MESOP INSIGHT: KURDISTAN INDEPENDANCE “YES” – BUT NO “PAYMENT!” – Kurdish protesters, unpaid teachers clash with police in Iraqi Kurdistan / A CASE STUDY ABOUT BARZANI & TALABANI CORRUPTION

20 Nov 2016 – SULAIMANI, Iraq’s Kurdistan region,— Teachers and activists clashed with security forces in a city in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region Saturday during a protest over unpaid salaries.

The more than 5,000 people had gathered in front of the education ministry building in Sulaimani and marched to the headquarters of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), the dominant party in the south of the Kurdish region.“Where are the employees’ salaries, you corrupt government,” the protesters chanted in the city, which is administered by the autonomous Kurdish Regional Government.“Where is the oil income going,” they also asked, accusing both the PUK and the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Kurdish leader Massud Barzani of involvement in graft. Barzani and Talabani families and their relatives control a large number of commercial enterprises in Iraqi, with a gross value of several billion US dollars. The two families are routinely accused of corruption and nepotism by Kurdish media as well as international observers.

“I don’t trust the government when it says the region is suffering from a financial crisis,” said Sara Rahim, a 40-year-old teacher who has not been paid in months. Organisers told AFP that teachers would protest again on Sunday and remain on strike until their salaries were paid and their demands met.