Masrour Barzani

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Masrour Barzani
مه‌سروور بارزانی
Secretary Pompeo Meets Security Chancellor Masrour Barzani (45765619795) (cropped).jpg
Prime Minister of Kurdistan Region
Assumed office
10 July 2019
PresidentNechirvan Barzani
DeputyQubad Talabani[1]
Preceded byNechirvan Barzani
Personal details
Born (1969-03-02) 2 March 1969 (age 51)
Choman, Iraq
Political partyKurdistan Democratic Party
Alma materAmerican University

Masrour Barzani (Kurdish: مه‌سروور بارزانی / Mesrûr Barzanî) (born 2 March 1969)[2] is a Kurdish politician serving as prime minister of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq since June 2019.[3] He is also the chancellor of the Kurdistan Region Security Council and a member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party. He was sworn in as prime minister of the KRG’s ninth cabinet on 10 July 2019, after receiving 87 votes out of 97 legislators in the Kurdistan parliament.[4][5]

Early life and education[edit]

He joined the Kurdish resistance fighters, known as Peshmerga or “those who face death", in 1985 at the age of 16. He was an active participant in the Battle of Khwakurk against Saddam Hussein’s army in 1988. He also participated in the 1991 uprising against Saddam Hussein after the first Gulf War and filmed both events.

Despite this irregular childhood given the tumultuous nature of the Kurdish resistance, Barzani was able to complete his high school education in Iran. After seeing peace restored to the region in 1992, he went to London for a year-long course in English. Having successfully completed this, he continued on to receive a bachelor's degree with honors in International Studies from the American University in Washington, D.C. He continued studying Peace and Conflict Resolutions for his post graduate studies.[6]

During his time in Washington, Barzani was actively involved in improving understanding of the Kurdish plight in America. He also established a Barzani Scholar-in-Residence program at American University in order to continue these efforts into the future.[7]

Political career[edit]

In 1998, he returned to Kurdistan Region and was elected by the KDP's 12th Congress to the Central Committee. Later that same year he became part of the Kurdistan Democratic Party Leadership before being appointed as General Director of the Protection and Intelligence Agency. In 2010, he received the highest votes of the 13th Congress, was reelected to the Leadership Council and then selected as one of the Politburo members of the KDP. In 2012, he was appointed by his father Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani as Chancellor of the Kurdistan Region Security Council to oversee security, military intelligence and existing intelligence services.[8]

Under his stewardship, women have been officially added to the Kurdish security services and many can now be seen publicly serving as guards outside government buildings. He was a vocal critic of many of the proposals found in the Iraq Study Group, authoring a Washington Post op-ed on the subject.[9]

Barzani (left) with US Army General Stephen Townsend in 2016

Barzani has also been credited with working to ensure that veterans of the Kurdish struggle who are members of his father's political party receive their pensions.[10] In a January 2010 interview with the Jamestown Foundation, Masrour Barzani said that the Iraqi Constitution has laid out a clear solution for the status of the city of Kirkuk and other disputed areas.[11]

In May 2016, Barzani authored a second op-ed in the Washington Post advocating an 'amicable' separation of Iraqi Kurdistan from the rest of Iraq. He called Iraq 'a conceptual failure, compelling peoples with little in common to share an uncertain future,' and announced the beginning of talks with the Iraqi Government in the lead up to a referendum.[12]

Barzani Charity Foundation (BCF)[edit]

In 2005, he founded the Barzani Charity Foundation in Iraqi Kurdistan. The non-profit charity organization provides aid to the internally displaced, refugees as well as vulnerable locals, and is modeled on the life, struggle and principles of his Grandfather Mustafa Barzani. Its Orphan Sponsorship Program provides a monthly stipend to cover living expenses, health care and education to orphans.

Fight against ISIS[edit]

Masrour Barzani is one of the most important figures in the international coalition against Daesh. His Security Council, and its elite special forces is attached to the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD), which has led targeted airstrikes against senior Daesh figures in Iraq and Syria, and rescue missions of hostages.[13][14]

The Syrian government's Financial Action Task Force (FATF) announced on Saturday (December 29) that it had designated 650 local and foreign individuals on its list of people involved in terrorist activity, including the current head of the Kurdistan Regional Government's Security Council and nominee for prime minister Masrour Barzani.[14]

The American University of Kurdistan (AUK)[edit]

Masrour Barzani is the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of The American University of Kurdistan (AUK).[15] He laid the cornerstone of the project during a ceremony in Duhok province in December 2013.[16]

Kurdistan Region Premiership[edit]

Following a KDP leadership meeting on 3 December 2018, the party's spokesperson Mahmoud Mohammed named Masrour Barzani for the post of the region's Prime Minister position. [17]

Personal life[edit]

Barzani is married and has four children, three sons and one daughter. He is fluent in Kurdish, Persian and English in addition to understanding Arabic.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Kurdistan Parliament approves nominees for new KRG cabinet". Corporation Nalia.
  2. ^ "Birth Place of Masrour Barzani". (in Kurdish).[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ "Iraqi Kurdistan profile". BBC. 25 April 2018. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  4. ^ Ali, Sangar (11 June 2019). "Parliament names Masrour Barzani as new Prime Minister of Kurdistan". Kurdistan 24. Retrieved 24 October 2019.
  5. ^ "Parliament confirms Masrour Barzani as new KRG prime minister". Rudaw.
  6. ^ Veracity
  7. ^ AU Peace
  8. ^ "President Barzani Inaugurates the Security Council of the Kurdistan Region". 7 August 2012. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  9. ^ "Masrour Barzani - For Iraqis, A Promise Is in Peril". Washington Post. 20 December 2006. Retrieved 21 March 2013.
  10. ^ IWPR[dead link]
  11. ^ Roger McDermott. "Iraq's Security is Kurdistan's Security: An Interview with KRG Intelligence Chief Masrour Barzani from". Jamestown. Retrieved 21 March 2013.
  12. ^ "Masrour Barzani - Kurdistan deserves an amicable divorce from Baghdad". Washington Post. 5 May 2016. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
  13. ^ Giglio, Mike. "Inside The Real US Ground War On ISIS". BuzzFeed News.
  14. ^ "Leading the Fight Against the Islamic State: The Battle for Iraq". Vice News.
  15. ^ "Letter From HE Masrour Barzani, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees". 21 October 2014. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  16. ^ "Laying the cornerstone of AUK". AUK.US. 8 December 2013. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
  17. ^ "KDP nominates Masrour Barzani for Prime Minister of Kurdistan Region". 3 December 2018. Retrieved 3 December 2018.

External links[edit]