Kurdistan Regional Government
Representation in the United States
Washington D.C.
Welcome to our March 2021 Newsletter 
March is always a month of poignant and notable events for the people of Kurdistan, and this past month was all the more remarkable.

Besides the various anniversaries, including the birth and death of the legendary leader Mustafa Barzani, the anniversary of the genocide in Halabja, and Newroz the 21st, this year, the month of March heralded two significant visits and tough negotiations over the Iraqi federal budget, which was finally passed by the Iraqi Parliament today.

First, the visit of Pope Francis to Iraq and Kurdistan Region, which took place in early March. The historic visit took place in the middle of the pandemic and various security concerns. His Holiness described it as a pilgrimage of peace and called for ‘the weapons to be silenced’.

The visit was very much needed and a unifying moment for all the people of Iraq. His trip included meetings with Kurdish leaders in Erbil and a mass held at Franso Hariri Stadium with 10,000 worshippers. We hope that all sides will build on Pope Francis’s message of peace and fraternity and that we may have many more unifying moments ahead.

The other significant visit this month was that of President Nechirvan Barzani to Paris to meet with France’s President Emmanuel Macron, where President Macron reiterated his readiness to help Iraq achieve political and economic stability.

France is a key player in the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS and has had a strong relationship with Kurdistan since the 1980s when France’s First Lady, Danielle Mitterrand, played an active role in the formation of the Kurdish Institute in Paris.
Later she helped mobilize the French government to intervene in defense of the Kurds who were fleeing Saddam Hussein’s forces in March 1991 after an uprising against the dictatorship.

Her efforts, in parallel with those of others in London and Washington, led to a military-humanitarian operation that saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of Kurds who feared Saddam Hussein would use chemical weapons against them.

In fact, this April, we will be marking the 30th anniversary of that intervention, known as Operation Provide Comfort, which was soon followed by the establishment of the no-fly-zone over Kurdistan. In many ways, the existence today of a stable, tolerant, and free Kurdistan Region in Iraq is a direct consequence of the humanitarian action by the United States, France, and Britain.

There will be events hosted in Erbil, Washington, London, and Paris to mark the anniversary of this extraordinary intervention in April and later this year.

Now, to the closely watched debates and arguments over the Iraqi federal budget. Months of negotiations, led on the KRG side by Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani, resulted in a draft law that recognized positions important to Baghdad and Erbil and achieved a reasonable compromise. 

Prime Minister Masrour Barzani today said, ‘This is a milestone moment for the KRG, from which we can start to recover from an era of unparalleled economic challenges. I thank the KRG negotiating team for their persistence through many months of hard work. I also thank Kurdish blocs in the federal Parliament for their efforts. This law was an accommodation and a necessary one for Iraq and the Kurdistan Region. 

We did not get everything we wanted, but the law is consistent with key principles of the constitution from which we have not wavered.’

You can read about these and other events and meetings in our newsletter below.

Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman
Representative to the United States
Kurdistan Regional Government
KRG Representative meets with Department of Energy Acting Assistant Secretary

Representative Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, on Tuesday, March 24, had a virtual meeting with Andrew Light, the Department of Energy’s Principal...

Kurdistan office and Congressman Cooper discuss security affairs and Nashville’s Kurdish community

The Kurdistan Regional Government Representation in the United States on March 23 met with Congressman Jim Cooper, whose district in Nashville...

KRG Representative joins Iraq and US ambassadors at USIP online event on Iraq

Representative Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, on March 23, took part in an online event hosted by the United States Institute of Peace examining US-Iraq...

Kurdistan envoy meets with State Department’s Acting Director of Iraq Desk

Representative Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, on Tuesday, March 30, 2021, met virtually with Ian Hopper, the Acting Director of the Iraq Desk at the US...

KRG US Representation hosts online commemoration of Halabja genocide

The Kurdistan Regional Government Representation in the United States hosted a virtual commemoration of the genocide in Halabja in 1988, which killed 5,000...

KRG Mission continues advocacy in the US Congress

The Kurdistan Regional Government Representation in the United States continued its advocacy in Congress this week and met with several members...

KRG Representative briefs the US Commission on International Religious Freedom

Representative Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, on Monday, March 15, briefed the US Commission on International Religious Freedom in a virtual meeting...

Representative Abdul Rahman congratulates USIP President Grande on her new post

Representative Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, on Friday, March 12, met with Lise Grande, the recently appointed President of the US Institute of Peace...

KRG envoy discusses humanitarian and economic issues with USAID and State Department officials

Representative Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, on Thursday, March 11, met with officials at the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the...

KRG Representative and Armenian Ambassador affirm historic bond between their peoples

Representative Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman on Tuesday, March 9, had a virtual meeting with Varuzhan Nersesyan, Armenia’s Ambassador to the...

Representative Abdul Rahman and Congressman Stewart discuss security situation

Representative Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman met with Congressman Chris Stewart (Republican, Utah) last week to update him on recent security...

KRG envoy meets chairman of the US House of Representatives’ armed services committee

Representative Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman on Thursday, March 18, met with Congressman Adam Smith, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.

This month, the Kurdistan in America podcast is honored to have Sherri Kraham Talabany as its guest. When Mrs. Kraham Talabany first heard about Kurdistan as an American university student, little did she realize that her life would be inexorably tied to the people of that land. Mrs. Kraham went on to work for the US government, which included working on Kurdistan and Iraq, and she married Qubad Talabani, who is today the KRG's Deputy Prime Minister. She now lives in Kurdistan, where she heads SEED, the NGO that she founded to help victims of violence and trafficking, including the Yezidis and other minorities.
President Barzani and President Macron meet in Paris

Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani was received by President Emmanuel Macron of France at the Elysee Palace in Paris on Tuesday. Discussions covered a wide range of topics, including the situation in Iraq,...

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His Holiness Pope Francis' Apostolic Visit to Kurdistan

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, March 7, 2021 Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani received His Holiness Pope Francis, the Head of the Catholic Church, at the Erbil International Airport on Sunday morning. As His Holiness descended the stairs to ...

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Kurdistan Region President's statement on Halabja Genocide

Today, 33 years have passed since the Iraqi Ba'ath regime chemically attacked the city of Halabja, killing more than 5000 innocent civilians, wounding thousands and displacing many more. As we commemorate...

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President Barzani's statement on the March 11 Agreement

The President of the Kurdistan Region, Nechirvan Barzani, issued a statement on the anniversary of the March 11, 1970 Agreement, a historic declaration of autonomy for the Kurdistan Region within Iraq:...

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President Barzani receives Iraq's Interior Minister

Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani received Mr. Usman al-Ghanimi, the Interior Minister of Iraq. Discussions included the latest security developments in Iraq, the efforts of the security...

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Prime Minister Barzani's statement on the federal budget law

Today, with the support of the majority of Kurdistani political factions, the federal parliament passed the budget law. This is a milestone moment for the KRG, from which we can start to recover from an era of unparalleled...

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PM Masrour Barzani's statement on the Halabja Genocide

Prime Minister Masrour Barzani has issued the following statement on the 33rd anniversary of the Halabja Chemical Attack: "On the 33rd anniversary of the chemical attack on Halabja and ...

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PM Masrour Barzani convenes High Council for Investment

Prime Minister Masrour Barzani today headed a meeting of the Kurdistan Region's High Council for Investment along with his Deputy Prime Minister, Qubad Talabani.

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PM Masrour Barzani Chairs KRG Budget Bill Meeting

Prime Minister Masrour Barzani today chaired a special meeting with relevant ministers in preparation for the tabling of the Kurdistan Region's 2021 budget bill.

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PM Masrour Barzani's Statement on the March 1991 Uprising

Prime Minister Masrour Barzani issued the following statement to mark the 30th anniversary of the March 1991 Kurdish uprising. "On the anniversary of the glorious uprising of March...

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KRG introduces new private sector regulations

Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani today held a virtual meeting with various departments and government officials to discuss the Kurdistan Regional Government's new registration...

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Speaker Rewaz Faiq Statement on International Women's Day

On this International Women's Day, I convey my best wishes to the women of Kurdistan and the world. On this special day, I honour the memory of the women who made sacrifices for the liberation and equality of our people.

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Kurdistan Parliament's statement on Pope Francis' visit

We warmly welcome His Holiness Pope Francis on his visit to Iraq and Kurdistan Region. As a messenger of humanity's highest values, your visit will reinforce the message of peace and coexistence between different components of ...

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Kurdistan in the Media
The KRG Representative Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman joined Ambassador Fareed Yasseen, Iraq’s Ambassador to Washington, and Ambassador Matthew Tueller, the US Ambassador to Baghdad in a USIP panel discussion. The panelists shared their insights on the Pope’s first-ever visit to Iraq, examined the country’s current challenges, and explored areas where policymakers and the international community can support Iraq.
The Kurdistan Regional Government Representation in the United States hosted a virtual commemoration of the genocide in Halabja in 1988, which killed 5,000 people and wounded 7,000 to 10,000. The event, which marked the 33rd anniversary of the genocide caused by chemical weapons against the civilian population of the city, was broadcast live on Kurdistan 24 TV and social media and took place on Tuesday, March 16.
Every year we celebrate Newroz and the arrival of spring on March 21. But we had to celebrate afar this year because of the pandemic.

So we invited you to submit a video message answering what Newroz means or reminds you of?

The answer is in this video
The People Issue 2021: Artist Nuveen Barwari

About a year ago, artist Nuveen Barwari called up a friend she’s known since the fourth grade to make a confession. Her middle initial M. did not actually stand...

Iraqi parliament to vote on controversial 2021 budget

After months of often contentious negotiations between various political factions in Iraq, the national parliament in Baghdad called on Tuesday for all...

PM Barzani stresses peaceful coexistence 3 decades after Kurdish uprising

 On the 30th anniversary of Kurdish uprising against the former Ba’thist regime in Iraq, the Kurdistan Region’s prime minister stressed the importance...

Joey Hood: US 'working very hard' to resolve disputes between Baghdad and Erbil

Joey Hood, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, explained that the US was working “very hard” to help resolve the differences between...

Shingal agreement must be implemented or there will be war, says Yazidi commander

The commander of a Yazidi armed force part of the Kurdistan Region Peshmerga forces said on Friday he fears war could break out in the disputed district of...

Kurdish Human Rights Advocate, Poet, Nazand Begikhani Fights For Gender Equality

“They have subjected girls and women in my environment to female genital mutilation, early forced marriages, confinement, battering and honor killing...

Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq receives AstraZeneca vaccine

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq has obtained tens of thousands more COVID-19 vaccine doses. KRG Prime Minister Masrour...

Rocket attack targets Peshmerga forces on Kirkuk-Erbil border

Unknown forces fired at least three rockets on Monday that landed near Peshmerga forces stationed along the borders of the Kurdistan Region...

Pope Francis’ visit brings Iraqi Kurdistan’s safe-haven status into sharp focus

On a recent morning, as Sahar Ayoub gently turned the pages of her Bible, she contemplated the trauma that her family experienced when Daesh militants...

Reimagining the U.S.-Iraq Economic Relationship: 4 Ideas for the Biden Administration

The United States and Iraq must work together to bring about better opportunities and economic prosperity for the Iraqi people to help secure a stable...

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