Sunday, September 20, 2009

South of Kurdistan: political earthquake will change political map Part II

By Mufid AbdullaPUK, Blood, Freedom, Civil War and Destruction
The South of Kurdistan has gone through a crucial period in the Kurdish revolution. The first part of the history of this region covers the period between 1991-1994 when there was chaos between several parties, who were called the Kurdistan United Front (made up of the PUK, KDP and other Islamic, Socialist and Populist parties). Following this period, a civil war took place from 1994 to 1998 between the PUK and KDP which cost many thousands of lives, injuries and turmoil for the people of this region. The preceding consequences saw the division of Kurdistan into the Barzani and Talabani states; five million people were divided by two tribe leaders with the same history, culture and language. Kurds fought Kurds so strongly and heavily, with such a brutal manner of that with which you would only fight your real enemies. Despite the condemnation of fellow Kurds, nothing stopped them.From 1998-2003 the two parties joined together, not to rebuild the country but instead to distribute the wealth and resources to their own cronies and followers of the two parties. In 2005 the Kurdistan election had no joy or validity amongst the people because they had no alternative to the two ruling parties; which was a reason for people to vote for Islamic parties instead of the two ruling parties.The PUK leadership and politburo has been crumbling and becoming increasingly dysfunctional over the last five years due to several reasons. Firstly; the PUK’s first journey from 1975 through blood, freedom and beliefs has turned into a distrust and betrayal of the mass of the people, especially after 1991. The PUK leadership has failed to grasp the reality of modern politics in the south of Kurdistan and the two tribal parties have not prevailed in their rule of the cities due to their limited experience and expertise. Secondly; most of the educated and liberal-minded members of the PUK have abandoned the long days of struggle which they have pursued for such a long time due to the domination of the Talabani rule by his family cronies. Thirdly; the level of corruption has been created by the weak management and rule of the two parties. The corruption in Kurdistan is reminiscent to that of many African states.Throughout the latter half of the twentieth century and up until the 1990s, the Cold War had provided richer countries with the political imperative to give aid monies even to the most corrupt and venal despots in Africa. Bokassa’s coronation as Emperor of the Central African empire in 1977 alone cost US$22 million. Across many African states, corruption was running at epidemic levels. In 1996, amongst fifty-four countries around the world, Nigeria was ranked the most corrupt nation, scoring a dismal 0.69 out of 10 on the corruption rankings (1).Kurdistan’s example as a corrupt nation is unprecedented in the history of the Kurds. For example, almost all of Kurdistan’s budget is going towards 60-70% of the salaries and wages for civil servants in the government; which as a result has made most of them loyal to the ruling parties. We might find more pensioners in Kurdistan taking early retirement with a salary of $5000 per month. Anyone connected with the Talabani rule and loyalty will have a good salary, first class house, top posts given to their son, daughter etc. The two ruling parties have taken 30 million dollars per month from the Kurdistani budget to feed their fellows like drug addicts; the more they give them the more demanding they become to prove their loyalty to their leadership.Despite this corrupt environment, not everybody has been infected with it. PUK veteran leader and second-in-command, Nawshirwan Mustafa, after enduring almost a decade of strife for reform, decided to withdraw from the PUK in 2006 and set up his own media company Wusha. Initially, the media company incorporated only a website and newspaper and eventually they managed to put on air the satellite channel KNN. In the beginning, Nawshirwan Mustafa’s idea was not to build another group outside of the PUK but instead to be a placard for the voice of freedom and democracy in the south of Kurdistan.Nawshirwan Mustafa decided in February 2009 to participate with the independent movement outside of the PUK after Talabani’s failure to reform the PUK. Nawshirwan Mustafa called his movement “Gorran” The Change List. The dawn of revolution had started. As a result of this, the devouring thirst for knowledge invaded the entire Kurdish people in the Sulaymania and Hawler regions with regards to the movement. People never forget the past. The essence of revolution is not the struggle for bread but instead is the struggle for human dignity. Certainly this includes bread. The basis of this ‘Orange Revolution’, so-called by my colleague Patrick Cockburn, is based on economic conditions and the act of governing themselves by and for themselves .In the third part of my analysis I will explain the reaction of Talabani and his rule to the new, independent movement in the election.References(1) Moyo, D. (2009) Dead aid: why aid is not working and how there is another way for Africa. Allen Lane