Will Newshirwan Mustafa run for President?

Nawshirwan Mustafa

By Harem Karem:

The recent active antagonism has set all eyes anxiously on the emerging political equations. Political parties have allied themselves with neighbouring states and even, to some degree, slid towards involvement in regional conflicts. This might temporarily palliate the Kurdish condition but is unlikely to resolve the root of the problem since neither of these neighbouring states’ ‘support’ extends to their own Kurdish populations. Instead, they are motivated by exerting power in Iraq and Syria.

Where are we?

Newshirwan Mustafa, General Coordinator of the Change movement (Gorran), the second largest party in Kurdistan and Masoud Barzani, leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and current Kurdistan Region President are in the driving seats of two racing vehicles sponsored by Iran and Turkey, while America holds the racing flag – as the ‘in bikini bonus’ – waiting to reward the winner. In these vehicles are the Kurds, unaware where they are being driven to.

Gorran and PUK

Bold remarks by Mustafa, televised twice by KNN this month – singling out Barzani and his KDP rather than focussing on the collective shortcomings of the coalition in which his former comrades of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) are equal partners – indicates that he had a successful visit to the Islamic Republic of Iran following its official invitation.

There have also been numerous meetings between the Gorran and PUK leaderships over the past months. The PUK, currently in an unhappy arranged-marriage with the KDP, is more likely to become the kingmaker. As well as being ideologically closer to Gorran than to other parties in the region, it also has strong historical ties with Iran. Both parties are deemed to have laid the ground for a ‘possible’ alliance in the next general election campaign in 2013.


There is a saying among the Kurds: “The person who reaches for a big stone is already showing a sign of weakness and inability to throw it”. Indeed, on his return from Turkey, Barzani failed in his call for the ‘pro-Iran’ Iraqi PM Maliki to resign – because Iran stopped him from securing the support at home of the PUK and Gorran. Barzani’s disputes with Maliki appeared more ludicrously personal than concerning the interests of the Kurds in Iraq. He accused Maliki of monopolising all central government powers when he has been doing the same himself for more than twenty years! On the other hand, the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) has paralysed Barzani’s attempt to exert his influence in Western Kurdistan. But it’s not all bad news for Barzani. The fourth largest party, the Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU), is also on good terms with Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and, when push comes to shove, it tends not to scratch its head and wonder what’s happening but instead to ally itself with the KDP.

Where to next?

There is speculation that Mustafa has weighed his options and decided to challenge for the presidential post in the next general elections – and hence he is making bold remarks and taking Barzani head-on. Using this card sounds wise and makes a lot of sense. One could see him possibly sailing through to the presidency, should he chose to pursue it, since he enjoys broad support from Gorran, the PUK and most of the smaller parties in Kurdistan. However, the road to the presidential office is paved with potholes that need urgent attention. It’s imperative that Gorran and the PUK put all their weight behind constitutional reform and its ratification prior to the next general election. This would not only enable the president to be elected by the parliament and avoid fraudulence as has occurred in past presidential elections, but it would also mean concentrating on building institutions, giving greater power to the parliament rather than to individuals, creating an independent judiciary system and an independent and unified army instead of private party militias.

Will Mustafa use this card? If he does, would Barzani accept a peaceful transition of power – especially after spending the past twenty plus years building thick walls around his clan like an autocratic regime, putting his sons in charge of the Peshmerga forces and Security Services and his nephew and son-in-law in charge of his government?

Copyright © 2012 Kurdistantribune.com

14 Responses to Will Newshirwan Mustafa run for President?
  1. unconvinced
    August 14, 2012 | 22:08

    You have violated the first rule of journalism. Way to remain unbiased. Stay objective, perhaps than you can be somewhat credibly. Get over this Goran ****, it will not happen. And frankly I’m sick of reading about it.

    • Kardo
      August 15, 2012 | 01:57

      Then do not read about them if you are not sick, and “frankly” do not use offensive language Mr UNCONVINCED whoever you are.

      • Kardo
        August 15, 2012 | 21:45

        I can see you have deleted the offensive word. That is good, thanks

  2. Ara
    August 14, 2012 | 22:55

    The support for Nawshirwan is much greater than Barzani but in a region like Kurdistan where a peaceful election is still not guaranteed & PDK’s highly involvement in electoral fraud makes it “Sherrî xo tirrên”

  3. Hamma Mirwaisi
    August 15, 2012 | 01:26

    President Nawshirwan Mustafa

    Nawshirwan Mustafa was successful to help Talabani’s first appointment. But he does not have that chance now. Most likely Shi’a of Iraq will give Sunni Arab that job and head of parliament for Kurds. His animosity toward Barzani won’t do any good for him.

    The conflict between Israel and Iran is getting close to be resolved or lead to war. The US and Israel need Barzani more than PUK plus Gorran. Israel is much closer to Barzani family than PUK plus Gorran. Barzani is close to Turkey too.

    The war could come before the US election or immediately after election. Turkey has more leverage than Kurds in the upcoming war with Iran.

    Kurd needs to get united for survival.

    After Iran war, Kurds are weak compared to new Iranian Governments, Turkey, New Syrian Governments and current PM of Iraq. All these four countries will get united against Kurds and the US and Israel does not need Kurds then.

    United Kurds can have foothold in Iran. They can push for alliance with Iranian people.

    Massoud Barzani choice to give refuge to the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (MEK, also PMOI, MKO) was very good choice. He is doing his home work better than Gorran and PUK.

    Kurd must seek friendship with Iranian not Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI). IRI will be defeated by the US and allies. PM of Iraq is not an ally of IRI, he is playing with time.

  4. Ari Ali
    August 15, 2012 | 16:30

    To my mind he must , else he is an accomplice with the thieves.

    Barzani must be thrown away from the office or the next generation will curse us all for creating another saddam. Kurds ought to groom and rally behind a technocrat to bring end to three decades of pain and suffering of millions of our people . Obviously , United States and the free world have great responsibility to put an end to the kurdish autoctrats and dictators and stand up for the values of free world and for interest of regional peace . Ignoring Masoad and Jalal lunatic politics will just radicalise youth and produce terrorists .

  5. Baqi Barzani
    August 16, 2012 | 12:34

    The youths of S.Kurdistan!

    It’s time for all these veteran leaders to step down! We will get nowhere as long as they are in charge. They are the main cause of all the miseries our nation is confronting! Corruption, cronyism, old partisan animosities, ties with hostile regimes, suppression will never end!

    If you dream of a united Kurdistan, then the Youth of S.Kurdistan rise up and set into your own revolution ! You are no less than any other youth movement in the world.

  6. Patriotic Kurd
    August 16, 2012 | 20:28

    Baqi Barzani,
    it must be nice leading revolutions from the comfort of your chair in Virginia.

    • halmet
      August 19, 2012 | 09:56

      Patriotic Kurd,
      ouch. that hurts!
      can i lead from CA? no, i will go lead revolution from Vegas:)))

  7. Baqi Barzani
    August 17, 2012 | 18:07

    For your info, I left VA long time ago.

  8. Baqi Barzani
    August 18, 2012 | 18:23

    To all KIM members!

    Please return to S.Kurdistan ASAP.

    • halmet
      August 19, 2012 | 09:59

      to do what in S. Kurdistan?
      start a revolution or become part of corruption?
      You are Barzani so you should have led some businesses in Kurdistan and became billionaire by now like the rest of your clan? If I wear you, I will do that!

  9. Baqi Barzani
    August 19, 2012 | 13:04

    Dear Friend,

    Not every Barzani, or Jalali or Gorani is corrupt like you have misunderstood! It is wrong to generalize and judge people based on their clan, racial, religious and color affiliation.

    However, I agree with your assessment that if we could remain silent, we would have been a millionaire as well!

    Our problem is not money. Read KIM manifesto and if you have a constructive suggestion, we will definitely consider it! There are still sincere people among Kurds who truly believe in independence and care about their country and people!

    I apologize I will not be able to express my view on every comment!

    Thanks anyway!

  10. Patriotic Kurd
    August 19, 2012 | 14:02

    Baqi Barzani,
    are you going to S Kurdistan too?

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