Kurdistan Regional Government - Iraq
Representation in the United States

Washington, D.C.
January 2015 Newsletter

New KRG Representative to the US begins her mission in Washington


Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman began her service as the new KRG Representative to the United States this month, bringing with her 10 years of experience as the previous KRG Representative to the United Kingdom. 


Ms. Abdul Rahman said, "It is an honor to be appointed to this post. The job is made easier by knowing there is a good team already in place. I look forward to working together to bring the people of Kurdistan and America closer to each other." Minister Falah Mustafa Bakir, Head of the KRG Department of Foreign Relations, reiterated the significance of the Kurdistan Region's relations with the United States. He said, "This Representation in Washington is a critical post. We will continue to foster our long-term, strategic partnership with the United States." 


Prior to her service at the KRG Representation in the UK, Ms. Abdul Rahman was a journalist for 17 years.


Read the official press release here.

Angelina Jolie visits refugee camp in Kurdistan


Actress and UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie visited the Khanke refugee camp on January 27 to learn more about the plight of refugees in Kurdistan. Ms. Jolie listened to the stories of Yezidi and other refugees at the camp. In an op-ed for the New York Times, she wrote about her experience, "I have visited Iraq five times since 2007, and I have seen nothing like the suffering I'm witnessing now."


Today many refugees are still in need of warm weather clothing, heating systems, and winterizing supplies. The KRG calls on private donors and the international community to support these refugees in their time of great need. 


Read Ms. Jolie's op-ed in the New York Times here.

KRG-US Director coordinates distribution of aid in Duhok


The Kurdistan Regional Government Representation in the United States (KRG-US) Director of Culture and Community Affairs Najat Abdullah is in Kurdistan this week with the Kurdish Relief Fund (KRF) to coordinate the distribution of critically needed winterizing supplies to those displaced into the Kurdistan Region. 

Since 2013, over 1.6 million people have sought refuge in the Kurdistan Region, and many remain dangerously ill-equipped for the winter months. Following an assessment in October 2014, KRF collected several thousand articles of warm clothing and secured shipping to Kurdistan through the Pack-the-Crate Campaign in December 2014. With the help of government officials in Duhok province, Mr. Abdullah delivered much needed supplies to hundreds of refugees.


Special thanks go to the Washington area Kurdish-American community for their generous donations, to Ali Ghaderi and Hardi Nuri for providing logistical support, and to Nordana USA for providing shipping.


Follow KRF's activities on Twitter @KRF_USA

Head of KRG Department of Foreign Relations and KRG Representative strengthen strategic US-KRG relationship


Falah Mustafa, Head of the Department of Foreign Relations, was in Washington through the week of January 5 to introduce the new KRG Representative to the United States, Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman.


During the visit they met with senior US administration and defense officials and key members of Congress. They thanked the US for their continued support of Kurdistan, with Minister Bakir saying, "We are pleased to have so many friends who support the development of the KRG and have shown solidarity and support in the fight against the Islamic State as well as support for the KRG's efforts to help the IDPs and refugees."


Read press releases on the visit here and here.

Peshmerga cut key ISIL supply routes near Mosul


The latest major Peshmerga offensive to liberate areas under control of ISIL has eliminated terrorist elements from areas to the west and to the south of the Mosul Dam. The operation was supported by US-led coalition airstrikes, and cut important ISIL supply routes to Mosul. Over 200 ISIL fighters were eliminated, including 21 commanders and two senior leaders.


The Chancellor of the Kurdistan Region Security Council Masrour Barzani said, "Peshmerga forces have once again demonstrated they are the only formidable force on the ground capable of retaking areas from ISIS and pushing the enemy back."

President Barzani meets Head of US Central Command General Austin

Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani met with the commander of the United States Central Command General Lloyd Austin and the US Ambassador to Iraq Mr. Stuart Jones in Erbil on January 25.

The President and the US general discussed the military campaign currently underway against ISIL terrorists and the military support of the US to the Peshmerga forces. President Barzani thanked the US and other coalition countries for their military support for the Peshmerga.

General Austin recognized the role of the Peshmerga forces in the fight against the ISIL terrorists and reaffirmed continued US support for the Peshmerga. In particular, he praised the military successes and gains made by the Peshmerga forces in areas north of Mosul in recent days, attributing these victories to the able leadership and the personal involvement of President Barzani in supervising these operations.

Kurdistan named one of top 10 adventure holiday destinations in 2015


The Guardian named the Kurdistan Region one of the top 10 destinations for adventure travel in 2015. 


Citing the security of the region, the article named Mount Halgurd, Kurdistan's highest peak and first national park, as an excellent winter trekking destination. Several companies are offering travel and guide packages to the mountain. 


See the article here for more details.

Photo credits:
KRG-US, KRF/N. Abdullah, KRG-US, KRSC Press, Elle, Wikipedia, KRP.org