A member of the Kurdish Peshmerga force casts his ballot in special voting ahead of Iraq's upcoming election on April 28, 2014, in the northern Iraqi Kurdish city of Arbil. (AFP PHOTO / SAFIN HAMED)
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Massud Barzani, the president of Iraqi Kurdistan, has frequently spoken out against Maliki, accusing him of monopolising power.He has voiced fears Maliki would use F-16 jets ordered from the United States against the Kurds, and called for his removal from office.Jawhar, from federal President Jalal Talabani's Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, said the premier's policies and government had raised tensions between Kurds and Arabs, and also between Sunni and Shiite Muslims.Jawhar likened Maliki's actions to those of now-executed dictator Saddam Hussein, reviled for launching military operations against Iraqi Kurds that killed tens of thousands of people.Kurds interviewed in Arbil were almost unanimously in favour of at least eventual independence for the Kurdistan region, and against Maliki remaining in office.Tarza, a 25-year-old university student, said she thought the federal government was mistreating the Kurds, and that she too was in favour of independence.
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