The reaction of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) in its media outlets and the words of its political figures to the agreement between the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and Change Movement (Gorran) was least expected.
The KDP was extremely anxious about this agreement when in fact the PUK and Gorran have had another agreement between them for more than a year over government posts in Sulaimani, Halabja and the Garmiyan region.
During last year’s events in the parliament and the proposal for changing the presidential system the PUK and Gorran did indeed take up the same stance and acted as one faction.
The closeness between the PUK and Gorran and their almost united view of the KDP is nothing new. So why is the KDP so unsettled by their agreement of May 17?
In the last four years and especially after Gorran’s participation in the eighth cabinet of government other parties have had the same concerns. KDP’s own closeness to any party was always a cause for concern for another.
If anything, this agreement between the PUK and Gorran means it would be easier for the KDP from now on to deal with the green zone (local Kurdish term for PUK areas of influence). If, as it is reported, the PUK and Gorran are going to have one center of decision, then it would be as good for the KDP as it might be for the two new allies themselves because since Jalal Talabani’s illness a few years ago this province did not have a center of decision.
Even though Gorran was the winner of the last elections in its areas, it was unable and not in a position to speak for or act on behalf of the entire green zone. Similarly the PUK, due to its internal problems, could no longer make any decisions for itself let alone representing the entire province. And the intense dispute between the PUK and Gorran had on the other hand left Sulaimani on the margins and deprived it of one decision-making center. Those facts were also the reason there was some political distance between Erbil and Sulaimani, even though we are not sure yet if these two cities will now come closer or drift further apart.
All of this is happening at a time that the world, research centers and western media are talking about geographic changes in the Middle East and the possibility of Kurds emerging as a new state.
Domestically, President Barzani is continuously stressing the need for holding a referendum and people in Kirkuk and Kurdish areas outside the Kurdistan Region want reassurance that they are included in this process.
Therefore, it is only right to ask what KDP’s fears are based on. Are they based on its own disputes with Gorran or does it fear renewed polarization of Kurdistan? Why should the KDP be anxious even if Gorran and PUK unite not only politically but even in parliament?
We have fallen on and overcome much harder days in the past. An agreement between Talabani and Barzani ended our civil war. So why should the KDP not be able to deal with the PUK and Gorran as one party, especially if they can represent and speak for the green zone? This, in light of the fact that there are many security, economic and political agreements between both sides.
The days ahead require us to put our house in order and if we are seeking statehood we need to put all differences aside.
I wouldn’t be wrong to say KDP’s fear of this PUK-Gorran agreement is irrational or most likely just an illusion the KDP has created for itself. The KDP leadership must allay this fear and be ready to instead deal realistically with what this agreement may bring.
This stage calls for brave decisions and Barzani must devote his efforts to unlocking the political stalemate and strengthen the independence quest he is leading.
*This article was translated from Kurdish.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of Rudaw.