A Unique Democ­racy in the Mid­dle East

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS - By Saadula Aqrawi

The Kur­dis­tan Re­gion is seem­ingly a unique democ­racy in the Mid­dle East. With a suc­cess­ful and open for­eign pol­icy cou­pled with eco­nomic power, the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion has be­come an in­ter­na­tional com­mer­cial center in this new and vir­gin re­gion. The Re­gion can trace its es­tab­lish­ment back to the au­ton­omy agree­ment be­tween the Kurds and the Iraqi gov­ern­ment signed in March 1970 af­ter years of fight­ing. How­ever, the agree­ment was never im­ple­mented, and by 1974 North­ern Iraq had been plunged into another round of bloody con­flict be­tween the Kurds and the Iraqi gov­ern­ment.

The demo­cratic process be­gan as a re­sult of peo­ple in the re­gion de­mand­ing a bet­ter life and re­fus­ing to live un­der the rule of the Sad­dam Hus­sein regime any longer fol­low­ing the March 1991up­ris­ing.

Iraqi Kur­dis­tan is a par­lia­men­tary democ­racy with a 111-seat re­gional as­sem­bly. The pres­i­dent, Mas­soud Barzani, was ini­tially elected in 2005 and re-elected in 2009.

In­jus­tice, in­equity, geno­cide, na­tion­al­ism and dis­re­spect for hu­man rights on the part of suc­ces­sive dic­ta­to­rial regimes led to the March1991 up­ris­ing which marked the re­fusal of Kur­dish pop­u­la­tions to live un­der such regimes any longer, and led to the es­tab­lish­ment of a demo­cratic regime in the Re­gion.

The for­ma­tion of the re­gional gov­ern­ment is con­sid­ered a his­tor­i­cal step for the Kurds in gen­eral and for Iraqi Kurds in par­tic­u­lar. In­deed, Kurds had only been able to form a gov­ern­ment twice in their his­tory prior to 1991: in 1922 un­der Sheikh Mah­moud (his gov­ern­ment was sub­verted as a re­sult of a Bri­tish at­tack within a year), and in 1946 with Kadi Muham­mad, whose gov­ern­ment also failed to last out the year, hav­ing been sub­verted by the Ira­nian army’s at­tack on Ma­habad, the cap­i­tal of the short-lived Kur­dish repub­lic.

Then, in the 1980s, the Iran-Iraq war and the An­fal, the geno­ci­dal cam­paign waged by the Iraqi army against the Kurds, dev­as­tated the pop­u­la­tion and na­ture of Iraqi Kur­dis­tan.

In the light of th­ese ear­lier fail­ures, the peo­ple of the KRG flooded into neigh­bor­ing coun­tries in late March and early April 1991, af­ter Iraqi troops re­turned to Kur­dish re­gions, and into safe zones in north­ern Iraq. Af­ter the Iraqi regime de­cided that all po­lit­i­cal, mil­i­tary and civil­ian state in­sti­tu­tions and or­ga­ni­za­tions should with­draw from Duhok, Er­bil and Suleimaniya in Oc­to­ber 1991, Kurds seized con­trol and ad­min­is­tra­tions emerged in the ar­eas. Th­ese steps en­cour­aged Kur­dish po­lit­i­cal par­ties to fill the au­thor­ity gap and es­tab­lish a demo­cratic po­lit­i­cal regime based on the votes of elec­tors in the ar­eas un­der their con­trol.

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