Kurdistan Regional Government
Representation in the United States

Washington, D.C.
August 2015 Newsletter
Welcome to our August 2015 Newsletter

It was a year ago this month that the people of Kurdistan were once again subjected to the horrors of genocide. When ISIS launched its assault on Sinjar on August 3, 2014, hundreds of thousands of Yezidis were forced to flee. Thousands of Yezidi women and girls were forced into the most reprehensible slavery, and thousands of men and boys were massacred. 
In the months that followed, the crimes committed against the Yezidis, Christians, and other religious and ethnic minorities can only be called genocide. We call on the world to recognize these atrocities as genocide, in the full legal sense of the word, and to take steps to hold those responsible to account.
It is difficult to understand the trauma that the victims have suffered, especially the children. I urge you to watch this heart-wrenching film by the Kurdistan Memory Programme in which several children recount the horrors they witnessed.
The film underscores the great needs of the 1.8 million refugees and displaced families now sheltering in Kurdistan. You can make a donation to the Kurdish Relief Fund, a 501(c)3 non-profit entity. I urge you to donate whatever you can by using this link
Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman
Kurdistan Regional Government
Representative to the United States
Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani: Religious tolerance and coexistence will continue in Kurdistan Region

In a speech at a ceremony held to bury 67 bodies of Yezidi martyrs in the Yezidi holy site of Sheikh Sharafaddin shrine, KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani highlighted the suffering of the Yezidis, who, he said, have been oppressed twice for being Kurds and Yezidis at the same time.  Prime Minister Barzani stressed that with sacrifices given by Yezidis and Peshmerga forces, the Kurdistan people will eventually prevail and Sinjar and other Kurdish areas will be liberated from the Islamic State terrorist organisation, ISIS.

He said, 'Sinjar and its environs will be liberated at any price and returned to Kurdistan Region, where security, reconstruction, and coexistence will prevail again in this historical town which has been, since the ancient time, the cradle of religious coexistence.'

KRG US Representation hosts reception in honor of veterans of US military and humanitarians operations

' We thank America for saving our people who were stranded in the mountains in 1991, for liberating Iraq in 2003 and for standing by us when ISIS attacked in 2014,' KRG Representative to the United States Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman told an audience of US military veterans, Kurdish community members, government officials and distinguished guests at a reception at the KRG Representation in Washington on July 30.

The event included remarks by Minister Falah Mustafa Bakir, General David Petraeus, General Jim Jones, General Michael Barbero, and General Jay Garner. 

President Barzani meets US Secretary of Defense Carter

President Masoud Barzani met with the United States Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter in Erbil on July 24. President Barzani and Secretary Carter began their meeting by assessing the progress made by the Peshmerga forces and the Iraqi military against the terrorists of the Islamic State. President Barzani expressed his satisfaction on the coordination and cooperation between the United States government and the Kurdistan Region and emphasized on the importance of the continuation of that coordination.

Head of DFR visits Washington to thank US and ask for support

Minister Falah Mustafa Bakir, Head of the Department of Foreign Relations, was in Washington during the last week of July to meet with senior administration and defense officials, members of Congress, US media, think tanks, and diplomats to thank America for its support and to ask for continued assistance.

The Minister highlighted the worsening humanitarian crisis and the need for expeditious military support to the Peshmerga Forces. 

Read press releases on the visit here and here.
US Congress moves to recognize Kurdish Genocide

On July 29, 2015, Representative Chris Van Hollen of Maryland's 8th District and Representative Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee's 7th District introduced House Resolution (HRes) 403,  Recognizing the campaign of genocide against the Kurdish people in Iraq , into the House Committee on Foreign Affairs of the 114th Congress. The bill defines the actions of the regime of Saddam Hussein from the 1960s until 1988 as a genocide. 

KRG Representative to the United States Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman said, 'We thank our friends in Congress for their support to the people of Kurdistan, and their initiative in recognizing our suffering as crimes against humanity.' She also applauded efforts by members of Congress to investigate crimes by ISIS against religious and ethnic minorities as genocide. 

Read a press release here.
KRG US Representation to hire Director of Consular Services

The Kurdistan Regional Government Representation in the United States is seeking a capable Consular Services Director. This position will provide consular and legal services to the Kurdish-American Community, liaise with relevant KRG offices, and translate documents between Kurdish, Arabic, and English.

The Director reports directly to the Representative. The successful candidate will be hired on a contract basis, renewable based on performance.

See position details and application procedures here.
President Barzani Meets with General Lloyd Austin

President Masoud Barzani received a military and diplomatic delegation headed by General Lloyd Austin, Commander of the US Central Command. The meeting was also attended by the US Ambassador to Iraq Stuart Jones. 

President Barzani and General Austin reviewed the latest military operations against the terrorists of the Islamic State in the areas bordering the Kurdistan Region and also spoke of the latest combat operations in al-Anbar and Salahadin provinces in central Iraq.

Kurdistan Tour Guide book to launch September 16 in Congress

The launch of the first comprehensive tour guide of the Kurdistan Region is set for its US launch September 16 at 6 pm, at a reception in Rayburn House Office Building #B339 in Washington, DC. The Kurdistan Tour Guide covers nearly two hundred historic sites and includes photos, articles by prominent Kurdistani figures, recipes and information on cultural heritage. 

The event will be hosted by KRG Representative to the United States Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, in cooperation with the Kurdish American Congressional Caucus, and US-Kurdistan Business Council. Remarks will be delivered by General (retired) James Jones, US Congressman Marsha Blackburn, Assistant US Trade Representative Michael Delany and Dr. Douglas Layton, Editor of the Kurdistan Tour Guide.

President Barzani receives US delegation

President Masoud Barzani received a military and diplomatic delegation from the United States, the delegation was headed by Ambassador Brett McGurk, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Iraq and Iran at the Department of State. President Barzani and Amb. McGurk reviewed the latest developments with the war against the Islamic State, both in the Kurdistan Region and in Iraq.

The two sides also spoke of Turkey's latest air attacks against the bases of the PKK. President Barzani reiterated his message to ambassador McGurk on calling upon both Ankara and the PKK to work in pursuit of the completion of the peace process in Turkey.

KRG and INGOs in Kurdistan to consolidate cooperation

The KRG Department of Foreign Relations (DFR), in coordination with the Department of Non-Governmental Organization and the Joint Crisis Coordination Center on August 18 hosted a special session to discuss cooperation between relevant KRG authorities and the active International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGO) in the Kurdistan Region.

Minister Mustafa thanked the INGOs and said that the KRG fully supports their mission in the Kurdistan Region and that the relevant authorities of the government stand ready to provide the needed assistance in order to ensure the success of the mission of INGOs.

KRG ready to assist Turkey and PKK to resume peace process talks

KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani received a delegation from the People's Democratic Party, HDP, led by Turkish parliament member Osman Baydemir.

The delegation said that the situation necessitates cooperation among on all political sides and protect unity in the face of the challenges ahead. Prime Minister Barzani reaffirmed that the KRG is ready to play its role in helping to revive the peace process in Turkey and resume negotiations between the two sides.
Ministry of Natural Resources announces producing IOCs payment plan

The KRG continued its direct oil sales in Ceyhan in July and August in order to compensate the Region for the budget shortfalls from the federal government and to pay debts incurred during 2014, but said it would continue to work to resolve the issue with the federal government. 

The KRG Ministry of Natural Resources also announced that from September 2015, the KRG will on a monthly basis allocate a portion of the revenue from its direct crude oil sales to the producing international oil companies (IOCs).
KRG Department of Information Technology launches .KRD into Sunrise phase

KRG Department of Information Technology announced the launch of  the sunrise period for Kurdistan's top level domain (TLD) .KRD

Internet users worldwide will soon see web addresses ending with .krd - the first name space on Internet for Kurdistan affiliated individuals (.krd), businesses (.co.krd), government entities (.gov.krd) and educational institutions (.edu.krd).

Read a press release here.
EU to open representation office in Kurdistan

The European Union will soon open an EU Delegation Liaison Office in Erbil to support the current activities of the EU in coordination with the KRG, the United Nations and NGOs.

Minister Falah Mustafa, Head of the KRG Foreign Relations, said, "The KRG welcomes the decision of the EU to open an EU delegation office in Erbil. We thank the EU for responding positively to the need of opening an office in the Kurdistan Region."

Kurdistan in the media
Washington Post - August 13, 2015
Islamic State militants likely used mustard agent against Kurdish forces in Iraq this week, senior U.S. officials said Thursday, in the first indication the militant group has obtained banned chemicals.

Vian Dakhil: When ISIS Attacked, She Inspired the World to Act
National Geographic - August 3, 2015
In August 2014 Islamic State militants slaughtered hundreds of Yezidi men in northern Iraq and enslaved Yezidi women. Vian Dakhil, a member of the Iraqi Council of Representatives and a Yezidi, made an emotional plea for help on the parliament floor. Her speech was widely credited with leading to a full-scale international attack on ISIS.

Huffington Post - July 31, 2015 
"We don't believe there will be a military solution" to the decades-long conflict, Falah Mustafa Bakir said. "We hope and urge both sides to go back to the ceasefire, to commit themselves to the peace process, and to the solution that started in Turkey [in 2012], because at the end of the day, it's stability, security and safety that we need to have on our borders."

Rudaw - July 25, 2015
"We Kurds don't forget our friends," [Representative Abdul Rahman] said. "The United States has played a critical role at key turning points in Kurdistan's recent history: in 1991 with Operation Provide Comfort, in 2003 with the liberation of Iraq and in 2014 with the defense of Erbil and Mount Sinjar. Today we are together fighting ISIS and upholding freedom."

International Dialogues Radio - July 22, 2015
Representative Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman speaks with Cynthia Dillon on the history of Kurdistan, the fight against ISIS, and the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the region.

Kurdish media coverage of July 31 veterans reception