Wednesday, January 18, 2023

KRG’s PM Barzani Blasts The PUK  

(Kurdistan 24)

The spat between the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) continues unabated. The latest example was Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG)
Premier Masrour Barzani saying that Sulaymaniya had been mismanaged and its revenues had been interfered with by officials for their own gain meaning ones from the PUK. He also said that the PUK had not handed over suspects in the death of a Kurdish colonel in Irbil. This was a reference to an intelligence officer who was going to switch from the PUK to the KDP and was killed with a sticky bomb in October 2022. That was followed by the KDP saying that the PUK ministers were rejecting their responsibilities by boycotting the KRG cabinet.

 

These comments come amidst tit for tat actions between the two parties. In October the former head of the PUK’s intelligence agency had his house raided in Sulaymaniya after he joined the KDP. In retaliation there was a threat to raid the home of Deputy PM Qubad Talabani’s home in Irbil. PUK head Bafel Talabani has questioned whether the KRG should be maintained and threatened to return to the dual administration the two parties had in the 1990s and blamed PM Barzani for all the animosity.

 

The KDP and PUK used to be partners but that has fallen apart. After a civil war in the 1990s the two agreed to divide all the KRG positions 50-50. They ran together as a common list in elections after 2003 and split jobs in the central government. After the death of President Jalal Talabani the PUK began a slow and steady decline. First it lost votes to the breakaway Gorran movement and then came in a distant second to the KDP in recent elections. The KDP on the other hand wanted to assert its dominance over not only the KRG but all Kurdish positions in Baghdad. That was one of the main reasons why it took a year to form the new Iraqi government because the KDP wanted the Iraqi presidency which has been held by the PUK since 2005. This has led to the current situation where the two parties are in a war of words with occasional outbursts of violence. This will continue for the foreseeable future as the PUK is not set to make a comeback anytime soon.

 

SOURCES

 

Bas News, “PM Barzani Calls for Prompt Elections, Transparency in Sulaymaniyah Revenues, Accountability for Hawker Jaff’s Murder,” 1/15/23

 

Bechocha, Julian, “KDP calls PUK absence from meetings ‘running away’ from responsibility,” Rudaw, 1/16/23

 

Reuters, “In Iraq’s Kurdistan, an assassination, a feud, and a power struggle between KDP and PUK,” 12/5/22

 

 

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