Erbil/ Mariwan Faydullah Salihi
Tensions between Arabs and Kurds will disappear in the near future, according to Jermey Macadie, Britain’s new General Consul in Erbil. His statement is also supported by Jon Wilks, British government’s official spokesperson and Deputy British ambassador in Baghdad, Iraq.
“When Iraq’s wealth will increase, people of all communities in Iraq will focus on things not related to politics. They will travel, study abroad and have their own hobbies. Tensions between the religious groups and ethnicities in the country will fade away, including those between Kurds and Arabs,” mentions Macadie.
In his opinion, relations between Erbil (Kurdistan Region’s capital) and Baghdad (Iraq’s federal capital) have never been better. “The recent visit of Iraqi PM Nouri Al-Maliki to Kurdistan is a proof of that.”
The British General Consul also revealed some of the Erbil-Baghdad meetings, including the reintegration of the Peshmerga (Kurdistan National Guards) into the Iraqi Army. “Those talks are very encouraging. It’s seen by many as an important step towards unity in Iraq. “Why do you need an army (referring to the Kurds) when you are part of Iraq. Kurds and Arabs have lived together for hundreds of years, why can’t they live together now.”
Kirkuk and Article 140
Regarding the Kirkuk issue and other disputed regions bordering Kurdistan Region, Macadie finds that there should a peaceful solution to the Kirkuk question and Article 140 (Iraqi Constitution law regarding the normalization process of disputed regions in Iraq). “This is an Iraqi issue and only Iraqis can solve their differences. All groups and communities in Iraq should start dialogues and build trust between each other, in order to have a better future for Iraq.
Another solution is through Iraq’s own Constitution. The United Nations is also helping with the Kirkuk question and Article 140, but the real solution is owned by the government and people of Iraq only.”
Opposition and Elections in Iraqi Kurdistan
“We can’t change the past, but we can make a change to the future (regarding Britain’s role in the past, in the Middle East and Iraq). Great-Britain will have a greater role in Iraq’s future,” clarifies Jon Wilks.
“The shift from two-party rule to a more democratic region with opposition parties is good news for many of us. It’s healthy to see more opposition and free and independent media. There were difficult years in Kurdistan before the elections (Kurdistan Region presidential/parliamentary elections, which were held on 25-07-2009). But now a better future is expected here. When there’s opposition, all points of views are seen in the parliament,” claims Macadie.
The election results showed people’s need for a healthier and more democratic parliament, he says. One of those opposition parties, the Gorran Movement, managed to get 25 of Kurdistan’s 111 parliament seats.
Kamal Kirkuki – Kurdistan’s new Parliament Speaker
Macadie also talks about the new role of the Kurdistan Parliament. “The parliament has a lot of work to do. Especially its Speaker. The Speaker is the first defender of democracy,” referring to Iraqi Kurdistan’s new Parliament Speaker, Kamal Kirkuki.