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Rudaw

Kurdistan

What is at stake for US in Kurdistan’s political turmoil?

By Namo Abdulla 20/10/2015
...

WASHINGTON - War with the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, is no longer the only enemy for the Kurds, who now find themselves facing an enemy from within.

In recent weeks, Iraqi Kurdistan has fallen into what appears to be the worst political turmoil since the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq. 

The unity of the semi-autonomous region is now on the brink of collapse due to extraordinary measures taken by the ruling party Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and its leader Masoud Barzani against political rivals.

The KDP ousted cabinet ministers, including the speaker of the regional parliament, who belong to the Goran Party over allegations the opposition party was responsible for bloody protests in Sulaimani province in which KDP offices were torched and at least five people killed. 

The tensions are primarily over the presidency of the Kurdistan region, a position that Goran claims has been held illegally by Barzani since August 19, when his mandate came to an end. 

The KDP is also at odds with the other three major parties, including the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) of former Iraqi president Jalal Talabani, over how to resolve the presidency issue and what form of political system - presidential or parliamentary- the region should adopt.  

What is at stake for the United States in the Kurdistan region? Should Washington be worried if the stability of one of its most effective partners against ISIS is threatened? And what should it do about it?

To discuss these issues, I am joined by: 

Daniel Serwer, a professor of conflict management at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Serwer served as executive director of the Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group report and worked in the US State Department in the 1990s. 

Mustafa Gurbuz, an international affairs fellow at George Mason University and a research fellow at Rethink Institute. Gurbuz's research focuses on political violence and terrorism, Muslims in the West, and Kurdish movements in the Middle East.


Comments

 
RealityMyFriends | 20/10/2015
"Goran claims has been held illegally by Barzani since August 19" I think you have a very weird definition of "claim". Legally, and legally is all that matters in law remember, you need 56 MPs in Kurdish parliament to extend Massoud Barzani term, you did not get that, so his term expired on 19/09/2015. This is a fact of reality where the word claim cannot properly be used.
Dutchman | 20/10/2015
Don't worry about what is at stake for the US. The Americans will be fine. Worry about what is at stake for Kurdistan.
Is this democracy? | 20/10/2015
You say it yourself. "when his mandate came to an end." There is just no legal solution for him to stay as president. Is that the democracy he tells the world about?
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