The initiative for change aborted!
KurdishMedia.com - By Ayoub Barzani
As the date of Kurdistan Region elections in Iraq draws near, the political arena is hosting important movements, aiming to bring about change to a misery, constituting of corruption, despotism and the monopoly over economy and the regional budget by the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK).
The Kurdish Reform Movement (KRM) initiated by Dr. Abdulmusawir Barzani and his colleagues was recently in the receiving end of threats issued by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and KDP President Masoud Barzani. In a telephone contact with the former in 12 April, 2009, he notified me that Mr. Sidad Barzani, the brother of Masoud Barzani, had traveled to Barzan to pass the message to Dr. Abdulmusawir Barzani via his brother. The message was clear: Leave the region under my control within 24 hours, otherwise I am not responsible of whatever happens to you” concluded Massoud.
As a matter of habits, Masoud Barzani and his brothers always issue threats in a verbal manner. They avoid issuing threats in a civilized manner by writing them in a letter, for if in case the written threats are published to the public. When the threats are not formally written, it is easier to deny the claims. This has been their habit for decades, so it is not surprising if they deny the threats.
Ironically, Mr. Masoud Barzani has initially informed Dr. Abdolmosawer Barzani, that he can slate an electoral list in the upcoming parliamentary elections. The KRG President added that Dr. Abdulmusawir is unpopular and will not obtain any votes, he has no money. Therefore, Dr. Abdulmusawir was permitted to work for his electoral list. The question is then what struck Mr. Masoud Barzani in the nerve to change totally his tone?
The answer is simple. The mobile phones of individuals who disagree with the KRG President are tapped – though it is unlawful - including Dr. Abdulmusawir Barzani. The spies learnt that the KRM initiative launched by Dr. Abdulmusawir and his friends was widely hailed by the masses, a reception that even impressed the initiators. The KRG President never expected such a reaction by the masses, so he issued serious threats to Dr. Abdulmusawir to leave KDP territories.
By threatening his cousin, the KRG President is aiming to intimidate the Kurdish citizens in Erbil and Duhok to remain in a house of obedience and abstain from the KRM initiative. He has previously pillaged and burned the headquarters of the Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU) and killed its members just a few days prior to the 2005 elections. Unfortunately, the Americans remained silent about this brazen breach, which led to being repeated in other occasions. The KRG President is clearly telling people that whether if they desire or not, he is the President and will be replaced by his son. There is no freedom for the people in Badinan to cast votes freely.
As President of the KRG, Massoud Barzani is supposed to respect the rules and present himself, his children and brothers as models of law-abiding individuals. For instance, if a charge is put to an individual in a civilized nation, he/she will have opportunity to appear in the court and defend him/herself. Only the court can expel that certain individual. If convicted, he/she will have the opportunity to appeal against the decision. If convicted again, he/she will be given opportunity to prepare for the deportation. Regrettably and as a matter of inheritance, the President of KDP and KRG violated the laws of the state and rashly ordered Dr. Abdulmusawir to leave his territories.
It is significant to recite, if for an extent, the backgrounds of the two individuals to understand the personality of Dr. Abdulmusawir and Mr. Massoud. In fact, the recent events are part of a broader conflict between different ways of life. Dr. Abdulmusawir is the son of Sheikh Suleiman Barzani; born in 1947. Mr. Masoud is the son of Mustafa Barzani, born in 1946. A difference is described by the fact that Mr. Massoud was nurtured in environment of mercenary that is a legacy of injustice, robbery and exploitation of farmers for self-enrichment. Dr. Abdulmuswair was nurtured in the challenging conditions of exile in the stifling southern parts of Iraq.
After the demise of Mahabad Republic in 1947, their fathers (i.e. Mullah Mustafa and Sheikh Suleiman) migrated to the Soviet Union and remained for about 12 years. The remaining Barzanis in Mahabad returned to Iraq and surrendered themselves to the government. They were punished by the Iraqi government collectively, e.g. prison and exile. Mr. Massoud survived the punishment, for the Iraqi government accounted for the services provided to them by Mr. Masoud’s grandfather, Mahmoud Agha Zebari. He remained with his grandfather in Musil.
The President of KRG continued his education until Secondary School, 8th Class and then dropped out. He later became the Director of Parastan Agency, despite his unqualified age and lack of experience, and then, after the collapse of the Kurdish revolt in 1975, Massoud inherited all the money that originally belonged to the Kurdish people. Without consulting others, Mullah Mustafa imposed him on KDP, the Kurdish Movement and Barzan, in a strictly emotionally based decision. As president of KDP, he has cooperated with the Iranian Pasdaran and Savak, the Turkish MIT and Iraqi Mukhabarat in joint operations at certain stages since 1975 and up to our days. He has received money and weapons from these agencies. Mr. Masoud has ordered the killing of many Kurdish personalities, without trail, providing no information to their relatives about the remains and has participated in the civil war over power that erupted in late last century between KDP and PUK.
On the contrary, Dr. Abdulmusawir is a self-made person and depends on no one but his personal efforts. He continued his education and received a Doctorate Degree from the University of Vienna. He is currently teaching Social Studies at the University of Sulaimaniya. He is well exposed to the democratic societies in Europe and has a number of publications. He is fluent in Kurdish, English, Arabic, German and Persian. Dr. Abdulmusawir opposed the civil war in 1990s and overly criticized the rampant corruption within the Kurdish leaders.
Dr. Abdulmusawir wrote about totalitarian system, of democracy. His views regarding these issues are incompatible with current despotic rule and its monopoly of power, represented by the current KRG President and his family members. He along many other KRM intellectuals are very concerned that we should not lose the current historic opportunity brought by the American presence in Iraq and are fearful that the short-sightedness of the current totalitarian leadership tyrannized by an entrepreneurial spirit may lead to a disaster, for which the Kurdish people will pay, while the leadership will be fleeing with all the illegally collected money, as they have done so in the past, that they’ve taken from people.
The Kurdish Reform Movement (KRM) is composed of intellectuals both in Kurdistan and in the Diaspora. It represents the aspiration of the new generation of the Kurdish youth, who yearn to go beyond the legacy of conflicts over power and the disasters brought to the Kurdish nation. It is opposed to the financial and administrative corruption and the rejection of the Kurdish leadership to adopt a transparent policy with respect to the regional budget. KRM sees the current despotic system a threat to the future of the Kurdish nation.
KRM representatives consider the upcoming parliamentary elections in the region as a major opportunity to bring about a peaceful yet long-awaited democratic change, as the current system proved its failure provide basic living provision to the people.
The author Ayoub Barzani has published a number of books on Kurdish culture and socio-politics of Kurdistan. He is currently completing his third book on the Kurdish Movement (1958-1975). Barzani is an influential Kurdish and international figure who is respected internationally.