A long-awaited Iraqi reconciliation conference, scheduled for Thursday, has been postponed indefinitely.
That decision alone speaks volumes about the growing divisions in the country and its increasingly fractious government.
It comes a few days after Nouri al-Maliki, Iraq’s prime minister, said the talks would be held on schedule and that long-standing differences between the country’s political leaders would be addressed.
“Do we have problems,yes, we should sit at a national conference table and discuss all Iraqi issues, every single one of them. We have problems with Kurdistan, with the parliament, with the legislative authority, we even have problems with the provinces, we have security problems in disputed areas, we have oil related problems, we have problems with borders and airports. We will open all these files, discuss them and find solutions to all of them,” Al-Maliki said.
But instead of holding the meeting, Iraq’s parliament speaker Osama al-Nujaifi announced that holding talks under the current circumstances would only complicate matters:
“I confirm that the national conference will not be held tomorrow due to the widening gap between political forces during the preliminary meetings. The atmosphere is not suitable now for holding this conference. We need to wait until views and ideas are settled, and the political situation is calm, so that we can come out with positive results from the conference.”
So, is Iraq’s unity government on the verge of collapse? And without a political agreement could the country be divided?
To answer this question we are joined by our guests: Mahmoud Othman, an Independent Iraqi Member of Parliament; Abdul Hadi al-Hassani, Member Of Iraqi Parliament, and former,vice chairman of parliament’s oil and gas committee; and Sabah al-Mukhtar, the president of the Arab Lawyers Association and an independent iraqi political analyst.