Saturday, April 3, 2010

What is our strategy for Kirkuk?

By Baqi Barzani

Kirkuk and other disputed Kurdish territories rank among the most elevated priorities in our government's agenda. With its definitive status still in the balance after 7 years of bitter bickering between Baghdad and KRG, the odds of incorporating it into Kurdistan turns out to be more knotty and dubious by every passing day.

Despite numerous prior accords, none of the formerly incumbent coalition partners have been able to honor their vows and views. After 2 parliamentary elections, despite KRG's consistent prodding for a solution to the dilemma, the officials in Baghdad do not seem to be demonstrating any tendency toward addressing the issue. Weary and Wedged in Iraq, the US and coalition forces have no proclivity to cope with the outset of a spanking new ethnic war.

At present, the adjoining countries are the only ones benefiting from the prevalent anarchism and stalling of process to an degree that if all concerned parties involved in Kirkuk convene and recognize the centrality of a third party mediation, they would still veto it.

What ever the motives behind the lingering of Kirkuk dispute, Kirkuk is a Kurdish and Kurdistani internal affair and we, the Kurds would suffer the most loss in case of any potential surrender. Bowing down to every behest whether internal or external is an Achilles' heel on our part, further exacerbating and prolonging the state of affairs in Kirkuk.

With Allawi gearing up to form his new coalition members, our officials and representatives should take a more rigid position to seek a lasting ultimatum to the issue peacefully and multilaterally. We must come up with a robust, transparent, consistent, persistent, shrewd strategy before it is too late. We have lost scores of leeway in the past and we can not afford to squander any more time.