Nothing will change with the new cabinet

Kamal Chomani

By Kamal Chomani:

The new cabinet of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is going to be announced in the coming weeks by Nechirvan Barzani. All the changes that are expected to happen amount to nothing but exchanging some positions. Let’s review in brief these likely changes which will not have any kind of real impact on improving the KRG’s effectiveness.

Changes in positions:

Barham Salih, the current Prime Minister, will pass the premiership to Nechirvan Barzani, the former prime minister.

Kosrat Rasul Ali, Jalal Talabani’s first deputy, will become Masoud Barzani’s deputy president of Kurdistan region.

The speaker of parliament will be Arsalan Bayiz, the current deputy speaker of parliament.

Along with these changes, the majority of ministerial positions may change.

Are the KRG’s problems down to personalities or policies? Is the main obstacle to the KRG thriving as a democratic region the political system or the politicians? Haven’t we already experienced the reign of these new – but old – faces?

Nothing will change, but figures, or let’s say faces. Do faces have policies or mindsets? Can faces change anything special?


The fact that the government has been controlled by the two ruling parties does not give any chance for any prime minister to be successful with his agenda. Barham Salih couldn’t become the prime minister of the KDP’s zone –Hawler and Duhok provinces, and likwise Nechirvan Barzani cannot be the prime minister of the PUK’s zone. Barham Salih couldn’t unify the ministries of Finance, Peshmerge and Interior. He was also unable to unify the two security forces establishments, Zaniyari and Parastin. And the oil contracts were politicized rather than nationalized.

I am quite certain that Nechirvan Barzani cannot do what Barham Salih couldn’t do!

Actually, with the government, nothing will change.

Presidency of the Kurdistan region:

The most un-institutionalized establishment in Kurdistan is the presidency, which is really disastrous. One man is at the top, making decisions, and without proper accountabilities. If it works like this, Kurdistan is on the way to being a tyrannical state. All the regional and foreign relations, decisions, and policies reflect the views of one man who is sitting at the top, close to Hawler, the capital city of the region.

Masoud Barzani has not had the ability to distinguish between his responsibilities as his party’s president and as the Kurdistan Region’s president. He is more likely to be the president of his party, not people of Kurdistan.

Has anyone seen the Kurdistan presidency’s palace? Haven’t you observed that Masoud Barzani, president of the Kurdistan region, receive his guests as KDP president at the same palace that he receives his guests as Kurdistan’s president?

As some sources have hinted, the Kurdistan presidency has more than 700 employees, although the only ones we know about are Barzani – the  president,  Dr Fuad Hussein- the chief of Divan, and few others. Who are the rest?

The only change in the KRG presidency will be to add another member to the board – Kosrat Rasul, who won’t have any practical powers. In fact, Kurdistan should not have this kind of presidential system. It is a really dangerous for a region where democracy is still in its infancy.

The ministries:

On what basis will the ministers change? We can sure it will be dependant on loyalties to either of the two ruling families.

The ministers who have to relinquish their posts will be retired. They will be another burden on the KRG’s budget. The people of Kurdistan should not accept this. These ministers should not be retired on state pensions, because any cabinet is only for four years. 19 ministers will get retired and, after two years, another 19 will get retired – and all will keep receiving big monthly salaries. This is serious corruption. Basically, the new cabinet will start with this type of corruption.

In brief, I am pessimistic about all the changes that are going to happen. The Kurdistan region needs changes in the political system – in the structure of the establishment and institutions, the hierarchy of the system and the mentality of the politicians. Changing faces will only brings smiles to the supporters of one party, and nervousness to the supporters of the other.

Copyright © 2011


9 Responses to Nothing will change with the new cabinet
  1. Baqi Barzani
    January 26, 2012 | 00:25

    Nichirvan’s extension of handclasp to oppositionists was a positive stride taken by the incoming premier. Goran committed faux pas by declining to chip in the next cabinet. Goran is bereaving and marginalizing itself.

    I am of the lot believing nor do Goranisits+ Islamists hold the real capacity to actually implement something significantly different single-handedly.

    What makes Nichirvan different from the rest is his flexibility and true intent of striving to address the core of dilemmas envisaging our suffering nation.

    Real reforms and growth can only transpire with the synergy of all parties.

    What Nichirvan did (setting off to Sulaimania) was the right thing to do.

    I am optimistic if more of these meetings take place, we will soon discern some positive and meaningful outcomes emerging.

  2. Rizgar Khoshnaw
    January 26, 2012 | 23:25

    I must say that I do agree with you, kak Baqi, about you assessment on Mr. Nachirvan Barzani, but he will not succeed the way he would like to ONLY because of the people that he has around him that are not able bodies! He can not do it on his own and for some reason, he does not recruit more well educated and professional personnel in his cabinet and his circle. I will never know this answer!!

    Rizgar Khoshnaw

  3. Baqi Barzani
    January 27, 2012 | 17:48

    No one can clap with one hand. In order for Nichirvan to succeed, he is gonna require to reshuffle his new cabinet, as well. That is what he has precisely been aiming to achieve if the opposition extend the crucial cooperation.

    Nichirvan must also take into account the key role that the more seasoned members of Kurdish community is Diasporas can play in developing Kurdistan.

  4. k
    January 27, 2012 | 20:52

    Kak Baqi and Kak Rizgar,
    Can Nechirvan control Zaniyari and Parastin? for sure not.
    Can he unite the two zones of KDP and PUK? no of course.
    can he rule Slemani? certainly no, because Barham Salih didnt have any power in KDP zone during these two years as well. Imagine, Sardasht Othman was killed, Barham didnt have a word to utter. After 17th Feb, ten were killed and hundreds were injured, Barham didnt do anything coz the security forces were not under his demand.
    Barham couldnt oblige KDP and PUK to hand over public lands, buldings, tourist places into the government, Nechirvan cant as well. He even has occupied a location in Hawler which can be guessed by billions of dollars.
    in brief, if the political system doesnt change, nothing will change..
    these key issues should be taken into account.
    apart from that, the hegemony of KDP and PUK on market, education, higher education, NGOs, media, everything is not sth a man can change, are things the mentality of political parties should change.
    meantime, the oil contracts, Kirkuk issue, Peshmerge forces, relations with Baghdad, are issues that a man alone cannot change anything.
    I do believe that everything should change, then a premier can play his role.

  5. Baqi Barzani
    January 28, 2012 | 02:00

    Dear K,

    Excellent questions. The retort to most of your questions is a simple NO as you have also indicated.

    My Question to you: Can the minority opposition achieve all those cited goals alone?

    That is what Nichirvan is seeking. Trying to rally all political parties under a single umbrella.

    Nichirvan headed out to Sulaymania to convene with Goran’s leaders. I commend anyone who first pioneers peace initiatives.

    What the citizens of Kurdistan equally expect of opposition is their cooperation and participation in the political process short of any pre-conditions

    All parties must first demonstrate certain degree of willingness,believe in settling their dissonances by dialogue.

    I think that’s what most of us wish for.An Independent united Kurdistan.

    Had the ruling parties conceded Gorans legitimate victory in elections and shared power accordingly, the catastrophic mayhem in Sulaimania could have easily been avoided.

    Conclusion: Neither opposition nor ruling parties will be able to salvage Kurdistan alone. They must cooperate with one another. Even its for the sake of nation.

  6. Azad Ezzat
    January 28, 2012 | 17:35

    Will Nichervan Barzani ever be willing to give the ministry of interior to one of the opposition parties? Will he hand over the Asayeesh (Security forces) to anyone outside the Barzani family? Until he is willing to do that, the opposition/minority will not trust him.

  7. B. Barzani
    January 29, 2012 | 05:26

    As far as the discord over the splitting up and control of which ministries by whom is concerned, it should be in proportion to secured ballots and seats. It is something that can/must be unraveled through discourse by all relevant parties. Goran does deserve and reserve the right to run some of these key KRG ministries and hold high-profile posts in central governmental level, as well. That is why it is part and parcel for Goran to continue engaging in talks with Nichirvan.

    As regards the Ministry of Peshmarga, Kurdistan Police Department, and Intelligence Services, they must without any further deferment be merged and converted into independent national entities. KRG must earmark the required funds for operation of these government institutions from its annual budget. They must remain free of partisan domination. Its employees must be appointed from all parts of Kurdistan without any prejudice or factional favoritism and mainly be based on ones merits and qualifications. That way they can authoritatively center their focus on their responsibilities and goals and serve the nation in lieu of a particular faction/group. If tolerated to do so, they can generate a better end result by being able to enhance the quality and performance of their services.

    Are the ruling parties, including Goran, willing to dismantle their respective armies and police forces, and acquiesce to the above-mentioned public demands, sorrowfully, the odds seems slim.

    Nevertheless, all political parties in Kurdistan must realize that this is the ultimate wish our people which if overlooked, it will bear devastating consequences first for themselves and secondly for the entire nation.

  8. Azad Ezzat
    January 29, 2012 | 15:43

    It’s say to spit out idealistic expectations, but the reality is that the current ruling parties won’t let that happen. They are not in a position share power withnqnyne else, and we all know that. Before they go approach the opposition about participation in thegovt, they must demonstrate their complete reasons tonequally share power. Eougof nepotism and tribal ruling. Enough of arbitrary arrests.

  9. Baqi Barzani
    January 29, 2012 | 19:04

    If they have no desire to share power, then they must be ready to confront exponential public antipathy.

    We are seeking a peaceful, national unity government that primarily serves Kurdistani interests.Tribalism, abuse and absolute dual party rule must end. It will no longer will brooked.

    To evade the replication of Sulaymania events, hopefully all side will be willing to cooperate, including Goran.

    Opposition should try its best to do so to the last-ditch. And more significantly, come clean with public and keep them informed regarding any developments.

    The rest will automatically ensue. It is just the matter of time and meekness.

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