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 retain copyright
The use of a Creative Commons License enables authors/editors to retain copyright to their work. Publications can be reused and redistributed as long as the original author is correctly attributed.
- The researcher(s), whether a single or joint research paper, must sell and transfer to the publisher (the Academic Journal of Nawroz University) through all the duration of the publication which starts from the date of entering this Agreement into force, the exclusive rights of the research paper/article. These rights include the translation, reuse of papers/articles, transmit or distribute, or use the material or parts(s) contained therein to be published in scientific, academic, technical, professional journals or any other periodicals including any other works derived from them, all over the world, in English and Arabic, whether in print or in electronic edition of such journals and periodicals in all types of media or formats now or that may exist in the future. Rights also include giving license (or granting permission) to a third party to use the materials and any other works derived from them and publish them in such journals and periodicals all over the world. Transfer right under this Agreement includes the right to modify such materials to be used with computer systems and software, or to reproduce or publish it in e-formats and also to incorporate them into retrieval systems.
- Reproduction, reference, transmission, distribution or any other use of the content, or any parts of the subjects included in that content in any manner permitted by this Agreement, must be accompanied by mentioning the source which is (the Academic Journal of Nawroz University) and the publisher in addition to the title of the article, the name of the author (or co-authors), journal’s name, volume or issue, publisher's copyright, and publication year.
- The Academic Journal of Nawroz University reserves all rights to publish research papers/articles issued under a “Creative Commons License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction of the paper/article by any means, provided that the original work is correctly cited.
- Reservation of Rights
The researcher(s) preserves all intellectual property rights (except for the one transferred to the publisher under this Agreement).
- Researcher’s guarantee
The researcher(s) hereby guarantees that the content of the paper/article is original. It has been submitted only to the Academic Journal of Nawroz University and has not been previously published by any other party.
In the event that the paper/article is written jointly with other researchers, the researcher guarantees that he/she has informed the other co-authors about the terms of this agreement, as well as obtaining their signature or written permission to sign on their behalf.
The author further guarantees:
- The research paper/article does not contain any defamatory statements or illegal comments.
- The research paper/article does not violate other's rights (including but not limited to copyright, patent, and trademark rights).
This research paper/article does not contain any facts or instructions that could cause damages or harm to others, and publishing it does not lead to disclosure of any confidential information.