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tv   Inside Story 2017 Ep 301  Al Jazeera  October 29, 2017 8:32pm-9:01pm AST

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it was basically the who was a who or who was the king you had completely. completely against turnout that the turnout is three point five million but it is god knows some point two million that's basically. what you're going to call a sham elections shambolic renegade general hurley for have to who controls eastern libya has ordered an investigation after thirty six unidentified bodies were found in a village east of benghazi they were discovered on thursday some of the victims had signs of torture and gunshot wounds to the head the latest in a series of apparent mass killings in territory controlled by have to libyan national army thousands of persons have protested against the sexual harassment of women in the wake of the harvey weinstein scandal demonstration in the french capital comes after dozens of actresses accuse the hollywood producer of sexual
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assault and rape weinstein denies the allegations there's that monsters they have to be can inside story is next hour more news for you after that thanks for watching. historians of a kurdish homeland dashed by super zani is stepping down as president of iraq's kurdish region but does that in the current struggle for independence and was it ever a possibility this is inside story. welcome
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to the program i'm richelle carey the leader of iraq's kurdish region will not be extending his term as president assad for sania has been under pressure to quit following september's controversial secession referendum the session vote trigger more than ten days of fighting between iraqi and kurdish forces the region's parliament met in a close session on sunday to discuss how to redistribute power is held by the kurdish regional president and a letter president barzani outlined his role saying it could be divided between the government the parliament and the judiciary super zani has a long history an iraqi and kurdish politics he's a former guerrilla fighter who was who has led rather the ruling kurdistan democratic party the k d p since he succeeded his father in one thousand nine hundred seventy nine when the u.s. led invasion of iraq in two thousand and three and the removal of saddam hussein resign he was appointed to the interim iraqi governing council where he became an
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important political player he was elected president of the iraqi kurdistan region in two thousand and five and the past ten years on he has moved closer to ankara as turkish companies invested. postwar reconstruction and k. argy administered areas but last month turkish president raja typer to want accused him of treachery for proposing the referendum on secession from iraq his former us allies also advised against holding the vote president decision not to extend his presidential term has been seen by critics as evidence of his plan for a succession backfiring so would this be the end for me let's discuss all of this with our guests joining us in london renowned months or he is a fellow at chatham house in erbil on an award winning iraqi kurdish internal list and also in london. managing director at carnoustie consulting that's a political risk and security consultancy on iraq and kurdistan and welcome to all
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of you i'm going to start with the same question to all of you were not you first why is he stepping down now well i think it's been seen widely as a blunder the referendum i mean it was a chance to kind of push the envelope forward in terms of the kurdish nationalist movement and that's backfired very badly for the president this is a president who was already had his mandate in question his legitimacy was in question having not really extended that legally his presidency and so this referendum was a way to kind of be able to assert himself still relevant as kind of the next stages of the movement seeing that it's backfired i think he's i finally realizing that you know i've done my job as president i've brought the kurds to this point perhaps there's a new generation perhaps there's a new leadership that could kind of push the envelope and continue the nationalist movement but i suppose before him. is already done what he thinks is enough for the
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national movement i suppose he will your thoughts to do you agree or disagree with for naught. yeah well i think from during the campaign he said that he will take personal responsibility for the outcome of this if things don't go well this happened to coincide with the end of his term as president by law in the by parliament in the previous session and in its last session this time around the parliament wanted to extend for two more sessions this is including every think of the term of government and the presidency he refused. the initial hints of this came last week by his nephew and prime minister of iraqi kurdistan region they should remember zanny when he said when his term expires he does not intend to renew it so the two happen to coincide together and after two days i
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think he will cease to be president of the region but he will remain as the leader of his party and as he always says i'm always a push medicare he will stay involved i think in the kurdish movement but not in his capacity as president nor thoughts on why he is stepping down now. well. still on the first on the issue whether he's stepping down or ok i really not he's not extending his term he's not going to remain as president because legally that's not going to be a possibility however when you look at the history when it's finished four years ago and then it was extended for two years and then parliament was shot in two thousand and fifteen when his tenure and new fresh election and constitution was discussed in two thousand and fifteen parliament was shot and it's been in a limbo since then and listening to his advisors and people close to president barzani what you get is he's going to take
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a. backseat but however he's going to be pretty much in charge of the k d p which is the strong as the margins party kurdistan plus they're talking about him being some sort of a supremely leader of kurdistan therefore i'm not really convinced that his we call this a departure this is. what it what what we see as and in this general and by him continue in his role is it's not sustainable and legal is not possible ok so let's talk about i think that's a great distinction that you made that while things may technically be changing that doesn't mean that the reality of the situation is changing so having said that what do you think this is good or bad for the kurds if he still is going to wield so much power well the problem is if we just take a step back the issues in kurdistan is not new this is been brewing over the years mismanagement corruption lack of strong institutions and so on and president karzai
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has resided over this yes he's somehow it's taken some sort of responsibility now is stepping down in some ways a good so i think for him to step aside at least not continue as president which has no mandate create some sort of. legal thirty. maybe you want to call it all. new steps towards change in the constitution but. i'm not really convinced that. president barzani his family and the k d p p u k which are the two main leading party in kurdistan have any plans to cede to other parties or allow other parties to come in government and try to resolve these current crisis because this is. this current crisis in kurdistan is unseen i mean it's unprecedented. all we hear is the old argument from the current
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ruling elite in kurdistan that they can take us out of this crisis but however not including the other party not having a national unity government some sort this isn't doesn't mean that it will exclude the main two parties the p u k k d p who are pretty much in charge of it has been in charge been in charge of kurdistan for twenty six years but that means bringing in other stakeholders in kurdistan to try to resolve this crisis without leading to further complication and risk of clashes risk of people going in the street we already in kurdistan if you look at kurdistan has lost over thirty percent of his territory and lost in the case yes lost half of his revenues. from the oil fields in kirkuk and further ramification is having now we can see the borders are going to central iraqi control this is a calamitous. kurdish history and needs more responsible president need to
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take more responsibility for this ok and you touch on a lot of points that we are going to come back to that first i want to kind of tie what you've said in to something that renard said earlier do you think that this push for the referendum that you know kind of pushed to the forefront do you think that what what percentage if you had to guess about motivation was more about domestic politics for him there are critics that have said that that's potentially what some of his motivation was would you agree with that. certainly there's always the domestic issues there's always the internal issues you know this is a president who's had his legitimacy question for several years his mandate extended someone say extra legally this is a parliament that has been regularly can feed convene for two years and so you know when when the kurdistan region leadership talk about a democracy or democratization these are the institutions that are meant to be part of democracy and they haven't been present in the kurdistan region in the
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institutionalization of the security force clearly was shown to be very weak what kind of the splits have been and the result being the withdrawal from quetta coupe so very much what the referendum exposed and revealed and what the consequences of the referendum expose intervene of is a president and a leadership that struggle to institutionalize the nationalist movement away from personal trouble from ileo business kind of contracts and so to that extent i do think that this was a big gamble and this is a gamble that has not paid off so he was considering the way things have turned out for the current since the referendum do you think that this referendum actually made things worse for them. in fact here so many times there are for and i'm sure and described it made the kurds lose quite large territories a lot of revenue a lot less control than before but it all now depends i think on baghdad how will
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baghdad deal with iraqi kurdistan and will it. amended the promises that prime minister about he is making for the whole country will have to see that is this going to be implemented or not is he capable of bringing in economic plans financial plans and and service plans for the country bring in good politics and national reconciliation with the sunnis all of these things are issues are yet to be seen which we are seeing now is on the face of it a military victory for the iraqi army and the iraqi government and a kind of defeat for the kurds because of the referendum but we have. yet to see how will this and this is not the end the final chapter in this and the process we are still we have to wait for the for the live for further developments
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the first step of this is mr bush's only stepping down or stepping aside. as it's seen this is on one hand on the other hand i think we have to see how will the government and now in iraqi kurdistan the executive the parliament the judiciary will deal with the challenges that they're faced with today and how will the. future with baghdad we have to see what kind of angry men they will reach with back that this is just going to be a series of back there punishments for the region or will it be. a different look at the region as a whole and so let me be able and different relationship between the let me bring slight end to that brought it back to baghdad which obviously is central to this and you have said that the idea of having direct role from baghdad the kurds is simply flawed how so. well if we go back to before two thousand and three even
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kurdistan region has manages on affairs was completely cut off from the rest of iraq was under embargo as we see now happening pretty much the same but then. from the from two thousand and three slowly the kurds or the kurdish issue of decided to hedge their bets on the new iraq to. sort of take part in drafting a new constitution and sort of going along with the new vision of iraq with the americans put forward however if you look at the protractor problem since then. over the constitution over the revenue sharing over borders over issue of security various issues. in some ways the issues has been used by politician from both sides to look strong and look nationalistic from the iraqi from baghdad's point of view at the time when prime prime minister maliki was in charge and then
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from the kurdish side from president barzani and now we can see if you go before isis even during isis president barzani has always had the upper hand because most of the victories was for him so he's trying to bolster his position within iraq and so on but now the sort of the position has changed our bodies sort of making all those claims and pretending to be the savior of iraq and bring in iraq kurdish it kurdish kurdistan and the the central government's control but the disputed areas is clear those areas are it's called disputed within the constitution and. it was under saddam before two thousand and three for that but the idea of trying to bring direct rule from baghdad into the all the part of kurdistan where before two thousand and three borders i think is never going to work and it's going to be a sort of a big overreach from about his point of view and this position of looking pretty.
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and look in a strongman of iraq it can quickly change because as far as i know and the stars people i speak to on the ground this specially this new gene kurdish generation they're just not interested in so having baghdad telling them what to do occasionally is a solution with their leadership but that doesn't mean they can allow but that's a comeback in this if we're not i saw you nodding did you want to add something to that. in general i think what sean is saying is correct the. prime minister has has proven something that's kind of a new development in iraq which is we're no longer talking sectarianism or ethno sectarian ethnic tensions as the only tensions in iraq i think what the referendum is shown where the above is shown is internal sector internal sort of ethnic disputes are coming to the forefront so someone like a buddy the prime minister he's in the last few days he's going to saudi arabia he's going to our man he's met with turkey and iran the point being he's there.
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isn't a monolith in iraq and there are different types of leaders and it seems like from in our conversations with our buddies people they want they want to limit violence and they're aware that in such a precarious situation you might have rogue actors you might have things that spark disputes about the is trying to also think about elections and this is also important to note that everyone is thinking about elections coming up next year who can be seen as a strong man a very much a characteristic that iraqis look for in a leader and so on by the is moving towards trying to convince the u.s. the state department london they're all backing up by the and part of the backing up by the is they view him as perhaps an element within the shia that might be a bit more hesitant towards what is iranian gemini and what is iranian always being one step ahead in iraq. you brought in the u.s. to this and when i want to ask you about the way that the u.s.
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and the international community had treated the kurds have treated the peshmerga you know using that when it's been official today and then it seems perhaps not standing by them how would you characterize the way the international community has treated the kurds in iraq specifically. well i think the one big lesson that the kurds should learn for the millionth time from this. referendum issue is that the united states of america and the other international community have looked at them as proxies as guns for hire and as cheap security companies they would have not been able to defeat isis without the help of the kurds. on both sides of the border in iraq and in syria the united states' policy with its proxies and allies and. friends people that you consider friends in the region is one of tax policy i call they use them to take them from a to b.
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and they drop them like hot potatoes this is what the united states has been doing with the kurds ever since and this time around it is very much clear look if you look at the iraqi kurdistan a place that tries to uphold the values of the free world with all the defects and shortcomings they try to be part of this international community or the upholding the values of the free world they get attacked today by popular pro iranian forces and other and other forces they are being watched by the international community in fact it is with the approval of the international community regardless of the of the insides of the of the of the inside story basically that goes on but on the face of it i think this is the very important lesson that the kurds and the british leadership and india should learn in dealing with the united so he well he well that if you are a friend of iran you are a serious friend of iran and they and they protect you to the last bullet so they i
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mean let me ask you let me ask you with the minute they finish with so let me ask you then so when the u.s. or these other countries say it's not that we're against a separate kurdish state just not now are you saying that you don't you don't even believe that when they say another time. when they seem to keep pushing it off and delaying it there they have their reasoning that the very reason for saying not now is because there is the war against isis the only benefit for them in this forum in relations with the kurds is that because the kurds were good good fighters against the war in the war against isis the minute that finishes they will just hand them back over to iran to to iraq and to baghdad and to iran and to everyone else they're just not interested in the kiddush issue anywhere in the middle east and this is the woman big lesson i think the kids should learn out of this. the
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idea the dream the goal of a separate kurdish state is that a realistic one either financially or politically or both. well the dream i think lives on i don't think you can sort of take a dream away from kurdish people but for now i think we have a sort of a startling awakening of the realities of what is facing us in some talking as occurred. since since sort of the june when the refrain that was announced and many people sort of for all jubilant about the idea of having a home called kurdistan and so on and kurdish people in good faith actually voted for this ninety three percent ninety two and a half percent of kurdish people voted in a ideal time if there was more unity within the kurdish. discordant political discourse there would have been probably even ninety nine percent because most
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kurds really want to see a state of their own however. the leadership completely sort of going over their heads that they they they thought they worked out how to do this but the but they just didn't know the miscalculation from their part here mongers and i don't think this can be excused or forgiven because. not only led to the dream to be stifled than a lot of kurds been i mean this is a national humiliation if people really feel really humiliated by the way things has ten down in the last ten days and. as i say the dream will sort of lives on but not under this current leadership and these people who are sort of drove kurdistan down this path and don't mistake me i'm not going to blame everything on the kurdish side in the iraqi side have a lot to answer and this might have happened in a different way but the problem was this referendum was a perfect time in
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a period perfect excuse for the the people who wanted to see. his son be humiliated and they use this referendum to. take take take take over those areas where i could see it as ok and been taken away from now or not let me ask you this shawn says that his point of view you know that the dream still lives on how would you like to see. the dream the idea of a separate kurdish state i don't know maybe change or evolve particularly when there may be new leadership coming in how should it change or evolve as you see it . well it's a very time and a we've had a lot of meetings talking about the referendum and you know you oftentimes find yourself thinking pragmatically independence in our current ok on a personal level they deserve independence but you know but the problem is when you
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when you put on your research or when you put on the head of what is on the ground it becomes more complicated and so the kurds until now have been quite good at pragmatically working within what is that structure you know new states don't pop up every day you have an international community that doesn't want to recognize new states anymore and so what the kurds have done until now is say ok forget about that kind of top level let's build from the bottom up let's build what is a defacto state to the point where they have to recognize us and this referendum was a departure but from that but i think really what needs to be the focus i think what the you know i mean and what from hearing it from the kurds on the ground is demanding elsewhere is they want basic human needs i mean they want to be paid they want jobs they want electricity these are the things that they've been missing they've been lacking so i think that what needs to happen with this new lead in the if there is a new leadership that emerges or there's this kind of the humbled leadership kind
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of start the focus needs to be back on building a state you don't need to declare a state but build the state. so that's a really interesting distinction i think that's actually going to be the last word you say you don't have to create a state simply build a state all right gentlemen thank you all for this discussion will continue to follow this issue really we appreciate it very much so that's been sore joining us from london from irbil he was on and. also from london thank you all for the conversation and thank you for watching so if you want to see the program again it's very easy go to our website at al-jazeera dot com for further discussion go to our facebook page that's facebook dot com ford slash a.j. inside story then of course there's always twitter our handle is at a.j. and side story from me or show kerry and the entire team by for now.
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