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Iraqi Parliament Rejects Kurdistan’s Flag in Kirkuk | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Kirkuk Governor Najmadin Karim raises the Iraqi flag to fly next to the Kurdish flag over a government building in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk. (AFP)

Baghdad – Iraq’s parliament has rejected a decision to hoist the flag of the Kurdistan Region alongside the Iraqi flag on public buildings and institutions in region.

The parliament instead unanimously voted on only flying the Iraqi flag.

The parliament also voted for distributing oil extracted from Kirkuk to all provinces in Iraq, noting that the income from Kirkuk’s oil belongs to all Iraqis as cited by Article 11 of the Iraqi constitution.

This prompted the Kurdish deputies to withdraw from the session after engaging in a dispute with Speaker Salim al-Jabouri.

Five months since the launch of the “historic settlement”, whose details are vague, the Iraqi parties, whether Sunni or Shi’ite, are no closer to overcoming their disputes that have hindered the functioning of the state since 2003 and that will stand as obstacles in handling the post-ISIS phase in the country.

Regardless of the position of United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), the sponsor of the initiative, three different Shi’ite trends are strongly present and are therefore preventing a final agreement that appeases all parties.

According to observers, Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, which announced itself as the most prominent supporters of the initiative, makes contradictory positions every now and then.

In recent statements by head of Islamic Supreme Council Sayyid Ammar al-Hakim, he called for changing the way the country is run from partnership to national majority and minority.

Hakim’s “vague” statement is a response to Nouri al-Maliki, who has been calling for a “political majority” government.

Sunni forces had rejected Maliki’s suggestion, describing it as “sectarian majority” given the parliamentary majority maintained by Shi’ites.

Speaking at a “Martyrs Day” ceremony earlier this week, Hakim stressed that there can be no settlement without the constitution or with foreign sponsorship. He rejected the return to “previous stages” in the country, as demanded by Sunni forces, some of which had taken part in foreign meetings.

In addition, a proposal by leader of the Sadrist movement, Muqtada Sadr, focused on a “societal settlement” among all Iraqi citizens and not its political entities, like Hakim did.

The State of Law Coalition, led by Maliki, also has its share of contradictory statements. It strongly holds on to a government of “political majority” and rejects the Sunni and Sadrist demands of dissolving the Popular Mobilization Forces in the post-ISIS era.

Sources in the coalition forces informed Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that many Sunni officials are competing on delivering the settlement document to the UN. The sources believe that the party that delivers the paper means it has the largest representation, which cannot be accepted by other figures.

Leader of the United for Reform Coalition Osama al-Nujaifi rejected the presentation of the “Sunni settlement paper” by a Sunni party to UN chief Antonio Guterres during his visit to Iraq last week. He stressed that his coalition is not part of this Sunni settlement document and does not agree on it.

MP Ahmed al-Masari stated that the UN suggested this settlement document.

Kurdish parties are not concerned with the settlement with most of them busy with the declaration of Kurdish state. Some even went further to say that the settlement is merely a public relations stunt promoted by certain Shi’ite parties.