Ringing the Changes in Anglo-Kurdish Relations

Gary Kent | Posted 15.04.2014 | UK Politics
Gary Kent

The recent civic commemoration in Westminster of the 26th anniversary of Anfal may come to be seen as a milestone in Anglo-Kurdish links thanks to the British Government's decision to send a minister to the event for the first time.

Soft Power and the UK

Gary Kent | Posted 01.04.2014 | UK Politics
Gary Kent

Soft power can influence others to want the same things as the UK "by building positive international relationships and coalitions which defend our interests and security, uphold our national reputation and promote our trade and prosperity." The report also says it should be carefully combined with hard power, essentially military force, to form "smart power."

New Foreign Affairs Select Committee Inquiry Into the Kurdistan Region

Gary Kent | Posted 05.03.2014 | UK Politics
Gary Kent

The decision by the influential Foreign Affairs Select Committee in the British Parliament to initiate an in-depth and comprehensive inquiry into all aspects of the Kurdistan Region is a triumph for all those who have long argued for the need to increase understanding between the UK and the Kurdistan Region.

Can Scotland Inspire Kurdish Independence? Let's Leave Iraq!

Ruwayda Mustafah | Posted 03.03.2014 | UK Politics
Ruwayda Mustafah

The Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has made little effort to mend Kurdish grievances, instead we are his puppets during elections. The more aggression he shows towards Kurdish people, the more support he is likely to receive from voters. We should stop being puppets in his orchestrated show and instead work towards independence.

Can You Find Kurdistan on a Map?

Ruwayda Mustafah | Posted 20.02.2014 | UK Universities & Education
Ruwayda Mustafah

This picture was taken in the outskirts of Erbil city, Kurdistan. I was passing by a local café recently and decided to have tea with Gozleme, wh...

Planned Protest in London to Demand Freedom for Abdullah Ocalan

Ruwayda Mustafah | Posted 14.04.2014 | UK
Ruwayda Mustafah

A small number of Kurdish people in London have organised a protest 'cycling for freedom' against the Turkish government's life imprisonment of Abdullah Ocalan. Their message is clear on the Facebook page created, with over one thousands invites sent out already...

Three Conservative Contributions to Discussion of British Foreign Policy

Gary Kent | Posted 13.04.2014 | UK Politics
Gary Kent

In their different ways, the Tory trio are seeking to learn the right lessons from Iraq, and deepen the UK's foreign policy debate. Liberal interventionism has been undermined since 2003 but careless insularity, combined with a puerile anti-imperialism, does nothing for current and future victims of tyrants everywhere.

Ankara-Erbil Relations Rare Bright Spot in the Middle East

Gary Kent | Posted 24.01.2014 | UK Politics
Gary Kent

When I began visiting the Kurdistan Region in 2006, one big issue was how best to deal with its awkward neighbour, Turkey. We heard stories of people finding it difficult to cross the border. One trade union delegation, delivering a fire engine to Erbil, was delayed for a day at the border without food or water. It was all pretty petty stuff but more serious dangers simmered. Just five years ago, 100,000 Turkish troops were poised on the border with the Kurdistan Region.

Kurdish Questions at the Party Conferences

Gary Kent | Posted 07.10.2013 | UK Politics
Gary Kent

The British Government is now rightly seeking to mobilise the international community to raise a billion dollars a month to help the Syrian refugees and, as a British minister argued, to help prevent the Middle East erupting into continuous conflict.

Pause for Calm Not a Power-Grab in Iraqi Kurdistan

Gary Kent | Posted 13.08.2013 | UK Politics
Gary Kent

MPs at Westminster have been lobbied about the decision of the Kurdish Parliament to postpone the planned presidential election and extend the term of the current presidency for up to two years.

Iraqi Kurdistan - The Hidden Jewel of the Middle East?

Gary Kent | Posted 23.07.2013 | UK Politics
Gary Kent

Somewhere near Dohuk and the 4,000 year old town where the three wise men possibly began their journey to Bethlehem is a Christian monastery set high on a mountain with commanding views of tremendous scenery. Sadly, our driver had no idea where it was and I only managed to get directions by e mailing a friend in Hawaii.

Out of the Refugee Camp, But Out of School Too

Wendy Bruere | Posted 25.08.2013 | UK
Wendy Bruere

Hadija, 12, and her younger siblings are fast becoming part of Syria's lost generation. Hadija has been out of school for over a year and has forgotten how to read. When I asked her if she could read, she said yes. But when she looked at the words on the back of a bottle, she realized she could no longer make out the letters.

Turkish-Kurdish Peace: It Is Different This Time

Professor Ibrahim Sirkeci | Posted 22.07.2013 | UK Politics
Professor Ibrahim Sirkeci

Arriving at a peaceful settlement will take some time and will require a great deal of honesty as well as transparency. But the short answer is yes, this time it is different and there is reason to be hopeful for peace.

Is It a Trap? Playing Political Football with Fuel Subsidies in Kurdistan Region

Shwan Zulal | Posted 16.07.2013 | UK
Shwan Zulal

High fuel prices and long gas station queues in Iraqi Kurdistan have led to calls for a government subsidy on fuel. But one industry analyst thinks that's a terrible idea. He explains why.

Erdoğan to Brief Obama on Exxon's Latest Play

Shwan Zulal | Posted 15.07.2013 | UK
Shwan Zulal

It is clear that the short statement by Erdoğan was intended to make the Turkish position clear before heading to the US. Turkey has insisted and made it clear on numerous occasions that dealing with Kurdistan region and entering into oil deals are a matter of Turkish national interest.

Twenty-year-old Woman Commits Suicide in Kurdistan

Ruwayda Mustafah | Posted 15.07.2013 | UK
Ruwayda Mustafah

Throughout winter, there were numerous, in fact too many, cases of women who just happened to accidently get burned while sleeping too close to the heater, which for reasons unknown to the public tipped over the victim. Cases like these are obviously honor-tainted

Kurdish Democracy's Biggest Test Yet

Shwan Zulal | Posted 19.06.2013 | UK Politics
Shwan Zulal

The next few weeks and months will be a significant period in Kurdistan Region politics and the biggest test of Kurdish democracy. What happens in the next election and how it is handled by Kurdish politicians from all sides is crucial.

Medical Volunteers in the North East Help Kurds to Stand on Their Own Two Feet

Gary Kent | Posted 17.06.2013 | UK Politics
Gary Kent

Over three hundred people from NHS bodies with their friends came together recently for a glittering charity ball in Newcastle Civic Centre. They had gathered to support and raise funds for Kurdish born orthopaedic surgeon, Professor Deiary Kader who founded the Newcastle-Gateshead Medical Volunteers to bring much needed medical relief to Kurds back in Erbil.

Iraq - Lessons From an Insider

Paul Reynolds | Posted 25.05.2013 | UK Politics
Paul Reynolds

In Iraq everyone privately knew the WMD thing was a pretext, and this assumption underpinned all our political work. No-one was 100% certain of the real aims. Still today. So we made it up.

Campaign to Recognise Kurdish Genocide Gathering Global Momentum

Gary Kent | Posted 25.03.2013 | UK Politics
Gary Kent

The more countries that mark the Kurdish genocide, through parliaments, governments, towns, civic groups, school talks and visits the better. There is a handful of memorials in Britain. There should be more. The 25th anniversary of Halabja has helped develop an international momentum that puts the past Kurdish Genocide and the future of the Kurdish people firmly on the map.

Twenty-Fifth Anniversary of Halabja and Kurdish Genocide in Iraq Shows We Must Move From 'Never Again' to 'Always Prevent'

John Slinger | Posted 23.05.2013 | UK Politics
John Slinger

While many of the world's governments want to prevent genocide, they almost never act to achieve this aim. This despite most being signatories to the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide which is explicitly designed to compel them to do just that.

The PKK, Ceasefires and the Turkish State

Jody Sabral | Posted 22.05.2013 | UK Politics
Jody Sabral

Last week Abdullah Ocalan, the imprisoned leader of the Kurdistan Workers' Party or PKK, called for a ceasefire with the Turkish state. The announcement garnered widespread international coverage largely because the announcement was made to coincide with the Persian/Kurdish New Year and not long after the government announced it was in direct talks with Ocalan himself. But will this lead to a meaningful lasting peace?

Energy, Federalism, the Constitution and Iraqi Unity

Gary Kent | Posted 13.03.2013 | UK Politics
Gary Kent

The great achievement of post-Saddam Iraq is its transition from a centralised and mainly Sunni dominated one-party rule to federalism and power-sharing between Sunnis, Kurds and Shia, and small minorities. All this is, or should be, governed by the constitution, approved by over 80% of the people in a referendum in 2005.

An Audit of Iraq Ten Years On

Gary Kent | Posted 08.03.2013 | UK Politics
Gary Kent

The Kurdistan region is clearly thriving as the safest, most stable, and prosperous part of Iraq, with a headstart of 12 years of relative freedom from Saddam. The number of deaths through terrorism is about 200 since 2003. It has built a major energy sector from nothing in just a few years. And it has helped stabilise the rest of Iraq and could be a model for it to follow.

British MPs Officially Recognise Halabja Genocide

Ruwayda Mustafah | Posted 01.05.2013 | UK Politics
Ruwayda Mustafah

The Halabja poisonous gas attack is known by several names, namely 'bloody friday', which took place on March 16, 1988. Chemicals weapons were used against civilians indiscriminately by the Iraqi government. The attack killed thousands of people, and injured more than 10,000.