Kurds Negotiation Strategy


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Overview of the case

In Northern Iraq, majority of the local residents are from Kurdish ethnic group which is basically collection of Sunni Muslim tribes that are different from Arab neighbours with regard to culture. Majority of the power in Baghdad was hold by post Baathist government who has sovereign control over the territory. One of the main motives of Iraqi Kurds was to separate themselves from Baghdad. Kurds wanted to build their own political economy within Iraq and wanted to gain control of oil revenues along with territories with large Kurdish populations.

Kurds united to develop their own Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) so that major Kurdish affairs can be managed easily in Iraq. Two major Kurdish factions were present who dominated the entire Kurdish National Assembly which involves workers along with Democratic Party. Disputes taking place between both the parties have adversely affected Kurdish union where Democratic Party killed leader of worker party.


It is regarded as the discussion whose main purpose is to reach towards an agreement. Negotiation involves two parties and main focus is on settlement of disputes. It can take place in any organization, state, region, politics or in any other area. Further, different theories of negotiation are present through which it becomes easy to understand about the process of negotiation and overall outcomes derived through this.

Theories for analyzing negotiations

In the present study concepts and strategies of negotiation have been applied which involves payoff structure, mirror image, prisoners dilemma, issue linkage, combination of interest based bargaining and problem solving approach. These concepts have been applied for settlement of disputes faced. Further, attributes of every concept differs from one another and its applicability supports in dealing with the issue being faced by both the parties. Each strategy has been applied so as to analyze the challenge faced by Kurdish and through this it is possible to handle the disputes.

Purpose of this study

Main purpose of the present study is to apply negotiation strategy so that dispute taking place between the Kurdish parties named worker and democratic can be resolved easily. Further, one of the main reason behind dispute is that leader of Worker party was killed by democratic one and this lead to dissolution of KNA. Apart from this, main focus is on providing recommendation to senior staff officer so that appropriate negotiation strategy can be undertaken for settlement of disputes. Negotiation can support in resolving the issue of intra-Kurdish war and this is one of the main purposes of present study.

Historical review of international political negotiation in Iraq

History of political negotiation in Iraq is considered as blood sport. Further, players in the process of negotiation are considered as gladiators unleashed in amphitheatre. In country like Iraq trust is nonexistent where Kurdish parties named worker and democratic does not have understanding. Kurds are working feverishly to guarantee their virtual independence in northern Iraq and ensuring them Baghdad will never again victimize them. All the shitte factions have dark memory generally at the time when they fought for glory in the opposition.

Payoff structure

This concept of international negotiation theory relies on the belief that cooperation is not applicable to some games. Further, for settlement of disputes it is must for parties to cooperate with each other. In games where the overall concept of cooperation is applicable then two payoff related factors directly influences prospects for cooperation (Mustafa andGhanem, 2013). Apart from this, payoff structure as a concept is based on assumptions which states that alteration in payoff can change overall game.

In case of Kurdish dispute it is required to identify the ways through which both democratic and worker party can cooperate with each other. Different effective ways are present with the help of which payoff structure can be changed and it involves range of negotiations such as bilateral, unilateral and multilateral.

In case of Kurdish dispute it is possible to adopt the multilateral negotiation strategy where norms can be built that appeal to domestic constituencies and information can be shared within states regarding disputes (Wilson and Thompson, 2014). Unilateral strategies are also effective in the present case when Worker party can develop defensive weapon instead of offensive one to overcome with the issue of building KRA for their own.

Prisoners Dilemma

This concept relies on belief that two purely rational individuals might not be able to cooperate even if it is highlighted in their best interest. By considering the overall situation both parties named worker and Democratic one have options present with them but the real outcomes will depend on the choices made by them (Quagliato, 2008).

At present main focus is on settlements of disputes and it has to be decided what actions to be taken for solving disputes and what will be the outcomes in case disputes are not settled on time. Apart from this, the effective ways to rebuild KNA again are to be decided so that both the parties can work together. Both worker and Democratic Party have their own personal interest and they want to protect at the expense of other participant.

Issue linkage

This concept is linked with the issue which is being faced by both the parties. It is the sense which considers attempt to gain additional bargaining. Further, in case of Kurdish dispute it can be employed where resources can be used from one issue with the motive to influence behavior of others (Caputo,2013). It is possible that linkage can be advantageous in negotiation and can facilitate agreement that might not be possible otherwise.

One of the main benefit of this concept is that it enhances chances of states to reach towards negotiated agreement and in turn enhances motivation level to remain committed to agreement. Issues taking place between worker and Democratic Party can be easily settled through issue linkage.

Mirror images

It is also one of the key concept in international negotiation where both the parties in the dispute tends to develop parallel images of one another where one side is positive self-images and another one is negative enemy image. The dispute taking place between the Kurdish where worker party perceive democratic one as their enemy (Gates, 2006). Further, this both the parties have built negative image of one another.

Both the parties perceive itself as peaceful, honest and on the other side evil and aggressive. The kind of misunderstanding between the democratic and worker party has destroyed the entire Kurdish National Assembly which needs to be formed again. For settlement of this dispute it is necessarily required to clear positive mirror image so that both the parties can understand each other in better manner.

By considering this, it is possible to rebuilt KNA again along with the union where both the parties can easily work in Iraq. Negative mirror image for one another creates misunderstanding and in case if disputes are not settled in early stage then it becomes difficult to handle the dispute being faced (Mustafaand Ghanem, 2013).

Combination of interest based bargaining and problem solving approach

Considering the situation of intra – Kurdish war and factional fighting of the Kurds, there is requirement of a combination of an interest based bargaining approach as well as Problem solving approach. The need of the hour is to rebuild the political unity of Kurds in Iraq. Interest based bargaining approach requires the parties to make collaborative efforts to jointly meet their needs (Vieregge and Quick, 2011). It also involves satisfaction of mutual interests by the parties. Therefore, through this approach, an attempt will be made to identify the interest and needs of both the Kurdish groups.

It will help in creating a variety of settlement option for both the factions of Kurds. Use of Interest based bargaining approach is justified because it will emphasize on cooperation and meeting mutual needs. Furthermore, it would lead to a wiser decision by expansion of bargaining options (Nikolaev, 2008). It can be analyzed from the case that the interest of the Kurdish groups lie in making the future relationships secure.

For this, they need to focus on interests not on position. It is only then that the status of places such as Kirkuk can be ascertained. Moreover, interest based bargaining approach would lead to the establishment of cooperative problem solving rather than competitive procedures for finding solution to their differences.

Use of interest based bargaining approach would involve exploration of procedural interests of the two groups of Kurds. The strategy would begin by educating the two groups about their respective interests (Starkey, BoyerandWilkenfeld, 2015). The problem will be solved in a way that provides win/win solution to both the groups. Multiple options will be generated for settlement. This will be accompanied by identification of a general criteria that is required to be present in the acceptable settlement.

The process of adopting an interest based bargaining approach will comprise of separating the option generation process from the evaluation process. In combination with interest based bargaining approach, problem solving approach would be helpful in reflecting upon the actual need for an agreement between the two groups. It will therefore assist in emphasizing upon maintaining and building relationships which will be beneficial in this case of intra – Kurdish war (Urlacher, 2015).

Side effects

Whenever the negotiations is done among two parties, this is crucial to pay attention towards the effects of concerning agreement which are further called as side effects. Here, in the above case negotiation process is done for the process of rebuilding Kurdain political unity in Iraq. However, during the negotiation process Dr. al-Khalil must lay interest more on accomplishing other objectives such as maintaining effective contact with the parties, substituting for violent action, intelligence, propaganda, deception, and impact on third parties. This is what the side effect aspect relating to international theory says. In the process of resolving issues or rivalry among the parties, the authorities must pay attention to the side-effects (Iragorri, 2016).

The major side-effects of intra-Kurdish war experienced by the region are that the Political unity of Kurdish Iraq has been destroyed. The third parties have suffered many losses as a thousand of Kurds have lost their lives in the factional fighting. Both sides control their own peshmerga militia that leads difficulties coordinating missions between the two armed groups. Further impacts are seen on the oil revenue sectors and its management as Iraqi Kurdistan’s have control over vast oil reserves.

This rivalry between the Workers’ Party and the Democratic Party has significantly leaded to Kurdish militias' inability to work together. This is further going to impact on Turkey's economy; on the other hand, it may lead to failure of the ongoing peace negotiations. Dr. al-Khalil should take help of Turkey's government for resolving the conflicts between the parties and help them in resolving intra-war situations.
The suggestion is made on the basis of existing relations of Turkey and PKK (The Time of the Kurds. 2016). The channels for emergency communication is in case must be watched by the authorized person and both the parties involved in war must be asked for their potential demands. However, it is the most required that the information of crucial steps must be communicated with both the parties so-as-to avoid any kind of misinterpretation.

Furthermore, United States and other international actors can be asked for expanding their support for the Kurds in Iraq. Democratic alternative in Iraq is predominated assurance for stability and cooperative relations among the Kurdish parties (Abdulrahman, 2012). The negotiators must look for coordinating both the parties for attaining success in mission.

Conclusion and recommendations

The entire conducted has supported in understanding about the concepts and strategies of Negotiation. Further, different strategies are present such as payoff structure, side effect, mirror image, combination of interest based and problem solving approach. By considering concept of negotiation it is possible to settle disputes which are taking place between both the parties and issues can be tackled easily. Apart from this, such type of similar cases can be negotiated through mirror image, side effect etc which are effective strategies and through this both the parties can be satisfied easily. The main lesson learnt from this study is to tackle the disputes between two parties through negotiation strategies. Apart from this, it can assist in building trust and confidence in between two parties which is not at all present in case of Kurdish. Moreover, it is required to build effective policies within the state which are favorable for both parties in between whom dispute has taken place.


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