Sep 30 2012
By Nidhal al-Laithi
Azzaman, September 30, 2012
Top Kurdish leaders are in disagreement over what type of administration their semi-independent Kurdish region should have in the future, according to a high-ranking Kurdish official.
The official, Mahmoud Othman, said both Jalal Talabani, the Iraqi President and Massoud Barzani, the head of the Kurdish region, think differently when it comes to the way the region should administered.
Othman, with close ties to both leaders, said differences between them have come to the surface recently as Talabani has been warming to the Kurdish opposition critical of Barzani and his party, the Kurdistan Democratic Party.
Barzani as head of the Kurdish region has massive powers and both Talabani and the opposition want to turn the post into symbolic presence and give the parliament and the party with majority MPs the power to rule.
What has angered Barzani is Talabani’s rapprochement with Nushervan Mustafa, the leader of the Kurdish opposition with influential popular support particularly in the Kurdish Province of Sulaimaniya, Talabani’s power base.
Mustafa has been harshly critical of Barzani, demanding stricter parliamentary checks and balances of his post.
Talabani is the leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan which along with Barzani’s party have been ruling the region.
If Mustafa, who heads the Kurdish Change Movement, wins Talabani to his side, the two can form a strong bloc that will seriously challenge Barzani’s power base.
The differences are more than internal as the two leaders have their own interpretations of the geopolitics of their region.
Barzani leans on Ankara as a regional superpower and coordinates closely with Turkey as his area of influence borders Turkey.
Talabani is the closest Kurdish leader to Tehran as Iran borders the part of the Kurdish region that falls under his influence.
Othman, a veteran Kurdish politician, warned that inter-Kurdish differences were weakening Kurdish position vis-à-vis relations and negotiations with the central government in Baghdad.
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