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Interview with Michael Gunter - Professor of Political Science

profisor gupter1Interview with Michael Gunter replies concerning the recent security
incidents involving the Gurran movement.


1- Recently the security situation in Sulaymania has worse and
some people have been kidnapped or others has been attacked, some
points to the conflict between Gurran supporters and PUK as the
reason, what do you think of this?
2- Do you believe those security issues like attacking supporters
and kidnapping them have a negative affect on Kurdistan’s stable
3- Recently PUK leader Jalal Talabani and Nawshirwan Mustapha has
had a war of wards and both of them have open some old wounds, some
experts believe this conflict will weaken Kurdish power, in which
they have gained in the recent years?
4- A lot of people think this internal Kurdish conflict will
immobilize Kurdish achievement and it cost them greatly in the
5- There are rumors that there is “outside” hand behind this
internal conflict, especially from Baghdad, so they can weaken Kurdish
alliance, what do you think of this?
6- Will U.S administration be concerned by the recent security
problem in Sulaymania and that region that have been a battle ground
between PUK and Gurran movement?


1. I do not think that it is official PUK policy to attack Gurran
supporters. Indeed Mam Jalal has specifically denied this, condemned
the attacks, and called upon the security forces in Hawler and Slemani
to do everything to prevent similar incidents in the future. Iraqi
President and PUK Secretary General Jalal Talabani is an honorable
man, so I believe his statements. The Kurdish people are in a terrible
situation if they cannot believe him. On the other hand it is possible
that unofficially there are some frustrated elements connected to the
PUK who have been behind these unfortunate incidents, but the public
simply does not know. If so, however, hopefully, Mam Jalal’s
condemnation of these incidents will bring them to a close whatever
their origin.

2. Obviously, security issues like attacking supporters of the Gurran
and kidnapping them has a negative effect on Kurdistan’s stability.
One of the main attractions of the KRG for personal security, business
opportunities, and, therefore, political success, was that the KRG
region did not suffer from the debilitating violence to the south in
Arab Iraq.

3. Clearly, the war of words between Jalal Talabani and Nawshirwan
Mustapha could weaken over-all Kurdish power. Everybody knows that
over the years, the Kurds have often been there own worse enemy with
their many divisions. These divisions have always invited the Kurds’
enemies to use divide-and-rule tactics against them. As recently as
the mid-1990s, the KDP and PUK fought a terrible civil war against
each other which even saw one side invite Saddam Hussein in for help
against the other. The PUK itself was originally formed on 1 June 1975
by combining Nawshirwan Mustapha’s Komala with Ali Askari’s Socialist
Movement of Kurdistan group. Everybody remembers how Ali Askari was
captured and executed by other Kurds in 1978. Over the years,
Nawshirwan Mustapha has often taken a sabbatical from the PUK to show
his disapproval concerning what was occurring. Fortunately, the
current situation is much less serious than what occurred in the past.
However, it is the duty of all Kurds to make sure things do not get

4. These internal Kurdish divisions could hurt Kurdish power in the
upcoming March 2010 Iraqi parliamentary elections. However, there is
no reason why once the election is over the KDP-PUK list and the
Gurran movement cannot cooperate in parliament for the good of the
Kurds.. It is a bad argument to say there should not be any opposition
among the Kurds because this will hurt Kurdish unity. This mentality
will simply continue the old way of doing things, keep the same old
people in power, and prevent needed reforms. Democracy means
competition during the election and then compromise for the over-all
good after the election.

5. It is possible that there is an outside hand from maybe Baghdad
covertly supporting the conflict between the PUK and Gurran that is
already there. As already noted, divide and rule has always been a
favorite tactic used by the Kurds’ enemies. However, I would stress
that if there is an outside hand, its role is minor as clearly this is
an internal Kurdish argument over what the future should be.

6. The United States will only become concerned if these incidents
escalate too a much greater degree. I do not think they will but of
course only time will tell.

January 2010

Michael Gunter - Professor of Political Science - Tennessee
Technological University and Secretary General of EUTCC (Brussels)


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