Gary Kent
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Gary Kent, who has worked in Parliament for 25 years, is the Administrator of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Kurdistan Region in Iraq.

Entries by Gary Kent

Can and Should Iraq Stay Together?

(0) Comments | Posted 17 February 2015 | (19:48)

Foreign affairs barely figures in the British election campaign. But the implosion of Iraq and the durability of the self-styled Islamic State (Isis) will be major headaches for new ministers in May. Their required reading should include recent and substantial reports from the foreign affairs and defence select committees, respectively...

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Blunt Parliamentary Report Sharpens Debate on Defeating Daish

(0) Comments | Posted 5 February 2015 | (12:01)

A blunt and bleak report from the Defence select committee, headed by Rory Stewart MP, has thrown an intellectual hand grenade into British discussion about the dangers of Daish, whose innovative barbarity has been amplified by the immolation of a Jordanian pilot.

The substantial report scrutinising the British military...

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Call to Include Kurds in Conferences Against Isis

(0) Comments | Posted 3 February 2015 | (09:38)

The British government has given an answer about the exclusion last month of the KRG from the recent conference in London of the international coalition against Daish.

KRG representatives were not invited to this top-level conference, chaired jointly by the American and British Foreign Ministers, John Kerry and Phillip Hammond....

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Highs and Lows in the Anglo-Kurdish Relationship

(0) Comments | Posted 28 January 2015 | (12:42)

Last week in Westminster was a very emotional rollercoaster ride of highs and lows in Anglo-Kurdish relations. It started with the magisterial Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC) report suggesting that Kurdish independence may be coming and should be respected and accepted by the great powers in certain circumstances. We need to...

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British Parliamentary Committee Breaks Historic Taboo on Kurdish Independence

(0) Comments | Posted 22 January 2015 | (12:23)

The stark starting point of the influential and bipartisan Foreign Affairs Committee's long-awaited report on the Kurdistan Region is that the future of Iraq as a nation state is in question as never before. It judges that the clock is ticking on whether Iraq can be stitched back into a...

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Kebabs, Kurds and Charb

(0) Comments | Posted 14 January 2015 | (08:14)

The third national Kebab awards last week in Westminster attracted hundreds of Kurds, Brits and MPs. The event was organised by restaurant owner and well-known Kurdish activist, Ibrahim Dogus, and highlighted the growing popularity of quality kebabs.

The event began with a minute's silence as a mark of respect...

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Helping Refugees and IDPs in Kurdistan

(0) Comments | Posted 10 December 2014 | (14:14)

Back in 1991, my first experience of solidarity with the Kurds was when a million Kurds fled Saddam's helicopter gunships to the mountains. The MP I then worked for had been asked to help by a British woman who was so appalled that she banded together with others to collect...

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Fashion, Solidarity and Reform in the Anglo-Kurdish Relationship

(0) Comments | Posted 5 November 2014 | (11:20)

The Daish crisis has catapulted the Kurds into the popular imagination in the west and the minds of more and more British parliamentarians. A small cultural example of the former was the decision of a clothes maker to model a fashion outfit on fatigues worn by female Kurdish fighters in...

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Healthy Historical Revisionism in Ireland, Britain and Kurdistan

(0) Comments | Posted 28 October 2014 | (09:52)

Historical events linger across generations with sometimes lethal consequences but dispassionate revisionism with new insights, facts and reflections - good history in short - can scotch potent myths and consign running sores to the past, as has been the case with troubled Anglo-Irish relations, and could be for Kurdistan.

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Baghdad Should Love Bomb the Kurds

(0) Comments | Posted 6 October 2014 | (16:42)

The Kurds face the world's wealthiest and best armed terrorist organisation in Daish (Isil) and are struggling to cope with a 20% increase in its population through a massive influx of desperate refugees and internally displaced people in just a few months.

The majority of the internally displaced people are...

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Kurdish Questions in the Commons

(0) Comments | Posted 16 September 2014 | (09:29)

Nearly every day last week saw a major debate in the Commons on the emergency in Iraq and Syria, plus a packed meeting in Parliament attended by many Kurds from north, south, east and west with a distinguished range of speakers including former British Defence Secretary Liam Fox, and distinguished...

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Arm the Kurds

(0) Comments | Posted 3 September 2014 | (09:49)

The Commons returned this week to a major statement from Prime Minister David Cameron on several international crises including Iraq. Denouncing Isil barbarism, he defined his position as providing equipment to the Kurdish forces and supporting US military air strikes. Opposition Leader Ed Miliband backed both. That defines the current...

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America and the Kurds: A Case for Fresh and Urgent Rethinking

(0) Comments | Posted 7 August 2014 | (12:58)

A secret CIA dossier entitled "The Kurdish Minority Problem" has come my way. It says that "the mountain tribes known as the Kurds are now and will continue to be a factor of some importance in any strategic assessment" of the Middle East. It concludes that the Kurds are "belligerently...

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British Perceptions of Iraqi Kurdistan

(0) Comments | Posted 15 July 2014 | (11:00)

The dynamic speed and scale of the unfolding crisis in Iraq have left many opinion-formers and policy-makers keen to catch up with events. British friends of Kurdistan have also been quick to rally to the cause.

The all-party group last week organised a well-attended parliamentary briefing for senior MPs and...

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Is Iraq a Cold House for the Kurds

(0) Comments | Posted 7 July 2014 | (12:38)

A Kurdish television interviewer recently demanded I give a straight yes or no answer on Iraqi Kurdish independence. It was difficult because, as Donald Rumsfeld would say, there are so many known knowns, known unknowns and unknown unknowns. But I have been deliberately diplomatic about this for longer.

British...

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A Snapshot of Life in Erbil and Kirkuk

(0) Comments | Posted 2 July 2014 | (13:40)

The all-party group despatched an emergency delegation last week to express solidarity with Kurdistan. It comprised Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood, Labour's Lord (Maurice) Glasman, Leo Docherty, Director of the Conservative Middle East Council and me.

We met political and security leaders in Erbil, visited the Khazer transit camp for...

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A Tale of Two Doctors and the Kurdish Struggle

(2) Comments | Posted 30 June 2014 | (06:37)

Kurdish Doctor Najmaldin Karim once helped save the life of President Reagan when he was shot. Now his urgent job as its elected Governor is to help save the Kurdish province of Kirkuk.

I met him in Kirkuk last week with a British parliamentary delegation after a fast ride in...

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Maliki, the Kurds and the Future of Iraq

(0) Comments | Posted 16 June 2014 | (16:25)

Iraq will be on the verge of disaster if we do not see urgent action to reverse its fast-moving and bloody crises, which have been needlessly aggravated by the actions of its prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki.

Six years ago, I met Maliki in Baghdad on a Labour Friends of...

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Diplomacy From Below Building Anglo-Kurdish Links

(0) Comments | Posted 10 June 2014 | (10:44)

Several hundred people including the Mayor of Gateshead and the Sheriff of Newcastle, assembled in their finery at a charity ball with a Kurdish twist in Newcastle last weekend.

They were there to support and raise money for the Newcastle Gateshead Medical Volunteers (NGMV), a voluntary organisation of orthopaedic surgeons,...

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Understanding the Kurdish Oil Dispute

(0) Comments | Posted 30 May 2014 | (15:04)

The Kurds of Iraq cannot be accused of impatience over exploiting their energy riches. Oil has been underground for millennia and as it bubbled to the surface was used in traditional medical treatments. But those who ruled Iraq neglected it, apart from the Kirkuk region which was forcibly taken from...

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