Another useless and wasteful election in Kurdistan

By Rauf Naqishbendi:

KRG parliament

Kurdistan parliament

On September 21, 2013, an election will be held in Kurdistan to elect 111 members of Parliament. How significant this election will be?  How different will the outcome be from the two previous elections? What economic, social, and political changes will this new body of Parliament embark upon?  The answer is that this election is a misapplication of justice, a complete waste; subsequently, the status quo will be maintained.  The two Kurdish kings, Talabani and Barzani, will persist to be everything, and Parliament, by all means, will be powerless to truly engage in its duties.

In a genuine democratic society the electorate cast their ballots to elect qualified candidates for public offices. During difficult economic times, such as economic recession or depression, wartime, and political instability, the nominees for high public offices are more subject to scrutiny than usual.  In light of these circumstances, the upcoming election in Kurdistan can be dissected as follows:

Kurdistan is in a state of war:  Kurdistan remains in a state of war until it becomes a sovereign state. The disputed territory of Kirkuk and its surrounding area remains unresolved.  Arabization and the annexation of Mosel remain as they were during Saddam’s regime.

Kurdistan is politically unstable:  Politically, Kurdistan is unstable because it is divided into two separate kingdoms for no reason other than the power struggle and rivalry between its two kings, Talabani and Barzani.

Election is an attribute of democracy should it be rendered fairly with participating candidates competing on an equal basis.  However, the two dominant political parties, affiliates of Barzani and Talabani, have adulterated democracy as they have misappropriated public funds for promoting their political advantage.  Moreover, they devoted all government agencies and government media to endorse their own candidates.

When coming to cast the vote, the people in Kurdistan must weigh in on their responsibilities and ask the following question:  Concerning national exigencies, what new ideas or plans are Talabani and Barzani proposing to tighten security for the Kirkuk and Mosel regions which recently have been plagued with a wave of bloody violence and terrorism?

The answer is crystal clear.  During the initial American invasion of Iraq, Kirkuk and Mosel and other problematic regions could easily have been restored to Kurdish ownership.  Instead Talabani and Barzani departed from national priorities and made looting the banks and government properties their emphasis.  As has been seen recently, Kurds are fleeing from both the Kirkuk and Mosel regions, leaving their properties behind and seeking safe refugee elsewhere.

The personal integrity of a person who holds high public office must be of foremost consideration.  It is unacceptable for such a person to have been fraudulent or criminal or to have in the past been a foreign agent betraying the nation.  Therefore, the question:  Is there a doubt about the honesty and personal integrity of Talabani and Barzani?  The answer is that there is no doubt about their dishonesty and lack of personal integrity, and there is no doubt about both being agents of Saddam Hussein.  In addition, both served the interests of the Turks and Iranian Mullahs.

Regarding criminality, Kurds are dumbfounded for not getting it.  For their own personal ambition, Talabani and Barzani dragged the Kurds into a civil war from 1966 to 1972 and the entire decade of 1980s, costing thousands of lives.  These beasts should have been serving lifetime prison sentences, or at a minimum, they should have been barred from holding any public offices. Yet, it is the sad state of mind of the Kurds, having a short memory and being unreasonably too forgiving.

Economy is the backbone of a nation’s determining the standard of living and attaining financial prosperity. To this end, it’s incumbent on any citizen to evaluate the economic plan which the body of Parliament is aiming to adapt in order to improve the people’s standard of living. It follows, then, that the question before Kurdish voters is this:  What is the vision of these two leaders for Kurdistan’s economy?  The answer is that they have no vision other than looting the national fund to enrich themselves and their cronies. These leaders are living lawless lives without any system of accountability.  They are corrupted to the point that they are not even willing to disclose their books to the general public or to let people know what they have done with the national fund or how it has been appropriated.

This election will be identical in its outcome to the last two elections; therefore, it is just way too much noise about nothing.  It would have been genuine if Parliament was to act upon its founding principle, that is, to create new laws, amend or nullify existing law, have power to budget, and act independently from executive and judicial branches of government.

What is appalling, however, is that these two Kurdish leaders are not willing to second power to any other group.  Further, the tighter the grip they have on all three government branches means that they are the president or king, they are Parliament, and they are the judges.  This implies that they have absolute power and have left no power for others to exercise.  Overall, the Parliament has no important role in the life of the people, and therefore, the election of Parliament is a complete waste and is meaningless.

Area Rauf Naqishbendi is a contributing columnist for the Kurdistan Tribune,, American Chronicle, – 2011),,, and has written Op/Ed pages for the Los Angeles Times. His memoirs entitled “The Garden Of The Poets”, recently published. It reads as a novel depicting his experience and the subsequent 1988 bombing of his hometown 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.  Rauf Naqishbendi is a software engineer in the San Francisco Bay area.

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