New Alliance among Kurds may Deepen Divisions

“Now the KRG is semi-paralyzed, and there is no institution to monitor it after the parliament was rendered dysfunctional by the KDP. Its decisions represent the KDP, and its relations with Baghdad are according to the KDP's interests and preferences,” Kawa Mohammed, a prominent Gorran member of the Iraqi parliament, told Al-Monitor.

“The KDP needs to act wisely and step forward so that Kurdish parties can agree on how to deal with crucial issues, including relations with Baghdad.” In addition, given that the International Monetary Fund is expected to give a $5.4 billion loan to Iraq, Mohammed said, the KRG should mend ties with Baghdad so it can receive a portion of the funds to help address its severe budget deficit.

In recent weeks in Kurdistan, however, events took a dramatic turn when Gorran rejected a June 23 call by Barzani for a meeting of all Kurdish parties to discuss preparations for a referendum on Kurdish independence from Iraq. Gorran claims no longer to recognize Barzani as KRG president following the controversial extension of his tenure in August 2015.

Meanwhile, the KDP refuses to acknowledge the Gorran-PUK alliance, which it sees as a threat as the largest political bloc in Kurdistan. The KDP has repeatedly said it is willing to sit down with Gorran and the PUK separately, but not a joint delegation.

Trying to assert their newfound weight, members of a Gorran-PUK delegation met with senior Iraqi officials June 25 in Baghdad. The KDP used the opportunity to attack the two parties in the media, accusing them of deviating from the Kurdish position toward Baghdad.

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