Iraqi Kurds have no choice but to remain silent against Turkey attacks: professor

<p style="text-align: left;">David Romano, a Thomas G. Strong Professor of Middle East Politics atMissouri State University, believes Kurdish parties of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) have no other way but to remain silence in the face of airstrikes by Turkey jets into the Kurdish region which have led to the death of some civilians and protests across the region.

It is the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) Leader Masoud Barzani who will continue to exert a significant influence on politics in the Kurdistan Region despite the fact that he is not the president of the region any longer and two other members of Barzani family, Nechirvan Barzani and Masrour Barzani, have been elected as the region&rsquo;s president and premier respectively.

Romano, a Thomas G. Strong Professor of Middle East Politics at

Missouri State University, believes that the Kurdish region has not changed dramatically after the failed independence referendum of the region in 2017 which led the Kurds into losing the control of a large part of the disputed regions, including Kirkuk.

What Follows is his full answers to Kurdpress questions;

The previous complex for Kurdistan presidency now belongs to Masoud Barzani, former President of Kurdistan Region. It is called Bargay Barzani which means a special status is given to Barzani beyond its current position as KDP leader. De you think the power is parallel to Kurdistan presidency? Can the situation limit Nechirvan Barzani's affairs as the new President of Kurdistan Region?

Whatever the physical infrastructure of buildings and such, Masoud Barzani's role as chairman of the KDP and leader of the Barzani family will continue to exert a significant influence on politics in the Kurdistan Region. Depending on one's perspective, this can be both a good thing and a bad thing. The President and PM of the Kurdistan Region will take Kak Massoud's views into account for all significant matters, which provides a certain amount of continuity and stability but also limits their freedom of maneuver.

How you access the relation between Erbil- Baghdad as The Kurdistan region is being led by Nechirvan and Masrour Barzani?

The Barzanis are a known quantity for the people of Kurdistan and Baghdad. Their relationship with Iraqi PM Abdul-Mehdi is not a bad one, and they are used to dealing with each other. I think this is a good thing.

The disputed areas and oil and gas are two big problems between Erbil- Baghdad, do you see any progress in this regard in the coming years?

Progress is certainly possible, especially under PM Abdul-Mehdi in contrast to Abadi or Maliki. Both sides will need to compromise on some issues -- Baghdad should not hold all the financial cards regarding oil and gas, or Kurdish autonomy will become largely meaningless. At the same time, Erbil will have to recognize its responsibilities to the rest of Iraq and share revenues. Federations are about these sorts of compromises, and money can be divided much more easily than other things. Kurdistan's approach to hydrocarbons has also yielded benefits for all of Iraq that Baghdad's more state-directed management has not -- particular in the field of gas development and electricity generation. Kurdistan can provide gas for the rest of Iraq thanks to private investments it attracted in that sector, at a time when bureaucrats of SOMO and the Oil Ministry in Baghdad ignored this sector. In short, there is room for mutually beneficial and acceptable agreements between Baghdad and Erbil if Erbil can assure Baghdad it is not trying to become fully independent and if Baghdad can concede that it should not have a monopoly on all things related to hydrocarbons.

Many believe there is an internal conflict inside the KDP party but Masoud Barzani does not let it become public, What&rsquo;s your notion in this regard?

Yes, and for good reason. The KDP and the Barzanis have been very astute in not letting any internal rivalries become public and vulnerable to manipulation by outside forces that do not have Kurdistan's interests at heart. The alternate example is the PUK, where internal squabbling served as a lever for neighboring states and Baghdad to undermine the Kurdistan Region and its interests.

Disputs between KDP and PUK prevented stablishing a new government in Kurdistan region, can they reach a deal?

We all hope so!

Turkey has a huge presence in the Kurdistan region within its operation against PKK, but the KRG, KPD, and other parties have remained silent in the wake of the operations, why?

They have no choice. Landlocked Kurdistan needs alternatives to the Baghdad-Tehran axis. If anyone knows of any alternative other than Turkey, they should speak up. Iraqi Kurdistan must maintain good relations with Turkey while simultaneously refusing to be forced into direct and open conflict with other Kurdish groups.

KRG says it tries to rebuild Peshmerga forces and make it a professional force so that it is no longer a loyal force to the political parties like KDP and PUK, is it possible?

This is possible, but it will require more trust, good will and changes from both the KDP and PUK. The KDP needs to share political power more and decentralize the KRG more, while the PUK needs to rotate its Peshmerga commanders so that they do not establish and run personal fiefdoms any more. The PUK also needs a clear chain of command given events of 2017 -- without a clear chain of command, the KRG Ministry of Peshmerga cannot eventually take over the command of these Peshmerga. Currently, it would be much easier to transfer KDP-aligned Peshmerga to the Ministry.

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