Kurdistan Regional Government
Representation in the United States
Washington D.C.
Welcome to our January 2021 Newsletter 
US elections and the transfer of power from one administration to the next are closely watched worldwide, no more so than in Kurdistan Region and Iraq. The events of January 6 caused shock and consternation, and for those of us who frequently meet with members of congress, they also caused grave concern for the safety of members. However, the fact that Congress returned to its work within hours was heartening and the peaceful inauguration demonstrated the strength of American institutions.

Kurdistan Region has worked closely with Republican and Democratic administrations over the years and appreciates the support and interest of representatives and officials of both parties. Kurdish leaders congratulated President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, as well as Secretary of State Tony Blinken and expressed their desire for continuing to work closely together. The KRG Representation in the United States also extends its heartfelt congratulations to the new administration and members of both parties who were elected to the US Congress, especially members of the Kurdish American Congressional Caucus.

Iraqi elections

Turning to Iraq, this month the Council of Ministers approved the decision of the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) to postpone Iraq-wide elections from June to October 2021. Early elections are among the key demands of protesters since 2019 and became a pledge by Prime Minister Mustafa Kadhimi on becoming premier. Elections were due to be held in mid-2022 but were brought forward to June 2021 until IHEC said it needed more time to prepare for the elections and October 10 became the new date. However, IHEC’s technical preparations are just one part of the picture.
Parliamentarians must complete the law relating to the federal court, which is the only entity that can approve election results, and then vote to dissolve parliament. It is one of only two ways to allow early elections to take place. The United Nations is providing technical election assistance to Iraq and there will be a call for international observers. When the elections will take place remains a question.

Liberation of Kobane

In all parts of Kurdistan, the seventh anniversary this month of the liberation of Kobane from ISIS was noted. The town in Syria was besieged in 2014 by ISIS terrorists who faced resistance by the People’s Protection Units (YPG). Peshmerga Forces from the Kurdistan Region in Iraq crossed into Syria, through Turkey, to battle the fierce offensive by ISIS. Backed by US and Coalition airstrikes, Kurdish forces liberated Kobane, which became a turning point in the war against ISIS and a symbol of Kurdish unity. Prime Minister Masrour Barzani, in a tweet on January 26, said, ‘Today marks far more than the liberation of Kobane from ISIS occupation and tyranny; it was a transcendent moment that brought together the Kurdish people against a common enemy. And it is a powerful reminder of what we can achieve through unity and cooperation.’

Publication and podcast

Before closing, I would like to highlight a publication and a podcast. The Kurdistan in America podcast is the official podcast of the KRG Representation in the United States. This month, we feature a discussion with the President and of the University of Kurdistan (AUK) and the Secretary of the Board of Trustees. AUK is one of two American universities in Kurdistan, the other being the American University of Iraq Slemani – both of which have received funding from the US Department of State. You can listen to the podcast here: Season 2 Episode 1

Finally, the magazine Brand Kurdistan has published a special edition that can be downloaded for free and includes interviews with Kurdistan’s top leaders, officials, and business representatives, and includes tantalizing sections on tourism and culture. The magazine can be downloaded here: Brand Kurdistan

Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman
Representative to the United States
Kurdistan Regional Government
Kurdistan Region Representative meets with CIPE team to discuss private sector development

KRG Representative Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman this week met with the Middle East and Iraq team at the Center for

Representative Abdul Rahman meets with DoS and DoD officials

KRG Representative Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman met officials in the Trump Administration before their departure to wish them well and thank them for their...

This episode of the Kurdistan in America features a discussion with two distinguished guests from the American University of Kurdistan (AUK): Dr. Honar Issa, the Secretary of the Board of Trustees, and Dr. Randall Rhodes, the President of the American University of Kurdistan. As a pioneer at the university, Dr. Honar discusses the university's mission and vision, its challenges during the establishment phase, the current state of the education system in Kurdistan, and offers reform recommendations. Additionally, Dr. Rhodes shares his short-term and long-term goals as the university president, discusses the grant awarded by the United States government, and gives his opinion on how the Kurdistani diaspora can help the university specifically and developing Kurdistan in general. Today, the AUK has partnerships with seven universities in the United States and is seeking accreditation with the New England Commission of Higher Education.
President Barzani receives US Ambassador to Iraq

President Nechirvan Barzani received the US Ambassador to Iraq, Mr. Matthew Tueller, and the US Consul General in Erbil, Mr. Rob Waller. The importance of US diplomatic, development and defense relations...

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President Barzani gives interview to Brand Kurdistan

In an exclusive interview with Brand Kurdistan, President Nechirvan Brazani, says, ‘We shall continue to pursue international partnerships that build cultural, diplomatic and economic relationships of mutual interest.’ Page 17

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President Barzani meets with Turkey’s Defense Minister

President Nechirvan Barzani received the Defense Minister of Turkey, Mr. Hilusi Akar, and his accompanying delegation. In the meeting attended by the Kurdistan Region Vice Presidents, the Minister of...

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Presidency condemns Baghdad terror attacks

The Kurdistan Region Presidency issued the following statement condemning terrorist attacks in Baghdad: We strongly condemn the terrorist attacks that killed and wounding innocent people in Baghdad. We...

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President Barzani receives Commander of the Iraq Air Force

President Nechirvan Barzani received General Shihab Jahid Zangana and congratulated him on his promotion to Commander of the Iraq Air Force and wished him success. President Barzani reaffirmed the...

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PM Masrour Barzani Receives US Ambassador to Iraq

Prime Minister Masrour Barzani today met with the US Ambassador to Iraq, Matthew Tueller, accompanied by the US Consul General in Erbil, Rob Waller, to discuss the situation in Iraq...

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PM Masrour Barzani meets with foreign representatives

Prime Minister Masrour Barzani today met with the consuls, foreign heads of mission, representatives, and diplomats based in the Kurdistan Region to discuss the situation in Iraq, the...

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PM Masrour Barzani Receives Turkish Defense Minister

Prime Minister Masrour Barzani today received Turkish Defense Minister, Hulusi Akar, to discuss regional developments and bilateral ties. In the meeting, the two officials highlighted...

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PM Barzani chairs meeting to discuss 2021 budget bill

Prime Minister Masrour Barzani today presided over a meeting of the Kurdistan Region's Supreme Economic Council to discuss ongoing efforts to present a comprehensive 2021 budget bill,...

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PM Masrour Barzani Statement on Kakai's Qultas

Marking the observance of Qultas, the Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government, Masrour Barzani, issued the statement below: "On the occasion of Qultas, I extend my warmest...

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Deputy PM meets with Iraqi Parliament Deputy Speakers

Deputy Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government and head of the negotiating delegation, Qubad Talabani, today met with First Deputy Speaker of the Iraqi Council of Representatives, Hassan...

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KRG Publishes Deloitte verified report on Oil and Gas

The KRG's Regional Council of Oil and Gas Affairs has published a report containing verified statistics covering the Kurdistan Region's oil exports, consumption and revenues for period 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020. The...

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Speaker Faiq and UNFPA Deputy Representative

Kurdistan Parliament Speaker Dr. Rewaz Faiq on 26 January welcomed UNFPA Iraq Deputy Representative, Himyar Abdulmoghni, and Mr. Jamal Hussein, General Director of Youth at the Kurdistan Regional Government Ministry of Culture ...

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Parliament confirms KRG Minister of Natural Resources

At an extraordinary sitting of the Kurdistan Parliament on 6 January during the winter recess, MPs entrusted Dr. Kamal Abdulhamid Atroshi (official name Kamal Abdulhamid Abdulrahman) with the post of KRG Minister of Natural...

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Deputy Speaker meets with Peshmerga Minister and officials

Deputy Speaker Dr. Hemin Hawrami and MPs in Parliament's Peshmerga Committee on 25 January met with Peshmerga Minister Shoresh Ismail, Deputy Minister Sarbast Lazgin and their colleagues. The MPs and Peshmerga Ministry...

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Kurdistan in the Media
Gas in Iraqi Kurdistan: Market Realities, Geopolitical Opportunities

The Washington Institute hosted an on-the-record virtual Policy Forum with three senior U.S. and Iraqi Kurdish officials to discuss the findings of a recent study on the natural gas sector's future in the Kurdistan Region conducted by the U.S. Department of Energy and its partners. The discussion also highlights supporting initiatives involving the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation,
From Sulaimani to Spain’s Seville

A group of Kurdish and Spanish musicians got together for a performance that was a musical dialogue between traditional Kurdish music and Flamenco rhythms, called ‘From Sulaimani to Spain’s Seville’. The performance featured Kurdistan’s Bejan Jaza and Spain’s Inma La Carbonera.
Oak trees take root in Iraqi Kurdistan to help climate

Delband Rawanduzi spoke softly to her oak seedlings, as if willing them to grow fast and repopulate forests in Iraqi Kurdistan depleted by war, illegal logging and fires.

Turkey bombs multiple sites in Kurdistan, injuring two children

Turkey bombed at least three areas in the Kurdistan Region on Friday, injuring two children and killing hundreds of sheep, according to local sources. The attacks come just days after...

Kurdistan opens its hospitals to those wounded in Baghdad bombings

The autonomous Kurdistan Region announced on Thursday that it was opening the doors of its hospitals to receive those wounded in the twin...

Erdogan threatens anti-PKK operation in Iraq’s disputed Sinjar

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday amid Turkish airstrikes in the Kurdistan Region targeting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that his...

Climate crisis: What should Kurdistan do to ensure a sustainable future?

We are at a moment where the global energy system is undergoing a profound transformation in the way we produce, consume and store energy.

Iraqi Kurdistan Finally Moves To Develop Massive Gas Resources

In tandem with Iraq’s reiterated target for crude oil production of 7 million barrels per day (bpd) by 2025, from the previous 5 mbpd, Baghdad has also stated that...

Yezidis protest Iraq’s decision to cut off aid to displacement camp

Displaced members of the Yezidi (Ezidi) religious minority, now living in a camp located at Sinjar (Shingal) Mountain on Thursday, protested against the Iraqi...

'Iraqi And Kurdistan Budget Hangs In The Balance

Despite the Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) agreeing a deal over its 2021 budget on December 20, the road to...

KRG bans travel to 21 countries amid spread of new COVID-19 strain

The Kurdistan Region’s interior ministry announced a travel ban to 21 countries on Friday to curb the spread of the new variant of coronavirus in the Region.

Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Developing Female Kurdish Militia Drama for TV

The mother-daughter producing partners have, via their HiddenLight production company, optioned author Gayle...

Senior leaders congratulate Biden

A slew of congratulatory messages have been sent to the newly sworn-in US President, Joe Biden, and Vice President Kamala Harris since their inauguration...

No Iraqi elections until 2022?

A series of marathon meetings between the three presidencies, the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC), and the Secretary-General of the United...

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For inquiries, please contact Delovan Barwari, the Director of Public and Humanitarian Affairs, at: delovan.barwari@us.gov.krd