Erbil Agreement Yet to be Fully Implemented in Syrian Kurdistan / PCWK vs. KNC

23/10/2012  RUDAW – ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Despite the deteriorating situation in Syria, Syrian Kurds have not been able to fully implement the Erbil Agreement signed in July between the Kurdish National Council (KNC) and People’s Council of West Kurdistan (PCWK), an affiliate of the Democratic Union Party (PYD).

The signatories of the agreement have confirmed their commitment to its implementation, but this has not yet happened on the ground. The PYD is virtually controlling all political, military and administrative authorities in the Kurdish regions of Syria singlehandedly, without adhering to the power-sharing provision mentioned in the agreement.

A member of the KNC, who preferred to remain anonymous, told Rudaw, “The Erbil Agreement only prevented a civil war among Kurds, but none of its other provisions has been implemented on the ground.”

He believes that the failure to adhere to Erbil Agreement is because the PYD is an armed group. “One signatory is armed; the other is not. How can an agreement succeed in such a situation?” he said. Shalal Gado, a political bureau member of the Kurdish Democratic Party in Syria, believes that the Kurds of Syria cannot implement this agreement. “There is a power imbalance between the two signatories,” he said.

“The PCWK is armed and controls the land. They also have media and economic power,” Gado told Rudaw. “The KNC has many supporters but they are not organized, do not have institutions and are weaker in all aspects, especially in terms of weapons.”

Gado noted that beyond the power imbalance, historic differences between the two groups were also at play, and narrow partisan interests share some of the blame for the agreement’s failure. A Kurdish Supreme Council (KSC) was formed in Syria to implement the agreement and administer the Kurdish regions in Syria. But it too failed to serve its purpose. Members of the council met this week in Erbil to discuss their problems with officials in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

Abdulbaqi Yusuf, a representative of Kurdish Union Party (KUP), told Rudaw, “The visit of the KSC is related to the non-implementation of the Erbil Agreement.”

Gado said that the Kurdistan Presidency Divan would put pressure on the involved parties to implement the agreement. “It is unfortunate that it has not been implemented for so many months,” he said. “If the Kurds in Syria fail to implement this agreement, it means we will return to square one and civil war is a possibility. We have no choice but to implement the agreement.” On several occasions, the PCWK has blamed the KNC for failing to implement the agreement.

“Since KNC is a major power, it should establish all the necessary state institutions,” Gado said. “This will be empowering and balance the power between the two signatories.”

He also agreed with some of the PCWK’s criticisms, saying, “There is no doubt that the KNC in Syria is disorganized. Although there are 16 political parties in the KNC, in addition to the independent members and youth organizations, there has been no real unity among them. Their views about the issues are very diverse.”

“The KNC has a big body and therefore it moves very slowly,” Gado concluded.

Ismael Hama, a member of the KSC and the secretary of the KUP, said, “It is time for both councils to become one, because their remaining as two is an obstacle to our work and the future of the Kurds.” Hama said that, in the near future, a meeting would be held in Qamishli between the two councils and more than 150 individuals to discuss unity.