[ltr]2023.05.29 - 13:34[/ltr]
Baghdad - Nas
Two days before the outbreak of the crisis in the Kurdistan region within the Finance Committee, the coordination framework had announced, in agreement with the State Administration Coalition, which includes the main forces in Parliament, a new date for passing the budget, then; Who is behind the coup within the committee that includes representatives of most of the political forces?
Since the political forces agreed to pass the budget without substantial objections that would lead to torpedoing or disrupting the budget, political circles and observers are likely to see a "rebellion" run by agents of the "framework" against Prime Minister Muhammad al-Sudani, who sponsored the financial agreement with Kurdistan less than two months ago.
The aim behind this is to impede the rise of Al-Sudani's popularity and turn him into a leader competing with the traditional political forces, especially since the parties started early election campaigns in preparation for the local elections that are supposed to take place at the end of this year.
Or a second hypothesis that is less acceptable in political circles, talking about a plan by the Shiite alliance in agreement with al-Sudani to “punish” some political forces that were allied with the leader of the Sadrist movement, Muqtada al-Sadr, and block any attempt to revive those alliances.
Today, Monday, according to what was reported by deputies and members of the Finance Committee, a meeting of the ruling coalition (the State Administration) is expected to resolve the disputes that took place over Articles 13 and 14 of the General Budget Law.
And the beginning of the problem occurred last Thursday, when everyone was surprised by the setting of conditions by some members of the Finance Committee in Parliament, in conjunction with the announcement of Muhammad al-Halbousi, Speaker of Parliament, to set Saturday (the day before yesterday) as the date for voting on the budget.
The conditions or proposals, as described by members of the committee, were sufficient to undermine the "temporary" agreement concluded last April between Al-Sudani and Erbil to pay the salaries of the region's employees and resume pumping oil after the case known as "French arbitration" that stopped the flow of oil through Turkey.
Although the concluded agreement was welcomed at its inception by the coordination framework and considered it an end to a dilemma that lasted 20 years, and the latter described it as a "comprehensive agreement", there were fears that the Shiite alliance would retreat at any time, as happened in previous times.
What is new in the recent crisis is the struggle between the Shiite alliance and Kurdistan through proxies this time, facades behind which political forces hide, according to what is being circulated in closed rooms that have been discussing for two days what is going on.
The proxy war is being conducted within the Finance Committee this time, which is witnessing a great scramble for its membership, as the number of its members exceeded the limit allowed in the internal system of Parliament, which prompted the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Shakhwan Abdullah, to request its suspension until it is restructured.
The war is being led, according to political circles, by two deputies within the committee who ascended to Parliament under the banner of “independent candidates.” They are Mustafa Sanad and Youssef Al-Kalabi, who recently won a seat in Parliament as a substitute for a woman in Wasit within the Wisdom Movement led by Ammar Al-Hakim, and the two are known for their closeness to the framework. Coordination, and the latter was the spokesman for the popular crowd.
In the last moments of the end of the discussions of the Finance Committee to hand over the budget to the Presidency of Parliament, the two deputies, in addition to the third deputy in the committee, Uday Awad, on behalf of Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq, led the scene, enthusiastic about the additions that took place within the committee, which angered the Kurdistan government and considered it "conspiracy and treachery." According to what was said by the head of the regional government, Masrour Barzani.
The coordination framework, with its original and independent members affiliated with the coalition, represents the largest party within the Finance Committee, with 9 members (including the chairmanship of the committee) out of 24, while the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Shakhwan Abdullah, called for suspending the work of the Parliamentary Finance Committee, excluding the 24 member from it, and restructuring it with the prescribed number.
The most prominent recent amendments to the budget included obligating the Kurdistan region to hand over crude oil produced in its fields at a rate of no less than 400,000 barrels per day to the Ministry of Oil for export through SOMO, or for use locally in Iraqi refineries.
The second paragraph relates to obligating Kurdistan to hand over its share of oil before giving it its financial dues, and to deposit oil revenues in a bank account in the Central Bank of Iraq specifically.
The researcher in political affairs, Ihsan Al-Shammari, expressed the importance of taking into account that "there are upcoming local elections, and perhaps what happened in terms of the coup against the agreements is the moment of political reckoning against the Al-Halbousi coalition (the Speaker of Parliament), and he is now facing attempts to dismiss him, and the Democratic Party as a result of their previous alignments," referring to The tripartite alliance that was between al-Halbousi and the Democratic Party with Muqtada al-Sadr, the leader of the Sadrist movement.
Al-Shammari offers two readings behind the position of the coordination framework on what happened, the first describing it as "the framework's rebellion against the Sudanese and his agreement with Kurdistan," considering that the reason "is an attempt to harass and embarrass the prime minister and curtail his capabilities within the Shiite coalition so that he does not turn into a new leader."
And he continues: "The thwarting of the budget and the previous agreements will put the Sudanese in a weak position in front of the political forces, which will eventually have to go to negotiations with the forces holding the decision (meaning the coordination framework)."
As for the second reading, it is that "there is an agreement between Al-Sudani and the framework regarding the suspension of agreements, which is possible and happened previously in undisclosed understandings, but what weakens this hypothesis is that the prime minister does not want to open a front with Kurdistan because it will affect his government."
Al-Shammari concludes, saying: "It is a moment of rebellion against Al-Sudani, especially since news platforms close to the coordination framework are calling for stopping this agreement as a waste of public money."
Mustafa Sanad, a member of the Finance Committee who was most enthusiastic about the budget amendments, said a few days ago in a tweet on "Twitter" that he wished the government not to implement the Baghdad-Erbil agreement, given the large difference between what the federal government spends on the region and the money the region sends.
What Sanad says, considered by Munqith Dagher, a researcher at an American institute, to be the reason behind "rejecting those agreements out of fear that Kurdistan would be a successful model and comparisons would begin between the north and the south."
Dagher, who is director of the Middle East and North Africa region and a member of the board of directors of Gallup International, says, "The dispute is very expected and may have been delayed, because all the agreements concluded between Baghdad and the region were abandoned after the formation of governments."
And he continues: "The crisis has exploded now because the budget is the first serious test for the government, in addition to the early competition for the elections, where the other is demonized in the electoral campaigns to win the votes of extremists and partisans who have a major role in deciding the results."
"Tamim Hassan _ Al-Mada"
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