KDP Official: internal situation hinders Kurdish independence

Hemin Hawrami

ERBIL (K24) – Prominent Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) official Hemin Hawrami stated that KDP has not put red lines to reach agreements with any political parties in the Kurdistan Region. He believes that internal tensions inside the Kurdistan Region are a barrier to Kurdish independence.

In an interview with Kurdistan 24, head of KDP Foreign Relations Office and Member of KDP Leadership Council Hemin Hawrami pointed out that KDP has discussed the suggestions of Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) recently given to KDP regarding addressing the current political tensions raised in the Kurdistan Region.

KDP has negotiated with the Kurdish political parties, and KDP has also asked Gorran (Change Movement), through KDP Politic Bureau Secretary Fazil Mirani, to negotiate, but Gorran still has not officially answered KDP, says Hawrami.

Recently, the Kurdistan Region’s Parliament Speaker Yousuf Mohammed (from the Gorran party) was removed from his post by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani, accusing Mohammed of provoking instability in the region. Later, Barzani removed four more Gorran ministers from KRG cabinets stating that “Gorran has broken the agreement signed on forming the current cabinet.”

In regards to the relation between KDP and PUK, Hawrami noted, “So far the Strategic Agreement signed between KDP and PUK in 2007 is still functional, and it is not defused.”

According to the agreement, the administrative and government posts are to be divided between both major parties in the region.

In an interview, Hawrami commented on the role of the Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani in the fight against Islamic State (IS), and directly supervising the battle in the recent liberation of the Kurdish Yazidi town of Sinjar in northern Iraq by the Peshmerga forces. It is clear to everyone that the presence of Barzani in the Peshmerga frontlines was “a big moral support for Peshmerga and Sinjar liberation process”, said Hawrami.

He went on, “Peshmerga forces liberated Sinjar under the direct supervision of Barzani. Previously, Peshmerga participated in the military operation of freeing Kobani (Kurdish city in Syrian Kurdistan), but we didn’t say that ‘we’ liberated Kobani.”

Regarding the Sinjar liberation, he said that only Peshmerga forces participated in the operation in coordination with the international coalition airstrikes. Thus, other forces must not make themselves as “the owner of that success.” Hawrami specifically refers to the Kurdish YPG and YPJ fighters on Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq.

Commenting on Shiite militia Hashd al-Shabi in the north areas of Iraq, he noted, “Hashd al-Shabi does not have the joint commander in its militia. The militia consists of more than 50 different groups and often there is interference within the militia. We hope that the current instability in Khurmatu [Town located in southern Kirkuk Province] is not previously planned by the Hashd al-Shabi militia to destabilize the area.”

He emphasized that the Kurdistan Region will not accept the presence of Hashd al-Shabi in those areas that Peshmerga are present now.

Recently, Hashd al-Shabi reinforcement deployed in Khurmatu resulted in clashes in the town between Peshmerga and the militia that resulted in some casualties from both sides. So far the town is still not stabilized.

When asked about sending Peshmerga forces outside of Iraq’s border into Syria to fight jihadists in Raqqa Province, “Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani has stated that [only] if a special force created within an international alliance for liberating Raqqa, Kurdistan Region is ready to be part of this alliance and send Peshmerga for Raqqa operation. This was the purpose of Barzani in stating the readiness of Peshmerga to fight IS in Raqqa,” said Hawrami.

After the liberation of Sinjar on November 13th, Barzani told a French newspaper that Peshmerga is ready to fight IS in Raqqa if the international coalition provides weapons to the Peshmerga.

The current situation of Rojava (Syrian Kurdistan) was another part of the interview where Hawrami mentioned, “[Our] concern about the role of the Kurds in the fight against extremists is not well considered at the international level. Especially now that what we see is that from the beginning of 2016, negotiations are expected to take part between Syrian oppositions and the Syrian regime. Kurdish pro-Democratic Union Party (PYD) has monopolized Syrian Kurdistan.”

He continued, “We are concerned about the PYD-monopoly. PYD should get rid of its monopoly policy, and allow all other Kurdish parties to work together. President Barzani can help them in this case based on Duhok and Erbil agreements that were signed between the Kurdish parties of Rojava.”

Hawrami also stated that the Kurdistan Region will accept anyone on its side that helps the Kurdistan Region in the fight against IS insurgents. Kurdistan Region will help anyone in the battle of extremists, he said.

In regards to the current Syrian situation, He mentioned that the participation of Russia in IS fight with its advanced military is basically for four main purposes.

“First, Russia wants to make preparations for the future of Syria and chose some areas in the country in order to preserve its presence and power in the Mediterranean Sea. Second, there are about seven to eight thousand Caucasian people who joined IS. Moscow wants to destroy them as they pose serious threats to the national security of Russia. Third, if Russia didn’t carry such operations in Syria now, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would have been removed from power within six months or a year because the regime lost its military power and Hizbullah was also weak in defending Assad. Russia extended the power of Assad.”

About the fourth aim of Moscow, he stated, “Russian military operation in Syria related to the geopolitics. Via this operation, Russia sends a message to the United States that if Washington interferes in Crimea’s affairs (a region located in southeastern of Ukraine that Russia annexed) then Russia can interfere in other places.”

He also commented on the reaction of the international community about the IS war, “Changes have taken place in the perspective of world countries. They want to aid those forces that 'really' fight jihadists. On the ground level, Peshmerga has proved to be a successful force in battling IS militants.”

Hawrami stressed, “Peshmerga is the only force that has been successful in the military, intelligence, and moral levels in fighting IS.”

Kurdish independence was another question directed to Hawrami in the interview, he replied, "We are working on creating Kurdish Independence. Unfortunately, the internal situation of Kurdistan Region was a barrier for declaring independence."