Kurdistan Regional Government - Iraq
Representation in the United States

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

March is always a time of mixed emotions for the people of Kurdistan.

March 20 is Newroz, the Kurdish New Year, a time of joy, celebrating, and most of all, picnicking with family and friends.

However, March is also a dark time for us, as we commemorate the March 16, 1988 poison gas attacks on the city of Halabja, and the systematic genocide that befell our people from the 1960s until our liberation in 2003.

This month, we were pleased at the announcement by Congress members Chris Van Hollen and Marsha Blackburn that they would reintroduce legislation to recognize the Kurdish Genocide, with a section that would similarly recognize the atrocities ISIS is committing against the Yezidis .

We are also pleased that Congress is taking steps to arm the Peshmerga with the tools and training they need to help degrade and ultimately destroy ISIS. As a friend of the Kurds, I hope you will take action by contacting your representatives in Congress and telling them to support H.Res. 1654.

Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman
Representative to the United States
Kurdistan Regional Government

Bill to directly arm the Peshmerga introduced into House Foreign Affairs Committee 


A bill to directly arm Kurdish Peshmerga Forces was introduced in the House Foreign Affairs Committee on March 26.


House Resolution 1654 authorizes the President to supply military equipment and training directly to Kurdish Peshmerga Forces, as well as issue export licenses to defense equipment manufacturers seeking to sell equipment to the KRG. It also permits the President to accept End User Certificates for defense articles, a federal legal requirement for all military equipment produced in the US.


Read the text of H.Res 1654 here.

Track the bill's progress here.

KRG US Representation calls for action following UN Human Rights Council report on genocide by ISIS

The United Nations' Human Rights Council released a report on March 13, describing the level of systematic brutality and violence committed by ISIS against religious and ethnic minorities in Iraq as a 'possible genocide'.

The crimes committed by ISIS constitute acts of genocide, as defined by Article 2 of the United Nations' Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. The KRG  is pleased that the international community is taking measures to document these atrocities, and hopes that a definitive resolution on the issue will be forthcoming.  

Patriarch Mar Dinkha IV of the Assyrian Church of the East dies at 79

The Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV, passed away on March 26 at the age of 79.

Mar Dinkha IV was a prominent leader and figure in Iraq and the world, and worked to deepen the brotherhood among nations. He was a strong advocate for peaceful coexistence among religions. President Barzani and the KRG were greatly saddened to learn of his passing and offer heartfelt condolences to the Assyrian Church of the East, the clergy, and the family of His Holiness. 

May he rest in peace.

KRG US Representation condemns murder of Peshmerga hostages, calls on international community to do more to defeat and destroy ISIS


During this Newroz holiday when the people of Kurdistan celebrate the New Year, ISIS terrorists have beheaded three Peshmerga soldiers and on March 23 claimed to have executed another. 


The Kurdistan Regional Government US Representation condemns these barbaric and inhumane acts and salutes the martyred Peshmerga, whose sacrifice will not be forgotten. Those who are guilty of these crimes will face justice. 


Read the KRG Council of Minister's statement here.

Read KRG US Representation's statement here.


KRG High Council on Women's Affairs delegation updates Washington on the status of minorities, women, and children in Kurdistan

Senior officials from the KRG High Council on Women's Affairs (KRG HCWA) arrived in Washington on March 15, 2015 to meet with US administration officials, members of Congress, leading think tanks, and aid organizations. 

Accompanied by the KRG Representative to the United States Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, Secretary General Pakhshan Zangana and Director General Florin Gorgis met with members of Congress, senior US administration and aid officials, leading academics, and members of the press. Ms. Zangana also spoke at the KRG's annual Halabja Commemoration ceremony. 

Congress members at annual Halabja Commemoration announce bill to recognize the Kurdish Genocide

Two members of Congress, speaking on March 17 at an event to commemorate the chemical attack on Halabja 27 years ago, pledged to introduce a resolution into the House of Representatives to recognize the Kurdish genocide. 

Congress members Chris Van Hollen and Marsha Blackburn said the resolution would not only highlight the crimes of the 1970s and 1980s, but would also include a section recognizing the crimes committed by ISIS.

Representative Abdul Rahman meets with Kurdish community members in Virginia

The new KRG Representative to the United States met with Kurdish-American diaspora Sunday, March 8 in a town-hall style meeting to introduce herself and deliver updates from the region.

The Kurdish community in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington has been very active in the past year. In December 2014, community members gathered nearly 20 cubic meters of winterizing aid for refugees in Duhok. The aid was delivered in January 2015 by the  Kurdish Relief Fund .

The KRG is on schedule with the implementation of its crude oil export deal with the federal government, enabling Iraq to increase oil export and revenue at a critically important time for the stability and unity of the country. 


In line with its commitment to the terms of the federal budget of 2015, the KRG has until the end of February met almost 97% of its agreed supply of crude oil to SOMO in the Turkish port of Ceyhan. The KRG Ministry of Natural Resources has issued a statement detailing the production schedule for oil exports. 


Read the Ministry of Natural Resource's press release here

WHO commends the efforts of Kurdistan Regional Government

Kurdistan Regional Government Prime Minister, Nechirvan Barzani, received Dr. Ala Alwan, World Health Organisation Regional Director for Eastern Mediterranean Region, EMRO, and his accompanying delegation in Erbil on March 15.


Dr Alwan highlighted the activities of the Kurdistan Regional Government Ministry of Health in general and the Health General Directorate of the Governorate of Duhok in particular.


Read a full press release on the visit here.  

Peshmerga Forces clear over 100 square kilometers south and west of Kirkuk and control key road connecting Mosul


In the early hours of 9 March 2015 to 0500hrs International Coalition Airstrikes targeted ISIS positions south and west of Kirkuk. The airstrikes destroyed several ISIS positions armed with DShK heavy machine guns and at least one ISIS Humvee.


By 1700hrs Peshmerga forces cleared over 100 square kilometers from ISIS control. Peshmerga forces also now control a key junction linking Mosul to Kirkuk, further disrupting the enemy's freedom of movement. 


Read the full press release of the operation here.

For updates from the Kurdistan Region Security Council follow @KRSCPress

PM Barzani and His Holiness Pope Francis discuss current situation in Kurdistan Region

A senior KRG delegation, headed by Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani, was received on March 2 by His Holiness Pope Francis in the Vatican.


His Holiness expressed his thanks and gratitude to the Kurdistan Regional Government for accommodating and providing assistance to the displaced Iraqis and refugees from Syria. He commended the coexistence between various ethnic and religious groups who have been living peacefully in Kurdistan for centuries. 


Read a full press release of the visit here. 

Kurdistan Region Security Council releases evidence of ISIS' use of chemical weapons against Peshmerga

The Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC) released evidence on March 14 that ISIS is using chemical agents in the battlefield against Peshmerga forces.

Peshmerga forces collected soil and clothing samples after a suicide attack on 23 January 2015. The samples were sent to be analysed by a coalition partner nation. The analysis, which was carried out a EU certified laboratory, found the samples contained traces of chlorine consisted with a chemical attack.  This is the first time international investigations have proven ISIS' use of chemical agents. 
KRG Representation in the US hosts annual Newroz Open House in celebration of the Kurdish New Year

The Kurdistan Regional Government Representation in the United States celebrated Newroz on Friday, March 20, with an open house.


Dignitaries, academics, students, aid workers, and Kurdish community members joined KRG US Representation staff to celebrate with Kurdish music, sweets, tea, and a display of photos and books on Kurdistan. The celebration was honored by the presence of the Ambassador from Iraq, His Excellency Lukman Faily.

US Vice President Joe Biden wishes President Barzani and the people of Kurdistan a happy Newroz

US Vice President Joe Biden spoke with Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani on Saturday to wish the President and the people of Kurdistan a happy Newroz. 

President Barzani thanked the government and people of the United States for their support and stressed the need for continued cooperation to defeat the terrorists.

KRG Representation in the US  represents Kurdistan at annual Nowruz Commission Gala in Washington


The KRG US Representation joined nine other diplomatic missions in Washington on Saturday, March 14 to celebrate at the annual Nowruz Commission Gala. 


The night included cultural displays and musical performances. 


Read a press release of the event here. 


KRG Deputy Prime Minister updates diplomats on latest security developments

KRG senior officials met with members of the diplomatic missions in Erbil to update them on the security situation in the Kurdistan Region. Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani highlighted the stability and prevailing security in the Kurdistan Region.

The meeting was attended by most of the members of foreign diplomatic missions in Erbil, Minister Falah Mustafa, Head of the KRG Department of Foreign Relations, KRG Spokesperson, Minister Safeen Dizayee and officials from the Ministry of Peshmerga and the airports of the Kurdistan Region.


Read a full press release of the meeting here.

KRG in the media


Rep. Abdul Rahman interview with Global News Canada

The West Block with Tom Clark


US support to Peshmerga: Too little, too late?

Michael Knights, Al-Jazeera


PM Barzani: Shiite militias should be regulated

Amberin Zaman, Al-Monitor


Will Congress arm the Iraqi Kurds?

Julian Pecquet, Al-Monitor


The Kurds' Heroic Stand Against ISIS

Scott Atran and Douglas Stone, New York Times


The Hidden Enemy in Iraq

Mike Gilgio, Buzzfeed


Leading the Fight Against the Islamic State

Vice News


Representative Abdul Rahman's first interview with Voice of America [Kurdish]

VOA Kurdish Service


President Barzani's interview with PBS NewsHour

PBS NewsHour


Obama lacks Islamic State plan, should increase arms to Kurdish peshmerga, envoy says

Guy Taylor, Washington Times


Kurds: We need more support to fight ISIS

Akbar Ahmed, Huffington Post