Erbil-Baghdad Relations Still Lack Substance

By Mustafa al-Kadhimi for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

The visit of a delegation representing the Iraqi National Alliance to the Iraqi Kurdistan Region and its meeting with the region’s president, Massoud Barzani (pictured), was largely considered a step toward resolving Iraq’s mounting crises, particularly the escalating conflict between the government in Baghdad and the Kurdistan Region.

Yet the mutual visits and the return to dialogue, in light of existing tensions, do not constitute a comprehensive solution. They are just one step on the path to a solution that, first and foremost, requires a common understanding of the mechanisms and courses of action that might break the ice between Iraqi parties.

What makes the observers pessimistic about the prospects of such visits is the fact that they have been ongoing for the past two years. Every time, the crisis goes back to square one, thus indicating a certain defect in the dialogue and its pillars.

Among the Shiites and Kurds of Iraq, there exists a long history of relations and mutual understandings that are expressed by both parties on a continual basis. The parties also reiterate their wishes to regain the Shiite-Kurdish alliance, which practically ruled the government from 2003 until the beginning of 2011.

However, wishes alone do not create solutions, especially when each party is speaking a totally different language.

The delegations representing the National Alliance in Iraqi Kurdistan often propose general ideas that sometimes employ emotional rhetoric to express the profoundness of relations between both parties. The delegations also demonstrate their readiness to form committees to discuss problems. Meanwhile, the Kurdish side suggests specific ideas that are mostly related to agreements concluded between both parties or to the whole of Iraq. Constitutional texts that have not been put into force and governmental proceedings that the region considers a violation of its rights are also among the points tackled by the Kurds.

As we can see, there is a lack of coherence between both languages. The National Alliance expresses its readiness to sign new agreements, while the Kurds insist on implementing old agreements.

One Response to Erbil-Baghdad Relations Still Lack Substance

  1. Lorenzo April 13, 2013 at 7:25 pm #

    Only by talking “dugri”, they can achieve peace.