Foreign Policy Blogs

Abadi is a dictator and not one of the most prominent thinkers

Foreign Policy Magazine has listed Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi as one of the most prominent thinkers of 2017. He is number 65 on Foreign Policy’s list. In the article, Foreign Policy alleges that Abadi has fought to keep Iraq united, extended an olive branch to the Kurds and has even ordered Iran out of certain areas. As we begin the New Year, it is apparent that all of these claims could not be further from the truth. To the contrary of the claims made by Foreign Policy Magazine, Abadi is another sectarian Iran proxy just like Maliki, who murders and rapes his own citizens. He is a tyrant and a dictator, not an intellectual thinker.

Under Abadi, the Kurdistan region of Iraq is gravely suffering after many Kurds were forced to run for their lives when the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, the Iraqi Army and the Shia Popular Mobilization Forces invaded Kirkuk, Tuz Khourmatu and other areas following Kurdistan’s Independence Referendum. Following their invasion, the Iraqi Army and its allies have been kidnapping, gang raping and arresting people who have guns, Kurdish flags and who support the KDP. In addition, Kurdish homes in Kirkuk, Duz and other areas were burned to the ground. Many Kurdish homes were also looted.

Over 180,000 Kurds were displaced by Abadi and his allies when they took over Kirkuk and the surrounding areas. This has created additional strains on the Kurdistan Regional Government, who has witnessed a significant reduction in their oil revenues and to date has received zero funds from Baghdad in order to take care of the refugees in their area. Prior to that, the Kurdistan Regional Government was already hosting over 1.2 million refugees including many Yazidis and Christians who fled from ISIS, which has increased the KRG’s population by close to 30%.

By closing off the Erbil and Suleimaniya airports to international flights, making it difficult for other countries to send humanitarian aid to Kurdistan and not sending the Kurds the funding that they are entitled to, the Central Iraqi Government significantly complicated Kurdish efforts to meet the humanitarian needs of their citizens, which has adversely affected the health of many Peshmergas needing treatment abroad after getting wounded fighting against ISIS and it has also impacted the amount of food given to Kurdish citizens after they suffered a devastating 7.3 magnitude earthquake. In sum, any leader who neglects the needs of his citizens and lets his people starve in the name of promoting his political interests is a divider, not a unifier like Foreign Policy claims.

To add insult to injury, Abadi does not even recognize the sacrifices of the families of 1,824 martyrs and more than 10,000 wounded Peshmergas who fought against ISIS. However, he compares his persecution and oppression of the Kurdish people in Kirkuk to the defeat of ISIS. “The Iraqi Prime Minister’s speech was sectarian and was directed to certain groups, rather than being for all the Iraqi communities,” Dr. Bakhtyar Shaways, a member of Iraq’s Patriotic Union of Kurdistan party, said. Shaways also claimed that not mentioning Peshmerga is a violation of the Iraqi constitution, as according to the constitution, Peshmerga are part of the overall Iraqi defense system. The Ministry of Peshmerga Affairs added, “How can Prime Minister Al Abadi expect the families of the martyred and wounded Peshmergas and the people of Kurdistan to be loyal to Iraq when he fails to recognize and appreciate their sacrifices?”

One must ask the editor of Foreign Policy Magazine, if Abadi was a unifier of Iraq and not a sectarian dictator, why has he refused to have any dialogue with the Kurds? Why has he imposed such a brutal blockade on the Kurds just for expressing their democratic rights? Why does he seek to strangle and starve them to death? Why does he have his forces arrest, kidnap and gang rape Kurdish citizens? Why does he burn and loot Kurdish homes? And if he is not an Iran proxy, why did he invite Iran to play an active role in brutally repressing the Kurds and why is he doing everything in his power in order to advance Iran’s interests to the detriment of the United States? And if he is truly a liberator, why has he ethnically cleansed areas from Kurds just like ISIS did? Abadi is not much better than ISIS, who also burned down homes, gang raped women and ethnically cleansed Kurds! If he is one of the most prominent thinkers of 2017, then our world has lost touch with morality and what is the meaning of a prominent thinker.

Abadi is no John F. Kennedy. He is not a Franklin D. Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson or any other world class leader who deserves to be written down in history as a prominent thinker, who influenced humanity for the better. To the contrary, given the way that he treats not only the Kurds but also other groups in Iraq, Nouri Al Maliki, Bashar Al Assad, Ayatollah Khomeini, Ismail Haniyeh or any other Iranian-backed sectarian dictator serves as a better parallel to Abadi than any world class leader from any democratically elected country would. The editor of Foreign Policy made a grave mistake in giving Abadi such an honor.

 

Author

Rachel Avraham
Rachel Avraham

Rachel Avraham is the President of the Dona Gracia Mendes Nasi Center for Human Rights in Middle East (under formation) and is a political analyst at the Safadi Center for International Diplomacy, Research, Public Relations and Human Rights. She is also a fellow at the Haym Salomon Center, a news and public policy group. For over 6 years, she has been an Israel-based journalist, specializing in radical Islam, abuses of human rights and minority rights, counter-terrorism, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Syria, Iran, Kurdistan and other issues of importance. Avraham is the author of “Women and Jihad: Debating Palestinian Female Suicide Bombings in the American, Israeli and Arab Media," a ground-breaking book endorsed by Former Israel Consul General Yitzchak Ben Gad and Israeli Communications Minister Ayoob Kara that discusses how the media exploits the life stories of Palestinian female terrorists in order to justify wanton acts of violence. Avraham has an MA in Middle Eastern Studies from Ben-Gurion University. She received her BA in Government and Politics with minors in Jewish Studies and Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Maryland at College Park.

americasdiplomats_socialmediaasset