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In letter to Biden, Barzani warns of Iraqi Kurdistan's collapse, urges mediation

KRG Prime Minister Masrour Barzani's letter to Biden is aimed at jolting the administration into action as tensions rise between Erbil and Baghdad.
People lift the regional flag during a rally in Dohuk city.
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Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Masrour Barzani has appealed to President Joe Biden to intervene in a deepening crisis with the central government in Baghdad, airing fears that the Kurdistan Region might even collapse as an entity if the crisis is left unchecked, Al-Monitor has learned.

In a letter dated Sept. 3 that was addressed to Biden and delivered to the White House only this past Sunday, Barzani wrote, “I write to you now at another critical juncture in our history, one that I fear we may have difficulty overcoming. …[W]e are bleeding economically and hemorrhaging politically. For the first time in my tenure as prime minister, I hold grave concerns that this dishonorable campaign against us may cause the collapse of … the very model of a Federal Iraq that the United States sponsored in 2003 and purported to stand by since.”

“We believe that your administration retains significant leverage with Baghdad,” Barzani said of Washington’s ability to diffuse the crisis.

The cri de coeur comes amid escalating tensions between Erbil and Baghdad over budgetary allocations, oil sales and territories that both sides claim for their own. Barzani reiterated his calls for further US engagement to help resolve the disputes in a meeting on Monday in Erbil with US Ambassador to Iraq Alina Romanowski.

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