The political establishment in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq is divided in opposition to and support for holding a referendum on independence and what the government's priorities should otherwise be.
Representatives of 68 states wrapped up meetings last week to discuss strategies to defeat the Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL, Daesh). The Islamic State’s defeat may end one chapter in Iraq’s history, but it simply pushes other suppressed issues to the forefront.
Female Kurdish fighters, who represent less than 1% of the roughly 200,000 peshmerga forces, have become “the bankable icon” of the fight against the Islamic State. But beyond the illusions of a land that supports women’s rights, the reality in Iraqi Kurdistan is much less glamorous.
The independence of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is being discussed once and more. Most recently, KRG President Massoud Barzani cited the disintegration of Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia in reference to Iraq’s future. He inflamed the longstanding discussion about independence, saying, “Kurds have the right to self-determination just as Eastern European people do.”
A private company has reportedly taken over Gulenist schools in Iraqi Kurdistan. According to the Dwarozh news website, Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Education Minister Bishwan Sadeq said a private Kurdish company, the Khoshnaw Group, bought the secondary schools and colleges Sept. 19. There has thus far been no official or legal objection or protest registered against the move.
At least three Kurdish forces of Peshmerga were killed and some other were injured in an attack by the militants of the Islamic State (IS) onto the Iraqi northern city of Duz Khurmatu which is under the control of the Kurdish forces, Kurdish official said.
In an interview published in February 2015, Donnie Macdonald, the president of oil giant Chevron’s operations in Iraq, had glowing praise for the Kurdistan autonomous region in north of the country. “The Kurdistan region is still relatively under-explored and we believe the region has potential to become a prominent player in the oil industry”—powerful words during unsettling times. By February 2015, Islamic State had already made fourteen attacks in the direction of Kirkuk, one of the major oil-producing areas in northern Iraq. A bit over a year later, the seven-hundred-mile front line between Kirkuk and Sinjar that is defended by Kurdish forces may be stabilized, but the oil issue is growing increasingly complex. With protests undermining the Iraqi central government's stability, and Kurdish aspirations for independence, the right to export oil is at the heart of a political impasse and economic crisis.
A deal between two main Iraqi Kurdish political parties, Gorran and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), is expected to increase tensions and lead to further fragmentation and destabilization of Iraqi Kurdistan’s political scene, at least in the short run, as it might trigger reactions from the major ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).
The head of Kurdistan Region Movement of Change (Gorran), Nawshirwan Mustafa, said on Tuesday May 17 the bilateral agreement reached with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) will lead to greater democracy in the region and increased transparency in oil and gas revenues.
The militants of the Islamic State (IS) launched a major offensive on locations of the Kurdish Peshmerga forces on several fronts in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, military sources said on Tuesday.