Masrour Barzani seeking US Citizenship

  • KurdishMedia.com
  • 15/02/2009 00:00:00

Washington, DC (KurdishMedia.com) 15 February 2009: Sources close to the U.S. government have informed kurdishMedia.com that Masrour Barzani is seeking US citizenship through naturalization. Masrour Barzani is the eldest son of Massoud Barzani, the president of Iraqi Kurdistan and Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP). He is the director of KDP’s Parastin Agency, which human rights activists and independent analysts accuse of torture and kidnapping.

In meetings with both executive and legislative branch officials—first when applying for a Green Card and subsequently when discussing naturalization, a U.S. source said Mr. Masrour Barzani would often bring up both his immigration status and desires and the possibility of Kurdish investment in the United States. By bringing up both issues in the same meeting, several officials concluded that he was suggesting a linkage between their assistance and either donations of U.S. - citizen Kurdish businessmen to their campaigns or more direct KRG or Barzani clan investment in their enclave. In the past year, he has also sought the assistance of U.S. government officials with whom he has worked in his capacity as director of the Parastin Agency. Recently, his wife traveled to the United States to deliver their baby. Using their baby’s automatic U.S. citizenship, a former U.S. official says Barzani is now seeking to convert his Green Card status which, according to Kurdish sources in Sulaymani, he acquired while a student at American University, to full U.S. citizenship, again seeking the assistance of U.S. government contacts.

Under normal circumstances, Masrour Barzani does not qualify for U.S. citizenship. The American naturalization laws mandate applicants to retain a Green Card for five years to be eligible for citizenship. Petitioners are required to fill out the N-400 Application for Naturalization and submit it to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The USCIS will perform a background check and will make a decision regarding the petition. If USCIS accepts the application, the petitioners must pass a civic test and take the Oath of Allegiance, swearing allegiance to the United States of America.

Masrour Barzani must answer challenging questions when filling the N-400 application. He has officially lived in Kurdistan since 1998 and served in an official capacity. The application inquires whether the applicant has been a member of a totalitarian party. Masrour Barzani is the member of Kurdistan Democratic Party, which both Kurdish critics and U.S. analysts accuse of autocratic tendencies. Also, the same form inquires if the applicant has “ever persecuted (either directly or indirectly) any person because of race, religion, national origin, membership in a particular social group or political opinion.” Under Masrour Barzani’s leadership, the Parastin Agency kidnapped Kamal Said Qadir in 2005, an incident documented by numerous international human rights groups and even condemned by the US government. Qadir, an Austrian citizen, was allegedly tortured for accusing the Barzani family of corruption. Under normal rules and regulations, Masrour Barzani should be disqualified for US citizenship, and USCIS may still deny his petition.

  • KurdishMedia.com
  • 15/02/2009 00:00:00