Freitag, 16.07.2021 / 20:07 Uhr

Kampf der Söhne in Irakisch-Kurdistan

Thomas von der Osten-Sacken

In Irakisch-Kurdistan sind es in allen Parteien die Söhne, Enkel und Cousins, die versuchen das Erbe ihrer Väter anzutreten. Was in der Barzani-Familie bislang ganz gut funktioniert hat, führt im Clan der Talabanis nun in einen offenen Machtkampf:

Lahur Talabani, the ousted co-chair of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), has signaled that he will not fight back, saying the succession for the leadership of Iraqi Kurdistan’s second largest party is not “worth shedding blood” over. He was addressing an event held yesterday in the PUK’s administrative capital, Sulaimaniyah, attended by families of Peshmerga fighters slain in war.

Talabani, was effectively stripped of power in favor of his cousin Bafel Talabani over the past few weeks, his allies in charge of the intelligence and counterterrorism units were removed from their posts, his media outlets shuttered and companies seized. The moves have been described as a bloodless coup and were said to have been supported by the PUK’s chief rival, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), the dominant power in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region.

The aura of defeat was palpable as Lahur Talabani held up a white piece of paper and said, “Bafel is my blood. My [feelings for him] are as pure as this paper.” Talabani went on, “I’ve remained calm so as not a single child’s finger bleeds. I bear no grudge. I will defer to the will of the PUK leadership.”

The lightning speed with which Lahur Talabani’s wings were clipped has had a bombshell effect with pundits struggling to make sense of it all. Lahur Talabani initially pointed the finger of blame at the KDP, which is led by the Barzani family. The Barzanis have been seething at Lahur Talabani’s irreverence toward them, in particular with regard to the KDP’s alliance with the “the Ottomans" — in other words, with Turkey. Such language plays well in Sulaimaniyah, where anti-KDP feelings run strong. But Lahur Talabani apparently overestimated his own power, which has been amplified by social media.

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