Kurdish Bloc Won’t Give Up Presidency, Iraqi Govt Talks Remain Stalled

US Demands for Talabani to Resign Met With Rejection

Iraqi MP Fouad Massoum of the Kurdistan Bloc today rejected US demands for Jalal Talabani to resign from the position of Iraqi President to set up a coalition government more favorable to the Obama Administration.

This is out of the question,” insisted Massoum. Talabani has held the presidency since 2005, and despite his bloc losing a large number of seats in the March election his bloc fully intends to hold the position, and seems keen to support which ever government would make that happen.

President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have reportedly called a number of top Kurdistan officials demanding Talabani’s resignation, with the idea being to pass the position to Ayad Allawi in the hopes that it will keep his Sunni dominated Iraqiya bloc out of the opposition and keep a relative lid on rising Sunni disillusionment.

Without the move, it still remains to be seen if Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law Bloc can form a government, but it certainly won’t be the one the US demands. The sudden flurry of US dictates regarding the new government, starting with the demand for Maliki to cut Moqtada al-Sadr’s bloc out of any deal and this new demand of the Kurds suggest the Obama Administration has very definite ideas of what they want the Iraqi government to look like. It seems they aren’t as able to dictate terms as in previous governments, however, and so the talks remain up in the air.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.