The US Ambassador to Iraq Stuart Jones has told a joint delegation of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and Gorran [Change] Movement that they support Masoud Barzani as the President of Kurdistan Region to continue his tenure in office.
In his weekly column in Hawal newspaper, Shwan Daudy, member of Iraq’s Council of Representatives from the PUK bloc and the newspaper’s editor, has written about both parties visits to the Iraqi parties and embassies in Baghdad.
“The US Ambassador Stuart Jones said very frankly that the US supports the continuation of Barzani as the President of Kurdistan Region because it is not the right time for elections,” he wrote on Sunday.
PUK and Gorran signed a political agreement on May 19th, giving a formal framework to their undeclared alliance they had established since the year before. The political agreement concentrates on creating a united front to reduce KDP and Barzani’s influence in Kurdistan. After signing the agreement, they started visiting a number of parties and embassies to inform them about their new alliance. Their delegation comprised of the hardline anti-KDP members and sent by Nawshirwan Mustafa’s request.
This is meanwhile to a press release from Osama Nujayfi, the ex-Iraqi vice-president and head of the Sunni-led United Alliance block, on June 26th who had told the PUK and Gorran delegation to “work in cooperation with the KDP and maintain unity.”
Last summer, both PUK and Gorran were the spearheads of a political effort to bring end to Barzani’s term. On August 18th 2015, the US President’s Special Envoy to Global Coalition to Counter ISIS and deputy assistant Secretary of State for Iraq, Brett McGurk, in a meeting told key leaders of the largest political parties that US supports the continuation of Masoud Barzani as the President of Iraqi Kurdistan Region and that he is a credible and strong ally for the US in the war against ISIS. He also called on the parties to reach a consensus on the political system of Kurdistan.
Although all the parties agreed that day to extend the term of President Barzani, the day after that meeting, each of PUK, Gorran, Kurdistan Islamic Group and the Islamic Union of Kurdistan pressed hard to set up a parliamentary session with the aim of ending Barzani’s term and to replace him with a temporary presidency by Yussuf Mohammed, the Parliament Speaker and a Gorran leader. When the parliamentary session failed to meet for lack of quorum, Gorran mobilized mobs to attack the KDP offices in Suleymania area, which resulted in the killing two of its cadres.