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 Iraq's Kurdistan heads towards a totalitarian regime 

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


Iraq's Kurdistan heads towards a totalitarian regime  10.7.2012  
By Kamal Chomani  -
The Kurdistan Tribune

Kurdistan region President Barzani Inaugurates the Security Council of the Kurdistan Region 8, July, 2012. Photo: KRP
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July 10, 2012

Announcing the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) National Security Council was the last nail in the coffin of Kurdistan’s democracy and claims of reform.

Alas, what the hell is going on in Kurdistan politics?

The danger of any totalitarian regimes is that they shape rules and state institutions to legalize their undemocratic plans and ambitions. Surprisingly, the two ruling parties, Kurdistan Democratic Party and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, are doing what the former – overthrown – totalitarian regimes previously did in the Middle East.

From now on, the life of any critical journalist and activist and any serious opponent of the two ruling families of Kurdistan is in peril – although it was in danger before, now it has become more so.

The newly-formed National Security Council is the real threat to Kurdistan’s people and its democracy.

Why is it a real threat?

When the law for forming the National Security Council was discussed in Parliament, the opposition parties had boycotted the sessions. The view about this law came from one side only, the majority bloc. This was during the period of Kurdistan’s rage and protests in which a dozen were killed and hundreds injured. When the MPs were discussing this law, they were so much under the pressure of their politburos to lead Kurdistan towards a total state police because the two ruling parties were afraid of losing their power.

At the same time, the parliament had issued 17 points in which one point hinted that the parliament will not pass any laws if they need a national agreement amongst the political parties and public.

However, according to the law, Parliament cannot question the National Security Council!

KDP and PUK security forces have just united to blind the public’s eye and to tell their Kurdish people they are united. But a KDP Asayish still cannot transfer his job to an Asayish office in the PUK zone.

With regard to inaugurating a chancellor to the National Security Council, it is in the President of the Kurdistan Region’s authority to do this. This means the National Security Council is above being questioned by the parliament.

If Parliament cannot question the National Security Council, what can people expect from it?

For this institution, 318 billions of Iraqi Dinars have been allocated from the 2012 public budget, whereas only 450 billions of Iraqi Dinars have been allocated for projects!

The opposition parties and journalists have shown their anger towards the newly-formed National Security Council.

Adnan Othman, Gorran (Change Movement) MP declared: “Kurdistan is leading to a totalitarian system.”

Dr Shaho Sa’id, Gorran’s spokesperson, announced that: “Forming this National Security Council prepares the ground to a totalitarian police state regime that interferes in all fields of society and life.”

Bilal Sleman, Islamic Group MP, explained that: “This National Security Council is just to protect the KDP and PUK.”

He also criticized the law in which the parliament “can only decide on its budget and cannot question it.” To him, this is “doubtful because its power is bigger than any ministry’s.”

Samir Saleem, Islamic Union MP, has the same feelings as Bilal Sleman. He said that the National Security Council is just to “keep the two cantons of KDP and PUK zones.”

He elaborates that the National Security Council has been created under the light of the so-called Strategic Agreement between the KDP and PUK in which they have already decided on dividing the powers and income of Kurdistan.

Ahmed Mira, Lvin Magazine’s editor-in-chief, the main political magazine in Iraqi Kurdistan, said that: “The newly elected chancellor, Masrour Barzani should be trialed not to be given a sort of Fir’hawni powers.”

To Mira, the granting of such powers to Masrour Barzani by his father, Massoud Barzani, is not much different to what Saddam Hussein gave to his sons and Ghadafi to his sons, too.

Many people were very hopeful about the exchange of the premiership from Dr Barham Salih to Nechirvan Barzani, – hoping that Barzani might implement some reforms – but, as Kurds say, “Year by year, I wish to the yesteryear.”

I do believe that, with the formation this National Security Council, the death of reform was announced.

No more reform, but a radical change. Only a radical change can save Kurdistan!

Kamal Chomani is a Kurdish journalist based in Iraqi Kurdistan. He writes for Awene, south Kurdistan's major independent newspaper, sits on the editorial board of Lvin magazine, a leading trimonthly, and works with Reporters Without Borders. You can reach the author via emails: [email protected]

First published at Kurdistan tribune

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opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author


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