Time is Right to Bring the Two Kurdish Leaders, Talabani and Barzani, to the Court of Justice

Rauf Naqishbendi

By Rauf Naqishbendi:

Republished:  originally published in 2011.

The two Iraqi Kurdish leaders, Barzani and Talabani, have sold out Kurdistan to the Kurds’ enemies. Nowhere is this treason more conspicuous than in Kirkuk, Mosul and Khanaqeen. The American invasion of Iraq, which presented itself as a golden opportunity, is gone with the wind thanks to these two incompetent leaders. They cheated the nation; they betrayed the confidence placed in them; they helped themselves and their cronies to get rich; they looted the nation’s entitlements and proceeds from resources; they forced their control on the media, the army and all government posts and locked the whole nation in the grasp of their power struggle.

Barzani and Talabani divided the nation into two, not ideologically but as a consequence of a power struggle that developed around these two despicable and selfish figures. They suffocated or undermined every voice for reform and change and silenced every goodwill aimed at justice and fairness. Not only are they disinclined to do good for the masses, but they have remained as obstacles standing in the way of good deeds and good initiatives. People expected to realize national recognition embodied in a truly sovereign Kurdish state that would be recognized internationally. Instead, Barzani and Talabani created a phony government unrecognized and meaningless in the eyes of the rest of the world.

2010 photo

Masud Barzani and Jalal Talabani, 2010 photo

The list of atrocities Barzani and Talabani have committed against Kurds is long, atrocious, and painful to disclose. People in Kurdistan used to be communities of people upholding the sanctity of their country and their land. They were proud of their origin and their national identity and without it they would have been liquidated like many other nations in Mesopotamia. To their consternation, Barzani and Talabani interjected a culture of greed, mistrust, and corruption. They have attempted to root out every iota of patriotism to silence national exigency, and to clear the field for themselves to exercise cronyism, nepotism and favoritism.

Prior to their ascendancy, people lived in a society where they were taught to give and sacrifice everything for the well-being and liberty of greater commonwealth. They were encouraged to fight injustice and the enemies of humanity. They revolted and sacrificed for decades. They endured suffering, destruction, bloodshed, mass slaughter, mass imprisonment and genocide. While all that was happening, Barzani and Talabani and their families were provided protection and they were shielded from harm’s way. They lived abroad. People sacrificed painfully and greatly while their leaders lived normal lives. Barzani and Talabani lived like kings and princes, they never rendered any personal sacrifices. They were never jailed, nor were persecuted. They contributed nothing from their personal coffer to assist the cause they led.

They lost nothing and gained everything. Sure, they haven’t been Nelson Mandela or George Washington. Now more than ever before, there is a dividing line between them and the rest of the people. While people fear return of dark days and dread another genocide, Barzani and Talabani are comforted because they can flee the country when it happens, as they did before. They have stashed away enough money in the banks abroad where they can live comfortably for generations.

The injustice has gone too far and needs to be corrected or the Kurds can expect a reoccurrence of their past tragedies. This dark cloud created by the debilitating immorality of unethical leadership must be cleared or an impending and shocking calamity will reverberate throughout the entire Kurdistan, and what awaits on the horizon will be far more devastating than even Saddam’s genocide.

Saddam bombed Kurds with chemical and biological agents and bulldozed alive hundreds of thousands during his Anfal campaign as part of his genocide practice against Kurds. Saddam was a fanatic Arab nationalist, and now instead of one fanatic Arab nationalist there are two tyrannical Kurdish leaders who are undermining the well-being of their people to serve their evil personal ambition for power and their greedy love for money and wealth. They distributed all public land to their cronies and their family members, they placed their friends and family members in the highest public offices. They ignored the difficulties of the struggling middle class and the hand-to-mouth existence of the labor force. They created an atmosphere of unaccountability even as they talked of transparency.

People need clean water and electricity, adequate healthcare and a schooling system, dairy farms, dams to provide drinking water and meet the needs of farmlands, and industrial projects to create jobs. Instead, the corrupt leadership built expensive high-rise apartments, exclusive shopping malls, extravagant hotels and golf courses, all of which are beyond the common people’s affordability and tailor made for their own family members and cronies.

There has never been an instance in Kurdish history where so much money has been appropriated to the Kurdistan region, with so little to show for it. And despite the vast sums of money appropriated, people remain helpless and overly dependent on others for their needs. There has been no historical precedence where so much money has been looted from the people, while so much wealth has been created to benefit the leaders. Barzani and Talabani and their families will forever be the disgraceful historical figures remembered for their total lack of morality and their utter irresponsibility.

Too much has gone wrong and for too long under Talabani and Barzani. It’s about time for people in Kurdistan to act, to right the wrongs, and to react to the injustices visited upon them to bring sensibility, sanity and responsibility to a corrupted social and political structure. Reform alone will not be enough. There must also be a change in leadership. The intent of reform is to correct what has been mistakenly undertaken. But here we are dealing with a wicked leadership that has been looting the nation, a leadership that betrayed the nation in the past and continues to do so now. These leaders have committed treason against an innocent nation and they must be dealt with within the legal framework and brought to justice.

Newroz, the Kurdish New Year is pending. Should these corrupted leaders not be set aside, then Kawa and His Hammer may be needed. There are kings to be uncrowned, despots to be buried, justice to be rendered, wrongs to set right.

Rauf Naqishbendi has been a contributing columnist for: Kurdishmedia.com(2003 – 2011),,kurdistantribune.com,  ekurd.net, 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.

Comments are welcome at rxa12@yahoo.com


5 Responses to Time is Right to Bring the Two Kurdish Leaders, Talabani and Barzani, to the Court of Justice
  1. Azad Ezzat
    March 17, 2012 | 15:41

    How true! Lets ask them where is the oil money going? lets ask them where is the money of Ibrahim Khalil going? Lets ask them who the hundreds of mansions and pieces of land belong to? And lets ask them how come the poor Kurds still have no access to basic services such as Hospitals, stable electricity, and clean running water? How shameful that in 2012 (while the poorest of African countries) have running electricity and stable schools while Kurdistan still deals with electricity shortage and dirty public schools with not enough seating and heating for the children? Where do we begin and where do we stop? 5% of the population have it all while the rest are struggling to obtain money with any means (including daily self-justified stealing). The current rulers of Kurdistan have contributed to a culture of corruption. God Help Us!

  2. Kawa
    March 17, 2012 | 18:43

    The Title should read:

    Time is right to bring the three Kurdish leaders, Talabani and Barzani and Nashirvan,to the court of justice.

    Kaka Azad Ezzat,
    I agree with you if you had also added Goran, as well.

    One must be fair!

    PUK , KDP, Goran must either seek solutions to change the status quo by working hard together, or let others to do so!

    US must support the truth.

  3. Azad Ezzat
    March 17, 2012 | 20:34

    Gorman is part of the current opposition and unless they have total power over the. Urgent political arena ( which they don’t) then you can’t fault them for corruption. You may say some Goran leaders have obeen or ARE corrupted, and I wouldn’t disagree, but don’t think for a minute that people are blind or stupid and can’t see that the 2 major parties are the ultimate source of power in Kurdistan. You want to hold Goran or other mi origins parties in position of accountability, then give them the power and then you can put themon the stand if you like. It’s hypocritical to say KDP and PUK can’t be held responsible unless every opposition person is brought to justice first. And whose court do you want them to present to? Kdp or PUK court? Why is it hard for you, obviously a PUK or KDP supporter, to just flat come out and say there’s corruption and the current leaders are responsible?

  4. Kawa
    March 18, 2012 | 00:38

    What about Naushirvan’s past? He was with Talabani in every crime and atrocity? He was the second in charge? can he come forward and confess, at least?

  5. Azad Ezzat
    March 18, 2012 | 03:51

    Of course Nosherwan is not innocent either. He will have to questioned as well.

    On another note, what does fighting corruption have to do with Goran coming to terms with PUK and KDP? Lets set the record here…. Goran is not the standard for justice or freedom. They are just another opposition group out there with good and bad apples. Please lets not hijack the people’s general well through one group only.

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