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Barzani’s legitimate question: What's the US definition of a ‘powerful Kurdistan?’

By Ano Jawhar Abdoka 13/3/2018

In a recent press conference, KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani answered a question by raising one of his own. Asked about the stance of western countries on the future of the Kurdistan Region, particularly the US, which has previously said it supports a ‘powerful’ KRI, Barzani said he would like to ask the Americans what they mean exactly.


Here, Barzani hit the nail on the head, identifying the source of the problem that Kurds in particular – and Iraqis in general – have faced for more than fifteen years since the 2003 liberation.


The Americans and their allies facilitated the creation of what is known as the new federal and democratic Iraq, pushing Kurdish leaders to go to Baghdad after more than a decade of semi-independence to participate in building the new Iraq.


The Americans pushed Kurdish politicians to support the new constitution, intended to construct a new country based on a true partnership between all Iraqi peoples, a country built on respecting differences, and to end the tyranny of minority rule as before 2003.


After more than eighty years – scorched by genocide, chemical attacks, the Anfal campaign, humiliation, starvation, denial of the most basic human rights, more than five revolutions, tens of thousands of martyrs, and a raft of promises from western powers – Kurdish political leaders agreed to participate in forming the institutions of the new Iraq.


Day after day, and year after year, the partners who were gathered under American supervision in London, Damascus, Washington, and Erbil withdraw from the commitments they made to Iraq’s Kurds.


Some will say what happened is the result of Kurdistan’s independence referendum on September 25, 2017. Such a conclusion throws sand in the eyes of domestic and international opinion, obscuring the reality. The referendum was a symptom – not the cause.


The blame really lies with the exclusive, extremist, unilateral, and harmful mentality of the political elite ruling the country from the green zone.


Here are just some of the genuine reasons:


-         When former Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki cut the share of the federal budget designated to the Kurdistan Region


-         When article 140 of the Iraqi constitution concerning Kirkuk and other disputed areas was not implemented


-        When the Iraqi government failed to pay Peshmerga salaries or send them weapons


-        When the Iraqi government failed to compensate the victims of genocide, Anfal, chemical attacks, and the destruction of more than five thousand villages in Kurdistan by Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi army


-        When Maliki moved his army to Qaratapa and Jabara against the Peshmerga, and threatened to bomb Erbil during a meeting with his generals and staff


-        When the Iraqi government failed to listen to the warnings of the Kurdish leadership about the growing strength of ISIS and the threat the group posed to the whole of Iraq and the region, as publicly admitted by the late Ahmed Chalabi


-        When the Iraqi government failed to honor the promises it made to the Kurdistan Region during the liberation of Mosul


-        When the Iraqi government broke more than a dozen constitutional articles concerning the rights of Kurds


-        When Iraqi regimes through history persecuted the Kurds


Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has broken the spirit of the new Iraq and its constitution by using the Iraqi army and Iranian backed paramilitaries to attack Iraqi citizens and the Peshmerga in Kirkuk, by postponing the payment of salaries due to Kurdistan government employees, and grounding international flights from Kurdistan’s airports.


But what really stands out is how these policies are freely implemented by Baghdad without any real action by the Americans – the Kurds’ supposed ally which claims to support a strong Kurdistan Region.


Barzani’s question – what exactly is the definition of “a powerful Kurdistan Region in Iraq”? – is poiniginet indeed.


Ano Jawhar Abdoka is a journalist and academic based in Erbil. He has MA in International Studies.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of Rudaw.


A true friend | 13/3/2018
That is fine. Factual and well written.The whole world or at least the Kurdish people know that the Kurds have lived centuries of betrayal under the shadows of false friendship and promises. My question is, have the Kurds, the whole nation and their leaders, ever learnt from their mistake? Kurds have so many strong and powerful friends. Look at Afrin; the best part of the Kurdish people have been massacred by a country who gave birth to ISIS and yet no friend or ally has come to their call for help. And yet, the Turkish Consulate in the heart of Kurdish Capital, Arbil, is supporting Turkish aggression without any action from Kurdish government, if there is one! So, please tell me who to be blamed? The false friends and allies of the Kurds or gullibility of the Kurdish people themselves who have been divided by those false friends and fighting them against each other? If you want my answer, I would say the Kurds to be blamed. The Kurds must realize and accept for real that they are on their own. If they ever want to be free, REVOLUTION is the only answer. Kurds must realize that if their friend is more friend of the Kurdish enemy, is not the Kurdish friend. It amuses me when I watch a foreign person goes to Arbil telling the Kurds, very clearly and eloquently "we want you as our ally but we want your enemy more than wanting you". But the Kurds chooses to hear the only first three words "we want you"; they don't hear or deliberately ignore "we want your enemy more than wanting you". Then they come out happily claiming that they have a friend.
steve kosier | 14/3/2018
It is now time to move forward and put differences behind you because a unified Iraq is the only way to go
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