Febuary 27, 2011
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The Tangled Web that Keeps Massoud Barzani in Power - By Mufid Abdulla

Most of the common observations at present, as the KDP and Barzani family violently approach their nemesis, imply that Kurdistan has descended into chaos. A factor to take into account when trying to understand the current convulsions is that violence is a fact of life for these leaders and in fact is the essence of Massoud Barzani and the KDP’s corrupt and brutal regime.

These past 20 years of civil rule in the towns and cities of the south of Kurdistan has created a thicket of rival institutions, which have played off against each other to prevent any unification for hope and prosperity in our region of Kurdistan. Under Barzani’s rule, the power of tribal rule has survived at a rate of 100% and we have yet to see any abolishment of it. According to the philosophy of Massoud Barzani this family has to be in power forever in the rule of this nation. Theoretically, the KRG has been controlled and has functioned more by the rule and influence of the KDP than any other. Massoud Barzani’s son-in-law is Nechirvan Barzani, deputy of the KDP, who is still acting like a man of high ranking in Hawler. Massoud Barzani’s brothers, Nihad, Dishad, Wajih etc all have, in one way or another, a post in the KRG and a share in this most lucrative business. Masrur Barzani, Massoud’s son, is head of the KRG’s intelligence services and his other sons have similar posts and prestige in the KRG.

Before this current crisis, the Barzani family had created a society in which in-fighting had intensified to a debilitating extent. From the outside, this has sometimes been characterised as a struggle between reformers (lead by Nichirvan) and conservatives (lead by Masrur Barzani), but it is better seen as a struggle for control of lucrative positions in a corrupt system. Over the last 12 months opposition parties, including the Gorran party, have asked for transparency in all oil contracts with foreign companies but this family are not prepared to share it. Sources close to the family have confirmed to me that the oil contracts ensure that they are well positioned to extract bribes from foreign companies; this has allowed the Barzani family to accumulate vast fortunes, and hide them in foreign accounts.

These shocking events in Sulaymaniah are damaging enough for Barzani and the KDP but the pattern of divide and rule does not end there. Massoud Barzani has created a huge number of intelligence positions (called Paraston) and a state of security bodies to terrorise people. According to sources close to the PUK leadership in Sulaymaniah, the KDP’s special force are equal in power to the UK’s SAS and have been preparing to attack the headquarters of the Gorran Party, but the PUK forces have stopped them.

Barzani is the same as Saddam and Gaddafi, he has told us in so many ceremonies of the bloody struggle his family have come through to gain their position and they will leave only by shedding blood. To complicate the matter even further he has been preparing his grandson to be in the power circle in a few years time, as he mentioned in the 13th KDP conference. Over the last 20 years I cannot remember if he has made even 20 humble visits to the people in the towns and cities of Kurdistan.

Finally, we must realise that it is possible that the KDP and their leadership be toppled without a long and bitter conflict. We need an independent judicial system; transparency and a general election (without fraud). The rule of law and the strength of these parameters will mean the erosion of the Barzani family because they are only surviving on deficiencies of the current system. This Barzani leader is buying loyalty through the lucrative money he has; therefore if these resources become limited to him it will obviously become impossible for him to survive for long.


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