My vote guar­an­tees Kur­dis­tan Suc­cess

The Kurds in all parts of Greater Kur­dis­tan are hop­ing to see a pow­er­ful KRG, be­liev­ing it will help the Kur­dish cause out­side the Re­gion

The Kurdish Globe - - FRONT PAGE - By Salih Wal­ad­bagi

The Kurds in the au­ton­o­mous Kur­dis­tan Re­gion have taken part in a his­tor­i­cal par­lia­men­tary elec­tion. The Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Gov­ern­ment (KRG) has been grap­pling with the fed­eral Iraqi gov­ern­ment over sev­eral sig­nif­i­cant is­sues in­clud­ing the Pesh­marga, the bud­get and oil. The elec­tion in Kur­dis­tan co­in­cides with the cri­sis in neigh­bor­ing Syria to the East, where the Kurds are en­gaged in a bloody bat­tle with groups linked to Al-Qaeda, with the Turk­ish-Kur­dish peace process in Tur­key to the North, and with a rapid change through­out the Mid­dle East in gen­eral.

The elec­tion process comes amid sev­eral vi­tal ques­tions con­cern­ing the des­tiny of the Kur­dish Na­tion. Kur­dis­tan is lo­cated at a vi­tal cross­roads be­tween Tur­key, Iraq, Iran and Syria.

Im­por­tantly, the KRG’s neigh­bors have shown a de­gree of will­ing­ness to re­main open-minded with re­gard to re­solv­ing the Kur­dish Ques­tion, or at least giv­ing more rights to the Kurds liv­ing within their bor­ders.

The Septem­ber 21 par­lia­men­tary elec­tion was the third af­ter the spring up­ris­ing of 1991. Dur­ing the elec­tion cam­paigns, which started on Au­gust 28 and ended on Septem­ber 19, the lead­ers of ev­ery po­lit­i­cal party, in­clud­ing those of the rul­ing par­ties [the Kur­dis­tan Demo­cratic Party (KDP) and the Pa­tri­otic Union of Kur­dis­tan (PUK)] and the Op­po­si­tion [the Change Move­ment (Gor­ran in Kur­dish), and the two Is­lamic par­ties—the Kur­dis­tan Is­lamic Union (KIU) and the Kur­dis­tan Is­lamic Group (KIG)], called on the peo­ple of Kur­dis­tan to take an ac­tive part in the elec­tions, be­cause it will show the weight of each party.

Ac­cord­ing to many po­lit­i­cal an­a­lysts, the KDP Pres­i­dent, Mas­soud Bar- zani, will win the largest num­ber of seats. How­ever, the ex­perts were un­able to pre­dict whether the PUK or Gor­ran will come sec­ond. Sev­eral opin­ion polls be­fore the elec­tion showed dif­fer­ent re­sults. Gor­ran, which broke away from the PUK Pres­i­dent Tal­a­bani, claimed it will re­peat the sur­prise of the 2009 elec­tions and win a large num­ber of seats.

The PUK has ex­pe­ri­enced hard times since its long-serv­ing leader, Jalal Tal­a­bani, suf­fered a stroke. Tal­a­bani is still away from the po­lit­i­cal scene, re­cov­er­ing in a hos­pi­tal in Ger­many.

A fa­mous Kur­dish writer also de­scribed the elec­tions as “im­por­tant”, be­cause if any party wins a large ma­jor­ity it will de­cide on the rul­ing sys­tem in Kur­dis­tan.

All in all, more than 2 mil­lion Kurds were el­i­gi­ble to vote in the Septem­ber 21 par­lia­men­tary elec­tion.

Con­tro­ver­sial oil and gas con­tracts

The KRG has so far signed sev­eral oil con­tracts with in­ter­na­tional oil com­pa­nies to ex­tract oil in Kur­dis­tan. Re­cently, it signed an agree­ment with a Turk­ish com­pany to send nat­u­ral gas to Tur­key for 26 years.

Th­ese ac­tions have made Bagh­dad very an­gry. Bagh­dad has warned the KRG not to con­tinue sign­ing oil con­tracts with­out its per­mis­sion; if it con­tin­ues, the fed­eral gov­ern­ment will de­crease the KRG’s share of the na­tional bud­get.

Prime Min­is­ter Nechir­van Barzani stated that the KRG should ex­er­cise its con­sti­tu­tional rights re­gard­ing the oil is­sue.

Kur­dis­tan has sought to con­struct a pipe­line that will give it ac­cess to the in­ter­na­tional oil mar­kets.

The KRG has also in­vested in its rep­u­ta­tion for safety and sta­bil­ity, and a faster-grow­ing econ­omy than other parts of Iraq.

Bagh­dad says that trans­port­ing crude oil to Tur­key is tan­ta­mount to smug­gling Iraq’s wealth out of the coun­try. The KRG has re­but­ted all the ac­cu­sa­tions made by the fed­eral gov­ern­ment thus far.

Kurds else­where want

a pow­er­ful KRG

The Kurds in ev­ery part of Greater Kur­dis­tan are keep­ing a watch­ful eye on the elec­tion process in the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion. They want to see a strong and pow­er­ful KRG that can as­sist and sup­port the Kurds in Iran, Tur­key and Syria.

The fo­cus is likely to be on KRG moves to­wards a fully-fledged Kur­dish state in­de­pen­dent of Iraq’s fed­eral gov­ern­ment.

Dur­ing the elec­tion cam­paign, Mas­soud Barzani said that “The Kur­dish na­tion will achieve more than fed­er­al­ism in the fu­ture.”

Bagh­dad is also con- cerned about the KRG’s in­volve­ment in the 30month-long war in Syria, where it has sup­ported the Kur­dish cause.

Around 200 000 Kurds from Syria have flocked into Kur­dis­tan af­ter re­cent clashes be­tween Syr­ian Kur­dish fight­ers and ji­hadists.

While Kurds in the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion ex­er­cise and en­joy self-rule and Kurds in Syria are strug­gling to wrest as many rights as they can from the next Syr­ian gov­ern­ment, the Kurds in Tur­key are en­gaged in an in­ten­sive ne­go­ti­a­tion process to win civil rights of their own, in­clud­ing the right to study in their mother lan­guage, the right to en­gage freely in po­lit­i­cal ac­tiv­ity, and the right to rule their own ar­eas. How­ever, the Kurds in Iran are still spec­ta­tors seek­ing a suit­able po­lit­i­cal op­por­tu­nity to de­mand their rights.

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