Iraqi Prime Minister and General Commander of the Armed Forces Jalal Talabani said Iraqi president Nuri al-Maliki does not have the right to involve the army in police matters.
In an interview with Al Arabiya, Talabani commented on the controversy between the Kurdistan Province Government and the Central Iraqi Government over the latter’s formation of the Tigris Operations’ Command to operate in the disputed area between the Kurds and the Central Government. Talabani described such formation as a violation to his powers because declaring a State of Emergency cannot be announced without his consent or the prime minister’s – and the president did not issue his.
He explained that the commander of the Iraqi Commander of the Ground Forces Lieutenant General Ali Ghaidan issued a decision putting Police Forces and all local forces and the Army under the command of the Tigris Operations’ Command, which is a declaration of the State of Emergency as he said.
Talabani said Maliki doesn’t want to declare war and he isn’t able to do it. However he described this step as an uncalculated and improvised step that might lead to a reaction from the Kurdish side, and any incident might turn into a conflict that is better avoided.
The Kurdish-Shiite coalition criticized
Amids such tension, speculations arose about the possibility of creating a crack in the Kurdish-Turkish coalition, but Talabani described the relationship as historic, logical and uprooted in society since the era of British occupation, continuing throughout the royal era, the opposition era, and present day. He said this coalition is not a religious based alliance. It is a Kurdish-Arab alliance as well as a Sunni-Shiite alliance, since Kurds are Sunnis. It is also a coalition between the north, central, and south of the country, and cannot be destabilized by people who do not understand history nor the facts.
“I was and still am against that the President of the Republic asks the parliament to discredit the Prime minister,” Talabani said, explaining that nominating the prime minister is not within the powers of the president but in the hands of the largest parliamentarian bloc, therefore if he demands the parliament to discredit the prime minister, he will be violating the rights of the national coalition bloc which had nominated Maliki as prime minister. He said he believes that it is important someone asks the national coalition to request of the Maliki to change his present attitude or be replaced.
Kurds and the armament of Iraq
In response to the worries of Kurds regarding the armament of the Iraqi government, Talabani said, “we want a strong Iraq and we don’t fear the arms deal concluded by the Central Iraqi government”. He added the Kurdistan Province government seeks some kind of coordination and reassurances about the methods of using such arms.
Kurds and independence
Talabani said, “I am the Secretary General of a party called, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), demanding since its inception the right of self-determination for the Kurdish people, and I see that the Kurds have exerted this right when they chose to adhere, freely, to the Iraqi Federation.”
He added, “I cannot stop people from dreaming of an independent state but as a politician I believe that the Federation is the right solution for the Kurdish cause, which serves the Kurdish people and fulfills its ambitions.”
Talabani concluded that separation is an unrealistic slogan and cannot be executed.