Who is Talabani?  

Saturday, April 22, 2006 
KurdishMedia.com - By Dr Kamal Mirawdeli

I have no problem with anyone choosing any identity, ideology and approach as long these are based on clear values or at least boundaries. So I do not have a problem with a Kurd being an Iraqi president or even assuming identity, ideology and role of an Arab as long as this is a personal choice that does not affect me, my people or infringe upon our next generations. The Arabs know what they want. They have history, culture, identity, power, oil, money, 22 states, a history of ethnic and cultural colonisation of many nations and above all an ideology which is chauvinist and as far as the other is concerned, racist and assimilationist. When Talabani was chosen as a candidate for the president of Iraq, a racist Arab writer in Assharq Alawsat wrote an article entitled Ta’arib Talabani, meaning “Arabizing Talabani”. He suggested a strategy: Let us allow Talabani be president but Arabize him in the process and not let him use this position to take Kirkuk for the Kurds!

Now I do not think that Arab chauvinists even needed such a strategy or even thought. Who is more prepared than Talabani to be anything and everything but not a principled Kurd? Anything that anyone wants apart from his people. My problem is here. I do not care if Talabani, Barzani, Mahmud Osman or whoever become Arabs, Turks, dictators, mini-Saddams, etc But please stop doing this at the expense of our dignity, blood, history and future of our generations. The generations of children whose fathers you have victimised are beginning to see and think. You do not have much time left for your gimmicks.
But let us focus on Talabani. While this Arab writer and with him all Arab chauvinist regimes and powers, had this plan to Arabise him, what was Talabani doing to ensure that he would be elected as President of Iraq?

Did he go to the Arab League, Iraqi Arab parties, his good friends in Syria to ask them to be baptised as a veteran Arab and purify himself from any past connections to Kurds and Kurdistan and then guarantee his post through this clever tactic or genuine metamorphosis? If he had done this, I would have been the first person to congratulate him. But he did not do that. For a month or two before elections, he surprisingly became a genuine nationalist Kurdish ‘leader’ again. He promised and promised. He even drew red lines of Kurdish interests which he promised he would not compromise. The post was not important to him, Kurdish interests were.

Let me not make assumptions and retrospective speculations. Here is the proof of what Talabani was saying and doing before elections.

When Talabani was nominated for presidency and he needed the votes of his Kurdish people to achieve his dream, I wrote an article which was published on www.kurdishMedia.com click here for article, www.kurdistanreferendum.org , and also on Talabani party’s website www.puk.org. (The article has been removed now!). The article was entitled: Kurdish Consensus. And it talks about a consensus which was surprisingly promoted and achieved by no-one else but Mr Talabani.

In this article I summarised the positive environment and advantages of Kurdish people and the role that Talabani could play to ensure the respect of all his people not in South Kurdistan but in all Kurdistan and the world. This would be on the other hand a great popular asset and support for him personally to gain international respectability as a great leader by acting with principle, courage and integrity to do what he promised his people to do. Let us remind us of what Talabani said then and the most favourable conditions and opportunities we had when the article published on 1st March 2005: I quote it verbatim:

[In the last few days [that is before 1 March 2005] the PUK leader, who is also the Kurdish candidate for Iraqi presidency, Mr Jalal Talabani has repeated with great consistency and strong emphasis that the issue of Iraqi posts is secondary to him and the Kurds and the important thing is the political issues which are of concern for the Kurdish people. And Talabani has rightly identified four priorities which he has often stressed would be the solid Kurdish conditions for entering into alliance with any of the elected Iraqi groupings.

These priorities are: Kurdish identity of Kirkuk and it being part of Kurdistan region should be recognised, federalism as principle and practice to be enshrined in Iraqi Constitution (of course including the recognition of Kurdistan region including Kirkuk), Kurdistan’s share of oil and other resources should be established and Kurdistan to continue to have its independent army (peshmarga forces).

On these priorities, starting with the issue of Kirkuk, Mr Talabani, as far as we can judge from his statements as reported by PUK media, has been so far consistent and firm. In a latest meeting in Kirkuk on 27 February 2005, Talabani reiterated that “the Kurds will support political programmes and not personalities. Any one who supports the four priorities of the people of Kurdistan will have the full support of our people.” (PUKmedia.com. in Arabic, 27/02/2005)

Then the article goes on to explain the favourable conditions and legal aspects which make it easy for the Kurds to achieve not even these four aims but even independence. It reads:

[This is an important strategic step in the right direction. The Kurdish people, thanks to their unity before, during and after the elections, have many important strengths and leverages which the political leaders need to use positively and decisively. All the positive factors, however, are embodied now and can be enacted within the consensus of the four priorities starting with the issue of Kirkuk. If we put the issue of Kurdistan’s self-determination in its broader context, we see that the people of South Kurdistan now have all possible moral, historical, political and legal means to pursue the case of self-determination internationally. The fact that Kurdistan has been subjected to oppression for the last 80 years and to genocide, gives our people the right of national self –determination and right of secession based on the moral and legal principle of “remedial justice.” Anfal genocide of 1988 does not only entitle our people to secession but to take the Iraqi state to international court for the crime of genocide and crimes against humanity.

The fact that Kurdish people have been exercising de facto independence and self-rule for the last 13 years, supported by Security Council Resolutions and international protection, provides a legal base for self-determination, too.

Now the ethnic issue of who are Kurds and which areas are Kurdish has been settled through the elections. This has added a legal dimension to our already-established political cause. There are four legal bases which give the Kurds a strong political position: the number of seats obtained by the Kurds (77 seats in the first and 53 in the last election), the Kurdish majority in Kirkuk, and the legal tools provided by Iraqi Administrative Law (TAL) that two thirds of votes are needed for the appointment of Prime Minister, President, and main posts on the one hand, and that any future Constitution can be nullified if three combined governorates reject it. The unity of the Kurdish political scene and the emerging strategic consensus also provide a strong solid political ground to allow the Kurdish people achieve their political aims. Add to this another strong political factor which is the role and achievements of Kurdistan Referendum Movement.} So this was the context and environment in which Talabani got the post of the President of Iraq. Then Talabani, as his PUK media quoted him, promised that “the Kurds will support political programmes and not personalities. Any one who supports the four priorities of the people of Kurdistan will have the full support of our people.” (PUKmedia.com. in Arabic, 27/02/2005) What has happened to these four priorities Mr Talabani? Can you tell us what have you achieved regarding each priority? Can you tell us what is happening in Kurdistan? What is happening to the displaced Kurds of Kirkuk, to the women of Anfal? Do you know what is happening to Kurdish society, to your own party?

Did you return to your people, did you consult anyone at all, or did you ever give an explanation to the people who voted for you when with a telephone call from a chauvinist Arab Omaru Mousa, from a country where Kurdish women were bought for prostitution, you agreed to drop the word federal in the name of Iraq and to review the constitution, which you asked your people to vote for to ensure their future, to meet anti-Kurd Arab Sunni Ba’thist demands?

You know, I can go on and on. But I stop here.

Can you please tell us who you are? Honestly, I do not know!