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Re: [casi] [Fwd: Kurdish PUK-PM on some issues discussed recently]

Dear List,

The Al-Ahram Weekly article describes Mr. Barham Saleh
as the "Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional
Government (KRG)".

Yet, the home page of the KRG gives the information
that the Prime Minister of the KRG is Mr. Nechirvan
Barzani. He is the son of the late Idriss Barzani, the
older son of the late Kurdish leader Mullah Mustafa

In reality there are two competing governments, each
representing one of the two major Kurdish groups.
Barham Saleh represents Jalal Talabani's group, the
PUK, while Nechirvan Barzani represents Masoud
Barzani's group, the KDP.The first is in Sulaimaniya
and the second is in Arbil.

If that proves anything, it certainly gives reason to
wonder that if the Kurdish factions can not agree on
their own regional government, how can they agree with
other ethnic, religious and political groups in the
complex Iraq?

The seats in the Kurdish Parliament, which was elected
in May 1992, were equally divided between the PUK and
KDP. But the conflicts soon appeared. And the reason
is obvious: money and power.

Barzani faction controls the area along the Turkish
border, where trucks loaded with oil products moved
from Iraq to Turkey, bringing back Turkish and other
products on daily basis. Barzani's faction has long
resisted sharing tax revenues with Talabani's group,
which does not control any territory along the Turkish
border and thus cannot collect its own. The economic
disparity between the two zones is glaringly obvious
and so too is the lingering distrust between the two
parties. Military checkpoints on the frontier
demarcating the two sides remain in place.

Thus fighting erupted in 1994, and in September 1996
Barzani's troops allied with Saddam Hussein seized
control of the northern Iraqi town of Sulaimaniya from
rival Talabani's troops. KDP soldiers took the
strategic town of Dokan, the site of a major dam that
controls the water and power supplies to the region.
The KDP issued a statement claiming to control the
whole of northern Iraq after several weeks of clashes
with the PUK.

Perhaps the greatest obstacle to reconciliation is
both leaders' insistence that one acknowledge the
supremacy of the other. Barzani repeatedly has
demanded that Talabani acknowledge his party's victory
in elections the Iraqi Kurds held in 1992. Thumping
his fist emphatically on his desk during an interview
in 1998, Talabani said: "I will never, ever do that."

The conflicts continued until late 2002, in spite of
numerous mediation efforts by the US. Though the
Kurdish different factions seem to be united now after
the overthrow of the regime in Baghdad, there are no
guarantees that the current honeymoon would not be
like its previous ones.


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