Can Democracy Exist with Barzani in Charge?

Rauf Naqishbendi

By Rauf Naqishbendi:

In a course of the life of a nation under democracy, when the government encroaches on the rights of its constituents, it is the constitutional right of concerned citizens to demand that their leaders relinquish power. In a representative democracy, delegated representatives are commissioned to impeach the head of the state in an open trial, and by a majority vote they can transfer power to the vice president for the remainder of the president’s term. In parliamentary procedure a motion of no confidence can be invoked by the members of a legislative body to discharge the government. In essence, checks and balances in democratic system of government are established to protect people from tyranny and abuse of power by their leaders. Based on this fine principle, this article will scrutinize the tyrannical ruling of Masoud Barzani.

Barzani purports to be democratic through his words. He attempts to paint himself as a beacon of democracy in Kurdistan. Surely, he fooled only fools, for most of the people knew his rhetoric wasn’t genuine. When leaders of this type are publicly challenged, their true colors are revealed. As such, when Barzani’s presidency was denounced, he dissolved the parliament, thus dismissing members of the legislative. That marked the first sign of his tyranny.

Opponents to Barzani declared that he is not qualified for the presidency, citing his inability to make meaningful social and political advances. First and foremost, Barzani shouldn’t have been the president of Kurdistan because of his corrupted mentality. He was an agent of Kurdish enemies in the past and present and placed his and his family’s interests above the greater general public. As a result, he, his sons, and his in-laws and cronies accumulated enough wealth to be the richest people in the history of Kurdistan.

Additionally, the fund appropriated to the Kurdistan region, funded by the Iraqi government from oil exports, was divvyed between Barzani and Talabani after the American invasion of Iraq, and that fund has consistently found its way into the two leaders’ saving accounts.

Notably, in a democratic system the parliament is responsible for appropriating bills and budgeting, but as in nations ruled by dictators, the two leaders funneled national budgets into their banking accounts and gave back little to the nation. Additionally, parliament was an ineffectual legislative body, as the majority of its members were Talabani’s and Barzani’s cronies. Suffice it to say, in a democracy there is a separation of power between legislative and executive branches of government, but in Kurdistan it was a chaotic system where Talabani and Barzani were the head of both branches of government and their powers were unchallengeable due to their cruel repercussions and intimidations.

The greatest danger facing Kurdistan for a long time has been its dependence on Baghdad. To dismantle the tether of dependence, Kurdistan requires industrialization, which implies building factories and manufacturing sites to create goods, services, and jobs; yet nothing has been done. As a result, Kurdistan is now more dependent on its neighboring countries than ever before. The fact is that at present everything consumed and used in Kurdistan comes from abroad, and thus Kurdistan is an utterly consumer society.

Kurds have been drilling oil and selling billions of dollars of oil, but again there is no accountability, for all the money is channeled into Barzani’s and Talabani’s coffers. Now, as the price of oil has shrunk, which means less money for the Iraqi government, the Iraqi government, in turn, is appropriating fewer funds to Kurdistan than before. Now, government employees in Kurdistan are not getting paid, and they haven’t for months. Barzani blames the Iraqi government for not funding the Kurdistan region. Therefore, the question is, what about the billions of dollars of proceeds from oil exports?

The government is a major employer in Kurdistan, and lack of payment to government employees has created a financial hardship for a majority of the people. To make matters worse, inflation is skyrocketing, with less business activities and high unemployment, and the lack of basic public services are ubiquitous.

Erdogan and Barzani

Erdogan and Barzani

Concerning the battle with ISIS, Barzani has been rightly accused of making deals with terrorists, as his men gave up the town of Sinjar without any resistance. This is not the first time Barzani made a deal with Kurdish enemies. He made deals with Saddam, and his father sold the Kurdish revolution in 1976 to the former Shah of Iran, and now Barzani is the puppet of the Turkish government.

Regarding national unity, there are two Kurdish leaders, Barzani and Talabani, and they have divided Kurdistan in two, not for political, strategic, or philosophical reasons, but rather for their own insatiable greed and lust for power.

Independent Kurdistan has been the dream of Kurds for centuries. In the recent two decades there were ample opportunities for Kurds to be independent should Barzani have acted upon any of them. But he didn’t. In the final analysis, Barzani has not been advocating to issues relating to political advancements, unifying the Kurds, social justice, or an independent Kurdistan. Instead, he has been the Kurds’ enemy, Turkey’s servant. He has been responsible for corruption in every aspect of Kurdish life, placing himself and his own family’s interests above that of the nation. Therefore, for all the inequities he has inflicted upon the people of Kurdistan, Barzani should be handed to the court of the people to receive justice.

Barzani is not fighting for himself alone but rather for his dynasty to continue for generations to come. It is a national exigency and an imperative for the people of Kurdistan to topple this arrogant leader, and the sooner the better. Time is not on our side. The time for him to step down is now, and step down he must.

Rauf Naqishbendi has been a contributing columnist for: – 2011),,,, and has written Op/Ed pages for the Los Angeles Times.

Books by Naqishbendi:

  1. His memoirs entitled “The Garden Of The Poets”. It reads as a novel depicting his experience and the subsequent 1988 bombing of his hometown, Halabja with chemical and biological weapons by Saddam Hussein.  It is the story of his people’s suffering, and a sneak preview of their culture and history.

  1. My Articles: This is a collection of columns published from 2002-2013 through several web media sites. It addresses Kurdish issues,  American politics and democracy, humanities, religion, terrorism, and Middle East chaos.

Rauf Naqishbendi is a software engineer in the San Francisco Bay Area.


There are no comments yet. Be the first and leave a response!

Leave a Reply

Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?

Trackback URL