Gary Kent
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

US Visa Rules Jeopardise Good Works in Kurdistan

(1) Comments | Posted 2 June 2016 | (09:22)

Orthopaedic and trauma surgeon Professor Deiary Kader has recruited many scrubs, nurses, physiotherapists, and surgeons into the Newcastle-Gateshead Medical Volunteers.

They use a week of their own holidays to do back-to-back operations for Kurds who have often waited decades for new knees and hips. They have put...

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Kurdish Visa Rejections Soar as British Groups Urge Reform

(0) Comments | Posted 14 March 2016 | (13:06)

A dramatic increase in Kurds refused visas for the UK has been revealed in a parliamentary answer. Between April and September last year 1,165 of 1,790, or two-thirds of all applications made in Erbil were turned down.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) Chairman, Jason McCartney MP had discovered that...

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The Living Hell of Kurdish Yezedi Women

(0) Comments | Posted 18 February 2016 | (11:10)

A living hell makes death preferable. At her lowest point, Runak (not her real name) wanted to be bombed by Western jets rather than live in Daesh captivity. Her story should shock us into action.

Runak is a Kurdish Yezidi and one of 5,000 women and children enslaved by...

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Shakespeare and Soft Power

(0) Comments | Posted 6 January 2016 | (09:18)

The debate on Britain joining airstrikes against Daesh in Syria generated more heat than light with an exaggerated focus on their impact, for better or worse. The Ministry of Defence website records just one missile strike in Syria over Christmas. This skewed debate also overlooks the contribution of British soft...

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Getting Serious About Syria, Iraq and Daesh

(0) Comments | Posted 20 December 2015 | (19:32)

The recent dramatic Commons debate about British airstrikes in Syria obscured a parallel debate in the Lords whose experienced members can more easily make profound if unpopular points about war and peace. Lord Dannatt, a former head of the British armed forces, argued that without sufficient regional ground troops, we...

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Kurds Challenge Anti-war Leaders in London

(0) Comments | Posted 13 December 2015 | (17:26)

'Stop the war, destroy the Daesh genocide and rape machine' was the ironic slogan held up by Kurds as supporters of the Stop the War Coalition - stoppers for short - made their way into a London restaurant for a fundraising dinner last night. Other placards said airstrikes saved Kobane...

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The Case for British Military Action in Iraq and Syria

(0) Comments | Posted 8 November 2015 | (16:21)

The use of British military and soft power for the common good of humanity suffered setbacks this week. In practice, the argument concerns whether eight RAF jets deployed over Iraq should extend offensive operations against Daesh into Syria, and strengthen the international coalition. In principle, the legitimacy in Britain of...

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Highlighting the Huge Humanitarian Crisis in the Kurdistan Region

(0) Comments | Posted 26 October 2015 | (11:42)

Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey are routinely cited in debates on the humanitarian crisis caused by Daesh but large numbers of refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) in the Kurdistan Region are often overlooked. Part of the problem is that the two groups are distinct in humanitarian law: refugees are an...

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Jeremy Corbyn and Foreign Policy: The Boy in the Bubble

(1) Comments | Posted 21 August 2015 | (16:07)

In 'The Boy in the Bubble', songster Paul Simon wrote 'It's every generation throws a hero up the pop charts' and the latest political star is Jeremy Corbyn, an austere man who has become the focus of anti-austerity activism in Britain. He could win the Labour leadership in September with...

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Jeremy Corbyn and the Kurds

(0) Comments | Posted 30 July 2015 | (09:14)

Jeremy Corbyn may win the Labour leadership contest, and some British Kurds who support Labour may vote for him. Corbyn has supported the Kurds. In the 2013 Commons debate on recognising the Kurdish genocide, he recalled being one of the first to condemn Halabja and urged the British government to...

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The Common Struggle With the Kurds Against Isis

(1) Comments | Posted 12 July 2015 | (17:05)

The tenth anniversary of the 7/7 Al Qaeda bombings, in which 52 people were slaughtered in London, coincided last week with the Kurdistan Regional Government's 11th annual reception in the House of Commons. The host, Nadhim Zahawi MP started the event with a minutes silence for the victims while KRG...

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Cardinal Point on Kurdistan's Humanitarian Crisis

(0) Comments | Posted 24 April 2015 | (11:01)

The influx into Kurdistan of over 100,000 Christians from Mosul as part of a wider exodus last August sparked immediate action by Christians in the capital, Erbil and internationally.

The head of Britain's Roman Catholic Church, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, recently visited Erbil to show solidarity. The Cardinal says: 'Just...

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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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