Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Is Jalal Talabani one of the few? - By Ardalan Hardi

There are very few great leaders in this world that have voluntarily vacated their post for the good of their people. Very few have risen to this legendary status in world history. Great leaders have inspired us to follow their patriotic examples. George Washington, the first President of United States is one of those exemplary leaders. After holding the Continental Army together through eight hard years of war, at war's end he took affront at the notion he should be King; and after two terms as President, he gracefully stepped aside.

Washington manifested himself as the exemplar of republican virtue in America. He was a man with great personal integrity, and a deeply held sense of duty, honor and patriotism. He rejected nepotism and cronyism. One of Washington’s greatest achievements, in terms of republican values, was refraining from taking more power than was due.

Is Jalal Talabani one of the few?

With the precipitous decline in the relationship between Nawshirwan Mustafa and the PUK’s Politburo, the PUK is put into an almost impossible position in securing the future of the organization. The consequence of this war of words between Mala Backtyar and Arsalan Bayiz on one side, and Nawshirwan Mustafa on the other, could jeopardize the future of PUK as a united political organization. It could also derail the current Kurdish achievements within Iraq and the Middle East.

The current internal turmoil within the PUK could put the two opposing political ideologies within PUK (the reformist and those against it) on a possible collision course toward another useless internal war and political division that would most definitely be against the national interest of Kurdistan.

While it is easy to maintain order within the ranks of PUK as long as President Talabani is in office, it will not be easy to maintain order should something happen to Talabani. Neither the PUK nor its leadership can be held together without Talabani’s presence. This fact is very well understood by the PUK leadership and all those who are close to the situation in Kurdistan.

At this critical juncture in the history of Kurdistan, this imminent danger could cause a major catastrophe not just for PUK but also for the Kurdish nation if not addressed. The only person that can simmer this boiling pot and secure PUK unity is president Talabani. The PUK’s survival determines President Talabani’s legacy. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that the President addresses the issues that have been looming over PUK.

In the interest of Kurdish citizens, peace and the stability in Kurdistan, President Talabani needs to bring all parties to the dialogue table and work out their differences. For the sake of our nation, he should persue a real democratic reform. An election should be held for his successor.

What ever the outcome, Talibani should stand behind the newly elected Secretary General 100%. By supporting the new secretary general, he will not only set a democratic standard for others to follow but he will also leave a legacy unprecedented in Kurdish history.

PUK has achieved many great milestones under President Talabani’s reign. Now Talabani has an opportunity that no other Kurdish leader before him ever had. He can voluntarily leave his post as the secretary general of PUK to ensure the preservation of the unity of the PUK and join the few legendary leaders like George Washington.

The question is, “is Talabani capable of refraining from taking more power than is due?” That remains to be seen.

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