x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Kurd official condemns Iraqi PM

The spokesman for Iraq's Kurdish regional president sharply criticised national premier Nouri Al Maliki yesterday for allegedly militarising Iraqi society and using violence for political ends.

ERBIL, Iraq // The spokesman for Iraq's Kurdish regional president sharply criticised national premier Nouri Al Maliki yesterday for allegedly militarising Iraqi society and using violence for political ends.

Umeed Sabah's remarks came at a time when relations between the federal government in Baghdad and Kurdish authorities in Erbil are at a low ebb over several festering disputes, and with the Kurdish president, Massud Barzani, having supported efforts to pass a no-confidence motion against Maliki.

Mr Sabah said the Iraqi premier had "plans for the militarisation of Iraqi society and supports the option of violence as a means to reach political aims". He added that there was "no doubt that he is going deeper and further with practices that are contrary to the simplest democratic values and principles of partnership".

Iraq has agreed to acquire US military equipment worth more than US$10 billion (Dh36.7bn), including 36 F-16 warplanes that are not expected to be delivered for years. The deal has raised alarm bells in the northern Kurdistan region, with Mr Barzani saying he opposed the sale of the warplanes while Mr Maliki was premier, fearing they would be used against Kurdistan.

Regional premier Nechirvan Barzani, the president's nephew, warned in May of a continued desire for "ethnic cleansing" from Iraqi politicians, although he did not specifically point the finger.