The Corner

More on the Kurdish Elections

Earlier today, I posted a few good reads on the Iraqi Kurdistan elections and the situation more generally in Iraqi Kurdistan.

I only just now read Jerry Weinberger’s excellent piece in The Weekly Standard. Jerry just got back from several months in Sulaymaniyah.

Scott Carpenter and Ahmed Ali also have a Policywatch at the Washington Institute.

Kurdish elections.

My own two cents: The Kurdistani List (the joint PUK-KDP list) will likely win in Duhok and Erbil. In Duhok, it will win a fair fight, but in Erbil, its victory won’t sit well with ordinary people upset at the KDP’s nepotism and corruption. The results in Sulaymaniyah are harder to gauge. The Change List has given the PUK a run for its money. If the elections were free and fair, Talabani might go down to defeat on his home turf. Even if the Change List does not win, if it places well, the big loser will be Barham Salih, a lifelong PUK official and the head of the Kurdistani list. He wants to become Prime Minister of Iraqi Kurdistan, replacing Nechervan Barzani, and has been promised this post. But, if the PUK can’t bring in the votes, expect Masud Barzani to balk at rewarding the PUK with such a plum post.

If the Change List pulls out an upset in Sulaymaniyah, the Barzanis should worry. Duhok may be solid, but if Sulaymaniyah can overthrow their political machine, it will reinvigorate opposition in Erbil where Barzani truly does not understand just how unpopular he — and especially his sons — have become.

Michael RubinMichael Rubin is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, senior lecturer at the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Civil-Military Relations, and a senior editor of the Middle East ...

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