Talabani- Barzani Military Junta Will Not Halt the Social Revolution 

Kurdishaspect.com - By Mufid Abdulla

In the Sulaymani area, Talabani and his henchman are operating like a military junta. Since 19 April they have deployed a huge number of soldiers and weaponry to suppress peaceful protests. There have been mass arrests, randomly targeting people from all walks of life - students, lecturers, poets, writers, merchants, and so one. The militias of the two ruling parties between them have a presence on almost every street and shop front. The city centre has become a ghost-land and the universities are empty. This repression has been enacted by Talibani and Barzani at a time when the whole of Iraq was groggily emerging from its worst situation since the 2003 war. It will contribute to a very bad image for the whole country and for Kurdistan in particular.

As David Ignatius stated last week in The Washington Post, Talabani brought 3000 troops from the Maliki government. This is not the first time Talabani and Barzani sold our souls and nation to our enemies. The Maliki state is our enemy because for the last eight years it has failed to implement Article 140 promising the normalisation of Kirkuk as a Kurdish city. The implications of this are extraordinary. Local writers and intellectuals have stated in the local news that this is worse even than Saddam’s brutality against this own people.

To understand Talabani’s methods, you just have to look at his past and his willingness to cooperate with the Iraqi regime, in the name of ‘leftism’, as far back as 1966. On the eve of Saddam’s demise he refused to sign the order for the execution of a brutal dictator on the pretext of respecting human rights.Within the PUK, power rests increasing with people from a purely military background. American diplomats in Iraq will not share any secrets with Talabani because of his well-established relationship with the Iranian regime, especially Ahmadinejad, the President of Iran. Talabani surprised some people by sending out letters of support to Mubarak in Egypt and Assad in Syria: even the Iraqi government was confused about this behaviour, but Talabani knew what he was doing.

The repression cannot completely silence the voice of freedom and liberalism in Kurdistan. However, the scale of the clamp down in the Sulaymani region has made peaceful resistance more difficult and some people may even consider a return to armed struggle. This is an obvious danger and it is one created by the actions of Talabani’s military junta. For me his actions are reminiscent of what happened in 1996 when he aligned himself with Iran to liberate Hawler, the capital of Kurdistan, He tried to regain Hawler by force, through a battle on Hamilton road. However, he failed to do so and also lost the Sulaymani region entirely as the forces of the KDP and Saddam combined to push him into Iran.

Talabani’s love for civil war and military conflict is not new to foreign observers. This is the reason you get suspicious when he calls himself a ‘champion of freedom’. He is a cold and heartless person. He has secured a stranglehold over most of the media and popular press. Kurdistan had good and bad leaders, but no such figures of disrepute as Talabani and Barzani. Kurdistan’s tragedy is to be caught between two authoritarian ideologies of fascism and communism. Both stifle change and discourage an independent Kurdistan with independent thinking.

Talabani and Barzani are men who seemingly have the ability to get away with anything and come out unscathed. As an American administrator stated in Jonathan Randal’s book “If I didn’t understand beforehand, why the Kurds never had a state of their own, now I can see why. Now the entire Kurdish nation in the south is being swept up into a near-civil war mode.
There remains hope that massive popular demonstrations can finally force out Talabani and Barzani. There would be irresistible schadenfreude in seeing Barzani and Talabani and their friend Bashar Assad exit together. Kurdistan must find a leader who understands the need for dramatic change - to make them for purpose - in our politics and institutions. It will be a grave setback if Kurdistan fails to rise to the challenge.


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April 28, 2011
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