Federal Iraq Constitution: an alternative view to that of Dr Hilmi

  • KurdishMedia.com - By R. M. Ahmad
  • 08/12/2002 00:00:00

Dr Fereydun Hilmi is a well-known writer of KurdishMedia.com and has a well-known social background. His family is also known for their participation in the Kurdish struggle for self-determination. Dr. Hilmi was also a Deputy Minister in the first Kurdistan Regional Government, therefore his actions and words can influence the course of Kurdish struggle either way. He throws strong whips. I am interested in offering an alternative view on one of his recent writings, Federal Iraq Constitution: The placebo effect , published on 27th November 2002 in KurdishMedia.com

I can not exactly read the mind of Dr Fereydun Hilmi in his article. But I can generalise his views as he objects to the idea of a Federal Iraqi Constitution Project, prepared and approved recently by the present Kurdish leadership in Iraqi Kurdistan. Hilmi objects to this Project as it cannot be put into practice because of his own points of views and the objections of others like Iraqi and none Iraqi Arab objections to federalise Iraq to create an Iraqi Kurdistan Federal State. Parallel to this, the Hilmi considers the policy of present Kurdish leadership regarding this project, is a recipe, which is destined to fail.

The objections of none Iraqi Arabs shouldn’t have any bearing on the practicability of this project in Iraq because none Iraqi Arabs are not entitled to have any say about how Iraqis can run their homes. After all, Iraq is not an Arab Country although deceptively some people think Iraq is an Arab country. If we conduct a poll to find out how Iraqi Arabs identify Iraq with only Sunni Arabs it will identify Iraq as an Arab country. But Sunni Arabs don’t exceed more than 15% of the Iraqi population. In another world, Iraqi Arabs represent only a minority in Iraq and certainly a minority no longer can run the affairs of Iraq after the liberation and democratisation of Iraq.

The present Iraqi predicament proves this point, that Iraq is not an Arab country. Iraq has always been run by Sunni Arabs. The ruling class of this Iraqi minority, Sunni Arabs, has always behaved like Apartheid of South Africa, against the rest of Iraqi diversity. The failure, of this Ruling Apartheid in Iraq to reconcile itself to the fact that Iraq is not an Arab country cannot be converted to an Arab country, has made this Ruling Apartheid a loose bull in a China shop. It has changed Iraq, the cradle of civilisation and one of the richest countries to the land of despair and poverty.

Iraq was supposed to be the land of prosperity and opportunity for every one. Instead, this Ruling Apartheid has changed it to a graveyard for the rest of Iraqis. It has changed Iraq to an unbearable place where every Iraqi wants to escape. Almost four million have already left and more still take the risk to leave. It has misused the resources of the land to finance Palestinian suicide bombers or build costly palaces while Iraqis suffer starvation and die because of shortage of medicines. We all recently saw on TV the Grand Sujood Palace after weapons inspectors went inside it. This palace must have cost millions of dollars and it is built during the sanctions while Iraqi children, not the children of this Ruling Apartheid, suffered and continue to suffer from the shortage of food and medicines.

The desire to create Iraqi Kurdistan Federal State entirely depends on the will of the people of Kurdistan in Iraq, not anyone else. No one to the south of Jabal Hamreen has the right to influence the life of the people of Kurdistan in Iraq. This is simple practicable common sense. For the same reason, people of Kurdistan are not entitled to influence the life of the people of central or southern Iraq. For the same reason, people of central and southern Iraq cannot influence each other on how to live. To ensure the implementation of this the Parliament of Iraqi Kurdistan Federal State has to be empowered to reject or amend or accept any Federal Law parallel to the interest of the people of Iraqi Kurdistan. This simple commonsense logic is fundamental and conditional to rebuild Iraq as a secular, federal, democratic, demilitaralised and peaceful country. Contrary to this, people of Kurdistan in Iraq becomes entitled to self-determination according to article No: 82 of Constitution of The Federal Republic of Iraq.

The question of creating Iraqi Kurdistan Federal State cannot be compromised because of the objections of Iraqis and none Iraqis outside Iraqi Kurdistan. This is the view of at least 90% of the people of Iraqi Kurdistan. As a final solution to this question, a referendum could be conducted to let the Iraqi people decide the shape of Iraqi federalisation. In this referendum each Iraqi should be given the opportunity to cast a secret vote if s/he wants Iraq federalised. If s/he wants Iraq federalised s/he should have at least a choice from five options to pick from or vote for. Each populated area joins its Iraqi Federated State choice by 50%+ vote. Arab Settlers in Kurdistan cannot vote in this referendum.

Idealism is very nice but this is a practical world. There is no room for idealism in Kurdistan or anywhere else. If our present Kurdish leadership have gone for federalism instead of independence at this stage because of encouragements of some countries with final sayings in international politics, this leadership should be praised, supported and encouraged in their quest to take advantage of the reality of international politics as another friend like our mountains. We cannot afford to repeat the mistakes of our forefathers who were too proud to use new factors for their advantage. Because of their pride we are today paying for it.

After the British forces conquered Iraq from the Ottoman Empire during the 1st World War, British politicians had a different idea about political boundaries of the new state of Iraq. It was a lot different from the present boundary. When the first King of Iraq asked to know the North Boundry of his Kingdom, he was informed that the North Boundry of his Kingdom ended at Jabbal Hamreen. But our forefathers were too proud, just like Iraqi Shiites, to take advantage of that new factor. Iraqi Shiites revolted against the new masters and the Kurds boycotted them. Consequently both of them paid for it very dearly and continue to do so. Let us not to repeat our past mistakes and let us to be better than our past.

It is in the general interest of all Kurds to support our leaders as well as to guide them and encourage them to choose the correct path. Positive criticism may work with us but we never respond to antagonistic criticism. Throwing accusations and antagonistic criticisms don’t persuade us to change our path for a better one but they rather make us to stick to our original path firmly as to say: ‘Yes I wil do this and you can not do any thing about it.” Remember what we did in 1966 and 1996.

This is not our fault. We are not born on our own free choice into our particular environment, which reflects the culture of herd keepers and cultivates us as herd keepers unconsciously. A herd keeper knows only to orders, not to receive and respond to it. A herd keeper only responds instinctively. We are Muslims and the followers of Prophet Muhammad. He was an orphan, spent his early childhood in the desert with Arab Bedueen herd keepers. He married a nine-year-old woman, beheaded 6000 prisoners of war and made the infidels to submit to him by the force of the sword. Whenever he was victorious in his wars, he confiscated every thing, which belonged to the defeated infidels and divided it between his Mujahideen, Warriors, as spoils of war.

The ideology of Islam is very nice but like all other ideologies it is very boring. It is not the ideals of Islam, which cultivate Muslims but it is the life of the Prophet and the way, which he used to put the foundation of Islam, cultivates or rather indoctrinates Muslims. His deeds and words inspire Muslims instinctively. That is way they say Islam is an instinctive religion because Muslims respond instinctively just like herd keepers. So you cannot antagonise a Muslim in your criticism. Because, in this case, he sees you instinctively as no more than an infidel. Simply, you cannot reform a Muslim by throwing accusations at him. You have to do a lot better than that to get a consciously positive response from a Muslim.

The phrase: “The whole attempt to write a constitution for a country, when you are a mere party in the subject nation, is like a lamb writing a code of conduct for its butcher” is similar to this phrase: “Reforming Capitalism, for the interest of the working class is similar to improving the slaughter house for the interests of the animals to be butchered.” This was an argument used around eighties by anti-capitalist parties against other working class parties, like the Labour Party, which wanted to reform capitalism in line to the interests of the working class.

As time went by, capitalist reformers won the argument and they proved their theory to be right by practice and application. This came about after they eradicated all barriers of entries like removing monopolies on Stock Exchange and removing all barriers and restrictions imposed by Unions at work places. The eradication of all the forms of barriers of entries created a secure and predictable environment for work and business. Every one from all social classes became free to do business and how to run it. Consequently both sides, workers and the management or working and capitalist classes speaking ideologically, benefited a lot more than before. This brought about a proper social, political and economic stability and disproved that a major social upheavals would take place between social classes. The theory of anti-capitalists disproved because both sides, workers and management, recognised a common interest and each side became committed not to destabilise this common interest. Because this common interest involved interdependence between both sides.

The same argument applies on the position of the Kurdish leadership. Their Federal Iraqi Constitution Project, their deeds and their ability to respond to the regional constraints, logically and positively, have brought them recognition of the free world as major players in the region. Currently world players no longer meet Kurds to express sympathy for the Kurds for moral and ethical reasons. All the latest meetings between the Kurdish leaders and world leaders have taken place at the request of these world leaders, not the other way round. This implies only one thing, which is that Kurds have become a force in the region and the world, especially the free world, cannot afford to ignore the role this force now and in the future. This is because these major world leaders have realised that the interest of the Kurds is good for their own interest.

At this moment, only Turkey represents a threat to the quest of Kurds for freedom. We all remember the threat of one of the Turkish army Generals against the rights of Kurds for freedom even in Argentina. These Turkish threats have become not more than trapped winds in the bellies of the Turkish Generals. Because around the same time, an important world political power broker, whom Turkey or their types never dare to ignore, called for the reconciliation and general election in Kurdistan while he was in Turkey. Now another world political power broker, who is in charge of Turkish survival “provides Turkey with bread and butter” told Turkey in a political language if Turkey wanted to go to Iraqi Kurdistan it could do that only with the coordination and approval of the Kurds in Iraq.

This is a major achievement by our standards. Now all needed is to exploit and strengthen this gain and work on it to prove that Kurds can become a model of democratic and civil society in the region. Because that is why world’s political power brokers recognise the role of the Kurds as to become the activators and facilitators of democracy and civil society in the region. Because only democratic and civil society can eradicate the conditions breeding terror and terrorism that threaten the free world. When we prove this point, the support of the free world becomes the cornerstone to protect Kurdistan from external threats. After that, if it became necessary, the Kurds can declare independence with the full support of the free world by words and actions.

In conclusion, the geopolitical situation of the Kurds necessitates an evolutionary struggle. The declaration of independence is a natural right for the people of Kurdistan in Iraq but because of the regional constraints Kurdish leadership has gone for federal rights in Iraq. This has gained the support of the world political power brokers. If Kurds exploit this new situation correctly they can declare the independence of Kurdistan when it becomes necessary with the full international support in words and action. The influential Kurds can benefit Kurds only when they help to guide the exiting Kurdish leadership through positive and constructive criticism to take and stay on the right path. All leaderships are made up of people and all peoples of the same background have the same characters. No matter how many times you change some of them with others, they always go back to their origin to behave like their predecessors.

  • KurdishMedia.com - By R. M. Ahmad
  • 08/12/2002 00:00:00