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Othman to Najafi “Don’t Interfere"
Says Pesh Merga’s Presence in Ninewa "Between Baghdad and Erbil"
By DANIEL W. SMITH 05/30/2009 04:00 AM ET
The Kurdistan Coalition's Mahmoud Othman
Photo: Daniel W. Smith
The Kurdistan Coalition's Mahmoud Othman

BAGHDAD – After the Sunni Arab-led al-Hadba List received a majority vote in the provincial elections in Ninewa province, al-Hadba used all its own members to make up all key positions in the local government. The Kurdish-led Brotherhood List has been boycotting the council ever since.

Among the many escalations since, which have included several demonstrations, calls for Kurdish-majority regions of Ninewa to secede, and Kurdish pesh merga forces physically blocking Ninewa Governor Atheel al-Najafi from attending an event in the province. Al-Najafi and other al-Hadba politicians have demanded Brotherhood List leadership formally accept Ninewa’s borders and to pull out all remaining pesh merga, leaving it to security forces from the central government.

Iraqslogger spoke to a high official in the Kurdistan Coalition, lawmaker Mahmoud Othman, one of the most well-known faces of the coalition among Iraq’s Arabs.

“Whether we like it or not," he said, "Mosul (as many refer to Ninewa province) is a very important governorate, and it has different nationalities. The council should be representative of those people – the people who got seats, anyway. Al-Hadba got 19 seats, the Kurdistan Coalition, or in Ninewa it’s called the Brotherhood List, they got 12. You can’t just have the majority rule completely, so I think they should get together and try to find a formula on which they agree.”

When asked about the demands, oft-repeated by Governor al-Najafi, he said, “I think he’s wrong about that. I was myself with al-Najafi two times, talking on television. I told him, ‘These are all political decisions that are between Baghdad and Erbil – it is not up to your authority. It is your right to ask the government to solve it, but don’t interfere.’”

“The governor’s job is for administration, services and so on,” said Othman, “so he shouldn’t mix himself in these things.”

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