ERBIL — When friends of Iraq leave the country to help it make its own decisions, the gap will be filled by others who work to further increase their influence in Baghdad, said Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani.
He discussed the security and political challenges in the Kurdistan Region, Iraq, and beyond during a panel discussion on Tuesday at the World Economic Forum (WEF).
“Iraq is very heavily influenced by outsiders and external actors. When many Iraqi friends are leaving Iraq to let Iraqis make their own decisions, that doesn’t usually happen [because] the gap left behind is filled by some others,” the Kurdish leader said to emphasize the engagement of friendly countries is crucial to help Iraq secure a stable future.
Asked about the latest missile attack by Iran in Erbil, PM Barzani said the problem is beyond one particular incident, but it is rather related to lack of understanding and the ambitions of other countries to maintain influence in the region.
Specifically on the Iranian missile attack which targeted a civilian house in Erbil, PM Barzani said it could be interpreted as a pressure on the alliance of the Sadrist, KDP, and Sunnis which are working to form the new government of Iraq.
The attack, he added, is also another message that the increasing influence of foreign actors on Iraq will continue; and to limit such attacks, collective efforts by the regional community and the international community is needed.
Speaking about the last parliamentary elections in Iraq, the Kurdish prime minister said Iraqis made their choices at the polls, after which alliances are made to form the new government of Iraq.
“There were of course, as any democratic elections, there are winners and losers. The winners unfortunately haven’t been able to for the government because — this is the only example I know in the world that unless you have two third of the parliament votes, you are unable to form the government,” PM Barzani explained.
Asked about the oil disputes between Erbil and Baghdad, and the recent rulings by the Iraqi Supreme Federal Court targeting Kurdistan Region’s oil industry, PM Barzani said neglecting the Iraqi Constitution is one of the main reasons for such disputes to emerge in the first place.
PM Barzani reiterated that the Federal Court is being used to pass political rulings in the name of legal institutions. He noted that the Kurdistan Region has already and officially rejected the rulings of the court against the constitutional right of the Kurds because they blatantly violate the Constitution.
“To us, the Constitution goes above any court ruling. We are definitely going to abide by the Constitution, respect the Constitution, fulfill our duties but also demand our rights the way they are stipulated in the Constitution,” the Kurdish leader stressed.