Four Generations of Barzani Leadership in the KDP
For nearly seven decades, four generations of the Barzani family and tribal confederation have remained the prominent leaders of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) in Iraqi Kurdistan. The founding generation’s most prominent member was Mulla Mustafa Barzani (1903 – 1979), who led the KDP through the majority of the Cold War-era and built the foundation for KDP regional politcs. Meanwhile, the second generation led by Masoud Barzani (1946-) has led the KDP since the late 1970s, throughout the Saddam Hussein-era. The third generation led by Nerchivan Barzani (1966-) entered KDP politics in the late 1980s and 1990s and has overseen the development of formal Kurdish autonomy. The up and coming fourth generation, born in the late 1980s and early 1990s entered KDP politics in the 2010s and is led by charismatic intellectuals and Peshmerga leaders including Idris Nerchivan Barzani and Yasser Mansour Barzani, respectivly.
Below is a list of select Barzani family members by generation.
Mulla Mustafa Barzani – Younger brother of Sheikh Ahmed Barzani. Born in the northern village of Barzan, Barzani is among the most revered Kurdish nationalist leaders. He was the first chairman of the KDP. Mulla Mustafa Barzani was active in Kurdish nationalist politics from the 1930s-1970s.
Dilshad Barzani – Son of Mulla Mustafa Barzani and brother of Masoud Barzani. Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) representative to Germany.
Idris Barzani – Son of Mulla Mustafa Barzani. Idris held multiple KDP portfolios. Idris died of a sudden heart attack in 1987.
Masoud Barzani (Sarok) – Son of Mulla Mustafa Barzani. Became a prominent leader in the KDP in 1979 at age 33 following the death of his father Mulla Mustafa Barzani. After the death of his brother Idris Barzani in 1987 Masoud became undisputed leader of KDP. Masoud became the president of the KRG in 2005. Reelected to KRG presidency in 2009 with approximately 70% of the popular vote.
Waji Barzani – Son of Mulla Mustafa Barzani and younger brother of Masoud Barzani. Formerly a commander of Peshmerga special forces. Severely injured in a U.S. military friendly fire incident on April 6, 2003.
Saber Barzani – Son of Mulla Mustafa Barzani and brother of Masoud Barzani.
Sidad Barzani – Son of Mulla Mustafa Barzani and brother of Masoud Barzani. Member of the KDP leadership council.
Farhad Barzani – Nephew of Masoud Barzani. Farhad is a former director of the KDP office to the United States.
Masrour Barzani – First son of Masoud Barzani. Chancellor of the Kurdistan Region Security Council leading KRG intelligence and military affairs. Masrour is the founder the Barzani Charity Foundation (BCF).
Mansour Barzani – Son of Masoud Barzani. General in the Peshmerga forces.
Nechirvan Idris Barzani – Son of Idris Barzani. Nerchivan has been active in KDP politics since the 1980s. He was was elected by the Kurdistan National Assembly as Prime Minister of the KRG from 2005-2009 and reappointed in 2012.
Piran Dilshad Barzani – Son of Dilshad Barzani and nephew of Masoud Barzani. Active in KDP peshmerga forces.
Rawan Idris Barzani – Son of Idris Barzani and brother of Nerchivan Barzani. General in the KDP Peshmerga forces.
Sirwan Saber Barzani – Nephew of Masoud Barzani and son of Saber Barzani. Formerly a member of the KDP leadership council and KRG representative to Italy. Well known executive who reportedly holds significant equity in Korek Telecom and a mall in Erbil. Since the June 2014 onslaught of ISIS into Iraqi Kurdish territory Sirwan has participated in the command of Peshmerga forces.
Yousif Barzani – Brother of Nerchivan Barzani. Member of the KDP leadership council.
Idris Nerchivan Barzani – Son of Nerchivan Idris Barzani. Idris is the founder of the Rwanga Foundation an NGO dedicated to aiding the “most vulnerable people residing in Kurdistan, Iraq and in the greater global community”.
Naser Barzani – Son of Mansour Barzani. Active in KDP Peshmerga forces.
Yasser Mansour Barzani – Son of Mansour Barzan and grandson of Masoud Barzani. Active in KDP Peshmerga