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(en) i-f-a.org: What sort of Uprising do we need in Iraqi Kurdistan?
Sun, 27 Mar 2016 19:05:00 +0300
Before the uprising of March 1991 in Kurdistan, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and
the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) armed forces (Peshmarga) virtually did not exist,
except for the ones on the borders with Iran and in very remote areas. This new situation
resulted from the Iran/Iraq war and the Anfal campaign run by the former Regime that cost
the life of over 180 thousand villagers who were evacuated and disappeared with their
villages completely destroyed by way of demolition. When the uprising happened, the
government forces were kicked out by the mass movement, and then the PUK and KDP with the
help of US and Western countries came back. In the short time, they controlled these towns
and cities that liberated by people.
In May 1992, they formed and shared Administration through a scenario of the fake
election. On 05/10/1992 they started fighting the PKK, this lasted about 3 months. In
1995, PUK and KDP became separated and started fighting one another and divided Kurdistan
During the fighting PUK had defeated KDP almost completely, therefore, the head of KDP,
Masoud Barzani, asked the former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein for his support.
On 31/08/96, the former regime’s army had arrived Erbil and rescued the KDP. Afterwards,
the KDP launched attacks on PUK and managed to control many areas including towns, cities
and villages, which were under the control of the PUK previously. The PUK had no choice
but to ask the Iranian regime for support, so with the help of Iran, PUK managed to gain
control of those places that been lost to the KDP and set up its own administration. After
this fighting, PUK and KDP controlled different regions of Kurdistan. KDP set up its
Administration in Erbil and the towns around it. PUK set up its own Authority in
Sulaymaniyah and the towns around.
In 2003 the former regime fell after the invasion of Iraq by the US and Western countries,
nonetheless an extraordinary opportunity was created for PUK and KDP to form Kurdistan
Regional Government, the KRG has formed as the result of the election of 2005. The second
election after the invasion was in 2009. From 2005 to 2014 both parties (PUK & KDP) were
the major powers in KRG. In the last election of 2014, the balance of power slightly
changed. The so-called Movement of Change (Goran) that was formed in 2007, came second in
the election, it entered the government shared power with KDP, PUK, Islamic organizations
and other small parties. However, the corruption, terrorizing of people, disappearances,
killing and assassinating of political activists, writers, journalists and women continued.
In short, no serious reforms took place while ’Goran’ shared power with KDP, PUK and the
rest. In fact, the situation has got worse. In October of 2015, the KDP sacked all the
MPs, Ministers and the heads of Parliament from ‘Goran’, Movement of Change, and were not
allowed to return to Erbil. Since then there has been no effective parliament in Kurdistan.
It is People who are in crisis not the KRG
Kurdish people in Iraqi Kurdistan (Bashur) under the control of KRG have dramatically
suffered economically and politically. KRG has failed to pay its employees of 1.4 Millions
since October 2015. From this month the teachers are supposed to receive only half of
their wage. The KRG blamed the Iraqi central government for not sending the proportion of
its annual budget of 17% when due. The KRG supposed to export 550 thousand barrels of oil
daily via central governmentt, then the central government should releases the proportion
of the 17%. Iinstead, the KRG has been selling the oil directly bypassing the central
government and kept the money without showing any official record of the detail income, or
how it was sold and to whom.
The KRG stated there are also other reasons contributing to the drying up its budget such
as the tumbling of oil prices, war with Isis and the cost of having over 1.5 Millions of
refugees from Syria and the south/ middle regions of Iraq.
Since October of 2015 trade, market, construction work has all slowed down and all
projects have almost been stopped due to running out of money. In addition, thousands
especially young people have left Kurdistan heading to Europe. It is difficult for people
in Kurdistan to live in such miserable situation under the KRG. Therefore, people do not
have any choice other than protesting and boycotting work, mainly in the towns and cities
under the control of Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK).
From the start of this month demos and protests of small scale have started in Erbil, the
capital of KRG, that controlled by Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP). Many of the offices
and schools from primary to secondary have been closed because the teachers and other
employees have no money to pay transports fares to reach their workplaces. The prices of
everything has risen consequently, many shops and companies have been closed.
Like elsewhere it is the people who are in crisis not the system, not the government. It
is people who are lack of confidence, dependant on political parties. It is the people
lost faith in themselves and look for a leader to lead them. It is the people who have not
learned from previous experiences, they still believe in the notorious and powerful
historical lie of Parliamentary election.
We do not need any kind of uprising
There have been many uprising in different countries in the past. More recently 1979 in
Iran, 1991 in Bashur, Iraqi Kurdistan, and in the last five years the “Arab Spring”
continues. However, the uprising in all these countries ended up with a terrible civil war
or Regime change that in fact was not much better than their former rulers. The reasons
for that are simple, either led by political parties or by people with no plan for the
post-uprising and eventually tamed by US and Western countries. They mainly wanted to
change the power not the society, they wanted the political revolution, not the social
revolution, and they wanted to make changes from the top not the bottom of the society.
Because of this they easily fell under the influences of the US, and other western
countries’ political and neu-liberal economy. In the end, not only have failed to bring
real changes, in fact, the post- uprising served the elites, upper class and the interest
of the current system much better than previous regimes. The failure also disappointed
people and made them not to believe in most of the protest, demos, and even uprising.
At present, there are lots of talks and suggestions among the Iraqi Kurdish especially
into the ranks of communists, authoritarian socialists, lefties and the liberals for the
uprising. What they want will not bring the better outcome than what has happened in the
Arab Countries in my opinion.
In order to avoid that rout and bring the real changes we need to form radical,
non-hierarchal local groups that are anti-authority, anti-state and anti-power. We need to
organize ourselves in the neighborhoods, factories, work places, schools, universities, on
the streets, and the villages. We need to form communes and cooperatives, to set up
people’s assembly, citizen assembly, libertarian Municipalism in every village, city, and
town. Using direct action and direct democracy in decision making that should be the way
of progressing and developing people’s power. We need to do all these independently of the
Our goals must be to change the society from the bottom to the top, from the political and
regime changes to economical, educational, social and cultural changes. We need to work on
building people’s power instead of the dictatorship of the proletariat or any other class
We do not just need an uprising. We need a kind of uprising that enables us to make real
changes in establishing a socialist/anarchist society. This can be done through Democratic
Confederalism, Libertarian Communalism.
By Zaher Baher. Feb 2016
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