Kurdistan Regional Government
Representation in the United States
Washington D.C.
Welcome to our February 2021 Newsletter 
Before looking back at this past month, I would like to look ahead to the historic visit of Pope Francis to Iraq and Kurdistan Region from March 5 to 8.

There is great excitement about the papal visit, not just among the Christians of Iraq but people of all faiths. In Kurdistan Region, we look forward to Pope Francis celebrating Holy Mass on Sunday March 7 at Erbil’s Franso Hariri International Stadium and his meeting with the President of the Kurdistan Region and the Prime Minister.

You can follow His Holiness’s journey to Baghdad, Najaf, Ur, Mosul, Erbil and Qaraqosh through the Kurdish media and the Vatican website: Read more

This past month we were shocked and saddened by the rocket attack on Erbil by militias. The attack was an attempt to hit US and Coalition forces stationed at the city’s airport and to undermine the stability of the Kurdistan Region. This rare incident outraged Kurdistan, Iraq and the international community, with all sides condemning the attack which killed two people and injured over a dozen. Following the attack, US Secretary Tony Blinken called KRG Prime Minister Masrour Barzani to discuss the incident and pledge America’s support for all efforts to investigate and hold accountable those responsible. An investigation was launched by the KRG, the Iraqi government and the United States.

Several members of Congress also expressed their outrage at the rocket attack and support for US airstrikes that took place in response to this and other recent assaults in Iraq on US facilities.
The US airstrike, which took place on February 25, hit facilities used by Iraqi militia in East Syria.

What is needed now is de-escalation. The Kurdistan Region’s stability and status as a safe haven for those fleeing persecution needs to be protected and preserved. US forces are in Iraq at the invitation of the Iraqi government and their role is to support Iraqi and Kurdish forces against ISIS terrorists.

Meanwhile, the business of government continues. This month, the new governor of Erbil, Omed Khoshnaw, was sworn in and the KRG announced that more than 350 billion IQD ($240 million) will be set aside in the 2021 budget for investment projects across all four of Kurdistan’s provinces.

Expressing his support for Kurdistan’s youth and entrepreneurial spirit, Prime Minister Masrour Barzani addressed the wildly popular TEDx Nishtiman event that brought young people together to share ideas and experiences. The Prime Minister urged Kurdistan’s youth not to give into cynicism or to think that we are prisoners of the past. He urged them to believe in themselves and to be part of the political debate and to bring in new ideas.

The Prime Minister and other Kurdish leaders bid farewell to Dr Roj Shaways, who died on February 15 after an illness. Dr Shaways was a highly respected leading figure as a peshmerga and public servant. He held several posts in the Kurdistan Region and Iraq, including KRG Prime Minister and Vice President of Iraq. He will be greatly missed.

Here in Washington DC, our Mission has continued our outreach to the Kurdistani-American community across the United States, including the Chaldeans in Michigan and Yezidis in Nebraska and elsewhere. We have also held meetings with members of the US Congress and officials in the new Biden Administration. I also had the pleasure of meeting with Nashville Mayor John Cooper last week to thank him for his embrace of the Kurdish-American community in his city, which is often referred to as Little Kurdistan.

Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman
Representative to the United States
Kurdistan Regional Government
KRG envoy answers questions from Kansas City International Relations Council members

On Wednesday, February 24, Representative Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman was the guest of the Kansas City International Relations Council...

Kurdistan envoy meets with senior advisor to UN team investigating ISIS crimes

Representative Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman this week had a productive meeting with Thomas Lynch, the Senior Advisor to the UN team investigating...

Kurdistan Representative briefs members of the Canadian parliament

On Thursday, February 25, Representative Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman held a virtual meeting with members of the Canadian parliament to update them on the political...

Kurdistan Region Government's COVID-19 Travel Restrictions

The Kurdistan Regional Government has placed a travel ban to 21 countries, effective on January 15, 2021, to control the spread of coronavirus's new variant...

Representative Abdul Rahman discusses developments with Biden Administration officials

Representative Bayan Abdul Rahman had virtual meetings with several officials from the US State Department, Department of Defense, and White House...

KRG Representative and Nashville Mayor praise vibrant Kurdish-American community

On Tuesday, February 23, Representative Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman and John Cooper, the Mayor of Nashville, Tennessee, had a virtual meeting in...

KRG envoy highlights genocide and plight of displaced Yezidis and Christians at various forums

Representative Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, taking part at various forums this month, has highlighted the plight of displaced Yezidis, Christians, and other...

KRG Representative and IMF Iraq Mission Chief discuss Kurdistan's economy

Representative Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman and Tokhir Mirzoev, the Mission Chief for Iraq at the International Monetary Fund, this week discussed Kurdistan's...

This episode features a discussion with David Tafuri, the President of the United States Kurdistan Business Council (USKBC), an advisor to the Kurdistan Regional Government Representation in the United States, and a political commentator on Fox News. Mr. Tafuri sheds light on the mission of the USKBC and the organization’s activities in the Kurdistan Region, his experience working for UNHCR in Turkey and later for the US Embassy in Iraq in 2006 and 2007. He also offers his take on the KRG’s economic reform initiative and how it can attract more US investors to Kurdistan.
KRG Representation’s Quarterly Humanitarian Bulletin

The Kurdistan Region of Iraq continues to host the largest number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees in Iraq. According to Kurdistan Regional Government's Joint Crisis Coordination Center (KRG-JCC), 930,635 displaced people...

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President Barzani meets with the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq

Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani received the United States' Ambassador to Iraq, Mr. Matthew Tueller in Erbil today. Discussions focused on the latest security and political developments in...

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President Barzani condemns Erbil terrorist rocket attack

The President of the Kurdistan Region Nechirvan Barzani issued a statement, strongly condemning the rocket attack that targeted Erbil on Monday. Below is the full statement: ERBIL, Kurdistan Region, February 16, 2021 We strongly condemn last...

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Plasschaert welcomes Barzani’s role in Baghdad-Erbil talks

Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani met with the United Nations Secretary-General's Special Representative for Iraq, Ms. Jeanine Hennis- Plasschaert. Ms. Plasschaert reiterated that President...

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Erbil’s new Governor takes oath of office

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, February 18, 2021 The newly-elected Governor of Erbil, Mr. Omed Khoshnaw, was sworn in today and took the oath of office before the Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani. Mr. Khoshnaw is succeeding the late Dr....

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President Barzani receives Yezidi activist Nadia Murad

The President of the Kurdistan Region Nechirvan Barzani received Yezidi activist Ms. Nadia Murad. The President commended Ms. Murad's advocacy work for the Yezidi people and reaffirmed the Kurdistan...

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President’s statement on the passing of Dr Roj Nuri Shawes

Honorable relatives, friends and comrades of Dr. Roj Nuri Shawes, It is with great sadness that we learned of the passing of Dr. Roj Nuri Shawes, the Peshmarga commander, renowned politician and the...

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PM Masrour Barzani receives US Ambassador to Iraq

Prime Minister Masrour Barzani today received the US Ambassador to Iraq, Matthew Tuller, to discuss the situation in the country and the deepening of bilateral relations between the...

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PM Barzani receives prominent Kurdish leader Osman Baydemir

Prime Minister Masrour Barzani today welcomed well-known Kurdish politician Osman Baydemir. The meeting between the two officials highlighted the importance of unity between Kurdish...

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Readout of PM Barzani’s call with US Secretary of State

Prime Minister Masrour Barzani spoke by phone today with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken about yesterday's rocket attack in Erbil.

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PM Masrour Barzani convenes Council of Ministers

Prime Minister Masrour Barzani today headed a meeting of the Council of Ministers to discuss recent developments with Iraq and ongoing efforts by the Kurdistan Regional Government.

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Statement by PM Masrour Barzani on Dr. Rozh Shawais' passing

Prime Minister Masrour Barzani issued the statement below following the passing of Dr. Rozh Shawais. "It is with great sorrow that I received the news of the passing of a great...

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DPM Qubad Talabani meets with American Ambassador to Iraq

Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani met with the United States Ambassador to Iraq, Matthew Tueller, to discuss recent political and security developments in the region.

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DPM Qubad Talabani meets with Muhammad Al-Halbousi

The Kurdistan Regional Government high-level delegation leading negotiations with Baghdad, headed by Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani, met with the Speaker of the Iraqi Council of Representatives, ...

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KRG Delegation meets with Nuri Al-Maliki

The Kurdistan Regional Government's high-level delegation leading negotiations with Baghdad, headed by Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani, today met with head of the State of Law...

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Parliament sends best wishes to Yazidis on Khidr Elias feast

On the feast of Khidr Elias following the days of fasting, we convey our best wishes to Yazidis in Kurdistan, Iraq and around the world. On this holy occasion, we ask God to help all the communities of Iraq and Kurdistan...

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Kurdistan Parliament's statement on rocket attacks on Erbil

Last night terrorists attacked with rockets several locations in Erbil, capital of the Kurdistan Region. On behalf of the Kurdistan Parliament, we condemn in the strongest terms these cowardly acts against Erbil International...

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Parliament pays final respects to former speaker Shawes

The Kurdistan Parliament on 15 February held a funeral ceremony for the late Dr. Rozh Nuri Shawes, a former speaker of the parliament, member of the KDP political bureau and veteran Peshmerga who held leading positions in...

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MPs look into status of ethnic and religious communities

Kurdistan Parliament Secretary Muna Kahveci on 10 February led a delegation of MPs on a visit to Duhok, Sheikhan and Al-Kosh to look closely into the welfare of the original ethnic and religious communities, to understand...

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Kurdistan in the Media
In an exclusive interview with FRANCE 24, Masrour Barzani, the prime minister of the Kurdistan region of Iraq, said the February 15, 2021 rocket attack on a US air base in the Kurdish capital of Erbil that claimed several lives was “definitely a terrorist attack”, and that a preliminary probe into the matter has given “a good indication of who was behind it”.
Prominent Kurdish musician Hazhar Zahawi performs at TEDx Nishtiman 2021 in Erbil
Norway's DNO buys ExxonMobil's stake in Kurdistan license amid spending boost

Norwegian oil and gas operator DNO has bought ExxonMobil's 32% stake in Baeshiqa license in Iraq's Kurdistan region amid plans to boost spending in...

Ministry of Health Kurdistan, UNFPA open COVID-19 isolation unit at Soran maternity hospital

The Ministry of Health of the Kurdistan Regional Government through the Directorate of Health in Erbil, with support from UNFPA opened a COVID...

Popular Kurdish politician exiled from Turkey meets with Kurdistan Region PM in Erbil

Osman Baydemir, a prominent former lawmaker and mayor from Turkey’s opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), traveled to Erbil on Thursday...

Yazidis have been forgotten during Covid. They need justice, jobs and a return home

Staring at the same four walls day after day, unable to find work, reunite with relatives, or send your children to school. The Covid pandemic has rendered this...

DTM: Urban Displacement in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq

As displacement within Iraq becomes increasingly protracted for internally displaced persons (IDPs), further research is needed to understand its...

The Kurds’ Quest for Independence: 1920 – 2021

The Kurds are one of the world’s largest peoples without a state, making up sizable minorities in Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. Their century-old quest for...

Duhok’s Christian villagers decry Turkish airstrikes

Christian villagers in Duhok province say sporadic Turkish airstrikes have deprived them of living a normal life, leading many to abandon their villages altogether.

KRG has no intention of closing down its displacement camps: JCC

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has “no intention whatsoever” of closing down displacement camps under its control in the near future, a KRG...

Kurds Warn of Growing Islamic State Capabilities in Iraq 

The recent killing of Islamic State’s top leader in Iraq should not be seen as a crippling sign for the terror group, which has in recent months received fresh...

Pope to hold mass in Erbil during visit to Iraq, Kurdistan Region

Pope Francis will hold mass in Erbil’s Franso Hariri Stadium on March 7 during a visit to Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, the Vatican has confirmed. The papal visit is the first of its kind to Iraq.

UAE's Dana Gas CEO says Iraq's federal government interested in its Kurdish gas

Iraq's federal government is interested in acquiring natural gas from an expansion project in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region in the north that is being carried

Hopelessness, continued displacement lead to spike in suicides among Yezidis: KRG

According to 2021 Quarterly Humanitarian Bulletin of the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) representation in the United States...

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For inquiries, please contact Delovan Barwari, the Director of Public and Humanitarian Affairs, at: delovan.barwari@us.gov.krd