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Regional Kurdish Politics : the Internal Rivalry.

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Based in the heart of the Middle East, and operating from within the socio-political and cultural fabric of the Arab world, Al Jazeera Center for Studies seeks to contribute to knowledge sharing and present a better understanding of the complexity of the region.

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Reflecting on regional Kurdish politics in the post-ISIS period (II) : Forces of rivalry among the Kurds. 08/03/2015






In regional Kurdish politics, a rivalry is taking place between the Kurdistan Worker Party ( PKK ) and the Kurdistan Democratic Party ( KDP ). The historical roots of discord between the PKK and KDP go back to the late 1980s and the 1990s. Informed by power struggles, factional and ideological differences and competition, this discord claimed thousands of lives on both sides and gave further prominence to the Kurdish concept of brakuji, which literally means fratricide.

This rivalry was revitalised in the context of the Syrian civil war and the drive of both sides to dominate Syrian Kurdish politics and enclaves. In this drive the PKK proved much more successful than the KDP.

It established an almost total grip over the Kurdish enclaves in Syria, situated itself as the only credible representative of the « Kurdish people » in the country, and maintained a battle-hardened fighting force on the ground. Moreover, it either expelled or imprisoned pro-KDP forces, especially targeting the leadership of the group in Rojava –– the Kurdish term that refers to the Kurdish part of Syria.

This further intensified the already tense relations between PKK and KDP. The President of the Kurdistan Regional Government and chaiman of the KDP, Masoud Barzani, responded by closing the border between the KRG and Rojava, cutting off significant supply and economic lifelines to the region, with an attendant acrimonious exchange between the two sides.

The first of many casualties of this rivalry was the repeated delaying of the convention of the much vaunted Kurdish National Congress in Erbil to strike a modus vivendi among Kurdish groups and chart a direction for Kurdish politics in the Near East.


One Comment

  1. Parwiz Chicho

    We can say that PDK has an original idea which comes from an original idea of Kurds, independent. However, PKK has got idea from outside and it comes from Communist philosophy which is not original.