Kirkuk’s Kurdish Governor: If Baghdad Blockades Us, ‘We Will Manage’

Additionally the law on provincial councils, passed in 2008, says that it applies to all provinces - with the exception of Kirkuk. That is why neither the Iraqi parliament nor the prime minister has the power to dismiss me.

NIQASH: Of course, you’re not the first governor to be dismissed in Iraq. So why should these dismissals apply to other governors, but not you?

Karim: Those provincial councils unanimously withdrew confidence from those who were dismissed. The Kirkuk provincial council has not done this.

NIQASH: But if Baghdad does the same thing it has done in Iraqi Kurdistan and it stops sending Kirkuk its share of the national budget, what are you going to do?

Karim: If this happens, we will be able to manage and we will maintain the salaries of all government employees and security services.

NIQASH: Baghdad has also accused you of corruption. How do you respond to that?

Karim: I have been the governor for the past six and a half years and this issue was never raised before. It’s clear that the accusation is politically motivated. In fact the person accusing me was previously imprisoned in Kirkuk for theft and forgery. He should have been sentenced to life imprisonment and not been allowed to become an MP.

NIQASH: How long do you plan to stay in Kirkuk?

Karim: As long as the people of Kirkuk accept me. I will not bow to pressure. I will stay in the governor’s job.

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