Kurdistan Regional Government - Iraq
Representation in the United States

Washington, D.C.
April 2015 Newsletter
Welcome to the KRG-US April 2015 Newsletter

April is the month that the Yezidis celebrate their New Year, normally a festive time. But with over 3,000 women and girls still being enslaved by ISIS and about 430,000 Yezidis displaced, this year many chose not to celebrate without their loved ones.  

We were pleased to host Vian Dakhil, the only Yezidi MP in the Iraqi Parliament, in Washington this month. In meetings with US government officials and Congress, Ms Dakhil outlined the persecution of the Yezidis, Christians and other minorities by ISIS and called on the United States and international community to do more to help the displaced and the women and girls who have escaped ISIS. Ms Dakhil also called for the genocide perpetrated against the Yezidis to be recognized and for the Peshmerga to be better equipped. 

House Foreign Affairs Committee co-chairs Ed Royce and Eliot Engels have introduced  H.Res 1654 ,  a bipartisan bill that gives the United States the ability to directly provide arms and training to the KRG, a critical element in the fight against ISIS.   You can   contact your representatives in Congress   and ask them to support this bill.

Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman
Representative to the United States
Kurdistan Regional Government
Yezidi MP asks Washington to support ethnic and religious minorities in Iraq

Vian Dakhil, the only female Yezidi member of Iraqi Parliament, was in Washington from April 17 through the 21st to raise awareness and support for the Yezidis in Iraq and ask for international recognition of the 2014 genocide against the Yezidi population.

Ms Dakhil was accompanied by Representative Abdul Rahman to meetings with US Administration officials (Amb Saperstein pictured), members of Congress, think tanks, and human rights organizations.  

Iraq's Prime Minister Makes First Official Visit to the US


Iraqi Prime Minister Abadi made his first official visit to Washington this month.


PM Abadi met with US President Obama to talk about defeating ISIS, regional cooperation, and a unified Iraq. In his meeting at the White House, President Obama pledged $205 million in humanitarian aid to Iraq, and the two discussed future military and financial coordination between Iraq and the US.  


Read the joint statement by PM Abadi and President Obama here.

Read PM Abadi's remarks at CSIS here.

KRG Representative speaks to the US Chamber of Commerce


KRG Representative Abdul Rahman gave a presentation at a US Chamber of Commerce luncheon on April 10, describing the region and its investment opportunities to DC's business community. She said that despite that current challenges, Kurdistan's continued commitment to openness and the rule of law continue to make it a promising destination for investors and tourists alike.


Read the Chamber of Commerce report on the event here.

President Barzani and Prime Minister al-Abadi Meet in Erbil

President Masoud Barzani welcomed a delegation from the Federal Government of Iraq headed by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to Erbil on April 6. The delegation included a number of military and security leaders as well as immigration and other Iraqi officials. 


The leaders discussed the latest military advances by the Peshmerga Forces and the Iraqi Security Forces, and the recent advances against ISIS in the city of Tikrit. The two sides also spoke of the upcoming operations, especially regarding the liberation of Mosul from ISIS.


Read more about the visit here. 

KRG marks 27th anniversary of Anfal Day
Twenty seven years ago, the Kurdistan people were subjected to a brutal campaign of extermination, called Anfal, which aimed at cleansing the Kurdish existence and national identity. In addition to the destruction of thousands of villages, over 182,000 innocent citizens of Kurdistan were exterminated and martyred during this campaign.

The KRG marks April 14 as Anfal Day, as the day of some of the most vicious attacks of the three-year campaign. 
The KRG Council of Ministers issued a statement in commemoration.
Rep Abdul Rahman speaks at annual Foundation for the Defense of Democracies conference

Representative Abdul Rahman spoke alongside the top US experts on a panel at the annual Foundation for the Defense of Democracy conference on April 15.


She discussed the recent genocide against the Yezidis of Iraq, and said that Kurdistan was a haven for all displaced people, regardless of ethnicity or confession. Today Kurdistan hosts over 1.6 million refugees, 900,000 of which are religious and ethnic minorities.


She said, "Why do people feel safe in Kurdistan? It is because we have a culture of tolerance and peaceful coexistence, but we have also enshrined many of these ideas in law, in our Constitution."


Watch the FDD panel here. 

KRG US Representation hosts roundtable with members of Congress on plight of minorities

The KRG Mission in Washington hosted a dinner with Iraqi MP Vian Dakhil for the  Congressional Religious Minorities in the Middle East Caucus on the status of Yezidis and other minorities in Iraq. 

Ms Dakhil said, 'ISIS has targeted Yezidis because of their religion - thousands of our men have been killed, thousands of our women and children kidnapped, raped, and sold into slavery. What has happened can only be called a genocide, and I urge the international community to acknowledge it.' 

The meeting was attended by members of Congress including Caucus co-chairs Anna Eshoo and Jeff Fortenberry, Representatives Trent Franks, Glenn Grothman, and Stephen Lynch, as well as scholars and representatives from Christian communities.

Attack in Erbil will only strengthen anti-ISIS alliance

On Friday April 17 at 5:45 pm local time, a car bomb exploded in front of a caf? in the Ankawa district of Erbil, between Ankawa Police Station and the US Consulate compound.


On April 20, following an investigation the Kurdistan Region Security Council arrested the main perpetrator behind the attack that killed two and injured eight. On April 28, the KRSC confirmed the arrest of several more collaborators.  


The KRG reiterates its assurances that Erbil and the Kurdistan Region remain safe and secure.


Read Representative Abdul Rahman's comments on the attack.

President Barzani Welcomes US Congressional Delegation


Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani welcomed a United States Congressional delegation on April 1 that included Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senators Shelley Moore Capito, Cory Gardner, Steve Daines, David Perdue, Thom Tillis, and Ben Sasse.


The US senators praised the brave role of the Kurdish Peshmerga Forces in the fight against ISIS, and reiterated their country's commitment to support the KRG and the Peshmerga Forces.


Read more about the meeting here.

In the evening of April 17 and early hours of April 18, International Coalition airstrikes targeted 24 ISIS positions south of Kirkuk. 

Front-line reporting indicates at least 35 ISIS terrorists were killed during the offensive. The group deployed 1 car bomb against Peshmerga forces.

Peshmerga forces, supported by International Coalition airstrikes, have cleared more than 20,000 square kilometres since the start of the war on ISIS in August 2014. 


Read the full press release here.

Follow @KRCSPress for updates.

Welcome to Tara Hamawandi

This month we welcomed Tara Hamawandi as our next Executive Assistant to the Representative. Tara  was born in Slemani and moved to Nashville in 1996 with her family. She holds a BA in Political Science and Psychology from the University of Tennessee and a Juris Doctorate from John Marshall School of Law. Tara is dedicated to serving the Kurdish people and looks forward to providing administrative support to the KRG-US office.
Upcoming events around Washington

Briefing on ISIS' Involvement in Human Trafficking and Violent Treatment of Women and Girls
Panel discussion hosted by Representatives Alcee L. Hastings and Ted Deutch
Thursday, April 30-  11:00 am - 1:00 pm
Capitol Visitor Center Congressional Meeting Room 268

Panel discussion hosted by Middle East Institute
Friday, May 1-  12:00 pm - 1:30 pm  
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Choate Room, 
1779 Massachusetts Ave, NW, Washington, D.C. 20036

KRG in the media


Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani on CNN's Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer


Worldview: Kurdish leader Barzani on battling Islamic State

Philadephia Inquirer


Interview with Vian Dakhil [Kurdish]



Kurdistan: A Miracle Required, Every Single Day

Huffington Post

The United States Must Assist the Peshmerga

WINEP Fikra Forum


Kurd Connection: April 17 [Kurdish]

Voice of America Kurdish Service

More Neanderthal remains found in Kurdistan's Shanidar Cave



Arming the Kurds to Defeat ISIS in Mosul

Atlantic Council

A Haven Between the Hoops

NY Times