2012 more of the same

January 2, 2012

A year full of problems for the Kurds has elapsed. An other one is waiting, if nothing changes. Glancing through last year, Kurdistan of iraq has seen many events that started with political events in January and later developed into political standoff between the governmnet and the opposition and protests that led the government to later speak about corruption and the need to reform the system in the region.
At the external level, not much progress seems to have taken place. Relations with Baghdad are as turbulent as ever. Tehran still shells the border and prefers Baghdad to Arbil. Turkey is in the news these days and it has been up and down depending on their relations with pkk, Baghdad and the USA.
At the internal level, and after analysing the various factors and elements of internal instability, it becomes very clear that the key issue that all internal politics revolves around is the issues of reform, fighting corruption and good governance. As a result of the events of Sulaymaniyah and the protests that took place, a number of promises for combatting corruption, instituting good governance and conducting reform were made, but in reality no concrete steps were made in this direction. To this day, we are waiting for one corrupt person to be tried or be removed from his/her post because of being corrupt. This is at the leadership level.

On the services’ level, one can see a lot of money in the region but no real attempt to build a healthy infrastructure that withstands shocks and is resistant to sudden changes.
Last month, while the oil and gas conference was taking place in Arbil and right aft the Exxon-Mobil deal I told the Financial Times that we may have great five-star hotels and companies but we still don’t have a proper hospital that can be up to the level of the five-star hotels. In many ways we are catching the diseases of the Arab world. When we need medical treatment, we go to places like london to be treated by Kurdish or Iraqi doctors, this mostly applies to the richand the political leaders. The reason for this is that we still have not thought of the concept of investing in people not in things. We may have a state of the art system but if we do not have the right human resources to operate it it could collapse any day.
This culture of dependency not on ourselves in almost every aspect of life, has created a setup for us whereby we look like being in a big hotel and our livelyhood heavily dependant on our surroundings. Right now, we take our 17.5% from Baghdad and hand it to Turkey and Iran for buying everything we own and use.
This dependency on Baghdad, Tehran and Ankara has put us at their mercy and made us passive observers of what goes on in the region with the hope that no neighbour is upset with us.
This bitter reality is what we were like in 2011 and the years before it. Looking at 2012, there is very little indication that this would change. The will and practical steps to invest in people, to creat institutions and to combat corruption are still slogans. Because the the leadership is the same, the officials are in the same powerful places, the political scene is pretty much untouched and no event is suggesting that the mentality of the political establishment that is leading us has changed.

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