It is clear that the main reason behind the current instability in Iraq is the 2003 US occupation that happened in the aftermath of 9/11. It marked the beginning of a new era for the people of Iraq, who had already been severely oppressed during Saddam’s rule. The regime changed, the country changed; but all that change only brought more conflicts, instead of democracy and peace.
The power play in Iraq concerns the entire region, as the players of the world have now taken their positions. To this end, Iran is making moves to gain power over Iraq and Syria, Russia has taken action in Syria and tensions are increasing in Iraqi Kurdistan.
After the Kurds declared the Kurdistan Regional Government in 2003 in an area that incorporates Erbil, Sulaymaniyah and Duhok, a rapid social and economic development began. However, a series of mistakes by the central Iraqi government provided ISIS with leverage and helped them seize Mosul. The civil war that erupted following this development signaled even harder times for Iraqi Kurdistan. During this time, staying out of the war could be the wisest thing to do for them, but pressure from both the USA and Iran didn’t make that an option.
Today, the KRG struggles both with disagreements with the central Iraqi government on internal and foreign policy matters and the socioeconomic problems that the war caused. The financial problems that the Iraqi Kurdistan region faces after welcoming 1,5 million Syrian refugees would be difficult even for the most financially sound countries so one can easily imagine how difficult it is for a young state like Iraqi Kurdistan to be in such a position. However, the political tension that has been rising in recent days is even more serious than all the aforementioned economic problems. Northern Iraqi Kurds, who had already gone through a very painful era of brakuji (brother killing brother) in their past, need common sense and level-headedness now, maybe more than ever.
The political tension, which surfaced with the idea of lengthening the presidency of Mr. Masoud Barzani, especially after he was invited to a session in the parliament, turned ugly with protests in Sulaymaniyah recently. Although the protests were supposedly to be about corruption claims and problems with the salaries of civil servants, things quickly escalated into something sinister. As a result, civilians lost their lives during incidents where the KRG building and various media buildings were set on fire and some 200 people were injured. Needless to say, the last thing that Northern Iraq needs is another fight between brothers. One of the worst things that could happen is having separate parliaments in Erbil and Sulaymaniyah: It is clear that such a scenario would only lead to horrible results, as we’ve seen before. It is the most natural thing that people use their democratic rights to rally peacefully so that they can make their requests heard. However, it should be kept in mind that especially in the Middle East, such rallies can easily be manipulated. This is particularly easy now, when Iraq is in turmoil and many countries like the USA, the UK, Germany, Iran and Russia are all bent on pushing their own agendas in the region.
It is crucial that Kurds, pious, noble and gracious people, keep in mind that they are brothers in Islam before everything else, no matter what tribal, regional or political background they belong to. Mr. Masoud Barzani is a valuable leader not only for the Iraqi Kurds, but also for all the Kurds in the Middle East. The sacrifices he made for them, his conscience and nobility are the guarantees of his future services and contributions. It is clear that setting party buildings on fire with children in them or attacking gas pipelines, the most important income source of the government, are not helping the Kurdish people. Problems regarding corruption can be easily solved when the regional administration takes swift action. However, polarizing and dividing a society under the pretense of addressing problems that could be amicably solved is a greater crime than corruption; doing so with the help of foreign powers wishing to take control of the region is even worse.
A permanent solution to the economic problems of the Iraqi Kurdistan region can be achieved through negotiations with the central Iraqi government. Turkey has – and always will – provide its support to ensure such a solution and also to help our Kurdish brothers and sisters overcome their current problems. It should be kept in mind that it is not possible to ensure peace in any part of the Middle East when another part is suffering. And the building of a new civilization requires remembering that all peoples, whether Turkish, Kurdish, Arabian or Persian, are brothers in Islam.
Sep 24, 2016 0
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