KDP nominates Nechirvan and Masrour Barzani for Iraqi Kurdistan’s top posts

Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani after casting his vote in Erbil during parliamentary elections in this Sept. 30 file photo. (Files/ Reuters)
Updated 04 December 2018
0

KDP nominates Nechirvan and Masrour Barzani for Iraqi Kurdistan’s top posts

  • Masrour Barzani is currently Iraqi Kurdistan’s security chief

BAGHDAD: Iraq’s Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) said on Monday it had nominated current premier Nechirvan Barzani to succeed his uncle Masoud Barzani as president of Iraqi Kurdistan, and Masoud Barzani’s son Masrour as premier of the regional government.
With 45 of 111 seats, the KDP is the biggest party in the Kurdish assembly after September’s regional election but 11 shy of an outright majority, and will have to govern in coalition.
Masrour Barzani is currently Iraqi Kurdistan’s security chief. Both Masrour and Nechirvan have occupied senior roles within the KRG throughout the last decade.
Veteran Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani, still the head of the KDP, stepped down after 12 years as regional president in November 2017, less than a month after helming a referendum on Kurdish independence that backfired
and triggered a crisis for Iraq’s Kurds.
The post has remained vacant ever since. The president’s powers were divided between the prime minister, Parliament and the judiciary in a makeshift arrangement, leaving the future of the presidency uncertain.
The semi-autonomous region does not have a formal constitution, having failed to ratify it in Parliament since it was drafted in 2009.
Any future power-sharing arrangement would require a rethinking of presidential powers, which would need to be ratified by Parliament.
“We still don’t know what the presidency will look like. Will it become a ceremonial post filled by Parliament?” said Kamal Chomani, a Kurdish political analyst and nonresident fellow at the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy.
“In any case, Nechirvan will be weaker than Masrour but will stay powerful enough to control the foreign relations of the KRI. It all depends on how the presidential law will be amended,” he said.
Relations with the previous Iraqi administration of Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi were strained by the referendum.
But with a new Iraqi government in place, led by Adel Abdul-Mahdi, Irbil and Baghdad have in recent weeks signalled a willingness to work together.


Beirut praises ‘progress’ on maritime border dispute

Updated 21 May 2019
0

Beirut praises ‘progress’ on maritime border dispute

  • Israel and Lebanon both claim ownership of an 860-square-kilometer area of the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Lebanon insists that the area lies within its economic zone and refuses to give up a single part of it

BEIRUT: Lebanon has hinted that progress is being made in efforts to resolve its maritime border dispute with Israel following the return of a US mediator from talks with Israeli officials.

US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Satterfield returned to Lebanon following talks in Israel where he outlined Lebanese demands regarding the disputed area and the mechanism to reach a settlement.

The US mediator has signaled a new push to resolve the dispute after meetings with both Lebanese and Israeli officials.

Israel and Lebanon both claim ownership of an 860-square-kilometer area of the Mediterranean Sea. Lebanon hopes to begin offshore oil and gas production in the offshore Block 9 as it grapples with an economic crisis.

A source close to Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, who met with Satterfield on Monday after his return to Lebanon, told Arab News that “there is progress in the efforts, but the discussion is not yet over.” He did not provide further details.

Sources close to the Lebanese presidency confirmed that Lebanon is counting on the US to help solve the demarcation dispute and would like to accelerate the process to allow exploration for oil and gas to begin in the disputed area.

Companies that will handle the exploration require stability in the area before they start working, the sources said.

Previous efforts by Satterfield to end the dispute failed in 2012 and again last year after Lebanon rejected a proposal by US diplomat Frederick Hoff that offered 65 percent of the disputed area to Lebanon and 35 percent to Israel. Lebanon insisted that the area lies within its economic zone and refused to give up a single part of it.

Satterfield has acknowledged Lebanon’s ownership of around 500 sq km of the disputed 850 sq km area.

Lebanon renewed its commitment to a mechanism for setting the negotiations in motion, including the formation of a tripartite committee with representatives of Lebanon, Israel and the UN, in addition to the participation of the US mediator. Beirut also repeated its refusal to negotiate directly with Israel.

Two months ago, Lebanon launched a marine environmental survey in blocks 4 and 9 in Lebanese waters to allow a consortium of French, Italian and Russian companies to begin oil and gas exploration in the area.