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 Thank You President Barzani

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


Thank You President Barzani  23.7.2011
Inside the Other Iraq: Exclusive Columns by Mariwan Salihi for

July 23, 2011

ERBIL-Hewlęr, Kurdistan region 'Iraq', — On June 27, Iraq's Kurdistan Region Parliament approved a law that would allocate four guards to each MP when serving as a member of parliament, and two guards after their retirement (till death!).

Law 10 was considered a controversial law by the overwhelming majority of the people in Kurdistan Region; not only was it un-necessary, but it could have been a burden on the already much-debated government budget.

This week, Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani disapproved the law and rejected to sign Law 10.

President Massoud Barzani's decision to refuse to sign the law, is a welcoming gesture, and highly appreciated among residents in Kurdistan Region.              

Mariwan Salihi
Why Law 10 was controversial

In an area that considers itself the 'safest part of Iraq,' Law 10's increase from the current allocated three bodyguards to four, and two guards after retirement 'until death,' raises many questions.

First of all, there's no other nation, or region, in the world with a law that's similar to that of Law 10. So what makes Kurdistan Region so different than the rest of the world?

Second, Kurdistan Region is regarded as a safe area, where there are no terrorist attacks or few security threats, in comparison to the rest of Iraq, which despite some improvement in its security situation, it still is a high-risk nation with daily killings and bombings. So why would a Kurdistan Region MP ask for these allocations?

Third, allocating four guards while in office, and two when retired, asks for a very large budget, that is better spent on other vital needs for this underdeveloped region. Today's priorities in Kurdistan Region would be upgrading the infrastructure,
www.ekurd.netcreating employment opportunities for the young, improving healthcare, education, etc. Why spend so much money today, and in the future, on MP's that are already protected by the political parties they represent? In fact, even their current allocation of three guards is considered as too much; they should be instead reduced to two and not more. And when they retire, they should retire like any other citizen: No Bodyguards!!!

Fourth, the Iraqi Kurdistan Parliament has 111 members. In other words: 444 guards while they are in office. In let's say 20-30 years from now, how many guards will serve the hundreds (if not thousands) of MP's who are already retired by then? How many brigades from the army will they require?

In a region where journalists face death, beatings, and threats, doesn't it make more sense for the Kurdistan Region Parliament to at least provide 2 guards for each journalist that works here? I haven't heard of any case where parliamentarians are killed, beaten or threatened in Kurdistan Region, while local journalists have to face that reality regularly. It's probably time that Kurdistan's parliamentarians (of course, the opposition included!) move in a different direction. Being given a highly respected seat, in a highly respected building, should not mean they become selfish and greedy, and pass laws that only highlight their own interests.

I, hereby, thank President Massoud Barzani for taking this historical decision. In the future, we hope that His Excellency looks at more of these highly important issues, and condemns any similar law that will undermine Kurdistan Region's economical, political and social development.

Mariwan F. Salihi, is a Netherlands national, a freelance journalist covering Iraqi and other Middle Eastern issues, and regular contributing writer. You may reach the author via email at: [email protected]   

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


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