Planning to attack the Iraqi regime forces - the year 1965. Photo by Jean-Marie Pradier. Source: Partipedia.

Live: KDP commemorates September Revolts; all the other news throughout the day

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In a piece for the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), a British defense and security think tank, Winthrop Rodgers delves into the gradual erosion of the '50-50' power-sharing principle between the KDP and the PUK in Iraq’s Kurdistan Region. This long-standing arrangement has started to fray as the KDP gains more power and influence, while the PUK faces decline. 

Pushing for a majoritarian approach, the KDP seeks to minimize the PUK's role, a move that risks destabilizing a region built on a 50-50 power sharing model that has been institutionalized over three decades.

Rodgers contends that the growing discord over the future of the '50-50' principle is key to understanding the shifting political landscape in the Kurdistan Region. 

Nineveh criminal court issues death sentence for IS official

The Nineveh Criminal Court in Iraq sentenced an Islamic State member to death Monday for his role in tribal affairs within the organization, according to a statement from the Higher Judicial Council's Media Center. The convict was involved in planting and detonating explosives targeting security forces in the Al-Baaj district of Nineveh province. 

The statement also said the individual held multiple positions within the extremist group and took part in the invasion of Mosul. 

He also served as a commander in battles against security forces, and was armed and uniformed as a member of the terrorist group. The charges were brought under Anti-Terrorism Law No. 13 of 2005.
شفق نيوز/ أصدرت محكمة جنايات نينوى، يوم الإثنين، حكماً بالاعدام بحق مسؤول ديوان العشائر لدى تنظيم "داعش". وذكر المركز الاعلامي لمجلس القضاء الاعلى في بيان ورد لوكالة شفق نيوز، أن "الارهابي قام بزر
شفق نيوز

KRG Interior Minister Reber Ahmed (KDP), is leading a delegation to Baghdad today for discussions with Omer Waili, the head of the Iraqi border points. According to Zamen Press, a media outlet affiliated with the Gorran Movement, the delegation also includes Samal Abdurrahman, KRG's director general of customs.

The talks are expected to focus on a range of key issues, including revenue collection from the Kurdistan Region border crossings and security along the Iran-Iraq border.


KDP warns of possible action over unresolved civil servant salaries 

Shakhawan Abdullah (KDP), the second deputy speaker of the Iraqi parliament, said "all cards are on the table" if issues regarding unpaid civil servant salaries in the Kurdistan Region are not resolved by week's end.

As the school year approaches, the KRG is under mounting pressure to disburse salaries. Teachers have threatened to strike on the first day of school, and other professionals, including health workers and doctors, have issued similar warnings. The delays are primarily due to Baghdad's failure to transfer Erbil's share of the federal budget.

Abdullah did not specify what actions Kurdish factions might take but raised questions about whether the PUK would support potential moves, such as boycotting parliament.

"On Saturday, September 9, 2023, we resolved to initiate steps to secure the salaries of the people of the Kurdistan Region and end the austerity policy," Abdulla said in a statement. He added that several resolutions were passed in parliament and that they met with Iraqi Minister of Finance Fuad Hussein, who is also a KDP member, to discuss the issue. 

Abdullah emphasized that the KRG has fulfilled all its obligations and should therefore receive the funds for salaries by the end of this week. Otherwise, he warned, "all options are on the table and we will undertake any necessary actions."

In addition to salary issues, Abdullah noted that discussions also covered topics such as ongoing issues in Kirkuk, ceasing military activities in the city, and other matters including recent fatal shootings and farmers' concerns. He said that a recent meeting had resulted in several important decisions.
Nasser Kanani, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesperson, rules out extending the Sept. 19 deadline for the disarmament for Iranian Kurdish opposition groups based in the Kurdistan Region and says PUK leader’s visit is unrelated to the matter.
Kanani was speaking during his weekly presser as saying, "the visit of PUK President Bafel to Tehran is part of the bilateral dialogue and cooperation between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Iraqi Kurdistan Region," stated the spokesperson for the Iranian foreign ministry.

"The visit has absolutely nothing to do with the security agreement between Baghdad and Tehran," he continued.


Chatham House report on policing and gender in Iraq

A recent report by researcher and activist Ilham Makki Hammadi, has brought attention to a pressing but often overlooked issue in Iraq: the role of gender in policing and the persistent lack of accountability within the country's law enforcement agencies.

The Chatham House report comes at a time when the Iraqi government's Communications and Media Commission (CMC) has stirred controversy by instructing all media and telecommunications networks to ban the use of the term 'gender.' The move is seen by many as a backlash against civil society and its focus on gender issues, potentially setting back years of progress on women's rights.

In particular, Hammadi's report highlights systemic problems within the Iraqi police force, including a pattern of disproportionate violence and abuse of power. A video clip from July 2023, showing a young man being beaten by three policemen in the Nineveh Governorate, serves as a case in point. Despite public outcry, police leadership downplayed the incident, claiming it was the work of a 'few bad apples' and not representative of the broader force.

The study also delves into the different forms of gender-based violence perpetrated by police officers. Hammadi points out that male detainees are often subject to forms of violence aimed at humiliation, while violence against women frequently carries sexual undertones. Both behaviors serve to reinforce traditional gender roles and patriarchal dominance.

One of the report's most disturbing findings pertains to the lack of accountability for police violence, especially in cases involving women. The report argues that a mere 2% of officers in Iraq's Ministry of the Interior are women, leading to biased investigations and further victimization. Even hotlines designed to assist victims of domestic violence are often managed by male officers who discourage legal action in the name of preserving 'family unity.'

Hammadi also criticizes the international community's slow progress in addressing these issues. Despite additions to the Ministry of Interior’s code of conduct in 2022 that aim to give special consideration to women and girls during investigations and detention, there is scant evidence of these policies having any impact on the ground.


Just in: President Barzani assures Tehran that the Kurdistan Region 'would never be allowed to be used as a security threat' to Iran

Mohammad Kazem Al Sadegh (end left) speaks to President Barzani
Mohammad Kazem Al Sadegh (end left) speaks to President Barzani   credit: Kurdistan Region Presidency
Full statement by the president's office

President Nechirvan Barzani received Mr. Mohammad Kazem Al Sadegh, the Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran to Iraq, and his accompanying delegation.

During their meeting, discussions were held on the development of Iranian relations with Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, the security agreement between Iraq and Iran, as well as Erbil-Baghdad relations and efforts to resolve their differences.

In his speech, the President noted the significance of maintaining good relations with Iran, an important neighbor of the Kurdistan Region. Furthermore, the President assured that they will not allow any security threat from the Kurdistan Region to the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Ambassador Al Sadegh highlighted the importance of Iranian relations with Iraq and the Kurdistan Region and thanked the President of the Kurdistan Region for his assistance in providing transportation for Iranian pilgrims during Ashura and Arba’in commemoration.


KDP veteran Fazil Mirani criticizes the role of social media in the political scene of the KRI and alleges that "foreign and regional players" are behind some efforts to create tensions. Speaking in Shaqlawa, Erbil province, during an event dedicated to the September Revolts, Mirani, a member of the KDP's politburo, spoke about Iraqi politics and relations between political parties, including the KDP-PUK dynamic. He stated, "Social media can't be used to lead a country… the political parties, including ours, should not follow the [narratives] on social media. Why? Especially the KDP should not be pulled into exchanging swear words, because you as a KDP member would lose."

Relations between the KDP and its rival PUK have been tense over several issues, including Erbil-Baghdad relations and security matters, as the powerful camps within both parties find it hard to see eye to eye. The outspoken Mirani is considered to be one of the KDP members who is supportive of a more conciliatory approach (alongside Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani), whereas the more powerful KDP deputy leader Masrour Barzani. Talabani has not hidden this sentiment and has recently implied that Masrour Barzani is the chief saboteur when it comes to relations between the two parties.


KRG announces 20% discount on all traffic fines for six months– but there's a catch 

The KRG has declared a temporary 20% amnesty on traffic fines, effective from August 28, 2023, to February 28, 2024. While the short-term relief measure ostensibly aims to 'ease' the financial burden on citizens, the statement later introduces stricter enforcement policies that will double the fines if not paid within a 30-day window after the amnesty expires.

The PM's office announced the reduction as a part of the KRG's 'ongoing commitment to the lives and safety of its residents'. The government claims that its preventive measures have been effective in reducing the number of traffic violations and accidents. However, the decision to offer a temporary fine "discount" introduces a paradox: If the existing financial penalties are indeed successful deterrents as claimed, reducing them—even temporarily—could potentially undermine their deterrence value.

And here comes the catch

The boon to motorists described above then segues into the actual substance of the statement: Starting on February 29, 2024, violators will have 30 days to pay their fines, according to Section 20 of Traffic Law No. 86 of 2004. Failure to comply will result in the fine being doubled. This marks a significant departure from the current practice, where fines are generally paid when drivers renew vehicle paperwork or engage in a sale.

"The purpose of violation penalties is to prevent violations, not to punish people," stated the Ministry of Interior. The ministry highlighted that the leniency in current fine enforcement mechanisms has led to a situation where many drivers accumulate unpaid fines, which fail to deter them from committing further violations. By introducing explicit deadlines for fine payments, the ministry aims to incentivize drivers to adhere to traffic laws more conscientiously.

According to the Ministry of Interior, the Erbil Traffic Directorate processes up to 2,000 annual renewal and change of ownership transactions daily. This level of administrative activity might see further complications due to the impending changes in fine enforcement.

While the KRG's arguments for stricter fine enforcement are not without merit—the current mechanism for collecting fines has been largely inconsequential in day-to-day of citizens—the timing and presentation of the policy changes have raised eyebrows. Often, the accumulation of fines becomes a factor considered in the sale of a vehicle rather than an immediate financial burden affecting living standards. The KRG is using the carrot of a temporary "discount" to introduce the stick: immediate payment of driving fines.


UN rights chief warns climate change Is 'dystopian future already here'

UN Human Rights Chief Volker Turk said Monday that climate change is sparking human rights emergencies in numerous countries, including Iraq. "This spiraling damage is a human rights emergency for Iraq, and many other countries," Turk said, pointing to "drought, searing heat, extreme pollution and fast-depleting supplies of fresh water" in Basra, Iraq.

"We do not need more warnings. The dystopian future is already here. We need urgent action now," Turk said in his opening address at the 54th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

The comments followed the G20's recent failure to commit to a phase-out of fossil fuels, despite backing the goal of tripling renewable energy capacity by 2030.

Turk said he was "shocked by the nonchalance" toward increasing migrant deaths as climate change forces more people to leave their homes. "It is evident that far more migrants and refugees are dying, unnoticed," he noted.

The High Commissioner highlighted more than "2,300 people reported dead or missing in the Mediterranean this year, including the loss of more than 600 lives in a single shipwreck off Greece in June." He also pointed to migrant deaths in the English Channel, the Bay of Bengal, the Caribbean, and along the U.S.-Mexican border, as well as at the border of Saudi Arabia, where "my office is seeking urgent clarification about allegations of killings and mistreatment."

Amid these challenges, Turk decried the "politics of deception," saying, "Helped by new technologies, lies and disinformation are mass-produced to sow chaos, to confuse, and ultimately to deny reality and ensure no action will be taken that could endanger the interests of entrenched elites."

Last month, New York-based Human Rights Watch reported that Saudi border guards had fired "like rain" on Ethiopians trying to reach Saudi Arabia from Yemen.



More pictures from the meeting in Tehran

The KRG has been adept at exploiting political fissures in Baghdad but with Sadr's withdrawal from the political scene, Iran's tight control over an activist supreme court, and the dominance of pro-Iranian parties in government, these fissures aren't all there anymore. And with a solid grip over Iraq's centre, the feeling is that Iran doesn't need the Kurdistan Region as another variable it cannot fully control.
On Amberin Zaman's Al-Monitor podcast, Scholar Mohammed Salih argues that with Iran's control over Baghdad politics and Iraq's judiciary firmer than ever, it would like to also bring the Kurdistan Region more under federal control.

No mention of opposition groups in KRG PM’s readout on meeting with Iranian top diplomat

What is mentioned, however: Baghdad's reticence to send Kurdistan's share of the federal budget.

There have been reports throughout the last few weeks that it's pro-Iranian groups in Baghdad that are proving the roadblock for payments to flow.

Full readout:

Prime Minister Masrour Barzani welcomed Iranian Ambassador to Iraq Mohammed Kazim Al Sadiq, along with a delegation. During the meeting, the Iranian Ambassador expressed his country's gratitude toward the Kurdistan Regional Government for the assistance and facilities provided to Iranian pilgrims.

These pilgrims entered Iraq through the Kurdistan Region and participated in mourning ceremonies for Imam Hussein in Karbala. Additionally, the Ambassador commended the development and prosperity of the Kurdistan Region, with particular praise for Erbil. 

Prime Minister Barzani emphasized that the Kurdistan Region has met all its obligations under the framework of the budget law and the constitution. He urged the federal government to disburse the region's financial entitlements accordingly.

ئەمڕۆ دووشەممە 9/11 مەسرور بارزانی سەرۆکی حکومەتی هەرێمی کوردستان پێشوازی لە محەمەد کازم ئال سادق باڵیۆزی کۆماری ئیسلامی ئێران لە عێراق و شاندێکی یاوەری کرد.لە دیدارەکەدا باڵیۆزی کۆماری ئیسلامی ئێران ، سوپاس و پێزانینی وڵاتەکەی بۆ حکومەتی هەرێمی کوردستان دەربڕی بۆ ئەو ئاسانکاری و هاریکارییەی پێشکەشی زیارەتکارانی ئێرانی کرد کە لە دەروازە سنوورییەکانی هەرێمی کوردستانەوە هاتنە عێراق و بەشدارییان لە چلەی ماتەمینی ئیمام حوسێن لە شاری کەربەلا کرد . باڵیۆزی کۆماری ئیسلامی ئێران هەروەها ستایشی پێشکەوتن و ئاوەدانیی هەرێمی کوردستان و بەتایبەتی شاری هەولێری کرد.
حکومەتی هەرێمی كوردستان

Talabani's meeting the Iranian foreign minister

Bafel Talabani (left) and Hossein Amir-Abdollahian in Tehran
Bafel Talabani (left) and Hossein Amir-Abdollahian in Tehran   credit: Bafel Talabani's office (via Esta)

Eight days to go: Iranian Kurdish opposition groups face Sept. 19 Disarmament deadline

With the looming Sept. 19 disarmament deadline set by Tehran for Iranian Kurdish opposition groups in the Kurdistan Region to disarm, tension is escalating.

Iranian officials have clarified their intentions to both Iraqi and Kurdish authorities, while opposition groups signal that a new wave of assaults may be imminent.

Latest developments
The PDKI (see post below this one) has urged the international community to "remain vigilant and take necessary steps to prevent any military aggression" by Iran. The PDKI claims that credible intelligence suggests an impending Iranian assault on their strongholds.

PUK leader Bafel Talabani is in Tehran, meeting with Iranian officials. Given the PUK's close relationships with both Tehran and Iran-backed Shiite groups in Iraq, all eyes are on these talks. Talabani has already met with Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, speaker of the Iranian parliament, yesterday.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, in a Saturday phone call with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani yesterday, highlighted the importance of security cooperation between the two nations. According to a statement released by Raisi's office, the Iranian President views any actions by "terrorist and separatist groups" as intolerable and urged further cooperation in this area.

Brig. Gen. Abbas Nilforoushan, deputy commander-in-chief of operations for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), confirmed on the same day that, based on an "agreement with Iraq's federal government and the Kurdistan region," the Sept. 19 deadline remains in place. Nilforoushan added that Iran expects the Kurdistan Region to act in a manner consistent with "brotherhood and good neighborliness."

Iraqi Prime Minister Sudani disclosed on Friday that Iraq has earmarked $200 million for a plan to contain and disarm the opposition groups.

Last week, the Komala Party also issued a statement, condemning Tehran's disarmament threats against opposition forces in the Kurdistan Region. Komala argues that Iran aims to exert its policies through "the influence of Islamic Shia groups in Iraq's power structure" and warns that disarming the opposition would enable Iran to escalate "terrorism, intervention, and instability" both in Iraq and the wider Middle East.

Statement by the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan

As Iran's deadline to disarm Kurdish opposition groups in Iraq's Kurdistan Region approaches, the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI) issued a statement last night appealing for international intervention. The statement alleges that Iran is actively preparing to attack Iranian Kurdish refugee camps in the Kurdistan Region, citing three decades of similar assaults that resulted in civilian casualties. The PDKI calls on the United Nations, human rights organizations, and both the Iraqi federal government and the Kurdistan Regional Government to act swiftly to prevent any impending attacks. The statement also urges the United States and its allies to assume their responsibilities and counter Iranian aggression in the region.

Full statement

The Islamic Republic of Iran has repeatedly issued threats to launch attacks on Iranian Kurdish refugee camps located in the Kurdistan region. These threats have been communicated through both political and military channels. According to credible reports, the regime is actively preparing for yet another assault on Kurdish political refugees residing in the Kurdistan region of Iraq (KRG). This impending attack demands immediate attention.

Over the past three decades, the Islamic Republic of Iran has carried out assassinations of hundreds of Iranian Kurdish refugees and political activists within the Kurdistan region. Additionally, they have perpetrated bombings during youth and children’s events and launched multiple attacks on the Kurdistan political refugee camps in the last four years. These attacks have resulted in the tragic loss of civilian lives and numerous injuries.

In the current context, where regime officials have publicly announced their intentions to launch another wave of attacks, we urgently appeal to the international community, the United Nations, human rights organizations, especially the Iraqi federal government and the Kurdistan Regional Government to act swiftly to safeguard the lives of Iranian Kurdish refugees and to closely monitor the military and security plans of the Islamic Republic. We call upon all concerned parties to employ diplomatic and other appropriate measures to prevent any potential assault by the Islamic Republic on Iranian Kurdish refugees in the KRG region.

In the region of Kurdistan, the situation is complicated due to the dominance of Iranian influence in Iraq, particularly in airspace. Therefore, we emphasize the importance of the international community, especially the United States and its coalition forces in Iraq, assuming their responsibilities and taking concrete actions against the aggression of the Islamic Republic. It is in the interest of the United States and the interntaiotnal [sic] community to address this aggression firmly.

The Kurdistan Democratic Party (PDKI) reaffirms its commitment to its policies that align with international and global values. We firmly reject the propaganda disseminated by the Islamic Republic, which attempts to justify its aggression against a neighboring country and its ongoing crimes against political refugees. In truth, it is the Islamic Republic itself that has rendered all of Iran, especially Kurdistan, unsafe by fostering a militaristic environment and implementing repressive policies, even against peaceful civilian activists and unarmed demonstrators.

As past experiences have demonstrated, the Islamic Republic cannot resolve its internal crises or suppress the aspirations of the Kurdish people, as well as other rights-seeking nations and freedom- loving individuals in Iran, by persisting in this destructive policy.

Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI)
Executive Center

And here's President Nechirvan Barzani's

As we celebrate the 62nd anniversary of the September Revolution, we pay tribute to the late Mustafa Barzani, the leader of the Revolution, as well as all the courageous fighters and heroic peshmergas who gave their lives for their country and the freedom of their people, and also those who endured a difficult path during the Revolution. Their memory is held in the highest regard and with the utmost dignity.

The September Revolution is the mother of all Kurdish revolutions. It carried the high ideals of an oppressed people seeking freedom and prosperity, and became an integral part of the national and cultural identity of all communities in Kurdistan. It became a source of great hope, as it revived national consciousness. It became the voice of a people willing to make sacrifices together in order to achieve their noble objectives while gaining the recognition of the outside world.

By virtue of their faith, resistance, sacrifice, and blood, the people of Kurdistan were able to defeat one of the most brutal regimes in the region and force it to recognize their rights. Even in the face of the collusions against the revolution- which brought it to a halt, the torch of the revolution did not go out. The achievements of the September Revolution formed the foundation for all the ensuing achievements and constitutional rights of the people of Kurdistan in the following decades.

A fundamental strength of the September Revolution was unity and solidarity, and on this occasion, we wish to emphasize the unity, solidarity, mutual acceptance, and cooperation among all forces, parties, and communities of the people of Kurdistan. This is the only way to overcome the existing challenges, threats, and difficulties; and to protect the federalism, constitutional rights, and achievements of the Kurdistan Region and to ensure a better future for all the people of Kurdistan.

May peace be upon the souls of all those who died during the Revolution and all those who gave their lives on the path to freedom.


PM Masrour Barzani's full statement

On the 62nd anniversary of the outbreak of the Great September Revolution, we commemorate, with the utmost respect, dignity, and appreciation, all the heroic Peshmergas and participants in this comprehensive, nationwide revolution in Kurdistan.

The September Revolution was the Kurdish people's most significant uprising, involving diverse communities under the leadership of our late national leader, Barzani, toward a common goal. During those challenging times, the bravery and heroism of the Peshmergas and the Kurdish people resonated worldwide. Not only do Kurdistan's freedom fighters honor this revolution, but freedom fighters globally also respect the Kurdish people's September Revolution.

Therefore, commemorating the Great September Revolution should serve as a strong incentive for everyone to insist on securing our constitutional rights and protecting our national achievements, which have been hard-won through the suffering, struggle, sacrifice, and revolutions of the Kurdish people. Among these historic achievements was the March 11, 1970, agreement when the then-Iraqi government was forced to recognize some rights of the Kurdish people.

The September Revolution demonstrated to all enemies and opponents of Kurdistan that the Kurdish people have chosen a path of perseverance and prosperity, not surrender.

Peace be upon the souls of the martyrs of the September Revolution and all the martyrs of Kurdistan.

لە شەست و دووەمین ساڵیادی هەڵگیرسانی شۆڕشی مەزنی ئەیلوولدا، بەوپەڕی ڕێز و شكۆ و پێزانینەوە، یادی هەموو تێکۆشەر و پێشمەرگە قارەمانەکان و گشت بەشدارانی ئەم شۆڕشە گشتگیر و سەرتاسەرییەی کوردستان دەکەینەوە.
حکومەتی هەرێمی كوردستان

KDP leaders commemorate 62nd anniversary of September Revolts

Leaders from the KDP held ceremonies on Sunday to commemorate the 62nd anniversary of the September Revolts of 1961, emphasizing the struggle for Kurdish autonomy and the ongoing importance of unity among Kurdish people.

Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region Masrour Barzani and Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani released statements to honor the late Mustafa Barzani, leader of the September Revolts, and the Kurdish Peshmerga who fought during the First Iraqi–Kurdish War.

In his statement, Masrour Barzani declared, "The September Revolution was the greatest revolution of the Kurdish people. The commemoration should be an incentive for everyone to insist on achieving our constitutional rights and protect all our national achievements."

Nechirvan Barzani, the Kurdistan Region President, added, "The September Revolution is the mother of all Kurdish revolutions. It became an integral part of the national and cultural identity of all communities in Kurdistan."

Both leaders highlighted the concept of unity among Kurds. "A fundamental strength of the September Revolution was unity and solidarity," Nechirvan Barzani said, urging all forces and parties in Kurdistan to uphold those principles.

While the KDP leaders focused on unity and commemoration, not everyone in the region was in the mood to celebrate. The PUK, which split from the KDP in 1975, chose to highlight the 22nd anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in the United States instead. KurdSat, the PUK's broadcaster, tweeted about the 9/11 anniversary, making no mention of the September Revolts.

The September Revolts, also known as the First Iraqi–Kurdish War, lasted from 1961 until 1970. Led by Mustafa Barzani, the struggle sought to establish an autonomous Kurdish administration in northern Iraq. The war ended in a stalemate, resulting in a significant loss of life and leading to the Iraqi–Kurdish Autonomy Agreement of 1970.

The commemorations come at a time when the issue of Kurdish autonomy continues to be a focal point in regional politics. Iraq and the Kurdistan Region are at loggerheads over a whole host of issues, the most pressing one being Baghdad's refusal to send Kurdistan's share of the federal budget.