Five years in office: Nechirvan Barzani's theory of moderation

Five years in office: Nechirvan Barzani's theory of moderation

This article was originally written in Arabic by Ali Hussein Feyli

Shafaq News/ During Nechirvan Barzani's inauguration as President of the Kurdistan Region in 2019, the media pondered a singular question: Could Barzani, with his pragmatic and centrist stance, armed with three decades of political experience, effectively navigate the internal and external relations of Iraq's Kurdistan Region?

While initially perceived as a catalyst for repairing strained ties post the September 25, 2017 referendum, the reality proved the challenges facing Barzani to be far more complex.

In the volatile landscape of the Middle East, where challenges loom large, three areas stand out: the fragility of Kurdish internal unity, recurring disputes between Erbil and Baghdad, and the broader regional and global challenges.

Barzani's moderate leadership has been commended for its judicious approach, with intellectual and political stakeholders within Kurdistan prioritizing pragmatism in decision-making. After five years of turmoil, Kurdish factions have finally embraced a phase of "moderation."

As the fifth anniversary of Nechirvan Barzani's presidency approaches, the influence of radical inclinations in both domestic and foreign policy in the Kurdistan Region has historically marginalized moderation as a viable approach. However, recent efforts to mobilize moderate factions to mitigate internal tensions, a strategy long advocated by Barzani, have garnered significant support across political and social spectra.

In the current landscape, Barzani has leveraged his political acumen to advocate for unity and solidarity in regional discussions. Despite initial hesitancy from some quarters in the Kurdistan Parliament, there is now a growing recognition of the necessity to uphold political equilibrium, leading to softened stances.

This shift towards moderation is seen as a cornerstone of Barzani's political ethos and daily governance strategies. Meanwhile, ordinary citizens in the Region continue to press for improvements in living standards and societal harmony, as well as enhanced local and regional cooperation to address longstanding issues between Erbil and Baghdad.

Given the Region's deeply entrenched history of political violence, terms such as interaction, tolerance, restraint, patience, and respect for human rights cannot be overlooked.

In the context of Kurdistan's political landscape, violence, and politics often appear as two sides of the same coin. In this regard, the President has intensified efforts to strike a balance between factions and foster consensus on balanced plans and policies. He has strived to solidify public solidarity and social affairs with minimal damage while managing tensions between political and social forces.

Barzani openly acknowledges that Iraq is not just a political entity but also comprises diverse artistic, economic, humanitarian, and social strata. The governance system in Baghdad cannot be likened to the Ba'athist regime, and the majority of citizens across Iraq share similar concerns to those in the Kurdistan Region.

President Nechirvan Barzani does not shy away from the fact that Kurdistan faces a long list of missed opportunities. Still, he is confident that setting goals requires a fundamental understanding of all possibilities to prevent plans from deviating practically from their intended path and causing disillusionment. In essence, the crucial and necessary point to highlight is the reality of the Region, which is something its adversaries do not desire.

In today's world, moderation and centrism hold a unique perspective on people's efficiency across all fields. Therefore, the President of the Kurdistan Region insists that Kurdistan's foreign policy today does not require noise and clamor. It has experimented with many theories and actions, and it is necessary to evaluate the results of these methods.

President Barzani does not hide the fact that the unity and sustainability of moderation in the current Kurdish political movement face numerous obstacles and challenges. Among the most significant is the political imbalance evident in the relationship between authority and society, as well as among political factions themselves. According to values and ethics, the primary question is: What is the impact of these challenges on the political stability of the Region?

Based on the political characteristics of Barzani's moderation, we can discern from the texts and contents of his statements a precise and deep-seated perspective on neighboring countries and the geopolitical potential of Kurdistan, as well as the internal situation. Understanding the realistic developments in the region, we observe that the world around us is different, and the search for external factors for the current situation in Kurdistan is not limited to a single political dimension.

However, they can be trusted from the outset because they meet two extremely challenging conditions: first, responsibility, and second, an attempt to change the current situation.

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