Kurdistan Regional Government
Representation in the United States
Washington D.C.
Welcome to our May 2021 Newsletter 
The month of May began with a visit to the Kurdistan Region by the Biden Administration’s Middle East team, jointly led by Brett McGurk, National Security Council Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa, and Derek Chollet, Counsellor at the State Department.
The high-level delegation met with the leadership of Kurdistan and reaffirmed America’s support for the Region and the friendship that has seen the peshmerga and American soldiers fight tyranny and terrorism side by side.

Soon after this visit, a second delegation headed to Erbil, this time led by Joey Hood, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs.

These exchanges are important and timely, coming at a moment of political uncertainty and increasing security challenges, both from ISIS and militia groups. Underscoring friendships and having frank and open discussions on issues of mutual concern are critical to maintaining the strong partnership between Kurdistan and Washington. Due to restrictions stemming from the covid-19 pandemic, there have been fewer in-person high-level meetings than in the past, but we hope that this will change as the vaccine roll-out continues and the threat from COVID-19 diminishes.

Justice for genocide

There were two significant developments this month in the effort to bring to justice those responsible for genocide against the Yezidis, Christians, and others in Iraq. 
The Kurdistan Parliament had the first reading of the draft law to establish a tribunal for crimes committed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The draft law seeks to provide a legal framework to create a tribunal to help the victims of ISIS find justice and accountability for what they endured.
There is time for consultation before the second reading and those with an interest are encouraged to send their views to the KRG or to the member of parliament representing their community.

The other significant development was a briefing to the United Nations Security Council by Karim Khan, who leads UNITAD, the UN team investigating ISIS’ crimes in Iraq. Mr. Khan said that the team found ‘clear and convincing evidence that the crimes against the Yezidi people clearly constituted genocide.’

UNITAD has identified 1,444 possible perpetrators of attacks against the Yezidis and 20 who may have been responsible for the mass murder of cadets and military personnel at the Tikrit Air Academy, also known as Camp Speicher, in 2014.

Kurdistan’s constitution

Domestically, there is an ongoing public debate on the Kurdistan Region’s constitution. The debate was brought to the forefront at a conference earlier this month hosted by the University of Kurdistan Hewler, titled The Kurdistan Region of Iraq – Unity and Constitution. Among the speakers were the President, Prime Minister, and Speaker of the Kurdistan Parliament, as well as the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General in Iraq.

The Iraqi constitution allows for the Kurdistan Region to have its own constitution, a draft of which was passed by Parliament in 2009 but was later halted due to political differences. There is now a renewed effort to draft a constitution that is for all citizens, whatever their ethnicity, faith, gender, or social group. President Nechirvan Barzani has visited the leaders of the main political parties in Kurdistan to exchange ideas and consult with them on the constitution. 

At the conference, President Barzani said, ‘We want the constitution to organize the political system of Kurdistan, to enforce rule of law in this country, to make all the [religious and ethnic] groups in Kurdistan feel safe in this country and feel like they will have a better future for themselves and their descendants.’

You can read about these events and developments in this month’s newsletter below.

Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman
Representative to the United States
Kurdistan Regional Government
KRG Representative meets with Congressman Ted Deutch

Representative Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman met with Congressman Ted Deutch (D-FL), Chairman of Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee...

Representative Abdul Rahman meets with DASD Stroul

Representative Bayan Sami Abul Rahman and Dana Stroul, the Department of Defense Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Middle East, held a virtual meeting...

KRG Representative meets with Chairman of the Canadian Parliamentary Friends of the Kurds

Representative Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman met Ziad Aboultaif, a member of parliament representing Edmonton Manning, Alberta, and chairman of the...

Representative and TAPS President discuss NGO’s US and international work

Representative Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman had a virtual meeting with Bonnie Carroll, founder, and president of the Tragedy Assistance Program for...

This month, the Kurdistan in America podcast is honored to have Colonel Myles Caggins as its guest. Colonel Caggins currently serves as the Director of the Public Affairs for the U.S. Army’s III Corps at Fort Hood, Texas, and was the former Spokesperson for the Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve: The international military intervention against ISIS.

He shares with us his upbringing, lifelong professional experience in the U.S. Army, including his views of and encounters with the people of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and Rojava (North-East Syria) while serving as the Spokesperson for the Anti-ISIS Coalition and since his return to the United States. He also talks about his hopes of visiting Kurdistan in the future in a personal capacity.
United States reaffirms support for Kurdistan Region

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, May 5, 2021 A high-level delegation from the United States conveyed the greetings of President Joe Biden and the US Secretaries of State and Defense to the Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani, reiterating the...

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President Nechirvan Barzani receives US delegation

Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani received a US delegation consisting of Mr. Joey Hood, the Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs; Ms. Aimee Cutrona, Deputy Assistant...

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President Barzani meets Coalition Deputy Commander-in-Chief

Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani received Brigadier Richard Bell, the Deputy Commanding General of the Coalition Forces in Iraq and Syria. President Nechirvan Barzani congratulated Brigadier Bell...

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President Barzani speaks at the Unity and Constitution Forum

Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani attended "The Kurdistan Region of Iraq - Unity and Constitution" conference in Erbil on Wednesday and took part in the last panel discussion of the conference....

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Kurdistan President meets with Iraq's Parliament Speaker

Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani received Mr. Muhammad Al-Halbousi, the Speaker of Iraq's Parliament, in Erbil on Monday. Discussions covered the developments in the country, the upcoming general...

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PM Barzani holds meeting on Kurdistan's draft budget bill

Prime Minister Masrour Barzani today chaired a special meeting of the cabinet to discuss the Kurdistan Region's 2021 draft budget bill. Prime Minister highlighted the need for the bill ...

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Council of Ministers approves two bills and explores reforms

Prime Minister Masrour Barzani today convened the Council of Ministers to discuss the implementation of the reform law and the ambitious restructuring of government spending in the...

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Prime Minister Barzani receives US Delegation

Prime Minister Masrour Barzani today received a US delegation led by Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, Joey Hood. Both sides reviewed bilateral relations...

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PM Barzani meets with Coalition Deputy Commander-in-Chief

Skip to the content Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq (GOV.KRD) - Prime Minister Masrour Barzani today welcomed Brigadier General Richard Bell, the new Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Coalition forces in Iraq and Syria, to discuss the current...

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PM Barzani meets with UN Special Representative to Iraq

Prime Minister Masrour Barzani today received the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for UNAMI, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert. During the meeting, they discussed the ongoing...

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PM Barzani launches Wheat Marketing Project in Slemani

Prime Minister Masrour Barzani today laid the foundational stone for the Kurdistan Regional Government's Wheat Marketing Project in Slemani. The $122 million project will be...

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New steel factory to provide over 1,000 jobs

Prime Minister Masrour Barzani today inaugurated the largest steel factory in the country. The $100 million private investment will create more than 1,000 jobs as part of the...

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PM Barzani inaugurates Zawa tourism project in Duhok

Prime Minister Masrour Barzani today delivered the following remarks at the opening ceremony of the Zawa Mountain Telepherique tourism project in Duhok. "Zawa Mountain in Duhok is a...

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DPM Talabani chairs meeting on violence against women

Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani today chaired a special meeting with relevant ministries and parties to address the worrying upward trend of violence against women, crime, and...

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DPM Talabani receives UN Special Representative to Iraq

Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani today met with Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General in Iraq, to discuss the current state ...

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Statement by DPM Talabani on Pirde ISIS attack

Deputy Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region Qubad Talabani today issued the following statement: "We strongly condemn the attack by ISIS members that targeted barricades of the...

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Parliament condemns ISIS attack on Peshmerga in Prde

Last night, ISIS terrorists again attacked Kurdistan's Peshmerga forces in Prde, killing and injuring several Peshmerga. Kurdistan's Peshmerga forces once again fought with courage and some gave their lives defending the...

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Parliament Speaker's Statement on International Workers’ Day

On International Workers' Day, my best wishes go out to the workers of Kurdistan, Iraq and the world. On this important occasion we commend the vital role of workers in rebuilding the country. The revitalization and renewal of ...

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Kurdistan in the Media
Michael Waltz, US Congressman and Co-Chair of the Kurdish-American Congressional Caucus, talks to Rudaw TV’s Roj Eli Zalla, stating that a small US troop presence in Iraq is important for providing security for the US and its allies.
Retired United States Army Lieutenant General Jay M. Garner shares memories of his time while serving as US military commander in the1990s in the Kurdistan Region and as Director of the Office for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance for Iraq following the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
This two-minute video is a virtual tour of the various historical and modern sites of Erbil, the Kurdistan Region's capital.
UN extends Iraq mission, will monitor parliamentary elections

The United Nations Security Council on Thursday voted to extend the mandate of the Iraq Assistance Mission (UNAMI) for another year, deciding to strengthen...

Imperfect allies and non-state actors: Lessons from the 1991 no-fly zone in Iraq

Thirty years ago, Saddam Hussein’s totalitarian regime was on the verge of committing genocide against Iraq’s Kurds. Forced to withdraw its invading...

Peshmerga officers will be based at Kirkuk’s K1 starting Sunday

Several Peshmerga officers will begin working with Iraqi forces at Kirkuk’s K1 military base on Sunday, part of efforts to improve coordination and intelligence...

UN investigator says he has evidence of genocide against Iraq's Yazidis

A U.N. team investigating Islamic State crimes in Iraq has found "clear and convincing evidence that the crimes against the Yazidi people clearly...

Biden administration: We have a ‘strategic partnership’ with the Kurdistan Region

Two US officials—one from the White House and another from the Pentagon—made important statements last week in a webinar marking the 30th anniversary...

Turkey has advanced up to 20km into Kurdistan Region, PKK to blame: former Iraqi military chief of staff

The Turkish military has advanced up to 20 km into the Kurdistan Region, a former Iraqi military chief of staff told Rudaw on Monday, blaming the...

Bill establishing court for ISIS crimes passes first reading in Kurdistan Parliament

The Kurdistan Parliament to convene after Eid al-Fitr to do the second reading for the draft bill aimed at establishing a special criminal court for the crimes...

US delegation meets Kurdistan PM; Washington seeks strengthening ties with 'important ally'

A high-level US delegation on Wednesday arrived in the capital of the Kurdistan Region and met with Prime Minister Masrour Barzani...

Kurdistan Region reorganizes water distribution to reduce water use

The Kurdistan Region's Water Directorate says it will not reduce water supplies but will reorganize distribution to decrease the overuse of water as the...

Christian scholar to head Kurdistan Region's human rights board

The Kurdistan Region's parliament on Tuesday voted a Christian lawyer as head of the Independent Human Rights Board.

Islamic State Increases Attacks on Iraqi and Kurdish Forces

The Islamic State terror group has increased its attacks on Iraqi and Kurdish security forces, killing nearly two dozen people in the last month, according...

Kurdistan Region Pledges Protection of Christian Rights

Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani met with the Vatican ambassador to Iraq, Ambassador Mitja Leskovar, and announced that the...

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