As other Shi’ite politicians try to get Kurdish parties on board for a unity government, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki seems determined to make things much, much worse.
Today, Maliki claimed the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) was directly aiding ISIS with its takeover of western Iraq, and that the Kurdish capital city of Arbil has become an “operations base” for ISIS.
The claim is absurd, as the KRG’s Peshmerga fighters have been clashing intermittently with ISIS, and the US has set up an operations base of its own in Arbil, and it surely would’ve noticed if ISIS had beaten them there.
The Maliki allegations rather seem a continuation of his go-to strategy of trying to portray any political rivals as in league with terrorists. Similar efforts chased most Sunni politicians out of his previous government, and in the case of Vice President Tareq Hashemi, into exile.
Maliki has made clear he’s angry at the Kurds for seizing Kirkuk and moving closer to secession, but trying to pick a fight with them at this point seems like it will only ensure Kurdistan moves further toward independence.
Kurdish officials slammed the allegations, and say that Kurdish cabinet ministers will be boycotting meetings in Baghdad.