The Kurdish community in France is once again in mourning. Ten years after the assassination of three Kurdish activists in January 2013, three other Kurdish activists were murdered on 23 December, rue d’Enghien, in the 10th arrondissement of Paris.
A 69-year-old man, William Malet, retired from the SNCF, came to the Ahmet Kaya Cultural Centre, the headquarters of the Kurdish Democratic Council of France (CDKF), at around 11.30 am and shot at point blank range at the three people standing in front of the entrance door, killing two of them, Ms Emine Kara and Mr Abdulrahman Kizil, and seriously injuring a third, the singer Mir Perwer, who tried to take refuge in the Kurdish restaurant Avesta, located opposite. He was chased by the murderer and shot dead. The murderer, armed with a Colt 45 pistol, then went to a Kurdish hairdresser’s salon at the other end of the street to kill more Kurds. He was overpowered by the owner of the salon and his relatives and handed over to the police who came to the scene a little later.
According to eyewitnesses, including a French concierge, the man had come two days earlier to scout. On the day of the killing, he was reportedly dropped off by a car on the corner. That day, at the time he showed up, a meeting of the Kurdish women of France with about thirty participants was scheduled. It was postponed at the last minute because of the strike in the trains. The president of this movement, Mrs. Emine Kara, is one of the victims of the massacre.
The killer was carrying a briefcase containing two more fully loaded magazines and over 70 rounds of ammunition, enough to commit carnage if the planned women’s meeting had taken place at that time.
Presented by the Minister of the Interior who visited the scene as “a racist man who does not like foreigners”, William Malet turns out to be more than a racist. He says he became ‘pathologically racist’ after his flat was burgled in February 2016 by North Africans. In December 2021, he attacked a migrant camp in Bercy Park in Paris with a sword, seriously injuring an Eritrean and a Sudanese man while shouting “Death to migrants”. Arrested and placed in pre-trial detention, he was released on 12 December 2022, ten days before the killing, without being tried and despite his dangerous nature. French justice is clearly deficient here. How can you release, without taking the time to judge, a man who is guilty of an attempted homicide and in whose home the police had already discovered a whole arsenal in 2021?
His motives for his murderous expedition against the Kurds do not stand up either. French racists usually target North Africans and black African Muslim immigrants and attack mosques. December 23 was a Friday, the day of the weekly Muslim prayer, when mosques in Paris and the suburbs are full of people. Why target the Kurds, who are a much smaller and less visible community?
William Malet says “because they should have killed all the Daesh jihadists in Syria instead of taking them prisoner”. This (deliberately?) incoherent line of defence appears to be a smokescreen aimed at concealing the real motives and possible sponsors of this killing, just like the thesis of an “act of an unbalanced person” evoked here and there to psychiatrise and therefore remove responsibility for these heinous crimes.
The Kurdish community is all the more perplexed that this killing comes almost 10 years after the triple murder in January 2013 that took the lives of three Kurdish activists in the 10th arrondissement of Paris. The perpetrator of the crime, Omer Guney, was arrested and imprisoned, but his sponsors, despite numerous clues pointing clearly to the involvement of Turkish intelligence (MIT), have not been prosecuted and punished. Turkey did not respond to the French judicial rogatory commissions. The investigation dragged on and the only suspect, Omer Guney, suffering from a brain tumour, died in prison a few days before the opening of his trial.
This denial of justice feeds the anger of the Kurds of France and their friends who have mobilised. A demonstration on 24 December at Place de la République brought together thousands of Kurds and French political figures and associations. It was followed by a “white march” a few days later between the Rue d’Enghien and the premises of the Kurdistan Information Centre, 147 Rue La Fayette, where Sakine Cansiz, Fidan Dogan and Leyla Soylemiz were murdered in January 2013.
The killing in the Rue d’Enghien also caused great emotion throughout Kurdistan. The President of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region, Nechirvan Barzani, the Kurdistan Council of Ministers, all the Kurdish parties in Turkey, Iran and Iraq, as well as the Commander-in-Chief of the Syrian Democratic Forces, General Mazloum Kobani, reacted to express their indignation and their solidarity with the victims and their relatives, calling on the French authorities to shed full light on this tragedy.
In France, President Macron in a tweet denounced “an odious attack against the Kurds in France”. Justice Minister Eric Dupont-Moretti received a delegation of the victims’ relatives and declared that France was in mourning. The Prefect of Police of Paris also received the victims’ relatives.
The investigation must shed light on the many grey areas surrounding the killing, including William Malet’s company during his time in prison and after his release.
The remains of Ms Emine Kara were repatriated to Iraqi Kurdistan where her family had taken refuge after their village in Hakkari province was destroyed by the Turkish army in the 1990s when more than 3,400 Kurdish villages were wiped out. Emine Kara, known as Evin Goyi, was a figure in the resistance against Daesh, which she fought for four years. Wounded and ill, she came to France for treatment.
The other victim, the singer Mir Perwer, 29 years old, father of a child, a political refugee in France, was buried in his village in the province of Mus. Abdulrahman Kizil, the third victim was also repatriated to Kurdistan in Turkey.
The demonstrations sparked by the death in custody in Tehran on 19 September 2022 of the young Kurdish woman Jina Mahsa Amini continued unabated throughout December. From Kurdistan, the initial focus of the protest, to Baluchistan on the Pakistani border, all the provinces of Iran have, to varying degrees, seen popular mobilisation movements against the regime of the Islamic Republic to the cries of “Woman, Life, Freedom” and “Down with the dictatorshipé. A general strike launched on 5 December was widely followed throughout the country for three days. In Kurdistan, all the shops had lowered their curtains. Universities, including the elite Sharif University, took part in demonstrations (Le MONDE, 15.12.22)
To terrorise the demonstrators and quell the revolt which has entered its third month, the regime has decided to be “merciless”. On 8 December a young demonstrator, Mohsen Shakeri, was executed in Tehran prison. Another protester, Majid Reza Rahmovard, 23 years old, was hanged at dawn on 12 December in Mashhad prison; eleven other convicts are waiting on death row while the prisoners continue to suffer the cruellest tortures (see report in the MONDE of 4.12.22).
In this context, the media announcement of the “abolition of the morality police” (Le MONDE, 6.12.22), presented as a gesture of appeasement, had no impact on the protests, especially as it was not followed up. The same was true of the visit to Kurdistan on 1st December by the Iranian President, officially to inaugurate a drinking water project.
According to RFI, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, on a visit to Sanandaj, capital of the Iranian province of Kurdistan, recalled on Thursday 1st December 2022 that “during the recent riots, the enemies made a miscalculation in believing they could sow chaos and insecurity. But they did not know that Kurdistan had sacrificed the blood of thousands of martyrs and that its inhabitants had in the past defeated the enemy”, referring to the war between Iran and Iraq (1980-1988). The Iranian journalist Vahid Salemi believes that “it is by following this same warlike discourse that the regime has concentrated a large military presence in the Kurdish regions”.
Iranian Kurdistan is still cut off from communication with the rest of the world and, faced with the scale of the protest and the massive participation of the civilian population, the Islamic Republic has stepped up the militarisation of the entire area inhabited by the Kurds.
Curfews were imposed in Javanroud, Mahabad and Bukan, Kurdish towns surrounded by the Revolutionary Guards. Large-scale attacks by government forces against the civilian population illustrate the full concentration of the Islamic Republic’s ultra-violence in these areas. In addition to arbitrary arrests, followed by torture and degrading and inhuman treatment in prisons, some of those arrested and imprisoned have disappeared.
According to HENGAW, on 31 December 2022, during the 40th anniversary ceremony of the killing of seven citizens in the town of Javanroud, located in Kermanshah province, government forces opened fire on the participants. In the shooting, Burhan Eliasi, a 22-year-old shopkeeper, was killed and eight other citizens, including a child, were seriously injured. Many people were arrested. However, no information has been released on the fate of the detainees or the conditions of their detention. Instead, the families of the detainees are under pressure and threatened with reprisals and must remain silent.
Representatives of the clergy, teachers, artists, academics, the medical profession, students, shopkeepers and other representatives of civil society in Javanroud had demanded, in a communiqué in November 2022, equal rights for the Kurds within Iranian society. They demanded “an end to the economic blockade and militarisation of Kurdish cities” as well as “an end to the repression and scenes of horror”. The statement called the regime’s ultra-violent policy against its citizens a failure after 110 days of demonstrations.
The Islamic Republic described these claims as “obstacles to the peace and security” of the oppressed city.
A list of victims of violence and repression by the Iranian security forces is presented from various sources including Baluch Activists Campaign, Kurdistan Human Rights Network, Kolbernews, Herana, Hangaw Human Rights Organization, Iran Human Rights Organization, Iran Human Rights Association, Iran wire, Amnesty International etc. The list is based on testimonies of the victims’ families, local and international human rights organisations and media reports.
It appears that from the very beginning of the protests, security forces used live ammunition and weapons of war to suppress protesters in Baluchistan and Kurdistan.
According to human rights sources, at least 476 people were killed in 26 provinces of the country, including 128 protesters in Baluchistan and 125 in Kurdistan.
Most of the victims were 25 years old. The list includes 49 child victims of the repression. The number of prisoners is estimated at thirty thousand people. They are tortured, threatened, raped and subjected to other forms of verbal and psychological violence.
Several reports in the Iran Wire concern Kurdish cities. For example, in December 2022 an 18-year-old boy was arrested during a violently repressed demonstration in Kermanshah. Similarly, Alan Waissi, a 16 year old high school student from Javanroud, was also arrested by the security forces.
In addition, human rights organisations reported that 25-year-old Shahryar Adili, who was released on bail after being severely tortured in Sardasht prison, died of torture only days after his release.
According to HENGAW’s report of Friday 10 December 2022, Mohammad Haji Rasoulpour from Bukan, died of severe injuries due to torture in Bukan Central Prison.
[The French magazine] ‘Courrier International’, in an article published on 2 December 2022, reports that the Iranian regime is attempting to kidnap and assassinate its opponents abroad. This information is corroborated by The Washington Post, which states that over the past two years Tehran has increased its operations targeting Iranian dissidents abroad, as well as intellectuals or politicians hostile to the Islamic Republic.
To do this, the daily explains, the Iranian intelligence and security services rely heavily on proxies, such as jewel thieves, drug dealers or criminals paid to kill, who are offered hundreds of thousands of dollars.
In 2022, an assassination attempt on former National Security Advisor John Bolton was foiled, another on French writer and philosopher Bernard Henri Lévy in Paris, and an attempt to kidnap Iranian-American journalist Masih Alinejad in New York. All the people targeted are hostile to Tehran.
In an article published on Iran Wire’s website under the title “Why is the city of Saqqiz willing to demonstrate and go on general strike?” the journalist, Tara Awrami, points out that the people of the city of Jina Mahsa Amini have been facing unemployment, poverty, drug addiction and suicide for years.
With its 234,000 inhabitants, Saqqiz is the second largest city in the province of Kurdistan. Besides its strategic location, the city is rich in natural resources and minerals. However, because it is located in a sensitive area and is subject to a security policy, as is the entire area inhabited by Kurds, the city is deprived of the wealth of its subsoil. The volume of mining is considerable but the minerals are transported to other provinces. Their exploitation, far from generating wealth for the locals, causes major risks of environmental deterioration.
Saqqiz is naturally rich in water, but the city suffers from drought and its consequences, just like other cities and villages in Kurdistan, which are also affected by this ecological phenomenon.
The systematic massacre of kolbars by Iranian border guards continues.
Kolbar News estimates the number of victims at 258 for the year 2022. The statistics and documentation centre of HENGAW, Organization for Human Rights, puts the figure at 290, of whom 46 were killed and 244 wounded. According to the same source, the percentage of kolbars killed or wounded by gunfire has increased by 49% compared to the previous year.
According to Keyvan Weisi, the representative of Kurdistan province in the Supreme Council of Iranian Provinces, about 40,000 people make a living from this trade.
In the run-up to the May 2023 parliamentary and presidential elections, the Turkish regime is seeking to silence journalists and opponents by using a judiciary that is now running at full speed.
After having imprisoned in 2016 the Kurdish leaders Selahettin Demirtas and Gultan Kisanak, leaders of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), some thirty mayors and deputies of this party and thousands of its supporters, the Turkish president is now calling for the outright banning of this party, which obtained 6 million votes in the last elections and which represents the second largest opposition formation behind the Republican People’s Party (CHP) in the Ankara Parliament. On the instructions of the Presidential Palace, the General Prosecutor at the Court of Cassation has initiated the inquisition trial of this peaceful party representing all the ethno-linguistic, religious and sexual minorities of the country, which it accuses of “organic links with the terrorist organisation” (PKK). The file is empty. At most, it is reproached for its relations with the PKK during the period when, at the request of the Turkish government, it acted as a mediator to find a peaceful settlement to the conflict and obtain an end to the armed struggle. A memorandum of understanding was signed and publicly announced in February 2015 at Istanbul’s Dolmabahçe Palace by then Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinç. But as soon as he was defeated in the June 2015 elections, the Turkish president preferred to turn the tables and ally himself with the far-right MHP party in order to secure a new majority and his political survival by aligning himself, in the process, with the ultranationalist and anti-Kurdish agenda of this party.
The Constitutional Court, which has already banned 7 pro-Kurdish parties since 1994, has taken up this request for a ban. The procedure is ongoing but depends on the political agenda of the Turkish President. The HDP has presented its defence and is expected to make its final oral remarks in mid-March. The banning decision could then come at the most opportune moment for the electoral calendar of the government, whose objective is to make several hundred leaders of this party ineligible in order to win, even with minor scores, a maximum of seats in the Kurdish provinces where the other opposition parties have little support. In the meantime, the HDP is totally absent from the television screens squatted by Erdogan and his collaborators. Some 15 opposition MPs, most of them HDP, are undergoing a procedure to have their immunity lifted. They could then be prosecuted and tried on various charges and convicted in order to make them ineligible and thus favour their rivals in the presidential AKP.
In this context, the mayor of Istanbul Ekrem Imamoglu was sentenced on 16 December to 2 years and 7 months in prison and ineligibility for “insult” to the High Electoral Council (Le MONDE). He had described as “idiots” the members of this council who had invalidated his first election which led to a second vote where his victory was even more clear. The Turkish President, who insults all day long his political opponents as “terrorists”, “traitors to the nation” and his main rivals, including the leader of the main opposition force (CHP), Kemal Kiliçdaroglu, has never been worried by a Turkish court.
Another target of the government: the opposition press and what remains of it in a country where 95% of the media is controlled by the regime. A country that ranks 149th in the Reporters Without Borders index of freedom of the press and opinion, between Sri Lanka and Sudan or Belarus.
In its 5 December edition, the daily LIBERATION published a long investigation on the repression of local and international journalists and denounced the arrests of journalists under false pretexts.
The New York-based NGO Committee to Protect Journalists reports that as of 1st December, 40 journalists were imprisoned in Turkey, which ranks just behind Iran, China and Myanmar as the country that persecutes the most journalists (Voice of America 15.12.2022). Sad score for a NATO member country that presents itself as the alliance of the great family of democracies. A country that is still considered a candidate for entry into the European Union and as such continues to receive hundreds of millions of euros in pre-accession funds every year.
The new Iraqi government formed after nearly a year of tensions, intra-communal conflicts and negotiations seems ready to begin a process of normalisation of relations between Baghdad and Erbil, it needs the votes of the Kurdish deputies in the Iraqi Parliament to finally have the 2023 budget adopted. After tough negotiations between the parties, it was agreed that 14% of this budget will be allocated to the Kurdistan Region which, if the agreement is implemented without a hitch, will finally have a regular financial allocation to pay the salaries of its civil servants and the Peshmergas and to implement infrastructure projects that have been pending for years due to a lack of funding.
This was the message delivered by Fallah Mustafa, Chief Diplomatic Adviser to the President of Kurdistan and former Kurdish Minister of Foreign Affairs, on the occasion of an international colloquium organised on 12 December by the Kurdish Institute at the National Assembly in Paris.
The government agreement signed between the various Kurdish, Sunni and Shiite parties that form the government coalition also provides for an Iraqi law on hydrocarbons in order to give a permanent legal framework to the oil and gas companies that want to invest in Kurdistan and Iraq as well as a key for the distribution of these resources. Kurdistan had already adopted such a law in 2008, which opened the way to major international investments, making the region a significant oil player and a gas player potentially as important as Azerbaijan according to current estimates.
According to the Iraqi constitution of 2005, adopted by referendum, new oil and gas resources discovered after 2005 in Kurdistan are the responsibility of the regional government, while previous resources fall under the authority of the central government, whose revenues must be shared equitably between all the regions of Iraq in proportion to their population. This interpretation is contested by Baghdad, which has since multiplied disputes with oil companies operating in Kurdistan. Hence the urgent need for an Iraqi law on hydrocarbons that has been awaited for years.
It is also planned to adopt a law on the creation of a Federal Supreme Court with clear competences, mode of referral, functioning and appointment procedure. It will then be up to this court to interpret the constitution and to rule on disputes relating to its interpretation. The current ad hoc Supreme Court has no constitutional basis, is highly politicised and meddlesome, adding tension and confusion to an already confused and precarious political situation in Iraq.
Concerning the bone of contention of the fate of the so-called disputed territories, with a Kurdish majority but currently under the control of the central government, a settlement process is announced without further precision and without clear reference to Article 140 of the constitution which provided for a consultation by referendum of the populations concerned before 3/12/2007 and which has never been applied. In the meantime, Baghdad promises to appoint “soon” a new governor of Kirkuk, to replace the current Arab interim governor appointed in October 2017, accused of corruption, nepotism and especially of serious discrimination against the Kurdish population.
Thanks to the rise in crude oil prices, Iraq now has the financial resources it needs to finally launch a plan to rebuild its infrastructure, especially electricity and drinking water. For this, it needs a form of stability within its borders and non-interference in its internal affairs by neighbouring states. Corruption is endemic and undermines the confidence of the population. The Lebanese model of an oligarchy of party leaders diverting part of the country’s wealth to their own profit also haunts the Iraqis. The last Prime Minister Kazemi is accused of having embezzled 2.5 billion dollars. The various pro-Iranian militias are involved in smuggling oil resources with Iran. The sword of Damocles from Tehran hangs over the heads of Baghdad’s leaders, who fear being destabilised if they embark on the path of asserting Iraqi sovereignty.
The new Iraqi government is counting on neighbouring Arab countries and the West, including France, to balance Iranian influence. At a summit of heads of state and diplomacy from Iraq’s neighbours, convened at France’s initiative in Amman on 19 December, President Macron openly denounced Iran’s interference in Iraqi affairs and urged all states in the region to respect Iraq’s full sovereignty. For its part, Washington is closely monitoring the use of Baghdad’s dollar revenues to ensure that they are not diverted to the Islamic Republic, which is subject to Western sanctions.
It is in this unstable regional context that the Kurdistan government is trying to ensure the security and stability of its region. Turkish air and artillery bombardments in border areas, with their attendant destruction, deaths and displacement of villagers, have become a macabre routine. Iran also sends from time to time a few missiles or drones to bomb border areas or Iranian Kurdish refugee camps, or even neighbourhoods in Erbil, to remind the Kurdish leadership and their American allies of their capacity to cause trouble.
Due to the lack of assured basic services and security neither the displaced Yezidis from Şengal (Sinjar) nor Sunni Arabs from Mosul and Anbar provinces who have been refugees in Kurdistan since 2014 can return to their homes. The fate of these 700,000 displaced persons is not yet on the agenda of the Iraqi government. As for the 250,000 or so Syrian Kurds who, for the most part, no longer live in camps, they are expected to stay and are already largely integrated into the economic and social life of Kurdistan.
The low-key war against Daesh continued throughout December with numerous clashes in Kirkuk province. The Kurdish police, for their part, dismantled a series of Daesh sleeper cells and put them out of action.
The situation in Rojava (Syrian Kurdistan) remains very precarious. Turkey continues to bombard the region with long-range artillery from the occupied Syrian Kurdish territories of Serê Kaniyê (Ras al-Ayn) and Girê Spî (Tell Abyad) and with drones.
In addition to military targets such as the bases of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), allies of the international coalition against Daesh, civilian infrastructure such as roads, power stations and grain silos are targeted to further destabilise the region and cause further population displacement.
This Putin-style war (see FIGARO of 2.12.22) exasperates the SDF, which announced on 2 December that it was suspending its collaboration with the international coalition against Daesh in order to concentrate its forces against Turkey’s incessant aggression. The inaction of the Allies is all the more incomprehensible since Turkish drones dared to bomb a base shared by the SDF and the American contingent. The Americans denounced the attack, which caused no American casualties, without going so far as to shoot down the Turkish drones, which were flying freely in airspace supposedly controlled by American forces. The US Pentagon and State Department have repeatedly expressed their opposition to any further Turkish intervention in Rojava “which would only further destabilise the region and weaken the joint fight against Daesh”. These statements, which have not been followed by concrete actions or threats of sanctions, do not seem to have had any effect on Ankara, which says it is ready to intervene again “to cleanse the region of terrorism, which constitutes an existential threat to the Turkish state”. The Turkish President is negotiating with his Russian counterpart for a green light for a new intervention in the Kurdish canton of Kobani and in Manbij.
So far Russia and Iran, while understanding Ankara’s “security concerns”, are opposed to a new Turkish intervention that would lead to an indefinite occupation of a new portion of Syrian territory. Moscow is pushing Ankara to engage in dialogue with Damascus in order to achieve a normalisation of Turkish-Syrian relations. This normalisation will be at the expense of the Syrian opposition and, of course, the Syrian Kurds, common enemies of Ankara, Damascus, Tehran and Moscow, which wants to punish the Kurds for their alliance with the Americans. Will the Syrian regime, whose survival depends to a large extent on Russian support, obediently follow Moscow’s advice at the risk of making an electoral gift to its worst enemy, Turkish President Erdogan? Will Turkey carry out its threat of a new military intervention at the risk of compromising this beginning of dialogue? How will the multiple factions of the Syrian opposition supported and armed by Turkey react to the "betrayal" of their Turkish protectors?
These questions will become more acute in the coming months.
On the Kurdish side, Mrs Ilham AHMED, President of the Executive Committee of the Syrian Democratic Council, spoke about these issues during a Webinar organised by the Kurdish Institute of Paris and the Kurdish Institute Washington on 15 December 2022.
" We are very skeptical about the rapprochement between Syrian and Turkish governments. However, we think that Erdogan is using this in order to pressure European and Western governments. To say that they are normalizing their relations with the regime and Damascus. I believe that the normalization between these two regimes is risky not only for the Syrian Kurds but also for the whole people in the region. Two regimes have not yet reached a solution for this issue. In Turkey there is a Kurdish issue, in Syria there is a Kurdish issue so we think that this can bear risks for the whole region.”
Asked about relations with the US and the future of these relations, Ms Ahmed said:
The SDF has the coalition partnership in fighting the ISIS. The sustainability of this relation is very important and also the fact that we declared the defeat of ISIS doesn’t mean that the ISIS has ended. ISIS is still trying to re-emerge. They are now in the camps and detention centers and the West should not be left between the SDF and Turkey. Turkey is a NATO member and the SDF still can have an important role in fighting ISIS and the West can have a role in stopping the Turkish aggression against us and our territories.”
“I must add that Turkey is a long-term member of NATO. NATO should now be able to tell them that expanding the NATO shouldn’t happen on the account of other allies, other partners like the SDF who is dealing now with a very important matter which is the detention centers and the camps. So, the choice shouldn’t be between us and Turkey.”
“We know that Erdogan is blackmailing NATO on the memberships of Finland and Sweden. As for the US pressure on Turkey, yes, they do pressure Turkey but we need to see a clear mechanism of how can we stop the Turkish aggression. Whether it’s a land invasion or air strikes, up until now, there is nothing clear about this mechanism. Turkey can be stopped and this is what we are pushing for. We are reaching out to all of our friends and allies in order to achieve this. There is no step practical taken for now in order to mediate between us. As for the dialogue, Turkey is refusing any sort of negotiation whether with SDC or SDF or any of the entities of the autonomous administration. They are looking and calling for war hence the current government rely on the result of this war. They are searching for an eventual win in this war to use it as a tool in their domestic relations and election.”
In order to better understand the evolution of the political situation in all the regions of Kurdistan, the Kurdish Institute of Paris organised a colloquium in Paris and a webinar debate in partnership with the Kurdish Institute of Washington.
The international colloquium on “The situation in Kurdistan and Iraq, current situation and perspectives” was held on 12 September in the Lamartine Room of the French National Assembly with about 200 participants.
A first round table, chaired by Ms Nazand Begikhani, Visiting Professor at Sciences-Po, Paris, was devoted to the current situation. Adel Bakawan, Director of the French Research Centre on Iraq, described with precise information and facts the current political situation in Iraq, the balance of power between the various political parties in the Shiite, Kurdish and Sunni camps, the relations between Baghdad and Erbil as well as the interference of Iran and Turkey. Dr. Nagham Nawzad Hassan and Ms. Binafsh Alo Khalaf spoke about the fate of the Yezidi minority and Ms. Florin Seudin about the status of all minorities in Kurdistan.
In the second round table, chaired by Kendal Nezan, Mr Fallah Mustafa, Chief Diplomatic Adviser to the President of Kurdistan, spoke at length about the prospects for relations between Baghdad and Erbil with a certain optimism (see above). After a word of welcome and support from Mr. Boris Vallaud, President of the Socialist Deputies Group of the National Assembly, Paris Senator Rémi Féraud spoke about the role of French diplomacy in Iraq and the importance of relations between the French, Kurdish and Iraqi Parliaments. Professor Hamit Bozarslan then presented his concluding remarks to the colloquium (see the full text of the colloquium on our website https://www.institutkurde.org/conference.
On 15 December, a webinar in English moderated by Andrew Apostolou, historian and expert on Iranian affairs, brought together three key speakers: Ms Ilham Ahmed, Chair of the Executive Committee of the Syrian Democratic Council, who spoke at length about the situation in Rojava (see above), Mr Asso Hassanzadeh, an Iranian Kurdish academic, and Ms Sonia Rostami of the leading human rights NGO HENGAW, who gave evidence on the situation in Iranian Kurdistan.
All these interventions are available on our website
See also p. 39 for an interview with Asso Hassanzadeh.