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 Why Barham Salih should NOT serve a second term 

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  The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author


Why Barham Salih should NOT serve a second term ‎ 10.11.2011 
By Rizgar Khoshnaw, Washington, DC -

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November 10, 2011

I have been absent from writing about Kurdish issues for about ten years (my articles were mainly published on web site) but now I feel that the time has come to write again. I want to tell some of my stories and share my experiences and exposure that I have gained in the last fourteen years working and traveling back and forth to Kurdistan.

Of course, I am NOT going to tell/expose it all in these articles because I will leave the best parts for my book that I am in the process of writing. I wrote a book eleven years ago during the oil-for-food program and this will be my second book that will have a great deal more damaging details than my first! This time the damaging details will NOT be on the United Nations operation and personnel but rather it is going be directed at some past and present KRG members.       

Dr Barham Salih, Kurdistan region premier. KRG photo
My story is very long, but in time everyone that reads/follows my writings will understand why I am doing this. I made my final trip to Kurdistan four months ago and I do not intend to ever go back. For this reason, I am in a position to tell it all without fear of repercussion. I have absolutely no family/relatives living in Kurdistan/Iraq to be concerned about! In the past fourteen years, I have literally traveled to Kurdistan more than 70 times (Seventy times) and I have seen, witnessed and experienced it all.

I decided to give my first article this name/title because I want the readers to know that I am very qualified to write about Kurdistan Regional Government KRG and some of its members. Furthermore, I want the readers to see the types of people ( businessmen and politicians) that I have been associated with in the US and Kurdistan in the past fourteen years. In time, I will write about many many more of them and will give examples and proof of everything that I write about. I have spent 14 years (Fourteen years) being "involved" in some capacity directly and indirectly with many members of KRG past and present.

Now, lets get back to Barham Salih and why I feel that he is not qualified to control the Kurds. I use the word "control" because that is exactly what is going on in Kurdistan. Can anyone tell me how he became a "Prime Minister" and a ruler that decides what is best for the Kurds?? Was he voted in to office by the people? No, he was not and we all know that. He came to power by making deals with other "politicians" and that alone does not qualify him to run Kurdistan. Does he have the interest of the Kurds or the Americans?? This is another subject that I will talk about in a later article. It is fairly obvious what I think the answer is!

On July 15, 2010, there was a "conference, one on many that the KRG holds without any success, in London. I will give many examples of KRG signing deals with foreign companies (mostly British companies) without any success later on other writings. This conference was called " Kurdistan Open For business" that Salih was promoting Kurdistan.

I had contacted Salih, using another Kurdish politician that I know very well, and we agreed to meet in London during the conference. One of my partners and I travel to London to meet with Salih and talk about two very sizable projects. I will discuss these projects after I introduce the gentleman that was ready/willing to finance and implement these projects in Kurdistan.

In the past ten years, I have been working with a very powerful and successful American businessman (I will refer to him Mr. "G") in the Washington DC area and I had convinced him to take on projects in Kurdistan. Mr. "G" owns more than forty international companies and his personal financial worth exceeds hundreds of millions of dollars. He has been in business for more than fifty years. He had built a number of very well known and successful multibillion (with a "B") companies in the US, Asia and Europe and knows how to implement large projects all over the world. We traveled to Kurdistan together twice and he met with high Kurdish officials within the KRG on both trips.

Mr. "G" was ready and willing to take on huge projects in Kurdistan. With his experiences and very powerful friends in Washington, DC, I thought for sure that the KRG will see the value of Mr. "G" and will take us seriously. Of course, I had given the KRG plenty of proof of his power, experiences, success, wealth and influence in Washington only so the KRG will pay us great attention. As a matter of fact, one previous high level KRG member had used Mr "G's" influence in Washington to move on a certain issue for him. That incident proved that Mr. "G" is for real and very able. This KRG personnel thanked Mr. "G" for helping him with this very important issue.

Lets get back and talk about these projects that I had mentioned earlier. One project that we discussed was oil exploration and the other was building a 1,000 MGW power plant in Kurdistan. This power plant was valued at around a Billion dollar and we told Salih that we will finish it in two years. During the meeting, we were talking with Qubad Talabani as well. I had met Qubad on other occasions and we had discussed other projects in the past. Qubad and I met seven years ago and talked about building a 400 bed hospital in Sulaimaniyah. I will talk about this hospital project that was never implemented in a later article!!

The oil deal that I had brought KRG is a partnership between Mr. G" and a very well known and successful seven Billion dollar oil companies; a US and Canadian joint venture. I had presented a letter that was written by Mr. "G" to Barham Salih indicating that we are ready to negotiate this project as well as the electricity project. Prior to leaving the meeting, Salih asked us to write down what we have in mind and e-mail it to his secretary. We left the meeting and we told him that we will send the letter as soon as we return home.

Upon returning to the US, we wrote a letter and e-mailed to his secretary, which by the way had a "gmail" address that my partner was very surprised to see a high level KRG representative has a "gmail" address doing international business and NOT a government address! We waited for days, weeks, then months and we heard absolutely nothing-radio silence, as my partner would later say. Then I decided to contacted Qubad at his Washington, DC office and asked him why we have no answer or news from KRG and he too disappeared on us!! It is amazing how they treated us and think nothing of it.

This is not how KRG should operate if Kurdistan is going to succeed and prosper. Until today, I do not know why they never answered our e-mails, phone calls and letters. Furthermore, I do not know how and why the KRG awarded an oil contract to Vast Explorations, a tiny company with absolutely no oil drilling experience or any experience in anything, with only $15 million (of borrowed money) in working capital. I wonder what Ashti Hawramy was thinking when he signed of on this contract! And when I bring in a multibillion dollar oil company, we are completely ignored. Once more, I will talk about Vast Exploration in a later article.

At times I really wonder if the current KRG personnel have the interest of the Kurds or the American politicians in mind! I mention the American politicians simply because it seems to me that the KRG is very good at "buying" American politicians and they think that doing this will advance their cause.

This is a very wrong approach and KRG needs to wake up and take care of their "people" and NOT the American politicians. The American politicians come and go but the Kurdish citizens are living among them for life! It is their "people" that they need to worry about and not the Americans if they want to stay in power. The saddest thing about buying American politicians is that the KRG is buying the wrong American politicians!!

As I said earlier, I will expand from this article in the future. This is just the first of may many more to come. I will also try my very best to make my articles very simple and short.

Rizgar Khoshnaw, Washington, DC

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  The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author


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