The Ramifications of Latest KRG Voter Fraud Go Beyond the Election

By Michael Rubin:

On September 30, 2018, Iraqi Kurds once again went to the polls to choose a regional parliament. Because citizens and officials lodged more than 1,000 complaints with regard to fraud, the Independent High Elections and Referendum Commission took three weeks to certify the results. Neither the results nor their certification surprised observers. After all, the regional election commission is not, as its name suggests, independent. Rather, it is beholden to party leaders. The regional government itself chose and funded monitors who were neither able to monitor polling stations rigorously or to the professional standards established by non-participating independent monitoring groups such as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the National Democratic Institute, or the Carter Center.

While Masoud Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) can claim victory and the Talabani family’s Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) will accept its runner-up status so long as it can dominate Sulaymani, the real problem may be more than disenfranchisement of individual voters or the corrosive cynicism that now permeates Kurdish society. Rather, the specific method of much of the fraud will have ramifications far beyond election day.

According to civil society leaders and politicians with whom I spoke during a trip to Iraqi Kurdistan earlier this month, both the KDP and PUK reportedly provided peshmerga and party cadres with multiple voter identification cards in order to inflate their election tally: Each card had fake names but a real photo of the individual to which they were issued and legitimate biometric data for that individual. In many cases, ten fraudulent cards each with a valid chip were issued to single individuals to allow them to vote ten separate times. In one case, a party member in Kuysanjaq bragged that he had received over two hundreds separate cards, each with separate identities but his picture. Such cards helped the KDP and PUK maintain their grip on power but neither party made any effort either to collect or destroy the cards after the election.

The Assault on Local Democracy Goes On: 259 Kurdish Mukhtars Suspended From Duty!

HDP Statement: Turkish government’s ongoing assault on local democracy has shifted to another field in the run up to the local elections scheduled for late March 2019. This time the target is “mukhtars” in Kurdish provinces (elected headmen of villages and neighborhoods). After President Erdoğan had pointed at them as the next target by saying,…

Why Are So Many Women Dying Violently in South Kurdistan?

By Gaziza Kadr Darwish: According to the leading Kurdish media outlet Rudaw, regarding the latest women’s issues data in the south of Kurdistan, during the last six months 109 women committed suicide, including 39 who shot or hanged themselves and 62 who set themselves on fire. Hawler city was listed as the main area for…

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Barham Salih Was On The Wrong Side of Politics for Twenty Five Years

By Arian Mufid: It was in the late 1980s that I met Dr Barham Salih, in London, during the demonstrations and seminars held against the former regime of Iraq as part of our national liberation movement. He devoted all his energies to organise and promote the Kurdish nation’s struggle for freedom to the whole world….

The Restoration of Syria

By Dr Jan Best de Vries: This is my last contribution to The Kurdistan Tribune. The political solution for the conflict in Syria will be a partition into three administrative zones with regional autonomy. A threefold partition, that is: in the East towards the Tigris the Sunnite Arab tribes, in the West the Sjiite Alawites…

Open Letter to UN High Commissioner on Human Rights: Case of Ramin Hussein Panahai

By Dr Amir Sharifi: Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Palais Wilson 52 rue des Pâquis CH-1201 Geneva, Switzerland. June 29, 2018 Dear Mr. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein: On behalf of the Kurdish human rights organizations and associations in Southern California, I express my grave concerns, disquietude and distress over…

Mufti Penjweni, The Awakening And Righteousness Poet

The faculty of Kurdish studies of the college of languages at the university of Sulaimaniyah in partnership with the District Directorate of Penjwen, is organising a conference about the great Kurdish poet of the locality of Penjwen, Mufti Penjweni, on 18th and 19th of August 2018. 

Stop the Turkish Invasion of South Kurdistan (Iraqi Kurdistan)

Kurdistan National Kongress (KNK) Statement: The Kurds in Iraq and Syria have been engaged in an epic battle against the Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria, an organisation that stands in opposition not only to the Kurds, but also to the region as a whole, in its attempts to create a Salafist system. This…

General Najim al-Jubouri on Ezidi Disaster and Return to Shingal

By Amy L Beam: 42-minute Interview with Amy L Beam, May 20, 2018, Mosul, Iraq. (Interview conducted in English with no translation to Arabic. Sorry for poor sound quality.) Amy (A): General Najim, can you explain your position and responsibilities? Najim (N): I am Major General, Commander of Nineveh province. A: What responsibilities does that…

The Future of Iraq

By Payraw Anwar: Introduction The nuclear deal between Iran and P5+1 (the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council — the United states, United Kingdom, Russia, France, and China — plus Germany) and the European Union was signed in the summer of 2015. On 8 May 2018 Donald Trump the president of the United…

Solidarity of Kurdish and Armenian Voices on the Armenian Commemorative Events in Los Angeles

By Dr. Amir Sharifi: In the last week of April, Armenian communities in Los Angeles held their annual Armenian commemorative events throughout the city. Members of the Kurdish communities participated in remembrance and protest activities including the Cycle Against Denial, a bike rally through Santa Monica that raised awareness against all genocides. On April 24,…

Has the Iraqi Presidency Become a PUK Slush Fund?

By Michael Rubin: BAGHDAD—Political jockeying is well underway in Baghdad, as Iraqi political leaders seek the magic political formula which will enable formation of the Iraqi government. While a Shi’ite will take the premiership, Iraq’s most powerful post, the jockeying is on for other plum positions. Beyond key ministries—Foreign Affairs, Oil, and Defense, for example—two…

Tribunal Rebukes Turkish President Erdogan For War Crimes Against His Own People

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A Fifty-Seven Year Kurdish Revolution in Futility

By Rauf Naqishbendi: The Kurdish revolution in Iraq commenced in June 1961. Fifty-seven years in the making, it is one of the most protracted revolutions in the history of humankind, with tragic outcomes. This revolution was initially led by the Kurdish Democratic Party under the leadership of Mustafa Barzani. Ironically, Barzani didn’t believe in a…