Iraq: Concerns Raised About Maliki’s Governance
Top Iraqi politicians, unhappy with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki‘s style of governing, held a meeting in Arbil, the capital of Kurdistan in northern Iraq, to call for greater democracy in Iraq. The Iraqi leaders called “to put in place mechanisms that can solve the instability, and for ways to enhance the democratic process and activate the democratic mechanisms in managing the country’s affairs and preventing dangers that are targeting” democracy. Shiite cleric Moqtada Al Sadr demanded inclusiveness in Iraq’s politics, because “divisiveness is not good for the people.” James Traub writes in Foreign Policy that the democracy the U.S. attempted to create in Iraq is causing multiple levels of instability both in the country and the region. “Iraq under Maliki has become a deeply fragmented state with superficial democratic characteristics, and a net exporter of sectarianism,” he says.
Relatedly, Kurdish President Massoud Barzani hinted at secession in an interview, saying, “What threatens the unity of Iraq is dictatorship and authoritarian rule. If Iraq heads toward a democratic state, then there will be no trouble. But if Iraq heads toward a dictatorial state, then we will not be able to live with dictatorship.” Tony Karon writes in Time that Iraq’s Kurds “appear to have digested the lessons of history, first and foremost the maxim that every crisis is also an opportunity.” Given Baghdad’s current instability, Karon points out that this could be an opportunity for the Kurds to realize their dream of statehood.
Thomas Buonomo argues that the U.S. should focus on diplomacy and development in Iraq. He believes, “Development grants and low-interest loans designed to stimulate self-sustaining job creation would help neutralize radical political currents, facilitating political reconciliation and Iraqi government-funded development in a constructive upward spiral.”