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LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK/KURDISTAN

A place to post daily news of Kurdistan from valid sources .

Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK/KURDISTAN

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Dec 17, 2017 11:29 pm

Kurdish parliament issues amnesty:
Convicts on death row get 15 years in prison

The Kurdistan parliament has decided in a majority vote to issue an amnesty to those on death row, reducing their sentence to a mere 15 years in prison, excluding those convicted of serious criminal charges.

Convicts who carry the death penalty will have their sentences reduced to 15 years in prison, excluding those who have been convicted of terrorism, threatening national security or murdering women in so-called honor killings, the Kurdish parliament stated following a closed session on Sunday.

Following the resignation of Kurdish President Masoud Barzani, the power to impose the death penalty has now been assigned to the KRG Prime Minister, Nechirvan Barzani.

The Kurdistan Region, unlike Iraq, rarely implements the death penalty. The last known case in which it had been carried out was in December 2016, when then President Masoud Barzani approved the execution of a man found guilty of raping and killing a female child in the Kurdish city of Duhok.

http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/171220176
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK/KURDISTAN

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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK/KURDISTAN

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Dec 17, 2017 11:32 pm

PM Barzani asks Kurdish parliament to set date for elections within 3 months

Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani has asked the Kurdish parliament to set a day for parliamentary and presidential elections within the next three months.

PM Barzani sent an official letter to the parliament on Sunday with regards to the general elections.

“We ask the parliament of Kurdistan to take necessary legal procedures to hold the elections within three months so that we can set a date for the elections during this period,” according to a letter dated December 12, 2017.

A KRG delegation headed by PM Barzani and his deputy Qubad Talabani in recent weeks visited the Kurdish parties with regards to the upcoming general elections including the date of the elections.

During these meetings, “we reached the conclusion that returning to the power of the people and holding elections is the best choice to guarantee unity and resolve the problems of the Kurdistan Region,” the letter signed by PM Barzani explained.

It is not clear whether the Kurdish elections will take place before or after the Iraqi parliamentary election that is scheduled for May 12, 2018.

The Kurdish parliament in late October decided to postpone the election that was initially scheduled for November 1, mainly because of the Iraqi military’s incursion into disputed or Kurdistani areas claimed by both Erbil and Baghdad, such as oil-rich Kirkuk that fell to the Iraqi forces on October 16.

Kurdistan’s five major parties have yet to make their positions clear.

The Kurdistan Region has lost about half of its oil-revenues because of the loss of Kirkuk oil wells, something that has forced Erbil to reveal plans that it will make more salary cuts to the 1.2 million people on its payroll.

It has also failed to bring the Iraqi government to the negotiation table in order to resolve their outstanding issues after the Baghdad-opposed Kurdish vote on independence that saw nearly 93 percent of the people voting to leave Iraq in September. This is despite global pressure to encourage talks between the two sides.

The parliament in late October extended its current term for eight months.

http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/171220174
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK/KURDISTAN

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Dec 18, 2017 12:19 am

Unidentified gunmen attack security patrol with hand grenades in Kirkuk

Unidentified gunmen have attacked a security patrol in central Kirkuk using hand grenades on Sunday, a security source told Baghdad Today.

“The bomb attack targeted a patrol of Emergency Police at Teseen neighborhood in Kirkuk,” the source said, adding that there has been no official word on the number of casualties so far.

Last week, Kirkuk security command said it killed two Islamic State members and arrested a third in the northwest of the province as Iraqi forces continue to clear the country from remnant militant cells.

Alsumaria News quoted Kikruk Operations commander, Fadel Omran, saying that troops carried out a security operation on the Dibis-Hawija road, combing the area for Islamic State hideouts.

He said the efforts led to the “killing of two terrorists and the arrest of a third”.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory over the Islamic State in the country last week, marking the end of a three-year war against the militant group which proclaimed a self-styled “Islamic Caliphate” in 2014.

Kirkuk’s southwestern town of Hawija had been a major stronghold for Islamic State fighters. There, the militants held thousands of civilians and executed hundreds for attempting to escape the town or collaborate with security forces.

Iraqi forces took over the town in early October after nearly two weeks of combat.

https://www.iraqinews.com/iraq-war/unid ... es-kirkuk/
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK/KURDISTAN

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:43 am

PUK to hold congress in March

The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) has decided on March 7, 2018 as the date to hold its congress, following the death of its leader and founder Jalal Talabani in early October this year, Hero Ibrahim Ahmed announced in a statement to PUK media outlets.

“Holding the congress is both a necessity for the party and renewing and reorganizing the structure of the PUK,” Ahmed said. “It is also a right call from our cadres and members and that call must be fulfilled. Therefore we found it necessary to hold our fourth congress on March 7.”

The controversial question of the congress was an overheated topic among organizers and members of the PUK after the party’s politburo failed set a date for the process following the death of Talabani on October 3.

The announcement also comes at a time when the PUK’s top leader Kosrat Rssul is receiving medical treatment in Germany.

Commenting on preparations for the congress, Hakim Qadir Hamajan, member of the PUK politburo said on Sunday that “the high committee tasked with making preparations for the PUK’s fourth congress has finished most of the work.”

The PUK has been plagued by rifts in its leadership. Last year, Rasul and his then deputy Barham Salih denounced what they called an unethical group within the party leadership and announced the formation of a decision-making body.

In September, Salih broke away from the PUK and established his own political entity, the Coalition for Democracy and Justice.

Following the fall of Kirkuk, PUK leaders received mounting criticism. The party announced on October 24 that it had opened an internal investigation into what went wrong on October 16 in the oil-rich province.

The PUK is one of the two main ruling parties of the Kurdistan Region that has strong influence over the Peshmerga and security forces in the provinces of Sulaimani and Halabja.

http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/181220174

Question:
Is there anyone honest in the PUK

Answer:
NO
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK/KURDISTAN

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Dec 18, 2017 5:24 pm

Gorran expected to withdraw from government :ymparty: :ymapplause: =))

The National Assembly of the Change Movement is likely to declare withdrawal from the KRG cabinet in its meeting on Tuesday but to choose to stay in local provincial councils.

“According to the number of votes of the assembly members, Gorran will declare withdrawal of its ministers from the government on Tuesday,” a member of Gorran National Assembly said. There is, however, another position arguing in favor of staying in the government until next elections are held.

Sherwan Ibrahim, member of Gorran National Assembly, spoke about the meeting due to be held this Tuesday by the party’s assembly and said: “According to my information, the same decision will be made at the National Assembly with the majority of members voting for it,” referring to the recent decision made last Thursday by the party’s General Assembly to pull out from the KRG.

Arguing that the KRG has lost legitimacy and is unable to pay full salaries to its employees and has failed to bring Baghdad to the negotiating table, Gorran’s General Assembly approved a suggestion to withdraw from the cabinet over the weekend.

Ibrahim also said that they had already held a number of meetings with the Kurdistan Islamic Group (Komal) and Barham Salih’s entity and discussed post-withdrawal situations and formation of an interim government in the Region.

He added that they were going to meet with Komal before the National Assembly meets to see what their position is.

“In all cases, withdrawing from the government is a first phase. We in the second phase, if necessary, might consider whether we pull out from provincial councils too.”

“The decision to pull out is not the only thing that matters to us,” Ibrahim said of Tuesday’s scheduled meeting of the National Assembly. “ What will be Gorran’s plan and agenda, and what it will be doing and how it will be dealing with the situation after the withdrawal phase should also be thoroughly discussed. There are different positions. But the majority opinion is for withdrawal and having our ministers announce their resignation,” he added.

Four Gorran ministers were sacked in October 2015 and the Gorran speaker of the parliament was barred from entering Erbil when the party’s relations with the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) hit their lowest point. The main point of contention between them was the term of then President Masoud Barzani.

The KRG has asked all Gorran ministers to rejoin the cabinet, but the party has not made any final decision yet. The party’s parliamentary faction returned to the parliament in late October after Barzani announced his decision to not further extend his time in office.

Finance Minister Rebaz Hamlan, formerly a member of Gorran and one of the ministers who were suspended in 2015, has rejoined the cabinet as an independent. He resigned from Gorran in September due to what he called lack of support from his party for the independence referendum.

Haval Abubakir, from Gorran, assumed office as governor of Sulaimani recently. Gorran has another issue to address: how it should deal with positions it occupies in local governments of Sulaimani and Halabja.

“Gorran pulling out from the government doesn’t mean withdrawing from Sulaimani’s local government,” Kwestan Mohammed, the party’s former MP, said.

“Haval Abubakir will remain governor of Sulaimani,” she added.

According to information obtained by Rudaw from some Gorran officials, Change Movement’s leader Omar Sayd Ali and a number of members from the party’s Executive Body believe that pulling out from the government and development of protests and unrest is bad for the Kurdistan Region.

Ali has allegedly told some of colleagues within the party that Gorran should consider the fact the situations in the Kurdistan Region are different from previous years, referring to disputed areas being controlled by the Hashd al-Shaabi as an example.

These possibilities have not however made Qadri Haji Ali, the key Gorran advocate of the position of withdrawing from the government, relent from his position.

A member of Gorran’s National Assembly who didn’t want to be identified by name said that Gorran could in the past two years mobilize people and edge the government, adding “but we thought the PUK and KDP will attend to Gorran demands. Formation of an interim government is currently a good choice, if approved.”

Since its formation, Gorran has most projects, packages and statements. Its recent project, submitted to all parties, was formation of an interim government which could make preparations for next elections. Gorran now thinks that the KDP will not approve this project, which is why the KDP hasn’t responded to Gorran about it.

http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/181220171

Since it was formed, the Gorran has done nothing but cause trouble 8-|
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK/KURDISTAN

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Dec 18, 2017 5:27 pm

Iraqi forces building up near Makhmour

867

The Kurdistan Region’s security and intelligence service has expressed concern about a buildup of Iraqi forces near Makhmour, warning of a possible attack on Peshmerga positions.

“We are alarmed by significant Iraqi military buildup in the vicinity of Makhmour, South West of Erbil, in preparation for an attack on nearby Peshmerga positions,” the Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC) tweeted on Monday afternoon.

According to the agency, over the past five days forces of the army, Federal Police, Emergency Response Division, and Popular Mobilization Units (Hashd al-Shaabi) have deployed to the area with the plan to carry out an attack on the road connecting Mosul and Kirkuk.

“Peshmerga forces withdrew from Makhmour in October to the current position to avoid military clashes with Iraqi forces,” KRSC stated. “We call on the Iraqi Govt to stop its provocative advances.”

They also urged the international community to condemn Iraq’s military aggression and accept a call to dialogue.

Kurdish forces withdrew from Makhmour in mid-October as part of wider Iraqi advances in the disputed areas. A ceasefire has held since late October and the two sides held several meetings to negotiate control over the disputed areas and the international borders. No final agreement was reached, however.

http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/181220175
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK/KURDISTAN

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Dec 20, 2017 10:27 pm

Gorran and Komal withdraw from KRG

Both Gorran and the Islamic Group (Komal) have decided to withdraw from the coalition government of the Kurdistan Region on Wednesday.

Gorran decided to give up the post of the Parliament Speaker held by Yousif Mohammed.

Gorran’s leadership held a meeting in Sulaimani on Wednesday, following which they also decided to suspend an alliance agreement it signed with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) in May, 2016 that resulted in forming a joint leadership.

The two joined the coalition government dominated by the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) after the 2013 parliamentary elections.

Gorran’s ministers were suspended in October 2015 because of tensions with KDP in the aftermath of deadly clashes that year which affected the majority of Kurdish cities in Sulaimani and Halabja provinces.

Gorran’s General Assembly voted last week to withdraw from the KRG and today the party’s executive body, the National Assembly made the final decision to leave.

Komal fills two ministries at the KRG: The Ministry of Agriculture and Environment.

Both parties have stated that they support the demands of the protesters that have been ongoing since Monday who ask for better services, fight against widespread corruption, and the full payment of delayed or reduced of public salaries. However, they urged calm from all sides following two days of deadly violent protests.

Gorran urged other parties to dissolve the current cabinet, and form an interim government following the loss of many Kurdistani or disputed areas such as the oil-rich Kirkuk to Iraqi forces in mid-October. Both the KDP, and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, two of the main ruling parties in the Kurdistan Region, rejected Gorran call.

Both Gorran and Komal stated that they had joined the KRG cabinet on the promise that they would work with other parties to root out corruption and improve various public sectors.

They said the ruling parties, the KDP and the PUK, continued on the course of wide-level “corruption,” extended the term of the then president of the Kurdistan Region for two years in 2015, suspended the parliament for two years, and sacked Gorran ministers of the cabinet.

They added that the ruling parties drove the Kurdistan Region to economic and financial failure and caused the downfall of the Kurdistan Region’s vote on independence.

Both Gorran and Komal called on the KRG to form an interim government to be tasked with preparing for the upcoming elections and holding talks with the Iraqi government in the aftermath of the loss of the disputed or Kurdistani areas in October.

“But after spending several months in waiting, we lost our hope to remain part of this government,” the two parties said in a joint statement on Wednesday night.

They called again on parties in the Kurdistan Region to form an interim government.

They two parties said that they support “the just demands of protesters,” who do so in a civil manner, away from violence; that they “condemn” attacks on offices of political and governmental offices; that there is “no ground” to arrest, detain or kill protesters; that those protesters arrested by the security forces must be released; and that any elections to be held must first guarantee that the list of voters will be cleaned.

They concluded that they will begin a “new political phase” that will mainly focus on forming a new alliance to carry out their stated objectives.

Gorran has 23 seats at the Kurdish parliament and Komal holds six. Gorran dismissed one of its members of parliament in September.

Three parties remain in the government: The KDP with 38 seats, the PUK with 18 seats, and the Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU) with 10 seats.

The minorities who are allies with either the PUK or the KDP have 11 seats.

The Kurdish parliament has 111 seats total. It extended its current term for eight months in late October after the elections set for November 1 were postponed mainly because of the Iraqi military incursion.

The KRG last week asked the parliament to set a date for the general elections including the presidential election within three months.

Gorran rejects PM Barzani’s invite to rejoin KRG

http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/201220172
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK/KURDISTAN

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Dec 20, 2017 10:30 pm

Gorran calls for nationwide strike to pressure KRG, senior official

Kurdistan’s largest opposition party has called for the people of the Kurdistan Region to go on “nationwide strike” to put pressure on the Kurdish government, a senior Gorran official said on Wednesday following the party’s decision to withdraw from the KRG cabinet, and the resignation of its speaker in parliament.

The call for strike comes after three consecutive days of sometimes deadly protests in some cities in the provinces of Sulaimani and Halabja, otherwise called the Green Zone, the stronghold of Gorran and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan.

“We call on all the people of Kurdistan to go on nationwide strike, boycott and take similar measures so that we put a large amount of pressure on this government,” Jamal Haji Mohammed, the head of Gorran’s National Assembly told his party media, KNN.

The decision to withdraw from the government came after a meeting of Gorran’s National Assembly.

Mohammed said his message to the Kurdistan Regional Government is to learn from the downfall of other rulers in the country.

Sarhang Faraj, a Gorran official, told Rudaw that the decision to withdraw was right because “people are tired” of the current cabinet.

Gorran, Kurdistan’s second-largest party with 23 seats is an offshoot of the PUK. It became the first party to introduce parliamentary opposition in the Kurdistan Region in 2009, but it fell in with the KRG coalition government following the 2013 general elections.

Nawshirwan Mustafa, Gorran or the Change Movement’s founder died in May. When they decided to join the KRG, he vowed there will be “four years of peace,” an indication that they would not urge the people to stage protests against the government.

Tensions between Gorran and the dominant Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) reached its boiling level in October 2015 when deadly protests hit many cities and towns in Sulaimani and Halabja provinces. The KDP accused Gorran of orchestrating the protests, but Gorran denied it.

The KDP shut down parliament for two years and sacked Gorran ministers including those from the ministries of Peshmerga and Finances.

The term for current Kurdish MPs and government officials expired on November 1, but the parliament had voted to extend it for eight months in late-October after the elections were postponed mainly because of military tensions between the Iraqi and Kurdish governments following the Kurdistan Region’s vote on independence.

Kanaan Ismael, a member of Gorran’s General Assembly, told Rudaw on Wednesday that they decided to withdraw from the KRG after fulfilling the four years of peace.

“Now strategy No. 1 for Gorran Movement is to prepare for free and clean elections,” he said.

The KRG on Monday asked the Kurdish parliament to set a date for the parliamentary and presidential elections within three months.

Kurdistan Islamic Group (Komal) which has six seats in the 111-seat parliament announced in a joint statement with Gorran that they too will withdraw from the Kurdish government.

They are expected to present their resignation letter to the KRG in the next few days.

http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/201220174
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK/KURDISTAN

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Dec 24, 2017 3:26 pm

Some in Kirkuk asked to indicate if they helped conduct referendum

Several employees in the diverse city of Kirkuk have been given forms to fill out declaring that they did not help in implementing procedures of the Kurdistan Region’s independence referendum, and a provincial official claims it is being done "to intimidate the Kurds."

“This form had been circulated in some specific offices, not all offices. It was circulated in education and health offices, according to information we have received. This isn’t something done by the government,” Azad Jabari, head of the security committee in Kirkuk’s provincial council, told Rudaw. "Rather, some people are doing this to scare Kurdish employees."

The form passed out to the employees reads: ‘I certify I didn’t take part in implementing the procedures of the unconstitutional referendum of the Kurdistan Region held on September 25, 2017.”

It also asks the employees to prove that they did not help with the vote by showing that they were on holiday, leave or absent on the stated date.

“I hereby confirm the information I have put on this form is correct and I will accept all legal proceedings if false,” the form continues.

“Some people are doing this to intimidate the Kurds," said Jabari.

The undated document does not elaborate what the “legal proceedings” would be.

“We have informed other parties in the council of this action. We have told them this act was illegal and should therefore stop otherwise it will draw reactions,” Jabari.

The Kurdistan Region held a referendum on independence on September 25. The provinces of Sulaimani, Halabja, Erbil, and Duhok were included in the referendum. In the disputed or Kurdistani areas claimed by both Erbil and Baghdad, the referendum was held in areas where the local administration voted to participate.

Kirkuk, a diverse city and province, participated in the referendum.

Of the ballots counted, 93 percent indicated ‘Yes’ for independence.

The ballot read: “Do you want the Kurdistan Region and the Kurdistani areas outside the Region to become an independent state?”

The question was asked in the Kurdish, Arabic, Turkmen, and Assyrian languages, with instructions on how to check ‘No’ or ‘Yes’ appear above the boxes.

In October Iraqi forces and Iran-backed Hashd al-Shaabi paramilitias entered Kirkuk and the other disputed areas, where they have imposed federal control. The incursion resulted in deadly clashes.

After what were seen by the KRG as a number of punitive measures taken by Baghdad, the Kurdistan agreed “to freeze” the result of the referendum and enter into dialogue with the Government of Iraq.

An Iraqi Federal Court then said that Iraq is a parliamentary and democratic republic with the constitution as the guarantor of its unity, saying it could become the basis for dialogue.

The KRG agreed “to respect” the court’s ruling.

Baghdad and Erbil are yet to enter into political dialogue to resolve the impasse, despite calls from the international community, namely, France, the United Nations, the European Union, and the United Kingdom, among others.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of the story erroneously reported that Kirkuk employees were asked to indicate whether or not they “voted” in the Kurdish referendum for independence. This has been changed to whether they helped to “implement” the procedures of the Kurdish vote. The translation of the form in paragraph three has also been corrected.

http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/241220173
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK/KURDISTAN

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Dec 28, 2017 12:10 pm

Three months on from referendum, Kurds feel frustrated

“A local minimarket like mine should have worked! If things are going this badly here, then how bad is it elsewhere?” said Badr Mahmoud, who just reopened his shop in Kurdistan's capital city of Erbil. It's smaller this time because of the lack of income, with fewer products and less stock than before. “I must figure out how to survive because the neighborhood and even the kids in the street need me.”

Mahmoud’s shop is one of over 300 that have closed over the past four months in Erbil — a third of the total. The closures reflect the decline that started with the costly battle against the Islamic State (IS) and accelerated with the fallout over the Kurdish referendum for independence in September.

“A month before the referendum, people started to spend less, as they did not know what was going to happen. The situation got even worse after it. Friends who rent shops closed before me. At least I don’t have to pay rent, as the place is mine.”

Before the flight ban imposed by Baghdad following the September referendum, Kurdistan was a popular destination for businessmen, aid workers and professionals who could fly in from Vienna, Frankfurt, London, Beirut, Istanbul, Tehran and Dubai. Now many stay away, either for lack of an Iraqi visa needed to travel through Baghdad or because they do not fancy the longer route overland through Turkey. Either way, the cost of traveling to Kurdistan has more than doubled.

All international freight now has to detour through Baghdad, adding time and cost. Travel by road between Erbil and the rest of Iraq is hampered, as main routes are blocked after military operations. In October, just miles from Erbil, Kurdish peshmerga troops engaged with the Iraqi army as they took back most of the disputed areas that the Kurds had secured in battles against IS. The longer routes are often less safe, adding loss to loss.

Kawa Mahmoud, a former Kurdish minister who leads the Communist Party of Kurdistan, speaks of an economic crisis, criticizing Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's measures against the Kurdistan Region following the referendum.

“The measures are supposedly intended to promote Iraqi unity, but how can you expect anyone to stay with someone who imposes such measures on you?” Kawa said.

Baghdad is even trying to limit the autonomous authority of the Kurdistan Region. Official documents of the Iraqi government now refer to the "three northern provinces," and most measures seem to derive from a wish to treat the Kurdistan Region as such — including the new regulation that Kurdish companies wanting to sell to central and southern Iraq have to secure a permit in Baghdad, chairman Dara Jalil of the Kurdish Chamber of Commerce told the Kurdish TV station NRT.

As trade is the Kurdistan Region’s main source of income, with many products originating from neighboring countries, the closure of some of the border posts on the Kurdistan-Iran border has also had an impact.

Other measures, like those making it more difficult for Kurdish banks to function, have added to the negative effect on the economy, which has led to most markets slowing down and the real estate business freezing up completely. Since negotiations between Erbil and Baghdad have not been successful so far, the economy has been brought to a halt.

The continued hardship led to three days of protests in December in a number of Kurdish towns in which government party buildings were set on fire, six protesters were killed, hundreds were arrested and security police clamped down to impose peace.

After the protests, Abadi promised to pay some of the salaries of Kurdish civil servants, pending validation of their employment. As for demands for negotiations, he repeated that Erbil has to commit first to the constitution and hand over all border posts to the Iraqi federal forces, as well as withdraw to the pre-2003 borders.

Abadi announced on Dec. 27, that his government has started paying salaries to Kurdistan public servants. The first round includes salaries of water resources personnel, to be followed by salaries of employees of the education and health sectors. He accused Kurdistan authorities of providing fake employees lists, which required double checking and correction.

His political opponent, former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who cut the salary payments in 2014 over oil disputes with the Kurds, now said he supports paying employees in Kurdistan to restore stability there. “It is shameful to punish the Kurdish people in order to garner more votes during elections. Such an approach contradicts ethical, national and legal norms,” he said, calling for direct talks, even though many saw this as a move to spite Abadi. “The Kurds will return to being partners and brothers in this country,” Maliki predicted.

Although rumors abound that the airport ban will soon be lifted, well-informed Kurds doubt that. An adviser to the Kurdish prime minister’s office told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity that he expects the problems to remain until the Iraqi elections in May, as Abadi needs his anti-Kurdish policy to keep ahead of his rivals.

As a result of the Baghdad measures, the Kurds have lost oil income and become dependent on Baghdad for their civil servants’ salaries, although these have yet to be paid. Mahmoud points out that “if the Kurdish government draws up a solid plan and implements policies on corruption and double salaries, they can fix a good many problems. Also, people from different parties are thinking about solutions.

This is a terrible crisis, but it will not last forever.”

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/origin ... endum.html
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK/KURDISTAN

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Dec 28, 2017 12:18 pm

Kurdistan’s at a breaking point, will it be a 'Kurdish Spring' or a civil war?

Some people are already talking about Iraqi Kurdistan undergoing its own Arab Spring, while others suggest it is more like the walking dead. Optimists believe money will bring a solution, while pessimists predict a new civil war.

For more than a week now, throughout the region – and especially in the cities of Sulaymaniyah and Halabja – street protests have been occurring and attracting hundreds of people. The local education directorate has called on teachers in the Sulaymaniyah district to strike (without going out to protest) because many have not received their full government salary for two months, and some haven’t been paid at all. Over 200 demonstrators have been arrested, five were killed in clashes with the security forces, and the province considered the safest in Iraq appears to be on the brink of political collapse.

The positive international reputation gained by the Kurdish leadership under Masoud Barzani – from the time of the U.S. invasion in 2003 through the war against the Islamic State, when the Kurds played a decisive role in helping defeat ISIS in Iraq – has slid away and now a different type of reputation is forming.

Among the protesters’ complaints: the deep-seated corruption that has created a small elite class of multimillionaires and billionaires who live in huge mansions and own fleets of luxury cars; the nepotism which allowed the president’s son, Masrour Barzani, to become intelligence chief and the president’s nephew, Nechirvan Barzani, to become prime minister; the kickbacks enjoyed by government officials – especially the Barzani family – from every deal made in the province; the persecution of media outlets critical of the government, even including the murder of journalists; and the delays in holding parliamentary and presidential elections.

Last week, three parties decided to leave the coalition, with the aim of trying to pressure the government to agree to a transitional government without Nechirvan Barzani as prime minister. Naturally, the president’s nephew is opposed and has promised only to move up the election due to be held sometime in early 2018, without specifying a date.

In the province’s “eastern wing,” which is largely controlled by the family of the late leader Jalal Talabani – Barzani’s former ally who later fought against him in the Kurdish civil war in 1994, and afterward became his partner again – life is not so sweet either.

Talabani died in October and his widow, Hero Ibrahim Ahmed, and her two sons, Bafil and Qubad Talabani, have taken the reins and are independently negotiating with the Iraqi government and Iran, to try to obtain more sources of income in return for political support that will undermine what they define as the Barzani family dictatorship.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, currently basking in his role as the great conqueror of ISIS, is exploiting his enhanced standing and Kurdish infighting to settle scores with the Kurdish leadership that “dared” hold its September 25 referendum on Kurdish independence in defiance of Iraqi unity.

Shortly after the referendum, Abadi ordered Iraqi troops to seize the oil hub of Kirkuk and to expel the Kurdish forces there. Barzani’s people accuse the Talabani loyalists who previously controlled the city of “traitorous” collaboration with the Iraqi government, and of deliberately retreating so the city could be taken by Iraqi government forces.

But now the Kurdish province has to live with the harsh consequences. Before the battle for Kirkuk, it was producing and exporting 660,000 barrels of oil. Now that amount has been reduced by half. Needing $700 million a month to pay the salaries of civil servants, including tens of thousands of teachers, the Kurdish government has had to seek draconian loans from the oil companies and international financing companies. But the oil firms are in no rush to provide them, since the province has still not repaid earlier loans and is currently $20 billion in debt.

The $2 billion in foreign currency reserves are gradually dwindling because they are being used to meet daily budget needs, while the budget due to be allocated by the Iraqi government for 2018 is likely to contain a major cut.

According to the Iraqi constitution, the Kurdish province is entitled to 17 percent of the national revenue, in accordance with its proportion of the total population. But the Iraqi government has not been transferring the full sum since 2014, and the province in turn has not been transferring the full revenues from the oil produced in its territory, as stipulated in an agreement signed with the Iraqi government.

The agreements signed have thus far failed to be implemented, so now the Iraqi government is expected to reduce the province’s share from 17 to 12.5 percent.

Warnings from the International Monetary Fund that the budget will not be able to cover the province’s needs, and will likely spark conflict between the Iraqi government and the Kurdish province, don’t seem to have made much of an impression on the Iraqi prime minister. “We will not transfer funds to cover salaries because of the corruption and lack of transparency in the province,” explained Abadi. Apparently he’s forgotten that Iraq was ranked 166th out of 175 countries on the Corruption Perceptions Index in 2016.

But Abadi’s resolve should be taken with a degree of skepticism, since any holdup of funds could lead to violent clashes within Iraqi Kurdistan that could develop into a civil war, which could spill over into other parts of Iraq where Kurds live. The Iraqi government, gearing up for elections next May, hardly needs something like that on its hands, having just wrested itself free from ISIS’ presence. Iraq is well aware by now that a conflict with minorities – be they Sunni tribes or Kurds – invites external “hunters” to come in.

The West is also aware of the area’s volatility and the potential reverberations for the region. The big question is: Who’s going to be willing to pay as much as is necessary in order to keep Iraqi Kurdistan quiet?

https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-new ... m-1.830983
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK/KURDISTAN

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Dec 29, 2017 8:27 pm

IMF: 2018 Iraqi draft budget won't 'cover the needs' of Kurdistan

The International Monetary Fund believes Iraq's 2018 budget share proposals "do not suffice in our view to cover the needs of the Kurdistan Regional Government.” Baghdad’s proposal would slash the budget of the KRG by more than 4 percent.

"[W]e've communicated to the federal government that the 6.6 trillion [Iraqi dinars] (about $5.56 billion) that are currently in the 2018 draft budget do not suffice in our view to cover the needs of the Kurdistan Regional Government. To that, in our opinion, these transfers should be increased to about 10 trillion Iraqi dinars ($8.43 billion)," IMF Deputy Division Chief Christian Josz told Rudaw on Thursday.

The Government of Iraq has relied heavily on international loans and bonds because of the global drop in oil prices coupled with a three-year war against ISIS, and now a campaign to rebuild the country's already aging infrastructure.

"We lent money to the entity of Iraq because it's a member of the IMF and has the right and the circumstances to draw on the resources of the IMF," explained Josz. "As part of the standard arrangement, the standard arrangement is based on the budget that is approved by parliament."

Since 2014, Erbil has contended Baghdad is not sending the 17 percent share of the Iraqi government budget.

"In that budget, until now, there was a budget-sharing agreement between Baghdad and the KRG and its via that way that we encourage the whole of Iraq to benefit from the IMF loans, i.e. by implementing the budget-sharing agreement, which has obligations both on the sides..." said the deputy chief.

In a proposal for next year's draft budget, the KRG is allocated 12.6 percent of Iraq's total share.

"In the 2018 budget, we have made clear to the federal government that it is very important to us that the Kurdistan Regional Government gets sufficient transfers to cover the expenses to cover the Kurdistan Regional Government," added Josz.

Many Kurds believe the central authorities are taking punitive measures against the Kurdistan Region for holding the September referendum on independence. Regional autonomy is enshrined in the 2005 Iraqi constitution.

The government in Erbil has complained that Baghdad has used the budgets as a tool to prevent Erbil's independent exportation of oil to world markets through a pipeline that terminates at Turkey's Ceyhan port.

KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani has said the people should realize that the KRG’s revenues “have been slashed by half” since the loss of the oil-fields in Kirkuk in mid-October.

http://www.rudaw.net/english/business/21122017
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK/KURDISTAN

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Dec 29, 2017 8:41 pm

PM Barzani: KRG needs third party help to interpret Iraqi constitution

The Iraqi constitution must be fully implemented in order to have a stable Iraq and Erbil needs the help of a third party in negotiations with Baghdad and interpretation of the constitution, said Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani at a press briefing on Monday, stressing that the Kurds are ready for open dialogue with the central government on all disputes including oil revenues and the region’s share of the federal budget.

“KRG’s stance is very clear,” Barzani told reporters. “Before and after referendum we have always said it that if the Iraqi constitution is implemented we’d have no issues with Baghdad, but the constitution is something that must be implemented in its entirety.”

“In Iraq too, they talk about the constitution but they only pick what they like. Iraq wasn’t ready to implement the constitution that’s why we had a referendum.”

Barzani said that in his recent meeting with the US Presidential Envoy to the anti-ISIS coalition Brett McGurk, and a telephone conversation with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, he had expressed KRG’s full commitment to dialogue with Baghdad, adding that Erbil needs the help of third parties in interpreting the Iraqi constitution.

Barzani said that “In Iraq they treat the constitution like a [food] menu and go through it saying, ‘I like this one or that one.’”

“It must be fully implemented article by article,” he said, emphasizing that honoring the constitution will bring stability to Iraq.

The Kurdish Prime Minister talked to reporters shortly after a ruling from Iraq’s Federal Court that the September 25 referendum was unconstitutional and its results automatically cancelled. However, PM Barzani said that the ruling had been made “unilaterally and without the presence of Kurdish representatives.”

Barzani said that there were no secret talks between Erbil and Baghdad on any level, explaining that “We’ve only held military talks and that was to prevent confrontations and escalation of violence in areas where we had pulled out voluntarily.”

He meanwhile described Baghdad’s closure of Kurdistan Region’s airports as a “violation of human rights and the Chicago convention on people’s right to freedom of travel and movement.”

He said the closure of the airports in Erbil and Sulaimani affects 1.5 million refugees with regard with humanitarian aid and people’s need to travel abroad for medical treatment.

Barzani, who led a cabinet meeting earlier in the day, said that his government insisted on carrying out reforms and transparency in the oil sector.

“As you know we brought Deloitte on board to work on this and they’ll soon release their report which we believe will prove to all sides that our oil sector is transparent,” the Kurdish PM said. “We are ready to share this Baghdad and all those who want to see these files.”

On the question of efforts by some parties for the formation of an interim government, Barzani said that all parties were already party of the government and that they must instead focus on making things work in the current cabinet.

“It is not clear to me to me what they want exactly,” he said. “We are ready to make changes but what do they want or mean by an interim government? This government too is interim and we have a limited timeline.”

“Our priority now is to provide people’s salaries and we’ve done what we have been able to so far,” Barzani continued. “We’ll continue paying salaries and we’re working with Iraq now.”

He welcomed a move by Iraq to return its 2018 budget draft to the office of the prime minister for revision before sending it to parliament.

“I’m happy to say the draft bill that went to parliament has been returned to the cabinet for review and we hope that they’ll see it as a chance to redeem it because it is unimaginably unfair to the people of the Kurdistan Region.”

“We insist on our 17 percent share,” Barzani said. “And if they want we can give them our biometric system to work on.”

PM Barzani said that he was not aware of any deals to transport Kirkuk’s oil to the outside world via Iran, adding that there was no decision either from Iraq to send Kirkuk’s oil to the Turkish port of Ceyhan.

The Kurdish Prime Minister said that Erbil sought good relations with its neighbors and wanted to “be a force for stability” in the region. He thanked the government of Turkey and the office of the Turkish president, as well as Italy and the European Union for sending aid to the victims of last week’s earthquake.

He ended the press conference by calling on all Kurdish parties to remain on the same page in their stance, believing that “We shall overcome these difficult days as long as we stay united and avoid seeking opportunities to break each other.”

http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/201120171

Personally, I believe the way forward is to allow Kurds to keep the lands that were stolen from them by Saddam and in so doing they will be able to become self-sufficient

Is it not a fact that when the Britain was happily dividing up the former Ottoman Empire - they denied Turkey's claim to Mosul and the surrounding lands, and allocated them as part of Iraq in order to PROTECT Kurds - what happened to that protection???
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK/KURDISTAN

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Dec 29, 2017 8:46 pm

Haider Al Abadi violates Iraq constitution, mistreats Kurds

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

In recent times, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi has been mistreating the Kurdish citizens in his country. It is time for this to come to an end.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has finally declared that Washington, D.C. will stand with the Kurds in their efforts to get the Iraqi Constitution fully implemented. In recent years, the Iraqi Constitution has been violated repeatedly, thus providing the Kurds with a major incentive to secede and declare independence.

After the U.S. came out strongly against Kurdistan’s Independence Referendum, the fact that the U.S and other countries across the world are now calling upon Mr. Abadi to respect the Iraqi Constitution is a milestone.

As Kurdistan’s Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani proclaimed, “If Baghdad and the international community want a stable Iraq, Baghdad has to be serious in its commitment to the implementation of the Iraqi Constitution of all its articles.”

Indeed, had the Iraqi government followed the federal constitution like they were supposed to, it is less likely that the Kurds would have pushed forward with an Independence Referendum and thus these recent wave of protests would have been avoided. Therefore, it is of pivotal importance that America tell the Central Iraqi government to stop oppressing the Kurds and to follow the Iraqi Constitution to the last letter.

From the very onset, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi did not treat the Kurds as citizens of his country with equal rights. Article 131 of the Iraqi Constitution proclaimed that the Kurds were entitled to an equitable share of Iraq’s revenues and declared that the Iraqi central government had an obligation to fund Kurdish Peshmerga Forces, who are responsible for securing their areas.

However, the central Iraqi government not only did not send the necessary funds and weapons to the Kurdish Peshmerga so that they could fight against ISIS more efficiently. They also refused to send Kurdish Civil Servants their monthly salaries. This forced the Kurds to rely upon oil revenues in order to cover their own expenses because the Iraqi central government was not living up to their end of the bargain according to the Iraqi Constitution.

Article 140 of the Iraqi Interim Constitution stated that those who had been deported or expelled from Kirkuk and other disputed areas should be returned to their homes and compensated by the Iraqi government. The Iraqi Constitution furthermore called for a referendum that will determine the future of these areas no later than Dec. 31, 2007. None of this came into fruition, but still Kurdistan’s prime minister is asking for dialogue.

For the Kurds, Kirkuk is the heart of Kurdistan. Under Saddam Hussein, the Kurds were ethnically cleansed from their historically significant city of Kirkuk. Only after the Kurds seized control of the city from ISIS did the city became multi-ethnic once again.

However, after the Central Iraqi government seized control of the city in the wake of Kurdistan’s Independence Referendum, Kurds in Kirkuk have been killed, beaten, raped and forced out of their homes once again. Many Kurds stress that this not only violates the spirit of the Iraqi Constitution; it also brings back traumatic memories for them and makes it much harder for them to remain part of Iraq.

Article 114 of the Iraqi Constitution emphasizes that the borders of Iraq are not the exclusive authority of the federal government and should be managed jointly with the KRG. This implies that the Kurds should also be able to operate their own airport and to have international flights coming to and from Erbil. However, the Iraqi central government is not permitting international flights to come to and from KRG areas. They are also demanding that the Kurds hand over all of the border areas to them. Mr. Abadi and his government are not abiding by the Iraqi Constitution in this regard.

But the Kurds feel that the lack of equality between Kurds and Arabs in the new Iraq is not limited to violations in the Iraqi Constitution. When Mr. Abadi gave an address on the victory against ISIS, he did not mention the role of the Kurdish Peshmerga in defeating ISIS. To add insult to injury, in a Dawa Party meeting, Mr. Abadi proclaimed: “Uniting Iraq and preventing it from partition was another victory, which was no less than the triumph achieved over the ISIS terrorist gangs.”

The Ministry of Peshmerga Affairs was outraged. They responded: “What does Mr. Al Abadi have to say to the families of 1,824 martyrs and more than 10,000 wounded Peshmergas, as he considers himself to be their Prime Minister as well? Those Peshmerga sacrificed their lives for the sake of defeating ISIS. How can Prime Minister Al Abadi expect the families of the martyred and wounded Peshmergas and the people of Kurdistan to be loyal to Iraq when he fails to recognize and appreciate their sacrifices?”

The time has come for Mr. Abadi to be forced to treat his Kurdish citizens with the dignity that they deserve. The time has come for Mr. Abadi to be compelled to engage in meaningful dialogue with the Kurdistan Regional Government. If Mr. Abadi continues to fail to talk to the Kurdistan Regional Government and refuses to comply by the Iraqi Constitution, then any demands for the implementation of the Kurdistan Independence Referendum are more than justified.

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/20 ... n-mistrea/
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK/KURDISTAN

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Dec 31, 2017 12:03 am

Erbil health facing critical supply shortages

The general manager of Erbil Health Department says they are in need of 160 billion dinars every year and their medical supplies have recently been cut off by Baghdad.

Baghdad stopped delivering Erbil’s share three months ago on the grounds that there is no route or the security situation has deteriorated, according to Dr. Saman Barzinji.

Barzinji told Anadolu Agency that they are in need of 160 billion dinars every year to provide services to patients.

Last year, Iraq’s health minister visited Erbil “and I gave her a list containing the needs of the KRG and she promised to send them. But she has not fulfilled her promise yet,” Barzinji explained.

“We hope the Iraqi government takes care of the health sector of the Kurdistan Region and 2018 will be better.”

Iraq's Health Minister Adila Hamud told Rudaw that they "have never stopped even for a day sending the Kurdistan Region's share of medicine and medical supplies."

“The objective of the ministry is to provide medical supplies for the people of Iraq everywhere in the land of Iraq," she said.

She acknowledged, however, that her government has not fully been "committed" to sending the Region's 17 percent share of medicines.

Barzinji had told Rudaw in November that Baghdad has failed not only to send the Region’s share of medicine but also medicines for IDPs, thus forcing Kurdish health officials to purchase using loans $100 million in medicines from private companies.

He also called on neighboring countries “to support the Kurdistan Region in this regard by sending medicines and medical supplies.”

Some 1.4 million IDPs and refugees are currently sheltering in the Kurdistan Region’s refugee camps and in cities.

Barzinji believes the Iraqi government has to take this matter into account.

“If we notice, we see that 60 percent of the patients at maternity hospitals are refugees,” he said. “If we also watch the Nanakali hospital, designed for cancer diseases, 50 percent of the patients are again refugees.”

The refugees also receive medical services at 26 refugee camps, he said, adding the Region has been gripped by a bitter economic crisis for three years now.

Kurdish officials say the Iraqi government stopped sending Erbil its full 17 percent share of medicines in 2014, when they began reducing the amount in the midst of a wider budget dispute.

http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/301220174
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