Kurdistan Regional Government
Representation in the United States
Washington D.C.
Welcome to our May 2020 Newsletter
 T his month saw the successful formation of a new government in Iraq, headed by Prime Minister Mustafa Kadhimi, whose candidacy was supported by the main Kurdish parties. Prime Minister Kadhimi was the Director of the Iraqi National Intelligence Service and previously worked as a journalist and human rights activist. His government will include three ministers from the Kurdistan Region, one of whom is the only woman in the cabinet – Nazanin Mohammed Wassu, the Minister of Reconstruction and Municipalities. There is cautious optimism that Prime Minister Kadhimi will be able to lead Iraq through the current challenging phase and to early elections, as demanded by protesters for several months.

The immediate challenges facing Iraq and Kurdistan include security, public health, and the economy. ISIS remains a threat, and we are grateful to the Peshmerga and other forces in Iraq and among our Coalition allies who are staying the course to ensure a caliphate isn’t created again.
In terms of public health, similar to the rest of the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has hit our country. Kurdistan’s lockdown was recently eased, which has caused the number of positive cases to spike. Prime Minister Masrour Barzani this week called on the public to remain vigilant and follow public health guidelines. 

The economic challenges are deep and alarming. Both Kurdistan Region and Iraq as a whole rely on oil for much of their revenues. The fall in oil prices and the sizeable global oversupply means that it’s difficult for both governments to make ends meet. The KRG leadership hopes that it can reach both a short-term and long-term agreement with Baghdad on budget-related issues, which have dogged their relations for several years. We hope that the IMF and World Bank will be able to assist Iraq and Kurdistan Region through these difficult times.

As we look ahead to next month, we look forward to the strategic dialogue between Iraq and the United States. We see this as an opportunity to review the status of the relationship to forge a more robust partnership that includes Kurdistan as a factor for peace and stability.

Don’t forget to listen to our podcast, which features an interview with Hoshang Mohamad, the Director of the KRG Joint Crisis Coordination Center, and read the humanitarian bulletin included in this newsletter.

Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman
Representative to the United States
Kurdistan Regional Government
Representative Abdul Rahman and USAID Assistant Administrator Harvey discuss challenges facing Kurdistan

Representative Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman and Michael Harvey, USAID Assistant Administrator in the Middle East Bureau, spoke by phone on Thursday about recent developments in the Kurdistan Region.

KRG US Representation Participates in International Religious Freedom Roundtable

The Kurdistan Regional Government Representation in the United States participated in an International Religious Freedom (IRF) Roundtable focused on the Kurdistan Region on Thursday, May 21, 2020.

US-Kurdistan Business Council hosts discussion with Representative Abdul Rahman

Members of the US-Kurdistan Business Council gathered on videoconference on Wednesday to hear from KRG Representative Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman about the economic outlook in Kurdistan Region and other critical issues.

Representative Abdul Rahman praises the work of MAG in helping Yazidis in Sinjar

KRG Representative Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman participated in a virtual panel discussion organized by the Mines Advisory Group (MAG), which focused on a film that highlights the impact of mines and unexploded bombs in Sinjar.

KRG-US Representation continues Congressional outreach despite lockdown

Representative Abdul Rahman and members and staff of the U.S. Congress have been holding meetings and phone calls instead of face-to-face meetings due to the pandemic.

KRG Sincerely Appreciates Alex Ebsary's Services

The Kurdistan Regional Government expresses deep appreciation to Alex Ebsary for his years of service at the KRG US Representation in Washington. He was instrumental in fostering a relationship between Kurds and Americans. We wish him the best of luck in his new endeavors.
PM Masrour Barzani speech on the current financial situation

My fellow citizens,

On the occasion of our Ramadan feast, I extend my warmest wishes to you all. At this time, I call upon you to continue to comply with our health guidelines in order to protect yourselves and your loved ones from the coronavirus pandemic while observing this holy feast.

The whole world, including the Kurdistan Region, is going through a difficult economic period due to the implications of the outbreak and falling oil prices. These are challenging times for the Kurdistan Regional Government. From the outset of this economic crisis, we have been doing our best to ease the financial burden on people throughout our region.

Prime Minister Masrour Barzani receives commander of coalition’s anti-ISIS campaign, urges concerted effort to defeat terror

Prime Minister Masrour Barzani on Saturday met with Major General Eric Hill, Commander of Coalition's Special Operations Forces to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria, and discussed the ISIS resurgence and the group’s activities in the region.

The two sides spoke about the latest developments in Iraq as well as the need to strengthen coordination between the Peshmerga and Coalition Forces. They stressed the importance of continued coordination in order to eliminate the ISIS threat.

Readout of PM Masrour Barzani's call with U.S. Secretary of Energy

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq (GOV.KRD) - Prime Minister Masrour Barzani yesterday spoke to U.S. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette about the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the economies of the Kurdistan Region and the United States. During the call, the Prime Minister expressed his condolences for those in the U.S. who have died as a result of the coronavirus.

Prime Minister Barzani and Secretary Brouillette agreed on the importance of increasing U.S.-Kurdistan energy investments. They also discussed the new federal government in Baghdad and how the U.S. can continue supporting Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, including the unlocking of international financial assistance.

President Nechirvan Barzani reiterates support for rights of ethnic and religious communities

Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani met with the representatives of ethnic and religious groups who have members in the Kurdistan Parliament and who are participating in the Kurdistan Regional Government.

At the meeting, the delegates shared their views on the current state of affairs in the Kurdistan Region and discussed the role and position of the ethnic and religious communities in the Region’s political and administrative affairs. The representatives also reiterated the importance of safeguarding their communities’ rights and fair representation in the Kurdistan Region’s public institutions and administrative bodies.

President Nechirvan Barzani meets with U.S. Consul General Steven Fagin

Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani received U.S. Consul General Steven Fagin in Erbil on Wednesday. At the meeting, President Barzani reiterated Kurdistan Region’s support to Iraq’s newly formed government led by Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi. The latest political and economic developments in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, the challenges ahead of Iraq’s new government and its future duties were also discussed.

The topic of the US-Iraq dialogue and the role of the Kurdistan Region in it were also highlighted. The two sides also spoke about Erbil-Baghdad relations and efforts to resolve the disputes in accordance with the constitution.

KRG delegation meets Iraqi Parliament's Finance Committee, seeks support to settle disputes with Baghdad

Baghdad, Iraq (GOV. KRD) - The Kurdistan Regional Government' (KRG) delegation headed by Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani on Friday met with Iraqi Parliament's Finance Committee in Baghdad, to discuss ongoing financial problems with the federal government.

In the meeting, the KRG delegation shared proposed solutions to disputes with Baghdad, in particular regarding oil exports and KRG's share in the 2019 federal budget. They also exchanged views on approaches to cope with the 2020 fiscal year.

Prime Minister Masrour Barzani meets investment board, reiterates commitment to diverse economy

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq (GOV.KRD) – Prime Minister Masrour Barzani on Wednesday chaired a meeting of the High Council for Investment to discuss current economic situation and the need to further develop investment in the Kurdistan Region.

In the meeting attended by Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani and other cabinet members, Prime Minister Barzani stressed that the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is working to build a stronger economy.

Speaker Rewas Faiq congratulates Iraq’s new Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi

Kurdistan Parliament Speaker Dr. Rewas Faiq on 12 May wrote to Iraq’s new Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi on his appointment, after winning the vote of confidence of Iraq’s Council of Representatives:

Mr. Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, Prime Minister of the Federal Government, I congratulate you on your inauguration and on gaining the approval of the Council of Representatives for your cabinet. 

Speaker Rewas Faiq welcomes UNSG's Special Representative to Iraq Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert

The Speaker of the Kurdistan Parliament, Dr. Rewas Faiq, welcomed the UNSG's Special Representative for Iraq, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert on 9 May . They discussed the current situation in the region and the formation of the new Iraqi cabinet, as well as the economic impact of the Coronavirus on Kurdistan Region.

Regarding relations between the Kurdistan Region and the Iraqi Federal Government, Speaker Faiq said, "In the current situation, our priority is to serve the citizens of Kurdistan."

Prime Minister Barzani chairs cabinet meeting, calls for constitutional solution to problems with Baghdad

Prime Minister Masrour Barzani chaired a cabinet meeting in Erbil on Wednesday to discuss economic conditions in the Kurdistan Region and outstanding problems with the federal government.

In the meeting, which was also attended by Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani, the Prime Minister wished success to the new Iraqi cabinet, and stressed the need for a constitutional solution to ongoing issues between Erbil and Baghdad.

Deloitte report on Oil and Gas review in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region, with newly added disclosures on prepayment balances - 2019

The KRG’s Regional Council of Oil and Gas Affairs has published a report containing verified statistics covering the Kurdistan Region’s oil exports, consumption and revenues for 2019.

The report, available in Kurdish, English and Arabic, provides a quarterly analysis of oil export information and average prices, together with a consolidated annual overview.

KRG-US May Humanitarian Bulletin
The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) lifted the coronavirus lockdown on May 18 to allow businesses to reopen and eased the ban on traffic within provinces. However, due to new confirmed cases, the Ministry of Interior announced a complete lockdown during the Ramadan Eid holiday this weekend to prevent further outbreaks.

Humanitarian challenges and an American encounter

This month, the Kurdistan In America podcast interviews Hoshang Mohamed, Director of the KRG Joint Crisis Coordination Center. Hear him discuss the humanitarian challenges facing Yazidis, Christians and other displaced and refugee communities, as well as Hoshang’s childhood encounter with Americans coming out of a helicopter.

Kurdistan in the Media
KRG announces major investment plan as economic challenges loom

A senior Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) official on Sunday announced over a thousand investment projects in various sectors across the region.

New Iraq prime minister after five months of deadlock

Iraq's parliament has approved a new government, ending months of deadlock as the country battles an economic crisis and the coronavirus pandemic.

Kurdish artist NOURI’s latest single tops New Zealand iTunes charts

Kurdish pop artist NOURI’s latest single “miss all ur jokes” stormed to the top of iTunes streaming rankings in New Zealand, surpassing the likes of Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, and Dua Lipa. 

Ninewa: Barriers to Return and Community Resilience

The sustainable return of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Iraq occupies many international donor projects and resources.

Iraq’s prime minister renews vow to reform system amid setbacks

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi sought to brush aside early setbacks a mere two weeks into his job on Tuesday, vowing to pursue reforms despite a lack of embedded support from the legislature.

From Xenophon to Kurdistan: The story of the Dutch Grandfather of the Kurds 

Piet Muller, the Dutch “Grandfather of the Kurds, passed away. He was one of the first Dutch citizens to support the Kurds, notably discovering them by following the footsteps of Greek historian Xenophon.

Norway's DNO, ExxonMobil continue to explore for oil, gas in Kurdistan

Norway's DNO and ExxonMobil, partners in the Baeshiqa license in Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, continue to explore for oil and gas in the area.

ISIS Makes A Comeback During The Coronavirus Pandemic

The terrorist organization has ramped up attacks while also taking advantage of changes caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

DoD Inspector General publishes quarterly report on Operation Inherent Resolve

The US Department of Defense published the Lead Inspector General’s quarterly report on Operation Inherent Resolve, the operation to combat ISIS. 

Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da'esh/ISIL (UNITAD)

The fourth report on the activities of the United Nations Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh/Islamic State...

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