Barzani: Kurdistan’s George Washington or common despot?


Masud Barzani

By Dr. M. Koohzad:

I am following the fist fights and political bickering in the Kurdish Parliament. I hope that President Barzani will step aside peacefully-honorably by the end of his second term. I hope he understands every word in his written contract – that he has been democratically elected for a well-defined period of time that is eight years ONLY, not even a day more.

If he removes himself from the office of presidency of Kurdistan, I would be the first to entitle him, with all of his shortcomings, the George Washington of Kurdistan. By doing so, he would build a strong foundation for a democratic society and the rule of law. Otherwise, he would reduce himself to a common, bloody Middle Eastern despot to be removed forcefully and dumped into the garbage bin of history.

Apparently, President Barzani has had a very successful and prosperous life. According to Michael Rubin (2008)*, President Barzani has been able to accumulate nearly $2.0 billion in personal wealth. Thus, he can afford to get retired and retreat to his mountain hideout and have fun. Mr. President, please avoid problems and simply say a friendly goodbye. The Kurds have reached a level of political maturity. They are able to democratically elect their next president.

The revolutionary leader of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, could have stayed in office for life. Nobody would have objected. By retiring himself, he proved not only that he was an honorable man but also that he had the highest respect for the basic democratic system he was building. This is one of the reasons why he is rightfully a national hero and a founding father of a democratic society in South Africa. President Barzani should learn from President Mandela.

*Rubin, Michael. “Is Iraqi Kurdistan a Good Ally?” AEI Middle Eastern Outlook, January 2008.

Dr. Koohzad is a Professor Emeritus of Middle Eastern Studies in the United States. 

Also by the author: Koohzad, M. “Kurdistan Ignored Even by American Professional Geography Textbook Writers.” The International Journal of Kurdish Studies, Vol. 22, Nos. 1 & 2, 2008, pp. 173-192. 

Copyright © 2013

5 Responses to Barzani: Kurdistan’s George Washington or common despot?
  1. Heval
    July 7, 2013 | 12:55

    I think Barzani family have made a nice profit from the martyrs of Kurdistan. Now it is time for them to stop feeding off the Kurdish people and go live in their California mansions.

  2. Lorenzo Garcia
    July 8, 2013 | 19:45

    I think that many many kurds own a car because of Barzani. No more donkeys.

    Compare with the arabs of Iraq and they have no cars, no donkeys, no busses and no nothing despite of the huge wealth of their territories.

    Massoud Barzani has many flaws! But still, I choose him ten times out of ten times!

    Please, educate me who is better than Massoud Barzani for President? Willing to be challenged as he is and not using his power against opposition as it is so usual in the Middle East?

    Power corrupts as Morsi in Egypt has proven and it is so damm difficult to implement any kind of democracy in the Middle East. Where else in the Middle East do you have a better democracy than in Kurdistan?

    OK, it is not only Massoud Barzani but the opposistion who an take the medal for the best democray in the Middle East

    Do you really understand how priviledged the kudish people are? Talk to assyrians, sunni, shia, saudis etc etc and benchmark you against them, you kurdish people are the Winner!

    Still, there is a very large room for impovement. Yes, there is a room which is not so common elsewhere in the Midle East nor North Africa

  3. Suleiyman
    July 9, 2013 | 02:08

    You are claiming 4 million Kurds in Kurdistan cannot produce an intelligent leader to replace Barzani? You are disrespecting our abilities and that is not appreciated. Then you mention power corrupt Morsi. While I think Morsi did poorly in one year, but as far as I know and the media reports, it’s Barzani and his family that have embezzled millions and millions of money. Can you actually say Morsi has stolen that kind of money from his people? Again, I will keep saying this: you are only here because you have personal gains linked to the KDP and PUK and any change would threaten your gains, so I am not surprised you again chose to keep a dictator over democratic change. Who are you to give yourself the right to determine if we Kurds should have democracy or not? Why don’t you go ask for dictator ruling in your own home country? When will the characters like yourself leave the poor alone?

  4. Amedo
    July 9, 2013 | 11:46

    great article Mr. Koohzad but leaving honorably for him is impossible ”he know this to” if we look to history secondly article 140 he should and we all are sure he COULD long time ago solve it they got the strongest position in iraq in begin with his ally finaly the plots against west kurdistan(syriankurdistan) he is doing everyting he can to undermine the gains we made there

  5. Independent Free kurdish man
    February 8, 2014 | 13:23

    “LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD” , until the kurds will realize this fact and be brave enough to do it without any fear from death , until that time the kurds will remain like this and continue like this

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