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مەسعوود بارزانی / Mesûd Barzanî
|President of Iraqi Kurdistan|
14 June 2005
|Prime Minister||Nechervan Idris Barzani
|Vice President||Kosrat Rasul Ali|
|Preceded by||Position established|
|President of the Governing Council of Iraq|
1 April 2004 – 30 April 2004
|Preceded by||Mohammad Bahr al-Ulloum|
|Succeeded by||Ezzedine Salim|
16 August 1946 |
Mahabad, Mahabad, Iran
|Political party||Kurdistan Democratic Party|
Massoud Barzani (Kurdish: مەسعوود بارزانی / Mesûd Barzanî; Arabic: مسعود بارزاني; born 16 August 1946) is the President of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region and the leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party. Barzani was born in Mahabad, Iran, during the rule of the Republic of Mahabad. He has five sons (including Masrour) and three daughters.
Massoud Barzani succeeded his father, the former Kurdish nationalist leader Mustafa Barzani, as the leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) in 1979. Working closely with his brother Idriss Barzani until Idriss' death, Barzani and various other Kurdish groups fought Baghdad during the Iran-Iraq War. For much of this time, the Kurdish leadership was exiled to Iran.
With Saddam Hussein's defeat in the first Gulf War, Kurdish forces were able to retake much of the traditional homeland of the Kurds in Iraq. However, as Iraqi forces regrouped they pushed the Kurdish fighters back and hundreds of thousands of civilians fled to the mountains bordering Iran and Turkey, where thousands died under heavy fire from Iraqi gunships and many more succumbed to starvation and exposure. United States-led allies started Operation Provide Comfort to establish a safe zone within Iraq. This zone, protected by a no-fly zone, eventually developed into an autonomous Kurdish zone under the control of the two dominant Kurdish political parties, the KDP led by Massoud Barzani and the PUK led by Jalal Talabani. This zone incorporated most of the three governorates of Duhok, Hewler, and Silemani.
Just a few months after the creation of the autonomous zone, free elections (a first in Iraq) were held there in 1992. The vote split fairly evenly between the KDP and PUK. The two parties then agreed to divide all the posts of the new Kurdish government evenly between them, with a PUK vice-minister for every KDP minister and vice versa. In May 1994, however, fighting broke out between the Peshmerga of the PUK and of KDP (in a region subject to both international sanctions and Saddam Hussein's sanctions, resources were exceedingly scarce, and competition over what little was available probably helped spark the confrontation). Several armistice agreements were made and broken.
In the summer of 1996 Barzani called on the assistance of Saddam Hussein's regime to help him combat the PUK, which was receiving Iranian assistance. With the aid of the Iraqi army (some of whose Republican Guard units entered the Kurdish region for about 2 weeks' time), they drove the PUK from Iraqi Kurdistan's major cities. The PUK eventually regrouped and retook Suleimani and parts of Hawler province. An end to the civil war was brokered in 1998 in the Washington Peace Accords, leaving the Kurdish zone divided between the two dominant parties; KDP in the Northwest and PUK in the Southeast.
From that time until 2003, there actually existed two parallel Kurdistan Regional Governments, with the KDP and PUK each running their own ministries headed by their own Minister of Interior, Prime Minister, Education Minister, and so forth. Gareth Stansfield described the post-1998 status quo as actually beneficial, however, because it encouraged competition to deliver better governance in the two Kurdistan Regional Governments.
After 2003 the KDP and PUK embarked on an escalating series of efforts to reconcile their competing administrations, effectively creating a united Kurdish front in post-Saddam Iraq. Today all the ministries have been unified, as have Kurdistan's representation offices abroad (the KDP and PUK used to each run their own pseudo-embassies abroad). Although questions remain regarding the actual unification of especially the Ministry of Peshmerga (the equivalent of the Ministry of Defense in other countries), even this has officially been put under the command of the Kurdistan Regional Government and currently (2013) has a Minister from the PUK in charge, who answers directly to the Prime Minister (currently Nechirvan Barzani of the KDP).
President of Kurdistan Region
After the invasion of Iraq in 2003 Barzani became a member of the Iraqi Governing Council and was the president of the council in April 2004. He was elected as the President of the Iraqi Kurdistan region by the Parliament of Iraqi Kurdistan in June 2005.
In his presidency Barzani has established several institutions in the Kurdistan Region to develop its emerging democracy, strengthen alliances and improve the decision-making process. In January 2007 he established the Kurdistan Presidency Council, which includes the Deputy President (Mr Kosrat Rasul Ali), the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the Kurdistan National Assembly, the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister and the Chief of Staff of the Presidency of the Kurdistan Region.
In February 2011, Barzani received the Atlantic Award from the Italian Atlantic Committee and the Italian Delegation to NATO Parliamentary Assembly, for his role in promoting peace, stability, and religious tolerance in the region. During the same visit Pope Benedict XVI received Barzani and paid tribute to the President for his role in providing refuge and assistance to the fleeing Christians. The Atlantic Award is annually conferred to prominent international figures for their role in promoting peace, stability and religious tolerance in their regions.
As President of the Kurdistan Region, Barzani has made official visits to several countries including: meeting with US President George W. Bush at the White House (25 October 2005), UK Prime Minister Tony Blair at Downing Street (31 October 2005), The Pope at the Vatican (14 November 2005), Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi in Rome (13 November 2005), King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia in Riyadh (13 March 2007) and King Abdullah of Jordan in Amman (19 March 2007).
In July 2009, in the first direct election for the presidency of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Massoud Barzani was reelected as president by a popular ballot, receiving 69.6% of the votes. The elections were closely monitored by international observers and the Iraqi Electoral Commission. They were declared "free and fair".
Members of the Barzani family allegedly control a large number of commercial enterprises in Iraqi Kurdistan, with a gross value of several billion dollars, although no evidence of such ownership by Masoud Barzani himself exists. While accusations of corruption against both the KDP-Barzanis and the PUK-Talabanis are often levied by both Kurdish sources and international observers like Michael Rubin. President Barzani on several occasions has denied involvement in any commercial enterprises.
Insufficient financial transparency in the region serves to both exacerbate the accusations and hamper efforts to find any evidence of malfeasance. In July 2010 the opposition paper Rozhnama accused the Barzani-led KDP of pocketing large sums from illegal oil-smuggling. While an opaque financial system may conceal corruption, it may also serve to provide the Kurdistan Regional Government with the necessary cover to spend money on strategic but otherwise embarrassing necessities—whether the purchase of weapons in case of a showdown with Baghdad, aid to Syrian Kurdish groups preparing for a showdown with the Free Syrian Army, or similar initiatives.
In May 2010 the journalist Sardasht Osman was murdered after criticising the Barzani family. In December 2005, Kamal Qadir, a Kurdish legal scholar with Austrian citizenship, was arrested in Iraqi Kurdistan for a series of articles criticizing Barzani's government and family. He was charged with defamation and sentenced to thirty years' imprisonment. He was released in 2006 following international pressure from Amnesty International, Reporters Without Borders, and the government of Austria.
- Iraqi Kurdistan: Political Development and Emergent Democracy, Routledge/Curzon, 2003
- "Middle East | Iraqi Kurdistan leader sworn in". BBC News. 2005-06-14. Retrieved 2012-02-22.
- (2005-06-12). "Kurds in Northern Iraq Elect Regional President | News | English". Voanews.com. Retrieved 2012-02-22.
- "President Bush Meets with President Barzani of Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq". Georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov. 2005-10-25. Retrieved 2012-02-22.
- [dead link]
- Rubin, Michael (2008-01). "Is Iraqi Kurdistan a Good Ally?". AEI Middle Eastern Outlook. Middle East Forum. Retrieved 2010-03-31.
- "Rudaw in English The Happening: Latest News and Multimedia about Kurdistan, Iraq and the World - KDP To Sue Change Movement‘s Paper". Rudaw.net. 2011-07-20. Retrieved 2012-02-22.
- "Second journalist killed in Iraqi Kurdistan - Reporters Without Borders". En.rsf.org. Retrieved 2012-02-22.
- Richard A. Oppel, Jr. (26 January 2006). "Defamer or dissident? Kurd tests the new Iraq". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 3 December 2012. Retrieved 3 December 2012.
- "Cyber-dissident Kamal Sayid Qadir released". Reporters Without Borders via IFEX. 4 April 2006. Archived from the original on 3 December 2012. Retrieved 3 December 2012.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Masoud Barzani|
Mohammad Bahr al-Ulloum
|President of the Governing Council of Iraq
|New office||President of Iraqi Kurdistan