Home / News / What Is the Iraqi Kurdish Future After the Death of Jalal Talabani? Iraqi Kurdistan Remains Under Embargo

What Is the Iraqi Kurdish Future After the Death of Jalal Talabani? Iraqi Kurdistan Remains Under Embargo

Photo Credit: Kurdishstruggle / Flickr Creative Commons

Jalal Talabani, the personality of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), died yesterday in Germany. He was 83. Talabani spent his whole life – from when he was a tyro – in the universe of politics. His friends called this critical immature man ‘Mam’ Jalal or Uncle Jalal. He was always avuncular, a vast man clinging to his people despite the many opposite roads he took in his life. A Marxist in his youth, Talabani finished his life as the rich enthusiast of Iraqi Kurdistan’s second largest party. When he met severe reporters – including myself – he would solace them with his Marxist ideas, throwing in difference from apart readings. Mam Jalal favourite to be liked. It was critical to him.

A dauntless man, Talabani fought against the Iraqi army troops in the 1961-62 clashes in northern Iraq. He pennyless with his coach in the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) – Mustafa Barzani, the father of the stream conduct of the party and de facto ruler of Iraqi Kurdistan, Masoud Barzani. This mangle was personal and ideological, for Talabani was in those days a Marxist who was unfeeling in the feudal atmosphere of the Barzani’s KDP. These were the days when Kurdish rugs could just as simply have the normal patterns as images of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin.

Talabani shaped the PUK, which had close family with the Communists among the Iraqi Kurds, and non-stop a new armed onslaught against Baghdad. It was Talabani’s fighters who called him in 1988 to tell him about the chemical arms used in Halabja, where 5 thousand people – mostly Kurds – were killed by the Iraqi government. ‘They are all dead’, one of his commanders told him by telephone. The United States – at that time – denied the atrocity, given it was the West that had armed Saddam Hussein’s supervision with these weapons and it was the West that had allowed him to use them against Iran and the Iraqi Kurds. Talabani was furious. It is what would form the basement of Talabani’s ability to form allies with anyone, even those whom he once deliberate his enemy, if his fondness would titillate the Iraqi Kurds.


Talabani did not have purify hands. His own partisans – after he done a understanding with Saddam Hussein in 1983 – entered the area of al-Ansar, the riotous force of the Iraqi Communist Party. His troops massacred the Communists – killing at slightest 150 fighters and others – and broken the Communist infrastructure (the radio station, the organizational annals and the care structure – the last by its capture of several pivotal leaders of the party). Al-Ansar became a victim of the fight between the Kurdish factions – the PUK and the KDP – but it was also a victim of its weakness. The Communist Party never really recovered from this infamous attack.

Many outward Iraqi Kurdistan wondered about Talabani’s fondness with the Americans after 1990, but this was to be expected. The Americans had their own reasons to carve up Iraq, especially to break Saddam Hussein’s government. It also given the Israelis corroborated Kurdish secession, not given they have any special devotion to the Kurds but given this would break Iraq. Talabani was not endangered about the geo-politics. His prophesy tunneled from Marxism Leninism and Kurdish nationalism to merely Kurdish nationalism. But even that joining was weak. After the US function of Iraq in 2003, Talabani would accept the post of President of the country – a post that allowed him to make income privately and to titillate on the thought that Kurds are an constituent partial of Iraq.

Talabani’s old counter – Masoud Barzani – pushed for the referendum to break his opponents in Iraqi Kurdistan and to settle himself as the solitary personality of the enclave. Talabani was sick in Germany. The PUK and other antithesis groups had begun to impugn Barzani for the mercantile troubles in the segment as oil prices plummeted. Barzani’s gambit was smart. The autonomy referendum went his way. It boxed all other Iraqi Kurdish parties into a hole. They could not scheme around Barzani. He has now called for presidential and parliamentary elections to be held on November 1. Barzani is technically no longer the boss of the Kurdish Regional Government. He has ruled Iraqi Kurdistan for two terms, winning the elections in 2005 and 2009. In 2013, the council extended his term by two years. He is now ruling unconstitutionally. The manners do not assent him to have a third term, but the autonomy fool competence concede Barzani to extend his power.

The PUK, and Talabani himself, had been unfortunate with the referendum, which they saw some-more as a appetite diversion by Barzani and reduction as a step towards securing the ambitions of the Kurdish people. In the lead-up to the referendum, PUK personality Male Bakhtiyar urged the Kurdish domestic category to find an choice ‘within Iraq’ rather than by holding a ‘seat at the United Nations.’ Bakhtiyar wanted to see what kind of confidence guarantees the United States and the United Nations would give the Iraqi Kurds if they did not pierce towards secession. But the opinion did occur and Barzani got his victory.

Embargos and Energy.

Matters sojourn at a dangerous level. Iranian tanks lay at the limit with Iraqi Kurdistan at the limit post of Parviz Khan. The Turkish army and the Iraqi army continue their military exercises on the Turkish side of the limit with Iraqi Kurdistan. Iraq, Iran and Turkey continue their anathema on flights into Iraqi Kurdistan. Contacts in Iraqi Kurdistan contend that Iraqi military aircraft have been drifting over their towns with the goal to dominate the population.

Turkey’s Recip Tayyip Erdogan has called for some-more sanctions against Iraqi Kurdistan. These are serious, given Iraqi Kurdistan exports its oil around Turkey and its people rest on alien Turkish consumer goods. Iraq’s executive bank has pronounced that it would no longer sell dollars to the Iraqi Kurdish banks and would no longer concede these banks to pierce their unfamiliar banking by them. That means the banking network in Iraqi Kurdistan will be isolated, quite if they can't find a way to entrance the SWIFT handle service.

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin told an appetite limit in Moscow currently that Kurdish oil should not be embargoed. Russia’s Rosneft sealed an agreement with the Kurdish Regional Government a week before the referendum. This agreement pledges Rosneft to deposit $1 billion towards a healthy gas tube that will run towards Turkey. The Russians have a major interest in Iraqi Kurdistan’s appetite economy. Russia is not meddlesome in any major escalation.

Nor is the United States. Its envoy – Douglas Silliman – met with the Prime Minister of the Kurdish Regional Government – Nechirvan Barzani – to demonstrate the US perspective against the destabilization of the region. Barzani, the nephew of the President, suggested that the Iraqi supervision must come to the list to plead the outcome of the referendum. The Americans are not penetrating on this. They would like Iraqi Kurdistan to sojourn an unconstrained partial of Iraq for the time being, until at slightest the better of ISIS.

With conjunction the US nor the Russians fervent for Iraqi Kurdish secession, it is doubtful that anyone will put vigour on Iraq, Iran and Turkey to stop the embargo. There was a sad note in Nechirvan Barzani’s note on the death of Talabani. He remembered Mam Jalal as a man of good ‘stature and personal charisma’ who held the rest of the Iraqi domestic universe to the minute of the 2005 Iraqi Constitution. It was this Constitution that stable the rights of minorities in Iraq. With Talabani’s sickness, Nechirvan Barzani notes, there was nobody to forestall the defilement of the Constitution. In other words, even as Talabani and his party silently against the referendum, the Barzanis are now making his illness and death a reason given Iraqi Kurdish secession needs to happen. If Mam Jalal had remained healthy, Nechirvan Barzani suggests, the violations would have been checked. His death, he insists, non-stop the doorway to secession.

Vijay Prashad is highbrow of general studies at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. He is the author of 18 books, including Arab Spring, Libyan Winter (AK Press, 2012), The Poorer Nations: A Possible History of the Global South (Verso, 2013) and The Death of a Nation and the Future of the Arab Revolution (University of California Press, 2016). His columns seem at AlterNet every Wednesday.

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