In early December, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry traveled first to Baghdad and then to Erbil, the seat of the Kurdistan Regional Government. In Baghdad, Perry met with key elected officials: President Barham Salih, Prime Minister Adil Abd Al-Mahdi, and Parliamentary Speaker Mohammad Al-Halbousi, for example. He then traveled to Erbil where Masoud Barzani, the former president of the Kurdistan Region, received him prior to meetings with Masoud’s nephew Nechirvan Barzani and son Masrour Barzani.
Nechirvan is regional prime minister and was, a week prior to Perry’s trip, nominated to succeed Masoud. Masrour, meanwhile, is slated to succeed his cousin in the Barzani game of musical chairs. What Perry ignored or his handlers failed to tell him was that Masoud’s presidency ended in 2015 though he refused to step down until November 2017.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with many of the same Iraqi political figures in his subsequent visit to Iraq and, like Perry, flew up to Erbil to meet with Masoud Barzani before departing the country.