Iraqi Kurdistan names president’s cousin as their new PM

Masrour Barzani, who had been serving as national security adviser, is the son of veteran Iraqi Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani. (AFP)
Updated 11 June 2019

Iraqi Kurdistan names president’s cousin as their new PM

  • Masrour Barzani, who had been serving as national security adviser, is the son of veteran Iraqi Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani

IRBIL, Iraq: Iraqi Kurdistan’s parliament named Masrour Barzani as the region’s new premier on Tuesday, a day after his cousin was sworn in as its president.

Masrour Barzani, 50, is the son of longtime Iraqi Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani and had been serving as national security adviser for the autonomous region since 2012.

He won the votes of 87 of the 97 members present in the region’s 111-seat chamber — more than his cousin received when he was elected president late last month.

PM-elect Barzani will have one month to form the autonomous region’s cabinet.

The cousins hail from the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), which was founded by their grandfather Mustafa in 1946 and remains dominated by the Barzani clan.

Its main rival, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), boycotted Nechirvan’s election as president but at least some of its MPs took part in Tuesday’s session.

Born in Irbil in 1969, Masrour joined the Kurdish security forces, known as the peshmerga, as a 16-year-old.

He attended school in neighboring Iran, then returned to Iraqi Kurdistan to take part in the 1991 uprising against then-dictator Saddam Hussein before traveling to the US to complete his graduate studies.

During his tenure as national security adviser, Barzani had a major role in the region’s fightback against the Islamic State jihadist group, which swept across a third of Iraq in 2014.

He succeeds his cousin Nechirvan who had served as prime minister since 2012.

Nechirvan is now the KRG’s second president after Masoud Barzani, who resigned after 12 years in office following a controversial 2017 referendum on Kurdish independence that prompted Baghdad to reoccupy large swathes of Kurdish-held territory.


Jordanians view Pelosi visit as support for their country

US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. (AFP)
Updated 3 min 34 sec ago

Jordanians view Pelosi visit as support for their country

  • The king stressed the need for a just, lasting and comprehensive peace based on the two-state solution, with East Jerusalem the capital of Palestine

AMMAN: Jordanians are interpreting the visit of a US congressional delegation headed by Democrat Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House of Representatives (the lower house of Congress), as a statement of support for the kingdom.
“Considering what’s happening in the region, this is a welcome visit that emboldens our country and our leadership,” Jordanian MP Wafa Bani Mustafa told Arab News.
Adnan Abu Odeh, a former adviser to King Abdullah and the late King Hussein, told Arab News: “I’m sure the delegation wants to go back to Washington and convey a sense of concern about the situation in Jordan and the region.”
Veteran Jordanian journalist Etaf Roudan told Arab News: “King Abdullah is looking to create warm alliances within Washington after the cold shoulder that (US President Donald) Trump has shown to Jordan following the disagreement over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
Roudan said: “Pelosi’s visit comes as she gears up for a major political confrontation with Trump. Unlike Trump, American Democrats support the two-state solution.”
The nine-member bipartisan delegation included Adam Schiff, chairman of the Intelligence Committee, who is leading the impeachment probe into Trump; Eliot Engel, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee; and Bennie Thompson, chairman of the Homeland Security Committee.
Mac Thornberry, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, was the only Republican in the delegation.
It was received in Jordan by the king, Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah, Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, the king’s communications adviser Bisher Khasawneh, and his media adviser Kemal Al-Nasser.
During their meeting, the two sides discussed cooperation, the strategic partnership between the two countries, and regional developments, primarily the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Jordan’s official Petra news agency reported.
The king stressed the need for a just, lasting and comprehensive peace based on the two-state solution, with East Jerusalem the capital of Palestine.
On Syria, the king called for a political solution that safeguards the country’s territorial integrity and its people’s unity, while guaranteeing the safe and voluntary return of refugees, Petra reported.
The US delegation commended Jordan’s efforts in pursuit of regional peace and stability.