SULEIMANIYAH (Iraq) - The leader of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region was accused of nepotism and sharply criticised Tuesday for naming his son head of the region's new National Security Council.
The organisation, which was set up on Sunday and awarded a budget of $265 million, will oversee and coordinate security and the intelligence agencies in the Kurdish region's three provinces.
Regional president Massud Barzani named his son Masroor head of the council, with the younger Barzani to have a cabinet rank. The president's nephew Nechirvan Barzani is already Kurdistan's prime minister.
"Massud Barzani is preparing to establish a dictatorial regime of the same type that recently fell in our region," said Shahu Said, a Kurdish MP from the opposition Goran (Change) party.
Asos Hardi, a journalist who founded two of the region's three biggest independent newspapers, voiced concern over the "strengthening of family control over the conduct of affairs in Kurdistan."
And Bilal Sulaiman, a Kurdish MP with the Jamaa Islamiya party, complained that the council was created "to protect the interests of the two parties," referring to Barzani's Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani.
Iraq's Kurdish region is made up of three provinces in the country's north. It enjoys wide ranging autonomy on most issues, has its own parliament, and its own government.
In recent months the region has been at loggerheads with the central government in Baghdad over a variety of issues ranging from oil exports to Kurdistan's sheltering of fugitive Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi.