The following article was published by Reidar Visser, an historian of Iraq educated at the University of Oxford and currently based at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs. It is reproduced here with the author’s permission. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.
Sooner or later, it was bound to happen: Grassroots elements in the secular and traditionally Iraqi nationalist Iraqiyya would feel unhappy about the ever more intimate ties between their own leadership and the Kurds.
In an unprecedented expression of dissatisfaction with the course of Iraqiyya leader Ayyad Allawi, no less than 19 parliamentary deputies that are either part of Iraqiyya or have recently defected from it expressed their support for Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki yesterday by signing a declaration of solidarity with his policies towards the Kurds.
The declaration criticizes the current political crisis for being fabricated and alleges that accusations about “dictatorship” should more properly be addressed to Kurdish leader Masud Barzani, who has ruled for several decades. The highhandedness of Kurdish security forces (peshmerga) and secret police (asayish) in disputed territories in northern Iraq is highlighted as an area of particular concern.
It is worthwhile taking a look at the identity of the signatories. Almost all of them are Sunnis from various parts of northern Iraq, including Kirkuk, Nineveh and Anbar. In terms of bloc affiliations, most are either from the recent blocs of Iraqiyya defectors (Free Iraqiyya & Wataniyun) or belonging to small lists.