December 2, 2019 / 10:50 AM
Iraqi Kurds' achivements are in danger: expert

An expert in Iraq political affairs believes the achievements of the Kurds in the country are in danger as protests have hit the country and the parliament accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi from power.

 

The Iraqi parliament on Sunday accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Adel Abdel-Mahdi amid protests against corruption and poor living conditions.   
In an emergency meeting, lawmakers voted to accept the resignation submitted by the premier a day earlier
Sunday's session was attended by 241 MPs of the 329-member parliament. 
Iraq has been rocked by mass protests since early October against poor living conditions and corruption. Protesters’ demands later spiraled into calls for dissolving Abdel-Mahdi's government. 
According to Iraq's High Commission for Human Rights, at least 406 Iraqis have been killed and 15,000 have been injured since protests began Oct. 1.
Dr. Zheger Hassan, an adjunct professor of Political Science at King's University, told Kurdpress that the protests in separate parts of Iraq pose a threat to the Kurds and the Kurdish Region in the north.
What follow is his full answers to Kurdpress question.
Is demonstrations across Iraq a direct threat for Kurds?
The demonstrations in Baghdad and other parts of Iraq certainly pose a threat to the Kurds and the Kurdish region. After all, the Kurdish region is a part of Iraq and whatever happens in the rest of the country will inevitably affect the Kurds in one way or another. 
One of the demands is amending the Iraq constitution which can lead to the nulling Iraqi Kurdistan Region, how this threat is serious?
This is indeed worrying for the Kurds. The Iraqi constitution is being revisited and the committee that is studying the constitution may recommend changes that would undermine the autonomy and position of the Kurdish region. This would completely undo all the progress that the Kurds have made in the post-Saddam Hussein Iraq since 2003. However, before jumping to conclusions, we should await the findings of the constitutional committee and, as you may know, there are meetings taking place between the Kurdish factions in Iraq and between the KRG and the President of Iraq to determine how to move forward on this issue. 
Why there is no demonstration in the Kurdistan Region?
This is a good question because many of the grievances in the rest of Iraq are also present in the Kurdish region. They include corruption, nepotism, poor or complete lack of critical services such as electricity, water, healthcare, and so on. I would say that one reason for the calm in the Kurdish region is that relative to the rest of Iraq, the Kurds are much better off for now. It would not surprise me if protests surfaced in the Kurdish region if the political and economic situation doesn’t continue to progress. 
Can Kurds defend their rights and not let the constitution amendment lead to the Kurdistan Region collapse?
It’s difficult to say at the moment. Certainly, it will be very difficult to amend the existing constitution without the consent of the Kurdish region. However, what option would the Kurds have if the existing constitution is terminated and the rest of Iraq decides to draft a new one? We can see that the Kurdish strategy is to build unity, and the Kurdish region will come up with a strategy for defending its constitutional status. 
It seems that Turkey is serious in oppressing Kurds in Syria and targetting PKK in deep Kurdistan Region's soil, Can Kurdistan Region be the next target for Turkey?
Well, we know that Turkey has been bombing alleged PKK targets in the Kurdish region of Iraq for years, and most recently over the past 12 months Turkey has targeted the PKK, which has resulted in the killing of dozens of Kurds in Iraq. So, in many ways the Kurdish region is a target of Turkish operations against the PKK. However, I don’t believe that Turkey would attack the Kurdistan Regional Government. There is an allianc there between the KRG and Turkey – and although it’s a tenuous one the alliance benefits both sides. We saw that the president of the Kurdish region, Nechervan Barzani, recently visited Turkey and he effectively defended Turkey’s assault on the Kurds in northern Syria. I think this demonstrates the type of relationship that exists between the Kurdish region and Turkey. 
Reporter's code: 50101