The Kurdistan Region: Crises afflicting the Kurdish citizen at the expense of the well-being of the parties in power[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] |Today[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
Baghdad today - Kurdistan
Crises have continued, especially economically, for the Kurdish citizen since the imposition of the safe zone in northern Iraq above the 36th parallel, by an American-British arrangement, in the context of international efforts and movements to besiege and weaken Saddam’s regime, after his invasion of the State of Kuwait in the summer of 1990. Since then, conflicts have raged[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]between The main Kurdish parties and forces, especially the Kurdistan Democratic Party led by Masoud Barzani, and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan led by the late Jalal Talabani, greatly confuse the security and economic situation, and drain a significant amount of the region’s capabilities and resources.
Power struggles deepen crises
After the conclusion of the Washington Agreement between the two parties in 1998, and the overthrow of Saddam’s regime in 2003, although the confrontations and military battles ended between them, the competition for positions of power and influence took other forms and manifestations, and led to more fragmentation, disintegration, division, and the shaking of trust, even among the leaders of One party and its cadres, so that more titles and names appear, and multiple internal and external loyalties and alignments, especially with the absence of some veteran leaders due to death or the weakness and loss of influence, as well as the rush and frantic pursuit of their children to seize the political, financial and social inheritance of their fathers. [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]Kurdish writer and journalist Jamal Bira stated earlier, “While the political and economic conditions in the Kurdistan region are worsening day after day, and conditions there are going from bad to worse, the region is being ravaged by a stifling financial crisis that has led to its government being unable to pay employees’ salaries for months, and with the accumulation of... The problems with the federal government in Baghdad remain unresolved and deteriorate from time to time. As the Turkish army penetrates the region, conflicts and problems deepen in the region, and the possibility of armed conflicts increases, the conflict between the influential Kurdish parties intensifies, a conflict that has recently witnessed a change in its paths and tools. “This has raised the concerns of citizens, especially after the influential parties turned social media into spaces for strife and polarization, arenas for political liquidation, a means of insults, slander, and slander, and a tool for threats between supporters of conflicting parties.”
The well-being of the parties is at the expense of the citizen’s livelihood
Amidst the divisions and accumulated crises, it seems that party leaders and the children of officials in the region were not affected by the economic crisis. Economic expert Farman Hussein explained in an interview with “Baghdad Today” that “the leaders of the ruling parties in the region are still living a life of luxury, owning distinctive cars, and buying apartments and houses.” Luxury, going to luxurious restaurants, and practicing a luxurious lifestyle that no other citizen has.”
He added, "The economic crisis and delayed salaries only affected citizens who are living through the worst economic stage, as a result of employees' salaries not being distributed as scheduled and high tax rates."
On September 7, the Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government, Masrour Barzani, said, “Baghdad’s refusal to send our financial dues violates constitutional agreements, harms our citizens, and undermines confidence.”
As for the government spokesman, Bassem Al-Awadi, he confirmed in a statement, “The federal government has fully implemented its financial obligations towards the Kurdistan region,” noting that “the funds owed by the region amounted to more than three times the region’s share, according to the state’s actual spending.”
For his part, the Kurdish writer and political analyst Adalat Abdullah held the governments of Baghdad and Erbil responsible for the economic crisis and the issue of employee salaries in the region.
Abdullah told "Baghdad Today": "Both parties seem to have no real will to resolve the differences represented in the articles and clauses of the budget law, despite the formation of multiple committees between the two parties and delving into the details of the law."
He explained that "the matter is due to the lack of professionalism of a number of those within the formation of the committees to discuss the budget law and the region's share," noting that "whoever wants to solve the crisis must be serious, especially since the Kurdish citizen is the victim."
Accusations of stealing the region's oil
The representative of the Kurdistan Justice Group, Soran Omar Saeed, confirmed last April that “the Kurdistan Regional Government, the Ministry of Natural Resources, and the Kar Company seized several Iraqi oil fields in Kirkuk and sold the oil.”
Saeed explained in a press interview, “Through the Iraqi Public Prosecution, I am requesting a new complaint against the Kurdistan Regional Government, the former Minister of Natural Resources - Ashti Hawrami, and the CAR Company,” indicating that “For three months, I have been working on this case and requesting the results of two old complaints against the Ministry of Resources.” In 2017, the oil was then seized and sold in the (Bay Hassan, Havana, Jambur, Khabbaz and Baba oil fields).”
As for the representative of Basra, Uday Awad, in 2019, he said, “Silence about the theft of Iraqi oil by Kurdish figures for their own partisan interests, without the proceeds entering the Iraqi state budget, is nothing but a betrayal of our people,” and stressed “the need for the government not to remain silent.” Parliament condemns this major violation by the region,” noting that “they must take all necessary measures in this regard.”
The Iraqi representative pointed out that “the Kurdish parties had previously obstructed the formation of an investigative committee within the House of Representatives against the companies “KAR” and “Qaywan” because they are affiliated with those parties.”
Collapse of oil reserves
In the Kurdistan region, there are 57 oil fields, part of which is in Sulaymaniyah Governorate and another part in Erbil and Dohuk. According to the Ministry of Natural Resources in Iraqi Kurdistan, the oil reserves in the region amount to 45 billion barrels, without clarifying how this number is calculated, nor from which regions. Come.
In 2022, government documents reviewed by Reuters showed that oil production in the Kurdistan region of Iraq may decrease by almost half by 2027 if there is no new exploration or large investments in the sector.[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]Diplomats, officials and energy experts said that the sharp decline in oil revenues, which is the lifeline of the Kurdistan Regional Government, may exacerbate the economic problems of a region already suffering from financial troubles in light of the unstable situation in Iraq.
According to the documents, the Kurdistan region’s production could rise to 580,000 barrels per day within five years if investments are optimal, which means 530,000 barrels per day will be available for export.
In this regard, and in press statements at the time, Kurdistan Parliament member Karwan Ghaznai, who is a member of the region’s Oil and Gas Committee, said that it was “a very dangerous matter.”
He added, "We should be worried about this, but it will not be a real problem if we settle our problems with the federal government. Then Kurdistan can develop new areas and increase production. We have many reservoirs," noting that "oil exports represent 85% of the region's budget." While a government official confirmed that "the Kurdistan Regional Government's debts currently amount to about 38 billion dollars."
The citizen rises up
Educational cadres, including teachers in Sulaymaniyah Governorate and a number of other regions of the Kurdistan region, had announced an open strike in protest against the delay in releasing their salaries despite the settlements with Baghdad regarding them.
An informed source in Sulaymaniyah Governorate said in an interview with “Baghdad Today” that “the strike of educational staff will continue, despite the announcement by the Ministry of Finance in the Kurdistan Regional Government that it will begin distributing employee salaries starting tomorrow, Sunday.”[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]He added, "The basic condition for the educational staff to end the strike is that the July and August salaries be distributed in one payment, while the regional government will distribute the July salary only, despite the employees entering the third month without receiving their salaries."
The Ministry of Education in the regional government had set the thirteenth of this month as the date for the start of the new academic year in Kurdistan.
Criticism can lead to death
In early May 2010, in front of the entrance to the Faculty of Arts at Salahuddin University in Erbil, journalist Zardasht Othman was kidnapped and then found murdered the next day in a neighborhood in the city of Mosul.
The British newspaper The Guardian published a report saying that journalist Othman, who was kidnapped, tortured, and killed, crossed red lines in Iraqi Kurdistan when he dared to publish articles under pseudonyms criticizing corruption in the two Kurdish parties that control political life in the region.
The newspaper adds that the Kurdish journalist also wrote an article “in which he expressed his desire to marry Masoud Barzani’s daughter,” which is a red line that no sane Kurd dares to cross,” as stated in the report.[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
According to observers, these crises did not have a clear impact on the lifestyle of the two families who have held power for decades. Rather, they were at the expense of the citizen’s well-being and even his daily sustenance, and the salary of the simple employee who demanded to receive it from Baghdad in the year 2020 after demonstrations spread across the region in protest against the delay in its disbursement, despite the receipts. Oil, which was not delivered to Baghdad until recently, and by stopping the export of imports, the economic conditions of the region further deteriorated, especially after Baghdad was asked to pay its debts from the imports of oil exported before the suspension process.