Masoud Barzani was not aware that his insistence on holding a referendum on the secession of the Kurdistan Region from Iraq on 25 September 2017, amid the Iraqi , regional and international environment rejecting it will push him to step down from the rule of the region to open the way for the generation of sons , to his nephew Nechirvan Barzani to lead the region in the Transition period .
Perhaps , the most encouraging thing for the generation of sons to take their political role in the transitional and future period is the welcome of the Kurdish people to him as a “loyal man” and “national hero” who has gained the respect of the political parties in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, his speech focuses on how to rearrange the Kurdish House away from the interactions and conflicts, seen in the Kurdish politics as a less polarizing figure and he is a man who managed to establish more friendly relations with his civil society in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. His political ideas coincide with Baghdad’s desire to deal with a new leadership that is less acute in the national tendencies aimed at separation from Iraq and the establishment of an independent Kurdish state; he depends on the policy of dialogue with Baghdad away from furious slogans and statements.
Also ,he is highly respected in the Western political circles led by the US and the East as he worked to strengthen relations of the « region» with neighboring countries, especially with Tehran, Ankara and Riyadh, which considered him a central figure in Kurdish politics in particular and Iraq in general.
He was born in 1966 in Barzan village, the grandson of the founder of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, Mullah Mustafa Barzani, and the son of Barzani’s brother, Idriss Barzani , . He immigrated to Iran with his family in 1975. He studied political science at Tehran University and became an active member of the Kurdish organizations and quickly moved into the ranks of the party. Barzani was active in the ranks of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), in which he joined in his youth wing, and then he was promoted inside it, where he was elected a member of the party’s Central Committee during the Tenth Congress in 1989.
Barzani became a member of the Political Bureau of the Democratic Party in its eleventh conference held in 1993 in the Kurdish regions after being out of the control of the central government in Baghdad, and later took several executive government positions topped as a head of the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq.
Barzani’s first responsibilities were in the local Kurdish administration in 1996, when the Region was divided into a government in Erbil and another in Sulaymaniyah. He was then appointed as a deputy prime minister of Erbil and then appointed as the prime minister of the KRG cabinet in 1999, 2006, 2012, and 2014.
After the unification of the two administrations in 2006, he assumed the presidency of the unified government of the region, and was elected to this position several times by appointment or election. During his tenure, he played a leading role in a number of strategic initiatives within an active approach in order to improve the level of living and welfare of the society.
He showed great interest in economic issues in the Kurdistan Region, including the policy of developing natural resources and strengthening political and economic relations with neighboring countries and the international community , strengthening the local economy and foreign investment , defending the rights of women, developing and strengthening the process of tuition and higher education, and rebuilding the infrastructure of the Kurdistan Region especially the electricity grid, water resources management, housing, roads and bridges and the organization of oil and gas extraction policy for the Kurdistan Regional Government .
Mr. Nechirvan Barzani is widely regarded as a key architect in the success of the Kurdistan Region in various aspects of political, economic, social and scientific life, during his continuous efforts to achieve the government’s visions in it.
Under his leadership, the “Region government” has become a democratic, pluralistic, secular government, aspiring to a free and prosperous society based on comprehensive development and the implementation of public programs and services to improve the lives of the people of Kurdistan in the Region.
Despite the setback of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) against the backdrop of the results of last September’s referendum, Nechirvan Barzani, the “quiet cook” of Kurdish politics and “extinguisher of its crisis fires,” managed to achieve a major achievement in the Iraqi parliamentary elections held a few days ago, when his list gained the largest possible number of votes superior to the rest of the Kurdish blocs in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. For this victory, its significance is that Nechirvan Barzani is the first person in the region, inherited the authority of the Barzani family within the party and the Kurdistan region of Iraq, and he is the best to represent the aspirations of the Kurdish people within the Iraqi state in a political climate based on unity and diversity and political stability, which contributes to economic development. And this success contributes increases his political, social and international record.
We may not exaggerate if we said through the bitter experience of separation time that Nechirvan Barzani and his leadership of the transition phase was walking in the way of thorns, but was picking roses to put in the hands of opponents before his loved ones. And he is acting as a man of a state that seeks to achieve the good for his Iraqi people, both Kurdish and Arab and not as a political man whose full interest concentrated in the collection of wealth.
The bottom line Iraq and the Kurdistan region need leaders with the thought of Nechirvan Barzani and his wise and balanced policy to play a key role in their renaissance through the building of national unity and social cohesion that will contribute to reconstruction and building. Iraq possesses natural resources and human elements that need loyal leadership and men of a state such as Nechirvan Barzani to achieve well-being and decent living for all Iraqi citizens.
Iraqi Studies Unit
Rawabet Center for Research and Strategic Studies