Lukman Faily: Both sides will lose if the region adopts a different policy from Baghdad
Source: Rudaw news
There is now more talk about the formation of the new Iraqi government, and about positions and their distribution than about the next government program, and here the Kurds in the Kurdistan Region, although they say that they have no conditions to participate in the government, there is a lot of talk and they say that the talks and negotiations are about their own agenda , especially the region’s share of the Iraqi general budget, the implementation of Article 140 of the Iraqi constitution, and other issues.
What are the challenges facing the new Iraqi government, especially since the coming period, or let’s say in the next month, US will put its sanctions on Iran into effect, how should the Iraqi government act in this case, and what is the position of the Kurds and Kurdistan on this, especially since the region Kurdistan has wide borders with Iran, as well as relations between Iraq, the Kurds inclusive, other countries and America.
These and other questions were posed by Hiwa Jamal, through today's event, to the former Iraqi ambassador to the United States of America, Lukman Abdul Rahim Al-Faily. Below is the text of the interview:
Rudaw: What are the challenges that will face the new Iraqi government?
Al-Faily: Different Challenges. Part of it is related to the internal Iraqi situation, part is related to the geopolitics of the region, and part is related to the status of Iraq in general as a societal trend, i.e. a direction it wants to move in.
The legacy is heavy on the government in all directions, and as a result there are immediate and long-term challenges.
It is necessary for the government to determine its priorities, because the number of challenges are many, and they are deep, and solving them is not easy.
Rudaw: Will the Prime Minister have a role in these challenges, especially since he has resigned several times from his previous positions because of them?
Al-Faily: It is difficult for any official to have the issue of resignation present in his mind when he takes up a new position. On the contrary, we need a mentality of challenge, a mentality of finding solutions, and a mentality that sees that everything can be resolved, but within logic and within the cooperation of all.
The task of the Prime Minister, Dr. Adel Abdul-Mahdi, is not easy, and no personality, no matter how extraordinary and powerful, can solve it without the parliament and without the cooperation of the political blocs and even the regional government, and it is difficult to judge him and decide whether he will succeed or not. Because the challenges are great.
Rudaw: Do you think that Adel Abdul-Mahdi will be a strong prime minister, when he does not have a parliamentary bloc?
Al-Faily: He is a non-partisan figure at the moment in a partisan system. This is a case of contradiction, that the country has a partisan parliament and more than 200 parties have participated in the elections, and he comes out with the assignment of a non-partisan prime minister. This is the issue of the street, and this is the reality, so there is no bloc that can claim that it is the one who brought it, and claim that it will support it in all the tracks, this is a problem.
But on the other hand, resorting to a non-partisan indicates that it suffers from weakness, and means that the parties are the subject of a debate with the street, and the street needs solutions, and is not looking for promises or the like.
As a result, the challenge of Dr. Adel Abdul-Mahdi, that he has a direct team that belongs to him, the prime minister’s team, and a ministerial cabinet in harmony, and it is necessary for the parties to give up many of their previous gains in exchange for government support, otherwise any party, even the regional government, if you look at the equation from the perspective of For it to win and the central government to lose, the process will be a failure, in all respects.
Rudaw: What is being talked about so far is the sharing of positions and ministries in the negotiations. Have you seen the program of the new government, and is it transparency and clarity?
Al-Faily: The program, as before, talks about corruption and talks about public addresses. But the problem is in detail, what is the project to treat corruption, the project for the presence of weapons outside the state, which institution and which organization will equal this, the issue of community reconciliation, the issue of the relationship with the region, these are all hot files, all difficult. As a result, it is difficult for the government program, even in stable countries, to handle two or three files in a four-year government period. For example, the issue of health in America, Obama was unable to address the issue of health and the issue of Iran.
So it is difficult to ask the new, non-partisan government now to address all these problems that it has, and the other problem is that most of the talk so far is about people, a minister from any bloc, any personality, and not talking about the government program. So our way of thinking and our behavior so far is more toward personalizing matters than talking about the government's program.
The program of governance and setting priorities will be the biggest problems that the next government will face, because without setting priorities, giving a package of thirty or twenty files and asking the government to deal with them, I think it will fail.
Rudaw: So, this government is at the beginning of a tunnel whose end is unknown?
Al-Faily: No, so far the talk is general, and they did not talk exactly about what is the priority file. Services, what file services? Electricity, health, education, or what?
The state does not have the effort, the ability, or even the money to address these priorities. Determining priorities, persuading the street, and immediate and rapid treatments, in addition to infrastructure, is not an easy task.
Rudaw: The Kurds say they will participate. How can the Kurdish representatives participate in this government?
Al-Faily: After the referendum. It is necessary that the regional government and the parties of the region reconsider the nature of their dealings with the center and with the rest of Iraqi society.
Unfortunately, the problem has shifted from the issue of the region, from a central conflict and a central government to a societal conflict, and I think that this needs another effort, and a high level of altruism, from the leadership of the region and from the Kurdish parties, in addition to the parties that you want to call Shiite, Sunni or Arab Or any other name. This does not matter. Rather, it is necessary to reconsider a contract between members of the state and not an issue of an Iraqi society or nation, because this is another topic entirely. The talk should be about restoring the state contract, between the citizen and the state. This is another priority.
Rudaw: How can this agreement be reached between the citizen and the Iraqi state, when you said in 2016, that the Iraqi state is viewed from the perspective of Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish visions? Can this be repeated with the new government?
Al-Faily: After 2003, the Iraqi state collapsed, as a whole state. Rebuilding the state needs another breath, a more positive spirit, and this is not easy.
The challenges facing the region, we are in a tense region, we are not in Eastern Europe, and after the dissolution of the Soviet Union it is trying to integrate into Western Europe, nor are we East Germany to integrate into Western Europe. The challenges that we face are greater, and as a result, there is a need for a societal soul and the leadership of parties that have a degree of altruism and look at the state in the long term, for example, the challenges we face regarding water, environmental pollution, population increase, or others, and others. These challenges will face our children or grandchildren and will suffer from them. . The politician should look into this issue and not only what I am writing now. So another breath is needed.
Rudaw: Did the politicians do that, did they look at things forward?
Al-Faily: No, because the other problem is that after the issue of the referendum, it became clear to everyone that the international equation does not allow a Kurdish state versus a non-Kurdish state, so it is necessary to reconsider this issue.
Rudaw: How do they reconsider?
Al-Faily: The region's cooperation with the central government in the ministerial formation, the search for the common, and the search for success files, even if they are small, and building on them. This is better than presenting a long list of requirements that may be difficult to solve.
Rudaw: What should be the demands of the Kurds from the new Iraqi government?
Al-Faily: Now, at this stage, it is necessary to reconsider the issue of taxes, the issue of constitutional problems that need foresight, in the long run, because we cannot think only of the immediate term and do not think about the problem, because the problem we already have is the lack of The existence of political understandings on reinterpreting the constitution, the issue of decentralization, the issue of energy, the issue of existing contracts. There are debts on the regional government that the Iraqi government is not currently obligated to, and the numbers are enormous. As a result, it is necessary for the regional government to determine its priorities. Does it need two or three files? If you submit twenty or thirty files, I guarantee you that the relationship will be a failure.
Rudaw: As if the implementation of Article 140 is a priority for the regional government?
Faily: You won't be. For the simple reason that the issue after the referendum is whether we need to zero in on the relationship again or start where we left off. This question has no answer yet.
Rudaw: Is it better to start from scratch, or from the point reached?
Al-Faily: There are no political dialogues on this subject at the present time, and so far there has been no talk about the issue of the repercussions of the referendum. Iraq is dealing with the imposition of a fait accompli and this will not solve the problem, because the problem is societal and not a purely political one. Because the aspiration for a Kurdish state is the aspiration of a society, a Kurdish street, and not just the aspiration of political parties. So there is a need to reconsider this matter.
Now, at the level of priorities, we must look at: What are the main challenges? For example, the Iranian or American blockade of Iran, will have a direct impact on the Kurdistan Region and the Iraqi state. Supposed