Kurdistan Regional Government
Representation in the United States
Washington D.C.
Welcome to our October 2020 Newsletter 
This month, we saw the landmark Sinjar Agreement signed by Erbil and Baghdad, signaling the growing partnership between the KRG and the federal government and paving the way for Yezidis and other displaced Sinjaris to return to their homes.

The Sinjar Agreement outlines administrative and security changes that would begin the process of normalizing the area which fell to ISIS terrorists in 2014, was liberated in 2015 and is currently overrun by militias. Many Yezidis left the country after 2014 and 220,000 remain displaced in the Kurdistan Region.

The agreement includes the appointment of a new mayor and the formation of a 2,500-strong security force recruited from Sinjar residents and the displaced Yezidis in Kurdistan.

Kurdish and Iraqi leaders welcomed the agreement, as did the United Nations Mission in Iraq and the US Department of State. The spokesman for Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa Kadhimi said the agreement ‘ends the authority of intruding groups and paves the way for the reconstruction of the city and the full return of its people in coordination with the Kurdistan Regional Government.’ 

The UN Special Representative for Iraq, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, said she hoped that the agreement would usher in ‘a new chapter for Sinjar, one in which the interests of the people of Sinjar come first’, while also helping “displaced people to return to their homes, accelerate reconstruction and improve public service delivery.’

The demands of the Yezidi community, for a local security force, a new mayor, and the removal of militias, have been included in the agreement. We urge the international community, the United States, and the United Nations to support Erbil and Baghdad in the implementation of this agreement in the interests of stability and the reintegration of the Yezidi community in their homeland of Sinjar.

Ambassador Brownback interview

The plight of the Yezidis and other religious minorities in Iraq and around the world is one of the subjects discussed by Ambassador Sam Brownback in our monthly podcast, Kurdistan In America. The US Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom sees Kurdistan as a model for coexistence and assesses the gains made globally in promoting religious freedom as a fundamental human right.

This week, the US Department of Defense announced that it will deliver military and logistical aid to the 14th and 16th brigades under the Ministry of Peshmerga Affairs. Funding for equipping Peshmerga brigades was approved some years ago by the US Congress and is part of the United States’ support to the continuing fight against ISIS terrorists. We appreciate the partnership with the Department of Defense and the Coalition to defeat ISIS.

Sadly, this month, the rate of infection of coronavirus in the Kurdistan Region has risen dramatically. The number of infections stands at 76,025 and deaths at 2,455. Stricter restrictions are now in place, including the mandatory wearing of masks in Erbil. The coronavirus claimed the life of Dr. Shafiq Qazzaz, a Kurdish academic who studied in the United States and was the KRG Minister for Humanitarian Aid and Cooperation in the 1990s and early 2000s. He will be remembered for his role as an intellectual and in public service.

Great sorrow was also expressed after the passing from other causes of two prominent Kurdish patriots who died this month in America, artist Jamal Bakhtiar, who lived in San Diego, and Dr. Najmaldin Karim, who lived in the Washington DC area.

Mr. Jamal’s paintings recorded momentous and tragic events in Kurdistan’s history, among them a famous painting depicting the use of napalm against Kurdish civilians by the former Iraqi regime in the 1970s. 

Dr. Karim was a peshmerga, successful neurosurgeon, and statesman. He was a brother-in-arms with the generation that fought the Baathists in the 1970s and a high profile and influential Kurdish rights advocate in Washington. He founded the Washington Kurdish Institute and was a well-known figure in the US Congress and government circles.

We extend our condolences to all who have been affected by bereavement through covid-19 and to the families and friends of those who have died.

Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman
Representative to the United States
Kurdistan Regional Government
Representative Abdul Rahman meets with NSC and State Department officials

Representative Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman this month held meetings with officials from the White House and State Department and took part in online discussions and events.

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Listen to the latest episode of our podcast "Kurdistan in America"

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Talabani receives US DAS David Copley

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Kurdistan in the Media
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Local Gold Star Mom honors her son and all veterans every day

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Attack on Kurdistan Democratic Party Baghdad Office

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Three young men killed in Kirkuk village

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