Kurdistan Regional Government
Representation in the United States
Washington D.C.
Welcome to our September 2020 Newsletter 
At the time of publishing this newsletter, Washington, Baghdad and Erbil are growing increasingly concerned about the threats and attacks against diplomatic missions and Coalition facilities in Iraq. As Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani recently put it, ‘We support efforts of Iraqi leaders to prevent more attacks and stand ready to help ensure security and stability in the country.’

The attacks on diplomatic missions, including the US embassy in Baghdad, go against international law and are not in the interests of Iraq or the Kurdistan Region. Coalition forces are in Iraq at the invitation of the government to protect our people and support our forces against ISIS. The explosions that were heard in Erbil today, with no reported casualties, are of course, a cause of concern. We hope that there will be a de-escalation, wiser and cooler heads will prevail and action can be taken to end these attacks.

On the domestic front, relations between Erbil and Baghdad continue to head in the right direction. Earlier this month, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Kadhimi visited Kurdistan Region for the first time since taking the helm. As he toured all four provinces of Kurdistan, he was greeted with warmth by both the public and officials. It is fair to say that there is cautious optimism in the relationship between the KRG and the federal government, though there are many challenges to overcome. 

In the disputed territories, there is anger and frustration about a revival of the Arabization program whereby Kurds are coerced or forcibly removed out of their homes, which are taken by Arab settlers. 
In a statement issued on September 22, Prime Minister Masrour Barzani said, ‘We are watching with grave concern the situation in the disputed territories, in Kirkuk province in particular, where Arabization policies and attempts to change their demography continue systematically to date.’He added, ‘Imposing these policies will threaten peace and stability in these areas. These policies run counter to our will for all ethnic groups to live together in peace and harmony.’

In the Kurdistan Region, as elsewhere in Iraq and around the world, COVID-19 continues to take a toll on the population. Some 47,810 cases of infection have been confirmed in Kurdistan and 1,749 people have died. The KRG has spent more than $38 million to combat COVID-19 and is carrying out 5,000 tests a day. The KRG continues to invest in healthcare and this month, the Prime Minister laid the foundation stone of a 100-bed hospital in the Shiladze area.

In bilateral relations, US Ambassador Matthew Tueller toured one of the Ministry of Peshmerga Affairs’ facilities and formally handed over about $250million worth of military assistance, noting that it is a lasting symbol of US commitment to the people of Iraq and Kurdistan Region. Ambassador James Jeffrey, Special Representative for Syria Engagement and Special Envoy to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, was welcomed by various KRG officials.

Here in Washington, the KRG US Representation’s outreach to Congress and the US Administration continued, and the US Kurdistan Business Council hosted a discussion with David Copley of the State Department’s Near East Bureau. 

Next week, on Tuesday, October 6, at 11 am EST, I will be moderating a discussion with Peshmerga commander Major General Sirwan Barzani and French philosopher and author Bernard-Henri Levy. General Barzani has firsthand experience fighting ISIS terrorists, while Mr. Levy has made documentary films about the Peshmerga and the liberation of Mosul. You can register for the online event below.

Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman
Representative to the United States
Kurdistan Regional Government
DAS Copley and Representative Abdul Rahman address USKBC members

The United States Kurdistan Business Council (USKBC) hosted a virtual event with Ms. Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, Kurdistan Regional Government...

KRG US Representation's September 2020 Humanitarian Bulletin

The trauma of the genocide committed by ISIS against the Yazidi community in August 2014 continues to haunt nearly all Yazidi community.

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

In this episode of the Kurdistan in America podcast, we interview Yadgar Merani, the founder and CEO of Lezzoo, an on-demand delivery service that has expanded to delivering groceries, cleaning and other services. Listen to Yadgar tell the story of the Kurdistan Region’s most exciting start-up, the only start-up in Kurdistan and Iraq to be supported by YCombinator, and his hopes for youth entrepreneurs in Kurdistan and Iraq.
President Barzani receives Iraqi Prime Minister Al-Kadhimi

Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani received Iraq's Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi in Erbil on Friday. In the meeting, both sides discussed the latest developments in Iraq, the pending...

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President Barzani meets with the US Ambassador Tueller

Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani received the Unites States Ambassador to Iraq Matthew Tueller and his accompanying delegation in Erbil on Tuesday. In the meeting, both sides shed light on...

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President Barzani meets UN Special Representative to Iraq

Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani met with the United Nations' Secretary-General's Special Representative for Iraq, Ms. Jeanine Hennis- Plasschaert, in Erbil on Tuesday. The latest...

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President Macron of France reiterates support to KRG

Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani held discussions with President Emmanuel Macron of France in Baghdad on Wednesday. The meeting, which was attended by the Kurdistan Region Vice Presidents, France's...

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PM Masrour Barzani receives Iraqi PM Mustafa Al-Kadhimi

Prime Minister Masrour Barzani on Thursday received Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi. In the meeting attended by Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani, Prime Minister Barzani...

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PM Masrour Barzani receives US Ambassador James Jeffrey

Prime Minister Masrour Barzani on Tuesday met with US Special Representative for Syria Engagement and the Special Envoy to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, Ambassador James...

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PM Masrour Barzani receives Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS

Prime Minister Masrour Barzani today met with a delegation from the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria, headed by Deputy Commander Major General Kevin Copsey, to provide ...

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PM Masrour Barzani's message on continued Arabization

Prime Minister Masrour Barzani in a statement on Tuesday expressed grave concern over continued Arabisation policies and attempts to change the demography of the disputed areas.

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KRG Ministry of Natural Resources issues statement

Ministry of Natural Resources The Ministry of Natural Resources supervises oil and gas operations and sets government policy concerning exploration, extraction, follow-up, planning, auditing, marketing and other related...

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Deputy PM Qubad Talabani receives US Ambassador Tueller

Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani today received US Ambassador to Iraq Matthew Tueller to discuss dialogue with Baghdad. In the meeting attended by Consul General in Erbil Rob...

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Deputy PM Talabani chairs meeting on Biometrics Program

Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani on Monday chaired a kick-off meeting of the high-level committee tasked to manage Phase II of the Biometric Programme. The Deputy Prime Minister...

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Speaker Dr. Rewaz Faiq welcomes US Ambassador Tueller

Kurdistan Parliament Speaker Dr. Rewaz Faiq on15 September welcomed the US Ambassador to Iraq, Matthew Tueller. They discussed Erbil-Baghdad talks, the reform process, Kurdistan-US relations and coordination against ISIS....

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Speaker Faiq meets with Yazidi women abducted by ISIS

Kurdistan Parliament Speaker Dr. Rewas Faiq on 13 September met with women and girls who had been abducted by ISIS terrorists. The meeting was organized in cooperation with the International Peshmerga Organization for...

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Kurdistan in the Media
Outgoing Coalition spokesman leaves Kurdistan with a love of the Kurds

In an interview with Kurdistan24, the outgoing Coalition Spokesman takes questions and discusses the role of the Peshmerga forces fighting ISIS. He shares his experience in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, and his love of the Kurds and Kurdish culture.
Special Representative Ambassador Jeffrey Travels to Northeast Syria, Iraq, and Germany

Special Representative for Syria Engagement and Special Envoy to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS Ambassador James Jeffrey, joined...

KRG stresses ‘economic diversification,’ facilitates foreign investment: PM Masrour Barzani

Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani on Tuesday stressed that his cabinet gives special attention to diversifying the region’s economy....

The return to Sinjar and the struggle to provide mental health services

This summer, many displaced Yazidi families returned to their places of origin in Sinjar, hoping to turn the page after ISIL’s horrible 2014-2017 siege of...

U.S. tells Iraq it’s planning to pull out of Baghdad embassy

The United States has told the Iraqi government and its diplomatic partners that it's planning a full withdrawal from its embassy in Baghdad unless Iraq reins...

Kakai villages emptied by ISIS attacks in Khanaqin

Kakai villages in Diyala’s Khanaqin area have been emptied following repeated attacks at the hands of the Islamic State (ISIS) terror group. Peshmerga fighter...

US pledges nearly $250 million in military equipment to Kurdistan

The head of the Kurdistan Region's Peshmerga Ministry announced on Tuesday that the United States had committed almost $250 million in...

Kurds Warn of Mounting Ethnic Tensions in Iraq

The Iraqi Kurdistan government is warning of mounting ethnic tensions in the country's disputed territories, saying that Kurdish families are being forcibly...

Kurdistan Region Facing Environmental Crisis

The Iraqi Kurdistan region is facing an environmental crisis due to Iran’s damming of the two main rivers in the region – the Sirwan and the Little Zab...

US proposes that Erbil, Nashville become sister cities

The new US Consul General in Erbil, Rob Waller, on Wednesday suggested that the capital city of the Kurdistan Region be linked as a so-called sister...

Iraqi FM warns US Embassy pullout would be 'dangerous' for region

The US threat to withdraw diplomats from Iraq could set a “dangerous” precedent, the country’s foreign minister said Wednesday, warning that other...

DNO Starts Gas Capture and Injection in Kurdistan, Slashes CO2 Emissions

DNO ASA, the Norwegian oil and gas operator, today announced that the USD 110 million Peshkabir Gas Capture and Injection Project in its Tawke license...

Kurdistan Region cabinet completes over 400 projects in first year

The Kurdistan Region’s ninth cabinet announced this week that it has successfully implemented over 400 strategic projects across the four...

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