Invitation to Safety Brings Hardship to Kurdish Population

Rauf Naqishbendi

By Rauf Naqishbendi:

Since June of this calendar year when the outburst of the Islamist Caliphate commenced, the influx of refugees from areas taken over by these Islamist thugs were outpouring into Kurdistan region of Iraq. Kurdish leaders naively inviting these people to converge into towns, cities and villages of Kurdistan; and to blend with population without considering the consequences this may bring about. Were the problem of these refugees to be transitory, one should consent as to how it was handled, but the problem is that Caliphate thugs have dug deep and their infestation may be protracted for years if not for decades to come. Now immense numbers of refuges are in Kurdistan and blended with population are causing economic hardships much burdened by the poor and security problems feared by all.

Since the emancipation of Iraq from the British colonialism in July 1958, just about everything that has devastated Kurds was the consequence of its imbecile leadership as they have been used, bought, sold and manipulated by Kurdish enemies, and the great power in particular the United States. These leaders have never been able to manage Kurdish affairs in an orderly manner advancing wellbeing of society, they did everything to advance their own agenda, satisfying their insatiable greed, and lust for power; in the process tens of thousands Kurds lost their lives in a bloody civil war started in 1966 and continued until the end of millennium. These incompetent leaders have mismanaged the mass influx of refugees, it might not sound like a problem to them, but the magnitude of their future economic malady and social disturbances will aggregate with the elapse of time.

Consider the population of Kurds in Iraq just about four millions, and having to absorb one and a half million refugees. It implies that these new refugees will constitute about 37.5% of the makeup population of Kurdistan. They will stress test the economic capabilities for Kurds to cope with. They are going to overburden housing, transportation, food supply, healthcare and security scrutiny. Since their emergence the inflation has been skyrocketing, the housing market has been stressed, and rental price has been increasing. These are biting the poor sector of the population who are the majority and particularly the renters.

When a country is at war, the employment opportunity suffers the most for, during war, people are reluctant to risk their capital; as a result investment is dwindling, causing the rise of unemployment. Even prior to this chaos the employment picture was bleak in Kurdistan, there were more of menial jobs that paid minimum wage but not much of well-paid jobs for college graduates. Now, as foreign investment has withdrawn from Kurdistan, the chances for college graduates to find job in their specialties are zilch. At the same time, as an insult to the unskilled workers, now there are refugees who are willing to work for half of what the Kurdish peasants used to earn, thus they hurt the poor by lowering wages and taking away their jobs.

In the security arena, one cannot sort out good refugees from the bad ones. There are sleeper cells amongst these who are IS’s agents. Many families are belonging to men who joined IS and dumped their families into Kurdistan. The population in Kurdistan now are fearing these refugees and they have every reason to be fearful.

Furthermore the Kurdish population are economically stricken as the public employees’ salary has been suspended for the past three months and that may go long further; this is causing a great financial burden to a good sector of society who are government employees, and its impact trickles down to the broader economy.

Well, as reported by Forbes magazine, Barzani and Talabani’s families who took advantage of misfortune of their people rendered themselves among the wealthiest people of the world. These leaders should dip into their bank accounts to pay public employees. Sure, they have more than can pay these salaries not for years but for decades.

One cannot predict how long these refugees remain in Kurdistan; for sure they will be there for as long as IS reigns, that may be years if not decades. At present they may be happy with Kurds to rescue their lives. But with passing time they will be reminded of their past but yet they would be living in the present whereby they will have no future prospect, be treated with suspicion, and considered a second class citizen, and they will take it all against the same Kurdish population who had saved their lives. Thus years from now they will be revolting and causing trouble.   Should this go longer, a new disenchanted generation will born from them which could cause nothing more than misery for themselves and violent turbulences for Kurds.

The Kurdish leaders were wrong to let these refuges have their own way. They should have set them up refugee camps away from the Kurdish population and asked the world community to help them. However, the Christians refugees who have been Kurdish friends for a long time should have been treated with respect and generosity, providing them housing and all other affordable accommodations.  Yazedi Kurds will hopefully find their way home soon after their territory is restored to peshmargas’ control.

After all Kurdish leaders aren’t cognizant of the consequences of their actions. Imagine creating a 37.5%  of troublesome minority in any country: it is an insane proposition and invitation of  social chaos and violent turbulences. They already have caused all kind of problems as aforementioned, but the real problem is yet to come unless Kurdish leaders wake up to a sensible action.

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.

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