Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, today announced he is replacing long-time Foreign Minister Heshyar Zebari, a top Kurdish politician. He has named State of Law MP Hussain al-Shahristani as acting FM.
As tensions between Maliki and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) continue to rise, the Kurdish members of his outgoing government have been boycotting cabinet meetings, meaning cabinet meetings have no trade or health ministers, nor a president.
The Kurds announced the boycott earlier this week, after Maliki accused them of providing aid to ISIS, and of allowing ISIS to use Arbil, the Kurdish capital, as a base of operations.
There is no evidence of any of Maliki’s claims, which seem farfetched given the substantial US presence in Arbil. Rather it seems likely Maliki is making allegations because of tensions over the KRG seizing several disputed cities in recent weeks, including oil-rich Kirkuk.
The KRG is also openly talking about having a referendum on outright secession from Iraq, so Maliki seems to be gambling that he can hurt the changes of such a vote by portraying the Kurds as pro-terrorist.
So far, it’s only meant growing acrimony between the two sides, and today’s replacement of Zebari, a lame-duck FM at any rate, is likely to convince the Kurds that they won’t get much out of a new power-sharing deal, and are better off on their own.
Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz
- Trump Wants High-Profile Meeting With Putin at G20 Summit - June 26th, 2017
- House Spending Bill Threatens to Suspend Nuclear Treaty With Russia - June 26th, 2017
- Bahrain Accuses Qatar of Seeking 'Military Escalation' - June 26th, 2017
- White House Appears to Be Planning Attack on Assad - June 26th, 2017
- Top Senator Blocks Gulf Arms Sales Over Qatar Crisis - June 26th, 2017