Iraq needs “a new national partnership on the basis of the constitution” that could include confederal control of the disputed areas, Vice President Osama al-Nujaifi said at a think-tank event in the United States on Tuesday.
“Disputed areas should be under the security of a confederated entity. This doesn’t mean the Peshmerga and Iraqi armies should be deployed on the ground,” said the Sunni leader Nujaifi at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) in Washington, D.C. “It should originate from the local populaces – in the hands of the people there.”
Dismissing hints at partitioning Iraq into three-or-more states, the native of Mosul expressed that a move “to establish a Sunni regional government would not be constitutional, according to Article 119” of the constitution.
With regards to recent clashes between Iraqi and Kurdish forces, Nujaifi believes the Kurdistan Regional Government pushed too far when they held the referendum in the disputed or Kurdistani areas claimed by Erbil and Baghdad.
“The Kurds thought this is a suitable time to establish their independent place, but they thought of taking the disputed areas, which are superior to the areas they have been inhabiting. And this is illegal,” he told Amb. William B. Taylor, USIP Executive Vice President.
Nujaifi believes Baghdad’s formation of an international coalition including the UN, the United States, Iran, and Turkey “supported the movement of the Iraqi security forces into the disputed areas” in the weeks after the vote.
However, the movement of Iraqi security forces and Iran-backed militias into the Kurdistan Region, proper – across the so-called Blue Line – would not be in-line with the constitution, he stressed.
“There are some parties in Iraq who want to enter into Kurdistan and aid in the falling of this region. This is really unconstitutional. The law has to be abided by everyone – Iraqi security forces and forces in Kurdistan,” said Nujaifi, who recently formed the new For Iraq United party ahead of national elections in May.
He worries of Shiite militias imposing a “political reality” in the areas they control.
Kirkuk and disputed areas should be addressed by “consolidating power in these areas,” he explained, bringing institutions together.
Nujaifi urged that “a geographic change not happen.”
He reminded Taylor that there were Shiite militias before ISIS. “They existed for decades, some 30 years. It was Iran that established and trained them since the Iraq-Iran War,” said Nujaifi.
“Some have no problems. Some have affiliation and loyalty to the Iranian mujahidin and to [Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali] Khamenei.
“They have their own aspirations. They have created their own entity parallel to the Iraqi army. It’s dangerous. They have to be unified and the political element removed. They must not have an agenda from an outside influence.”
To balance this, Nujaifi hopes for more international support and accountability in Baghdad.
“[We need] a national consensus and a guarantee with a stronger international factor… a guarantor so the vulnerable people feel the support of the international community when there is a failure at the national level,” he stated.
A UN Security Council resolution could support such involvement, but he doesn’t see the UN having “enough authority” to implement it, so it “must be at a high level between the countries.”
“It has to be accepted at a roundtable by all of Iraq’s factions,” he added.
Nujaifi noted that Article 112 , the oil law, “is not agreed upon” and has been a source of tension in Iraqi politics.
“We have to close these doors,” he said.
– Trade Arabia