Kurds headed to­wards in­ter­nal rift af­ter Barzani ‘res­ig­na­tion’

Al­ready on Sun­day night, Iraqi Kur­dish po­lit­i­cal par­ties op­posed to Barzani re­ported at­tacks on their of­fices in sev­eral ci­ties

Gulf News - - From The Cover - BY NABIH BULOS

It is un­clear his res­ig­na­tion on Sun­day as pres­i­dent of the Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Gov­ern­ment was the fi­nal cur­tain for Ma­soud Barzani, an ar­dent Kur­dish na­tion­al­ist since the age of 16 who took up the man­tle of his fa­ther, the Kur­dish leader Mustafa Barzani af­ter his death in 1979.

Barzani’s fam­ily con­tin­ues to play an out­sized role in the re­gion’s po­lit­i­cal hi­er­ar­chy.

His nephew Nechir­van Barzani serves as the re­gion’s prime min­is­ter, and his son Mas­rour heads its se­cu­rity ap­pa­ra­tus.

Barzani is say­ing he doesn’t want the pres­i­dency to ex­ist any­more, and to cre­ate a new con­sti­tu­tional ar­range­ment in a few days — that’s ac­tu­ally a lot of work.” Zaid Ali | Author of ‘The Strug­gle for Iraq’s Fu­ture’

Im­pos­si­ble task

And the sus­pen­sion of the pres­i­dency, said Zaid Ali, author of The Strug­gle for Iraq’s Fu­ture, has cre­ated an im­pos­si­ble task for Kur­dish law­mak­ers.

“Barzani is say­ing he doesn’t want the pres­i­dency to ex­ist any­more, and to cre­ate a new con­sti­tu­tional ar­range­ment in a few days — that’s ac­tu­ally a lot of work,” Ali said.

Though it could serve as a way to keep Barzani in power for an in­terim pe­riod, Ali con­tin­ued, it could also lead to the frac­tur­ing of the Kur­dish re­gion along the fault lines of the two ma­jor Kur­dish par­ties’ spheres of con­trol.

“It won’t go smoothly, and it may lead to both sides stop­ping work­ing with each other,” he said.

Al­ready on Sun­day night, Iraqi Kur­dish po­lit­i­cal par­ties op­posed to Barzani re­ported at­tacks on their of­fices in sev­eral ci­ties overnight hours af­ter Barzani an­nounced his res­ig­na­tion. The Move­ment for Change, Gor­ran, and the Pa­tri­otic Union of Kur­dis­tan (PUK) said in sep­a­rate state­ments sev­eral of their of­fices in the Duhok re­gion, north of the Kur­dish cap­i­tal Er­bil, were looted or burnt overnight.

The semi-au­ton­o­mous KRG in north­ern Iraq said it had or­dered the lo­cal po­lice forces, known as Asay­ish, to stop the at­tacks.

Armed pro­test­ers stormed par­lia­ment as it met on Sun­day to ap­prove his res­ig­na­tion.

A Kur­dish video jour­nal­ist with a chan­nel back­ing Barzani was also stabbed to death at his home overnight in Kirkuk.

In a tele­vised speech an­nounc­ing his plan to step down, Barzani said fol­low­ers of ri­val PUK founder Jalal Tal­a­bani, who died in early Oc­to­ber, had been guilty of “high trea­son” for hand­ing over the oil city of Kirkuk to Iraqi forces with­out a fight two weeks ago.

Reuters

De­mon­stra­tors gather in the streets in sup­port of Kur­dish pres­i­dent Ma­soud Barzani in Duhok, Iraq on Sun­day.

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