Kurdistan Regional Government
Representation in the United States

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

One year ago this month ISIS militants overran the city of Mosul, capturing hundreds of millions of dollars worth of sophisticated weaponry, and giving them the capability to take thousands of square miles in territory.


Today, supported by US-led coalition air strikes, Kurdish Security Forces are pushing these terrorists from their positions, and protecting Christians and Yezidis who fled ISIS and have found shelter in Kurdistan. 


In strengthening this partnership, this month we have seen several US delegations visit Kurdistan, including members of Congress, Deputy Assistant Secretary Ambassador Brett McGurk, and US military officials. 


The KRG US Representation continues to work to bolster Kurdistan-US relations, not just in the fight against ISIS and the humanitarian emergency we are facing but also in other areas such as in the fields of commerce and culture.  With this in mind, this month my colleagues and I made many trips to Capitol Hill (pictured here with Rep. Kay Granger). We thank the United States for supporting the people of Kurdistan in our moment of need and we look forward to developing our relationship further. 

Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman
Representative to the United States
Kurdistan Regional Government
President Barzani receives US Congressional Delegation

President Masoud Barzani received a delegation from the United States Congress on June 28, which consisted of several members of both the Senate and the House of Representatives. During the meeting President Barzani warmly welcomed the delegation and took advantage of the opportunity to express his appreciation for the role of the United States and other coalition members in the current conflict against the terrorists of the Islamic State.

US Senate Delegation: Baghdad should pay Kurdistan Region's liabilities 


Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani received a delegation of US lawmakers including members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and House Foreign Affairs Committee in Erbil on June 28. 


Senator Tim Kaine said that the aim of the visit is to closely observe the situation in the Kurdistan Region. He thanked the people, government, and Peshmerga Forces of the Kurdistan Region who not only confront ISIS, but also accommodate and continue providing assistance to over 1.7 million refugees and internally displaced persons.


President Barzani meets US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Brett McGurk

Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani met with US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Brett McGurk on June 9 to discuss the latest political and security developments in Iraq and in the wider region.

President Barzani and Mr McGurk exchanged views on the security situation in Anbar province and efforts to retake ground from ISIS terrorists in both Iraq and Syria.

US Congressional delegation commends Peshmerga Forces 


Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani received a US Congressional delegation led by Congressman Rob Wittman on June 29. Representative Wittman commended the Kurdistan Region Peshmerga Forces for having been able to repulse the attacks of ISIS, as well as their ability and commitment, which he said he observed in the training centers that the delegation has visited.


They also discussed the issues between the KRG and the Federal Government of Iraq, highlighting Baghdad's refusal to honor its agreement with the Region.

Read a press release here.

President Barzani welcomes US Ambassador to Iraq in Erbil

President Masoud Barzani met with US Ambassador to Iraq Stuart Jones on June 24. The meeting focused on a discussion of the latest political and security developments in the country and the fight against ISIS terrorists. 

The US Ambassador reiterated the United States' commitment to continuing support for the Peshmerga Forces in the fight against terror.  They also discussed relations between Erbil and Baghdad and the situation of IDPs who have sought refuge in Kurdistan.

Prime Minister Barzani calls for further military assistance to Peshmerga Forces


Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani received the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iraq and Iran and Deputy Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter-ISIL Brett McGurk and his accompanying military and diplomatic delegation in Erbil on June 9.


The US delegation emphasized the need for effective mechanisms to prevent radical jihadists from joining ISIS. Prime Minister Barzani expressed his hope for coalition forces to further train Iraqi military, police, and Peshmerga forces, and extend military operations to accelerate the eradication of ISIS and normalize the region.


Read a press release of the meeting here. 

Prime Minister Barzani values US support to the Kurdistan Region

Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani received the United States Ambassador to Iraq Stuart Jones and his accompanying delegation on June 24.

Ambassador Jones expressed his government's support to the KRG and Peshmerga forces in the war against ISIS, stressing the continuation of this assistance in all fields, particularly military assistance and training of the Peshmerga forces.


Read a press release here.

President Barzani welcomes Iraqi President Masoum

Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani welcomed Iraqi President Foad Masoum in his office in Salahaddin on June 11. They discussed the political and security developments in Kurdistan and Iraq, in particular the threat of ISIS terrorism.

They also discussed relations between Iraq's communities and underlined the need for cooperation on all sides to confront the challenges facing the country. On relations between Erbil and Baghdad, the two Presidents agreed that continued dialogue between the two sides is important to resolving outstanding disputes.
Department of Foreign Relations hosts conference for KRG Representatives abroad

This month the KRG Department of Foreign Relations hosted a two-day conference in Vienna for KRG missions abroad. The conference was co-chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani and Head of Foreign Relations Falah Mustafa.

The conference focused on exchanging ideas and discussing how to best serve and promote the interests of the Kurdistan Region abroad. Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani said that the missions were important for building cultural, political, economic, and educational bridges with the international community.

Read a press release here. 

President Barzani meets senior clergy of the Assyrian Church of the East

President Masoud Barzani met with a delegation from the Assyrian Church of the East to discuss the situation of Christians in Kurdistan.   Delegation members expressed their gratitude to President Barzani and the KRG for providing protection and refuge to displaced Christians who have fled violence from other parts of Iraq.

President Barzani said the KRG would not waver in its support to the Christians and other minorities. He also welcomed the decision by the Assyrian Church of the East to make Erbil the seat of their headquarters.

Kurdistan Region Council for Oil and Gas Affairs meets with political parties 


The Kurdistan Region Council for Oil and Gas Affairs met with the five political parties of the KRG on June 17.


Recent developments regarding oil and budget issues between the KRG and the Federal Government of Iraq were discussed. It was reaffirmed that the KRG has been abiding by the December agreement with Baghdad and the Iraq Federal Budget Law 2015, while the Federal Government of Iraq has not been fulfilling its obligations.


Read a press release here. 

Kurdistan Parliament marks 28th anniversary of chemical bombing of Sardasht

On June 28, Speaker of the Parliament of Kurdistan Dr Yusif Muhammad Sadiq issued a statement marking the 28th anniversary of the chemical bombing of the Kurdish city of Sardasht in Iran.

The 1987 bombing by the Iraqi military of civilians in Sardasht exposed over 8,000 people to mustard gas, causing deaths and long-term effects. Many of those targeted included refugees from the Kurdistan Region of Iraq seeking safety from the Iran-Iraq War.

Prime Minister Barzani praises the role of the private sector in Kurdistan


Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani hailed the private sector for its effective contributions to the Kurdistan Region economy since approval of the Investment Law in 2004.


Prime Minister Barzani expressed satisfaction with the expansion of investment in the sectors of agriculture and industry. His statements were made during a visit to Dohuk Governorate, where he opened the Zakho International Football Stadium and the Rixos Hotel in the city of Dohuk.


Read a press release here.

Prime Minister warns of more refugees and IDPs

Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani received the United Nations Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, Mr Stephen O'Brien, and his accompanying delegation on June 9.


Prime Minister Barzani said that due to the arrival of a high number of displaced people, particularly since ISIS captured Mosul last year, the population of the Region has swelled by 28 percent and continues to increase. Though all IDPs are Iraqi citizens, he noted that the Iraqi government does not help to accommodate them or provide assistance to meet their needs in areas under KRG control.  This has put an enormous burden on the Kurdistan Region. 


Read a press release here. 

Minister of Planning Dr Ali Sindi updates EU Parliament on humanitarian crisis


Dr Ali Sindi, KRG Minister of Planning, gave remarks to the Parliament of the European Union on June 5, delivering updates on the humanitarian crisis facing the Kurdistan Region. 


Dr Sindi called on member nations to assist with medical treatment for the Peshmerga and to support the UN's humanitarian appeal. He also noted that 'we at the KRG are very concerned to be kept away from the global dialogue on security and combatting terrorism in our region.'


Watch a video of Dr Sindi's testimony here.

KRG Representative and Bahrain Ambassador discuss regional issues


Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, KRG Representative to the United States, met with Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Khalifa, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Bahrain to the United States, to discuss the security and humanitarian situation across the Middle East. 


They focused on the fight against ISIS and Bahrain's role in the international coalition against the terrorist organization. They also discussed the rights and protection of minorities as well as the potential for commercial exchanges between the Kurdistan Region and the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Representative Abdul Rahman speaks to AJC board members

Representative Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman was hosted by the American Jewish Committee at their annual Advocacy in Action dinners on June 7. Ms Abdul Rahman updated the attendees on humanitarian and economic developments in the Kurdistan Region, and the KRG's relationship with the US. 

AJC hosts diplomats and officials every year as part of their annual Global Forum in Washington. The dinner was attended by over 40 members and moderated by AJC's Berlin Director Deidre Berger. 

New KRG Representative to UK begins assignment in London

Karwan Jamal Tahir began his assignment as the new KRG High Representative to the United Kingdom on June 3, in a ceremony attended by Falah Mustafa, the Head of the KRG Department of Foreign Relations (DFR), senior DFR directors, and Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, Mr Tahir's predecessor and the current KRG Representative to the United States.

Prior to his posting to the UK, Mr Tahir served as Deputy Head of the DFR for six years. Minister Mustafa expressed his confidence in Mr Tahir's ability to further improve relations between Kurdistan and the UK and support the Kurdish diaspora in the country. Ms Abdul Rahman also congratulated the new High Representative and give her full support.

Read a press release here. 

KRG Representation briefs Congress on minorities in Kurdistan

Remziya Suleyman, Director of Congressional and Academic Affairs, briefed an audience of Congressional staffers on religious and ethnic minorities in Kurdistan on June 8. She spoke alongside experts Dr Carol O'Leary, Dr William Spence, and Jeremy Barker. The event was sponsored by In Defense of Christians and International Christian Concern.

KRG US Representation accepts donation of 1960s painting by Kurdish painter

KRG US Director of Culture and Community Affairs Najat Abdullah accepted an oil painting donated by retired Ambassador Gordon Brown and his wife Olivia. Amb. Brown purchased the painting by Kurdish artist Taher Ibrahim in 1963 from a gallery in Baghdad, where he was stationed as Cultural Attache at the American Embassy.  


The painting will be displayed in the KRG Representation in Washington, alongside the works of numerous other Kurdish painters. The KRG US Representation thanks Amb. and Mrs. Brown for their donation. 

KRG in the media


Inside the Daily Lives of Iraq's Kurds

Smithsonian Magazine


Interview with Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman

Al Jazeera English


Ambassadors Unplugged with Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman

Huffington Post


Success of Kurdish Forces Is a Rare Bright Spot for U.S. Policy in Iraq

New York Times 


The Time of the Kurds

Council on Foreign Relations


Kurdistan Regional Government breaks monthly oil export record

The National


US Defense chief Carter : The Kurds do really fight



Holding Down the Fort in Kurdistan: Peshmerga Play Defense against ISIS

The National Review 


Kurdistan courts investors ahead of maiden bond sale

Financial Times


Representative Abdul Rahman opinion: Support the Kurds, a bulwark against extremism

Tony Blair Faith Foundation


The Peshmerga, the West's Best Defense Against the Islamic State

Huffington Post 


The Road to Mosul (three part series)

Vice News


Kurdish Peshmerga Say They Need Weapons After ISIS Seizes Iraqi Arsenal

Wall Street Journal