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 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.