About Barzani Watch

Barzani Watch is a news aggregator and database dedicated to providing information about the Barzani family.

The Clan

The Barzani clan has been a powerful force in Iraqi Kurdistan since the early twentieth century, with many of the region’s most influential political, military and business leaders being of Barzani descent. The clan continues to wield significant political power both in Iraqi Kurdistan and internationally, occupying key positions of authority within the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

The Barzani family also controls immense wealth, amassed through involvement in Kurdistan’s vast oil and gas industry and a network of Barzani-affiliated companies in sectors ranging from property to telecommunications and construction. The full extent of the family’s wealth is unknown, though estimates place it in the tens of billions of dollars.

Masoud Barzani, the clan’s patriarch and leader of the ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party, served as the first President of the Kurdistan Region from its official recognition in 2005 until his resignation in 2017. In 2019, KRG leadership passed to the next generation of Barzanis, with Masoud’s nephew Nechirvan assuming the Presidency and Masoud’s son Masrour becoming Prime Minister. His nephew Sirwan also serves as the commander in charge of the Ministry of Peshmerga’s Sector 6.

Masoud Barzani

Born in 1946, Masoud Barzani was elected as the President of the Kurdistan Region in Iraq by the Kurdistan National Assembly in June 2005 and was in office until November 2017. Masoud resigned following the failed independence referendum of the Kurdistan Region from Iraq.

He currently serves as the leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP). During his political career, he oversaw the recognition of the Kurdistan Region and the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) following the fall of Saddam Hussein. Masoud remains a major figure in the KRG’s foreign relations to this day.

File photo (Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff/CC BY 2.0)
Masrour Barzani

Masrour Barzani has served as the Prime Minister of the KRG since 2019. He was also elected as the Vice President of the KDP in November 2022. Prior to this, in 2012, he was appointed by Masoud Barzani as the first Chancellor of the Kurdistan Region Security Council to oversee security and military intelligence.

One of his main focus areas is to attract new sources of foreign investment through the Invest Kurdistan Initiative. This has involved developing areas of investment outside of energy and implementing the first export initiative of agricultural goods from the Kurdistan Region.

Prior to his political career, Masrour joined the Peshmerga and was active in the Kurdish uprising against Saddam Hussein after the first Gulf War.

File photo (U.S. Department of State/Public Domain)
Nechirvan Barzani

Nechirvan Barzani is the President of the KRG after being elected in June 2019. He previously served as the Prime Minister of the KRG as well as the Deputy Prime Minister. He was first elected to the KDP in 1989.

Nechirvan studied politics and international relations at the University of Tehran, Iran and was awarded a Doctor of Public Service from Washington and Jefferson College in Pennsylvania, U.S. He is the nephew of Masoud Barzani and grandson of the KDP founder, Mustafa Barzani.

File photo (President of Kurdistan Region - Erbil/CC BY-SA 4.0)
Sirwan Barzani

Sirwan Barzani is a Peshmerga commander turned businessman who rose to prominence during the war against Islamic State. He oversees the Ministry of Peshmerga’s Sector 6, tasked with the defence of Erbil.

Sirwan is also the Co-founder and Chairman of Korek Telecom, which has around seven million subscribers and close to 3,500 towers across Iraq. It has been alleged that his commercial success has come from his close relationship with state institutions and familial ties to other members of the Barzani clan. An allegation which he denies.

He is the nephew of the former President of the Kurdistan Region, Masoud Barzani, and cousin of Nechirvan Barzani.

File photo (Dahat Barzani/CC BY-SA 4.0)
Idris Nechirvan Barzani

Idris Nechirvan Barzani is the eldest son of Nechirvan Barzani, the President of the KRG.

He has served as the Chancellor of the University of Kurdistan Hewlêr (UKH), the KRI’s first internationally accredited university, since 2019.

In addition to his role at the UKH, he also serves as the President and Founder of the Rwanga Foundation, an NGO committed to ensuring equal access to education across the KRI.

Media reports suggest that Idris leads an extravagant lifestyle. According to a leaked document obtained by the outlet EKurd Daily, Idris splurged US$375,399 on two luxury watches during a trip to the U.S. This follows reports that he sold his shares in the Kurdistan International Bank (KIB) worth approximately US$35m after buying 9.9% of KIB shares in June 2020.

Areen Masrour Barzani

Areen Masrour Barzani is the son of Prime Minister Masrour Barzani.

Areen is studying at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in the UK, a training ground for officers in the British Army and international armed forces.

Much like his cousin Idris, Areen enjoys a luxurious lifestyle – his social media activity shows him horse riding and accompanying his father on foreign trips. He has a sizeable following online, with six million Instagram followers.

He graduated from the American University of Kurdistan, where he studied Security and Strategic Studies.

Lina Barzani

Lina Barzani is Sirwan Barzani’s daughter. She is the Chairman and CEO of Lina Holding, which owns assets across Kurdistan. She is also a Vice President at J.P. Morgan. She currently lives in Arlington, VA and previously studied at the George Washington University in Washington D.C.