Bitter Maliki-Nujaifi Exchanges Strain Political System

Kurdish officials proposed the confederation alternative for the relationship between Baghdad and Erbil to replace the current federal system. Aref Tayfour, deputy speaker of the Iraqi parliament and member of the Kurdish Alliance, issued a statement on Jan. 19 in which he indicated that a confederation was the best solution for Iraq to face “the risks of power monopolization, terrorism and corruption.”

However, the confederation formula proposed by Kurdish officials is still unclear. It is restricted to general ideas that do not solve the basic problems related to the distribution of resources, the disputed regions and the border. Moreover, one side alone cannot declare a confederation, because it is a system for bilateral or multilateral relations. It is also unclear whether the Iraqi Kurdistan Region has discussed the issue with the regional and international forces, especially given that the United States, Iran and Turkey often reiterate that they prefer to preserve Iraq’s unity.

The recent stances of Maliki, Nujaifi and Barzani indicate that the Constitution is no longer capable of containing the conflicts and divisions in the country. The persisting escalation and the failure to reach a political agreement will destroy the rules of the game that has been governing Iraqi politics since 2005. Perhaps this outcome is inevitable due to founding principles that governed these rules and institutionalized ethnic and sectarian divisions. As a result, discords, crises and conflicts over shares, positions and resources have resurfaced. The prime minister wants to remain in power at any cost, and his opponents have not been able to present an alternative or clear vision to reform the system. These are signs that this regime might be on the verge of collapse.

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