The Middle East Forum Observer – Are the Iraqi Kurds Still a Wise Military Investment?

Masrour Barzani meeting with United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken, February 2024 (Kurdistan Regional Government/Public domain)

In an opinion piece for The Middle East Forum Observer, U.S. academic Michael Rubin argues that the Barzani leadership is deeply flawed due to corruption, misuse of U.S. military aid and self-serving alliances with Iran, raising serious concerns about their integrity and the governance of Iraqi Kurdistan. Rubin claims that the Barzani family has embezzled hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars in aid intended for the Peshmerga. Rubin refers to the “Pedawi Papers”, a leak of documents from Masrour Barzani’s purported “moneyman” Sarwar Pedawi, which reveal over 50 shell corporations in tax havens such as the British Virgin Islands owned by the Barzani family and their affiliates.