Kurdish President Massoud Barzani warned Baghdad that Shi’ite leaders must agree to share power with their political opponents or the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region will seek full secession. Current political differences must be resolved by September, he said, when the Kirkuk referendum may finally be allowed to take place.
In recent months, several of Iraq’s provinces and ethnic groups have sought semi-autonomy status such as the Kurds now enjoy. Even though the provinces are constitutionally allowed to make such bids, Maliki has threatened to prevent any attempts to do, claiming they undermine Iraqi unity. In the latest A.P. interview, Barzani complained, "what threatens the unity of Iraq is dictatorship and authoritarian rule."
Maliki also intensified what many believe is a campaign to marginalize the Sunni role in Iraq’s government. Security forces also arrested high-ranking members of the independent election committee, earning almost universal condemnation and complaints that the Maliki government is preparing to cancel future elections.
The Kurds are also feuding with Baghdad over oil revenues. It is an issue that concerns Kirkuk greatly. Baghdad does not want to lose Kirkuk’s oil fields should the province decide to limit Baghdad’s authority.
Separately, the Iraqi Accord Front, which is a member of the Iraqiya bloc, complained that Maliki has ignored the Arbil Agreement that he accepted in order to retain the premiership for a second term. Barzani was instrumental in the creation of the agreement after 2010 elections failed to produce an uncontested winner. A spokesman for the front said if they agreement is not fulfilled, they would withdraw confidence from Maliki.
Meanwhile, at least 10 Iraqis were killed and 17 more were wounded in the latest assaults.
A rocket propelled grenade attack in Nimrod killed three policemen and wounded four more.
One policeman was killed and six civilians were wounded in Tikrit, when a bomb planted in the policeman’s car blew up.
A body bearing gunshot wounds was discovered in Muqdadiya.
The body of an Interior Minister intelligence officer was found stabbed in Sharaban.
In Baghdad, a bomb killed two people and wounded three others in the al-Shurta al-Khamisa neighborhood.
A bomb planted outside a policeman’s home wounded him when it exploded near Baquba.
A sticky bomb on a contractor’s car wounded him when it exploded behind a police station in Jalawla.
Read more by Margaret Griffis
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- Mass Grave at Badush Prison; 66 Killed in Iraq – January 16th, 2018
- Bloody Day in Baghdad; 53 Killed in Iraq – January 15th, 2018