A Dialogue on perspectives and challenges of building a Federal state in Iraq

Baghdad, 14 March 2008

“No Peace Without Justice” (NPWJ) and “International Alliance for Justice” have organized,   in collaboration with the “Salam Center for Development and Federal Research” a Conference entitled “A Dialogue on the perspectives and challenges of building a Federal state in Iraq”, held the 14 March 2008 at the Centre Hall.
The conference has been attended by more than 150 persons including:
- Dr. Raed Fahmi, Minister of Science, Technology;
- Nermin Othman, Minister of the Environment and Minister of State for Women's Affairs of the Federal Government;
- Dr. Mohammad Ihsan, Kurdistan Regional Government Minister for Extra-territorial Affairs
- Dr Kamal Al Basri, economic advisor to Prime Minister Al Maliki
- Dr Hanan Al Fatlawi, PM Al Maliki's Adviser on Regions and Provinces
- Dr. Mahdi Al-Hafiz, Iraqi Parliament Member (MP) and former Minister of Planning,
- Mr. Kais Al Amri, Iraqi Parliament Member (MP)
- Judge Arif Shaheen, President of the Iraqi Supreme Criminal Court 
And some members of the governorate Council of Basra and Dhiqar province (Nassiriya).
Several dignitaries including the President of the Kurdistan Islamic Union Mr. Salahuddin Bahaeddin, members of the National Assembly and Tribal Chieftains and clerics, intellectuals, lawyers and the civil society organizations attended too the event.
The conference has been also attended by the Italian Ambassador and the British Embassy and representative of the European Union and a representative of the American Ambassador.
A number of academics from the University of Basra (Dr. al Sajid Al Rikabi, Dr. Hussein Azab Ta'ban, Dr. Azar Naji, Dr. Ra'ad Sami al-Tamimi, Dr. Zuhair Ali Akbar, Dr. Sami Hato Al Derawi), who presented valuable research papers on Federalism.
Opening session:
The Conference opened with the speeches of Judge Wael Abdel Latif, Secretary-General of the Salam Centre, and Dr. Bakhtiar Amin President of International Alliance for Justice and H.E. Maurizio Melani Italian Ambassador in Iraq and the Representative of the European Union in Iraq .
Morning Session:
The first lecture has been presented by Professor Hussein Azab Ta'ban, entitled “Federal restructuring of the Iraqi State and the distribution of wealth” and commented by Dr. Mahdi Al-Hafiz, member of the House of Representatives of Iraq and economist.
The second lecture of the meeting has been presented by M. D. Sami Hato Alderawi, Dr Mohammed Ihsan and Professor Abdel Halim Al Rheemi entitled “The Federal dimension of ethnic conflicts: Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan case study".
The third lecture has been delivered by Dr Sajid Al Rikabi and was related to “Sharing of power between the federal government and local governments and the adjudication of potential disputes” Commented by Dr. Raed Fahmi, Minister of Science and Technology and the head of Federal Committee for the implementation of Article 140.
The session ended with a general discussion the presented topics.
Afternoon session:
The fourth lecture by Prof. Zuhair Ali Akbar general manager of the Central Bank in Basra was entitled “Economics of local authority and how to organize their resources and prepare their local budget” and has been commented by Dr. Hanan Al Fatlawi, PM adviser for Regions and Governorates' Affairs. After a debate on the first lecture of the afternoon,   Dr. Azar Naji presented a paper on executive procedures for the formation of regions "Governorate = Region" (a contemporary view at building Federalism- Basra as a model) commented by Judge Wael Abdel Latif , and then a general debate on all topics were held.
Before the closing speeches of Dr. Wael Abdel Latif and Dr. Bakhtiar Amin, Mr. Ibrahim Shallal a member of Dhiqar governorate council presented a speech on the ideas of building a Southern region.
The event has been covered by a number of satellite TV channels and media.
The debates were transparent and quiet; participants agreed that democracy and federalism are fundamental pillars of co-existence and necessary for the reconstruction of Iraq , the prosperity of its people and for achieving justice. It has been also recognised that given the pluralistic nature of the Iraqi society Federalism is a prerequisite for the success of the system of governance in Iraq and a safety valve for not to revert to dictatorship and the disgusted and rejected centralism that caused so many injustices and pain...
Judge D. Wael Abdel Latif
Salam Center for Development and Federalism Research
Bakhtiar Amin
International Alliance for Justice
Niccolò Figà-Talamancà
No Peace Without Justice