Sunday, January 31, 2010

Al Jazeera: “Kurdistan’s enemy is corruption”


By Wladimir van Wilgenbur

Amsterdam - Al Jazeera’s program Inside Iraq focused on Iraqi Kurdistan and the ‘rampant corruption’. Mohammed Ihsan, KRG representative in Baghdad and Dr. Kamal Majid, retired Professor of Electrical Engineering at Cardiff University debated over corruption in Kurdistan.

According to Al Jazeera the two ruling political parties KDP (Kurdistan Democratic Party) and the PUK (Patriotic Union of Kurdistan) control the economy, while the normal Kurdish civilians still live in poverty. The Kurdish opposition leader Nawshirwan Mustafa of the Change list said Kurds cannot get a job, without being a member of one of the political parties.

During the debate, Mohammed Ihsan representing the Kurdistan Regional Government, said the claims of corruption are exaggerated. But he admits there is corruption in Kurdistan. ““But we are doing our best to sort out this issue.” But Dr. Kamal Majid accused the Iraqi president Jalal Talabani and the Kurdish president Massoud Barzani of being involved in corruption, suggesting that it’s impossible to combat corruption in Kurdistan. “We are not talking about little things.”

Majid also attacked Dr. Barham Salah, Kurdistan’s prime minister, for smuggling cigarettes and corruption. While Dr. Barham Salih said the Kurdish government would combat corruption with a new strategy. Majid claimed he knew Dr. Barham when he was still a student. “I begged him to work as a decent engineer [instead of joining PUK] and now he build a big house, with paved roads.”

Al Jazeera’s host also claimed the electricity in Kurdistan is not better then in Baghdad or Barsa, but Dr. Mohammed Ihsan said the situation of Kurdistan is not comparable with the rest of Iraq. “We are not satisfied with the services, it can be better. There is still much to do for the people.” Next to this, Ihsan said the UN was involved in corruption and had the most corrupted program [Oil for Food program] during 1991-2003 (Photo: Al Jazeera show)

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