POLITICAL TRUST AND SOCIAL COHESION AT A TIME OF CRISIS The Impact of COVID-19 on Kurdistan Region-Iraq
COVID-19 has attracted much attention in Kurdish neighbourhoods and has been relayed massively by the media across the KRI. Kurdistanis put their trust mostly in television as the most accessible source of information across the region. Conversely, social media was not considered a reliable source of information during the pandemic.
The results of this survey highlight a strong lack of trust in federal political figures and institutions. At the regional level, Kurdistanis are divided along lines of political affiliation and geography. While respondents from Duhok and Erbil expressed a high level of trust in the KRG, people of Silemani are openly distrustful of the KRI government. The institutions responsible for mitigating the impact of the pandemic attract the highest level of trust across governorates. This is the case with the KRG Ministry of Health and Ministry of Interior, including the security forces and the police. Conversely, participants expressed strong rejection of both parliaments that sit in Baghdad and Erbil. The legislative body attracted the least trust among the population surveyed.
The COVID-19 pandemic has fostered social cohesion in the KRI. The majority of respondents believed that all Kurdistanis, including both vulnerable and non-vulnerable groups, should be treated equally and should receive the same amount of government support during the pandemic. That being said, a significant number of respondents recognized the importance of caring for those most vulnerable, such as the elderly, Syrian refugees, and International Displaced Persons (IDPs) more broadly. Finally, respondents have been shown to rely mostly on their social circles and family throughout the crisis, rather than regional and federal institutions. Those surveyed strongly supported the preventive measures in general imposed by the KRG on the three governorates. Yet, answers to the survey reveal that such measures have had an impact on the personal economic circumstances of Kurdistanis, especially among the younger portion of the population, who expected to face financial difficulties in the near future as a direct consequence of the pandemic and its impact.
Albadry, A. S. and Abdullah, M. K. B. (2014), ‘Iraqi Parliamentary Institution: Power Sharing in Iraq Parliament’, European Law and Politics, 1(1).
Cassar, A, Grosjean, P and Whitt, S . (2013), ‘Legacies of violence: Trust and market development’,
Journal of Economic Growth, 18(3): 285-318.
Dougherty, B. K. and Ghareeb, E. (2013), Historical Dictionary of Iraq, Vol. II. Plymouth: Scarecrow Press.
Freedom House (2017), ‘Iraq’, Freedom of the Press 2017, April 27, https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-press/2017/iraq.
Ervasti, H., Kouvo, A. and Venetoklis, T. (2018), ‘Social and Institutional Trust in Times of Crisis:
Greece, 2002–2011’, Social Indicators Research, 141:1207-31.
Gidefroidt, A. and Langer A. (2018), ‘How Fear Drives Us Apart: Explaining the Relationship between Terrorism and Social Trust’, Terrorism and Political Violence.
Gunter, M. M. (1996), ‘The KDP-PUK Conflict in Northern Iraq’, Middle East Journal, 50(2): 224-41.
Haksan, N. (2017), ‘Lack of Press Independence in Iraqi Kurdistan Undermines Public Dialogue’, Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA), August 3, https://www.cima.ned.org/blog/lack-press-independence-iraqi-kurdistan-undermines-public-dialogue/.
IOM, UNFPA and KRSO (2018), Demographic Survey. Kurdistan Region of Iraq, July, https://iraq.unfpa.org/en/publications/demographic-survey-kurdistan-region-iraq.
Kane, S., Hiltermann, J. R. and Alkadiri, R. (2012), ‘Iraq’s Federalism Quandary’, The National Interest, February 28.
Kurdistan Region-Iraq, Ministry of Interior, Joint Crisis Coordination Center (2020), Humanitarian Situation Report (SitRep) No. (2-20) for February 2020, http://jcc.gov.krd/contents/files/25-02-2020/1582612800.Humanitarian Situational Report (2-20) for February Kurdistan Region of Iraq.pdf.
39 // The Impact of COVID-19 on Kurdistan Region-Iraq
Ltaif, E. A. (2015), ‘The Limitation of the Consociational Arrangements in Iraq’, Ethnopolitics Papers, 38 (September).
Newton, K. (2007), ‘Social and political trust’, in R. J. Dalton & H.-D. Klingemann (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of political behavior. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 342-61.
OCHA (2020), IRAQ: COVID-19. Situation Report No.14, June 1, https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/20200601_COVID19_SitRep_No.14%20%2 81%29.pdf.
Osman, K. F. (2015), Sectarianism in Iraq: The Making of State and Nation Since 1920. London:
Phillips, D. L. (2005), ‘Power-Sharing in Iraq’, Council on Foreign Relations, Council Special Reports No. 6.
Roberts, J. (996), ‘The Kurdish Crisis of 1996’, IBRU Boundary and Security Bulletin, Autumn: 70-75.
Rohner, D., Thoenig, M. and Zilibotti, F. (2013), ‘Seeds of distrust: Conflict in Uganda’, Journal of
Economic Growth, 18(3): 217-52.
Soz, J. (2016), ‘Challenges Facing a Developing Kurdish Media’, Atlantic Council, June 10, https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/syriasource/challenges-facing-a-developing-kurdish-media/
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2021 Mohammedali Yaseen Taha, Juline Beaujouan, Amjed Rasheed
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License [CC BY-NC-ND 4.0] that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgment of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgment of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).
AJNU is committed to protecting the privacy of the users of this journal website. The names, personal particulars and e-mail addresses entered in this website will be used only for the stated purposes of this journal and will not be made available to third parties without the user's permission or due process. Users consent to receive communication from the AJNU for the stated purposes of the journal. Queries with regard to privacy may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.