the powers of the 15 provinces (Iraq has 18 provinces -- 3 are part of the semi-autonomous KRG) Speaker of the House Osama al-Najaifi laments that many failed to attend. Representatives for the provinces of Anbar, Baghdad, Diyala, Kirkuk and Salahuddin did attend. So ten of the 15 did not send representatives which may be seen as they're being happy with the current system. It is curious that ten chose to ignore the meet-up when Nouri has been speaking of needing to redraw the powers of provinces.

Jaffar al-Rikabi asks "Is Iraq edging closer toward partition?" (openDemocracy):

In Western Iraq, Salahaddin provincial leaders declared last week that they would make the province a federal region “whether others liked it or not.” With federalism ill-defined and widely misunderstood in Iraq, the ‘f-word’ is often a euphemism for separation.
Iraq’s Sunni Parliamentary Speaker, Usama al-Nujaifi has supported these moves, blaming broken promises from PM Maliki for this trend. Pro-Maliki politicians dismiss these accusations. Instead, they charge Nujaifi and others with foolishly implementing a Saudi plot to provoke dissent and division in Iraq as a means to halt its growing oil production, which is seen by Riyadh as a strategic threat to its power in the region.
These contesting agendas may still prove business as usual for Iraq, with politicians accustomed to talking of impending gloom, taking the country to the brink of disaster, only to pull back in the final hour.
Or they might not.

Al Sabaah notes the call for an accounting of the number of contractors in Iraq in Parliament and notes that the move is apparently also an effort to ensure that no Blackwater contractors are in Iraq. For those who've forgotten, Blackwater finally got itself in trouble in Iraq September 16, 2007 when, acting in a typical fashion, they shot up Baghdad's Nissor Square as they barreled through protecting still unknown American 'diplomats.' That incident finally got Blackwater kicked out and led to Blackwater changing its name to Xi.

Blackwater didn't really leave Iraq in that many of those working for Blackwater at the time of the Nissor Square attack went on to work for Triple Canopy, DynaCorp and other contractors in Iraq. While Blackwater never really left, the electricity never really got turned on and James Drummond and Peter Shaw-Smith (Financial Times of London) report that Iraq still will not have regular and reliable electricity. Why? A variety of reasons are offered and they note Karim al-Aftan fears he may be the third Minister of Electricity forced out of office.

And that's it. I'm dictating this while I wait for a Senate committee hearing to start and I think it's about to.

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