Arabic | Kurdish

What is Next For The Kurds?

2018/04/17 | 13:05

(Iraq Now News)-

Tea house (Chaixaney) Shaab in Sulaimani city, Iraqi Kurdistan, 2016.

Photo: NRT


Kamal Bewar | Exclusive to

Do the Kurds have ability to lead and govern their own country! The evidence over the last twenty-six years says no

The year of 2017 has been difficult for the Kurdish people, in particular, for the Kurds from Kurdistan of Iraq.

A series of events have made many Kurds to feel pessimistic about their future.

They see those events as a starting point of backtracking on the last twenty-six years of progress in the Kurdish struggle.

The Kirkuk event on Oct 16, 2017 was heartbreaking for a majority of the Kurdish people.

It broke the very spirit of our hope toward the Kurdish national ambition and statehood.

Kurdistan regional Government lost about forty percent of land that was controlled by Peshmerga, including the most important city, Kirkuk.

The year of 2017 has been one the darkest year in the history of the Kurdish people.

First, Kurds lost their well-known and beloved leader, Nawshirwan Mustafa.


Mustafa, well known as a humble leader, lived a simple life among his followers in Kurdistan.

Most of the Kurdish scholars celebrated him as one of the best political visionaries of a better future for the Kurdish people and Kurdistan.

Less than a month later, the Kurdish people lost another leader, Mr.

Jalal Talabani.


Talabani was distinguished for his charismatic leadership and a reputation throughout the region as a problem solver.

After he had a stroke in 2012, he was never able fully to recover.

As a result, he passed away years later.

Losing these two leaders was devastating for many Kurds, in particular, for the large number who believed in these two leaders, their ideological leadership, and their long struggle for the Kurdish cause.

Many Kurdish political analysts and some Kurdish leaders believed, as a result of Mr.

Talabani’s absence on the political arena in Iraq and Kurdistan, which the political process shifted toward chaos.

Political leaders do the opposite of what the constitution promised to deliver for the people.

Without Mr.

Talabani, Kurdistan suffered, as Kurdish political parties tried to resolve their differences.

For Iraq as a country, after Talabani’s illness, we saw what happened in 2014.

ISIS started rising in Syria and Iraq.

They became a powerful terrorist group in the region.

Kurds paid the heaviest price through fighting this brutal group, resulting in the loss of hundreds and thousands of lives.

My cousin and my best friend was one of those who was martyred.

Finally, in Afrin, the Turkish army attacking and killing Kurdish children.

It is difficult for many people to understand Iraq, especially for those who are not familiar with its history.

Great Britain created this complication by establishing new Iraq borders and forcefully making Kurds become a part of this new country.

Since the first day of her inception, Iraq has never seen peace.

The arena of political processes in Iraq are complicated.

On the other hand, the internal political conflicts within the Kurdistan political parties have been another predicament for years.

After Mr.

Talabani’s illness, it became worse.

Making the matter more complicated, Kurdistan Regional Government President, Mr.

Massoud Barzani, along with some of the Kurdish leaders and parties, decided to hold a referendum on Sep 25, 2017.

There was no international support, and despite all the opposition around the world, Kurdish leaders, in particular, Mr.

Barzani decided to move on with the date to vote for the referendum.

Read More abouter of Massoud Barzani, whose term as President of Kurdistan region ended on August 20, 2015, but refused to step down and remains unofficially in office, in Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan, September 2017.

Photo: AP

I believe, Mr.

Barzani, along with the other Kurdish leaders who supported referendum, wanted to run away from the primary issues that they have had in the past several years in Kurdistan.

They hoped for magic, for the problems to disappear.

However, whether they knew or not, they made the situation worst by deciding to hold the referendum.

Previously, I wrote an article in the Kurdish language stating my personal opinion about the Kurdish referendum.

I stated, “I doubt that if any Kurds reject the idea of Kurdish self determination.

” Nevertheless, my opinion was very clear and precise.

As Kurds, we must stand united and settle our difference toward our national objectives, particularly, making sure that all the internal conflicts are resolved and unify Peshmerga forces are under the banner of KRG, not political parties.

Then, we must work strategically toward other Kurdish national interest.

I believed then, and I believe that now.

Kurdish leaders were running away from bigger issues that they have had for many years within Kurdistan, deciding to gamble on the future of Kurdish people by holding the referendum.

They did this despite all the odds and evidence showing that if the referendum took place, Kurds would loses what they have gained and achieved in the past twenty-six years.

I realize that large numbers of Kurdish people believe that the referendum was an excuse for the Iraqi government to attack other Kurdish populated areas that were not officially under KRG.

However, if that is the case, we gave them an excuse to do just that.

What happened to the Kurdish people after Oct 16, 2017, was devastating.

In my view, it was the result of shortsightedness from our Kurdish leadership.

It showed another failure of Kurdish leaders—non-strategic thinkers, lacking any plans for the future of Kurdish people.

Such a disaster tells us that we, as Kurds, cease to exist in a leadership capacity within the political parties we have today in Kurdistan.

They do not have a vision to bring Kurds closer together to work hand in hand to build a formative foundation to achieve Kurdish national dream.

For those who are out of the country and saw what happened to Kurdistan, I think it was as devastating as the year of 1975.

Within hours and days, we as Kurds lost our hope.

There is another narrative, even if there was an agreement, on part of Kurdish faction, to not fight and surrender, the KRG leaders should have anticipated this possibility (especially, since Mr.

Talabani is no longer alive to make centralized decision within the PUK party).

The question again, goes back to Kurdish leaders.

How could they be so careless and unprepared to make such a big decision without a contingency plan?! These events over the past couple months show how we missed our chances in the past to build our own country.

We do not have to blame anyone anymore! It breaks my heart to say that, but that is an undeniable fact!

This kind of disappointment shows that our Kurdish leaders do not have the ability to lead a village.

To our Kurdish Leaders: If you are too inexperienced to lead, please move out of the way and let the new generation plan the Kurdish future.

The struggle of twenty-six years has been nothing but disappointment to our people, despite some successes, which can be credited to other factors, not existing Kurdish leaders.

For me personally, it has been hard to digest and deal with such heartbreaking events. With my role in institutions within the Kurdish community, discussion about these issues are part of my daily life.

Avoiding answer to legitimate hard questions from my friends and coworkers has been the hardest.

At my college, some of my friends who are professors and some staff member were expecting that Kurds were on the road to achieve their long held dream to have their own state.

It is not easy to pinpoint what happened.

However, I do believe that the catastrophic events that happened to the Kurds was due to our own internal disagreement with each other.

Clearly, someone was working with Kurdish enemies against his own people.

In many different ways, as I think about the whole event that took place after Oct 16, 2017, I question whether we have ability to lead and govern our own country! The evidence over the last twenty-six years says no.

If we are, then why have not been able to unify even three cities in Kurdistan of Iraq in the last twenty-six years?

I realize that many believe what we have been going through as Kurds throughout history is due to our geography and surrounding governments.

Despite all that, if we were united, we could have achieved our goal.

No matter who are enemies are, if we are not enemies to ourselves, we can overcome and see victory.

As Churchill said, “When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.”


Kamal Bewar was born in Kurdistan of Iraq.

He migrated to the United States as a refugee.

As a minority, he faced different challenges during his enrollment in post-secondary education.

Attempts were made by people who intentionally tried to hinder his progress and impede his educational achievement and goals.

However, at the same time, there were people who generously supported him and extended their hands to make sure he attained his educational dreams.


Bewar is a senior contributing writer for For more see below. 

The opinions are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of or its editors.

Read more about Independent Kurdistan state

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