Friday, December 28, 2007

Sunni groups smell a sellout by Hashemi in the North

Most of the mysterious three-party memorandum of agreement between Hashemi's Islamic party and the two big Kurdish parties (signed Dec 24; consisting of 21 very brief clauses) is boilerplate about righting the wrongs of the past via democracy, Clause 140 of the Constitution, and amicable arrangements mentioned only in very general terms, but there is also clause 17, which reads:
[The parties agree on] formation of branch committees in contiguous areas and disputed areas, to arrive at solutions in those areas in pursuit of a sound relationship (the attached addendum which relates to the governate of Ninawa is part of this memorandum of understanding).
The addendum on Ninawa appears not to have been published anywhere, but today some of the jihadi forums were paying attention to a news item yesterday in the Sunni-oriented Haq news agency, which suggested an explanation. The news agency said:
Informed sources...[said the agreement] could cede in an obscure way two-thirds of the governate of Ninawa to the Kurds, and [could also mean commitment to] the rejection of inclusion of Mosul in any future [federal] region, in the event the Sunni Arabs were to agree on formation of a region of governates that have a Sunni-Arab majority.
The journalist goes on to note that the "text relating to Mosul" hasn't been included in the text of the agreement published by any of the news media, and the reason for that is:
fear on the part of the Islamic Party and its director Tareq al-Hashemi who signed the memo of understanding, of the reaction of the Sunni street, which is absolutely against any infringement on the Arab character of Mosul, or any attempts by the Kurdish parties to take over big parts of it.
The journalist adds:
The sources say that the unpublished part of the agreement relating to Mosul includes an agreement on the administration of Mosul that gives two-thirds of the city to the Kurds and one-third to the Arabs and the other ethnic groups, in addition to adding the district of Sinjar to the Kurdish administration.

If the truth of this is confirmed, then the Islamic Party has placed itself in a very difficult position vis-a-vis the Sunni-Arab street, which will not be able to allow this to happen under any circumstances. So far the Islamic Party has refrained from commenting on this very serious report.
That's the extent of what they have to say about the agreement itself, and obviously it isn't clear whether they are saying the agreement risks giving two-thirds of Ninawa governate to the Kurds (first paragraph), or two-thirds of the city of Mosul (the text quoted above). But there's more.

This same Haq Agency report quotes extensively from more general remarks by a member of the national parliament representing Mosul, by the name of Osama al-Najifi. The reporter writes:
Elsewhere, but on the same topic, [Najifi said] the Kurdish parties have penetrated into lands belonging to the governate of Ninawa in an effort to alter the demographics of the area. And Najifi said in a press conference in Mosul that the current situation in Ninawa is inundated by fog on every side, and is victim of extremes of negligence and marginalization by both local and the national governments alike. It is a situation that has given the Kurdish parties the opportunity to penetrate, and to undertake the extension of their security apparatus into the districts of Sinjar, Hamdaniya, Zamar, Bashiqa, and Bartala, as part of their effort at demographic change.
(The first two of those are identifiable on the Ninawa map on Wikipedia, but the last three are not, so I'm not sure what they refer to).

Al-Najafi said "this unnatural situation compels us to reject the idea of applying Clause 140 of the Constitution (referendum respecting regional affiliation) to Ninawa", and in any event he said the clause doesn't legally apply to that governate.

Al-Najafi concluded with a remark on the Awakening Councils. He said he blames the Governate Council for the damage that is being done, and for the delays in development projects, adding:
The governate's security problems are not capable of being solved in the framework of the Awakening Councils which are related to parties and militias having no connection to the people in Ninawa.
Myself, I think this type of horse-trading or attempted jurisdiction-swapping in the north would be consistent with a coming GreenZone musical-chairs restructuring, in the form of Hashemi buying some support from the Kurdish parties. And the musical-chairs concept, I think, is what is probably going to come out of the current "reconciliation" process, of which the next step is the officially unannounced Cairo meeting, where I think the outreach to the resistance is going to turn out to have been mostly for show.


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