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Kurdistan’s Weekly Brief April 5, 2022

Kurdistan’s Weekly Brief April 5, 2022
20.04.2022
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A weekly brief of events occurred in the Kurdistan regions of Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey.

Iraq

 The Iranian-backed political bloc known as the “Coordination Framework “seems to have no chance of forming a new government after almost three weeks into the forty day deadline set by the Shia cleric Muqtada al Sadr, leader of the largest coalition.

On March 31st, al-Sadr gave Iranian-backed parties forty days to form the government after he accused them of “hindering” his attempts to form a majority government known as “save the country.” The Coordination Framework’s total seats are less than 70, and despite alliances with small coalitions, it cannot form the government. Yazidi lawmaker Mehma Khalil of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) expects the largest coalition to form the new cabinet by the end of May. Meanwhile, rerun elections remain a possibility.

 In the early hours of Monday, Turkey launched a new invasion into the Kurdistan Region, ostensibly targeting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) presence. The fresh invasion includes air and ground forces and likely aims to expand existing Turkish military zones of occupation in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

The Kurdistan National Congress (KNK), a Brussels-based coalition of organizations and individuals representing all parts of Kurdistan and the diaspora, issued a press release stating that “War against the Kurds will not prevent Erdogan’s downfall,” highlighting President Erdogan’s hostile policies toward the Kurds across all parts of Kurdistan and calling for an end to the silence on Turkish military aggression against South Kurdistan. At the same time, the Iraqi army attacked the PKK-backed Ezdixan (Yazidi) Security forces in the Snuny subdistrict. Initial reports highlighted casualties on both sides. The security of Yazidi areas remains unstable amid political and economic crises since the Genocide the Yazidis at the hands of ISIS (Da’ehs) terrorists. Baghdad has also built a 200km wall on the Iraqi-Syrian border, in a move considered to restrict PKK’s influence in the region. Disagreement appeared among the Kurdish parties over holding elections on its set date of October 1, 2022. The KDP and its partners have insisted on holding the parliamentary election in the Region while the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and four major opposition parties amended elections laws, including changing the one electoral for each province to multiple constituencies. 

Turkey 

  • The pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) denounced the new Turkish invasion of Iraqi Kurdistan under the pretext of fighting the PKK. “These attacks will not solve any problems of Turkey as they have done so far; on the contrary, it will deepen Turkey’s economic, political and social problems as it has been experienced for 40 years,” read the HDP statement. Further, the HDP spokesperson Ebru Günay bashed the opposition leader, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, for supporting the Turkish invasion, she said: “Look at the opposition leader’s reaction. Is this your solution to the Kurdish problem?” Simultaneously, Turkish authorities arrested nearly 80 Kurds and HDP members, mostly in Diyarbakir (Amed) and others in Adana and Van, for “terrorism” related accusations. The authorities also froze the assets of 90 people, mainly HDP politicians, as part of the ongoing “Kobani Investigations.” 

Iran 

  • According to the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (KDPI), Iranian authorities have placed Hassan Askari as the new commander of security forces in Sanandaj (Sena). Previously, Askari was the commander of the Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) in the Kurdish cities of Sena and Bijar. The KDPI accused the new commander of playing a “leading role” in crushing anti-government protests in the fall of 2019 in the Kurdish cities. Separately, the Revolutionary Court in Urmia began trials against thirteen Kurds arrested in 2021 and are facing charges of “membership” of political parties and “anti-state” work. Moreover, three Kurdish men were sentenced to prison, including five months each for Ahed Mawlawi and Hussein Khaliani for “propaganda” for a Kurdish party in Naqadeh and a year in prison for a civilian activist, Hoshiar Shabani in Baneh. Further, Iranian security forces arrested four Kurdish activists in Bokan and Sardasht. Lastly, according to the Hengaw organization for Human Rights, a prominent labor activist, Mortaza Saedi, remains unknown since his disappearance in Tehran last week. Though unconfirmed, authorities have been the main suspect in his arrest.
  • In another bloody week, at least seventeen Kurdish border porters (kolbar) were wounded in a week by the Iranian border guards near Nowsud of the Kermanshah province. Most of the injured kolbars suffered severe injuries. 

Syria 

On Wednesday, General Michael Kurilla, the new commander of the U.S. Central Command visited Syria and visited Syria and met with Mazloum Abdi, commander of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). According to the SDF, General Kurilla “pledged to provide more support to secure the prisons containing ISIS elements.” The US General met with General Mazloum after visiting al-Hol camp, which holds Da’esh terrorists and their families, a significant threat to the region. 

According to Sharq al-Awsat, Russia has threatened to unleash Turkey on the Kurds if they reject Moscow’s conditions to end the tensions. The Russians demand ending the Kurdish siege of the Assad regime forces in some areas of Qamishli. Kurds fear Turkey is exploiting the Russian invasion of Ukraine by launching a new invasion of Kurdish towns in Syria.

However, in an interview with the pro-Kurdish Hawar News, senior Kurdish politician, Aldar Khalil vowed “resistance” in the face of a new Turkish invasion. “We are facing an enemy with a plan who wants to launch an attack and eliminate the opposite party. Resistance is the solution to stand in their face” said Khalil. 

Moreover, the SDF announced the death of one of its Christian members due to Turkish bombardment on Tal Tamer on Sunday night, rejecting Turkish reports of thirteen deaths among the SDF. Turkey also re-launched its “water war,” by cutting off a significant amount of Euphrates water supplies to parts of northeastern Syria. 

Washington Kurdish Institute

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