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Party leadership shift may promote Iraqi Kurdish unity

Friday, July 23, 2021


Co-leader Lahur ‘Sheikh Jangi’ Talabani on July 19 formally handed over his powers to his cousin and co-leader Bafel Talabani, who had moved comprehensively against him during the preceding week. Bafel was backed by the PUK's old guard, which resented marginalisation by Lahur.


  • Lahur’s recent alliances with the Gorran party and local tribes in KDP areas could be weakened.
  • A common front in Baghdad would strengthen the KRI in budget talks and post-election government negotiations.
  • Bafel might be cooler towards the Syrian Kurds and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which would benefit Turkey.
  • Lahur retains some popular support and is likely to plan a comeback, possibly via a new party, trading on Iran links.

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