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Massoud Barzani Fast Facts

Here is a look at the life of Massoud Barzani, the president of the Kurdish Regional Government in Iraq.

Birth date:
August 16, 1946

Birth place: Mahabad, Kurdistan, Iran

Birth name: Massoud Barzani

Father: General Mustafa Barzani, was chief of the military of the Kurdish Republic of Mahabad

Mother: Hamayil Khan

Marriage: Married (name unavailable publicly)

Children: Eight children

Religion: Sunni Muslim

Other Facts:
Fluent in Kurmanji (Kurdish), Arabic, Farsi (Persian) and English.

Leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) since 1979.

The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) has an estimated 10,000 fighters and controls the northwestern part of Iraqi Kurdistan along the border of Syria, Turkey and Iran.

1961 -
Quits school to join the Peshmerga (Kurdish fighters).

1961-1975 - The Kurds fight the Iraqi government.

1970 - Is a member of the Kurdish delegation in talks with the government in Baghdad and becomes a member of the KDP leadership.

1976 - The KDP is reorganized.

1979 - Escapes an assassination attempt in Vienna, Austria.

1979 - Elected president of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), after the death of his father.

1992 - The Kurdish election ends in a split vote.

1994 - The Kurds in northern Iraq are divided into eastern and western political factions. Barzani is named the head of the northwestern region as head of the KDP. A parallel government is established in the east under the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK).

1994-1998 - Barzani leads a war against the PUK. A peace agreement is reached in August 1998.

October 4, 2002 - Barzani and Jalal Talabani, leader of the PUK, apologize to the families of the victims of their internal war.

2003 - Becomes a member of the Iraqi Governing Council following the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime.

January 30, 2005 - Barzani is one of approximately 7,700 candidates in Iraq's first free elections in over 50 years.

June 2005 - Elected president of the Kurdish Regional Government in Iraq.

July 25, 2009 - Re-elected president of the Kurdish Regional Government in Iraq with 71% of the vote.

March 3, 2011 - After three weeks of protests, mainly in Sulaimaniya, demanding political reforms from Barzani's government and the KDP, Barzani gives a televised address in which he calls on the Iraqi Kurdistan Parliament to study the possibility of holding early general elections in the region. The next regional election is scheduled for 2013.

July 2013 - The Kurdish parliament votes to extend Barzani's presidential term an additional two years.

June 23, 2014 - In an exclusive interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour, gives his strongest-ever indication that his region, Iraqi Kurdistan, would seek formal independence from the rest of Iraq.

June 27, 2014 - Announces that the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, and other disputed areas in Northern Iraq, are henceforth part of the Kurdish autonomous region, after the Iraqi central government failed to hold a long-awaited referendum.

July 3, 2014 - Barzani tells the Kurdish parliament to begin taking steps to hold a referendum on the independence of Kurdish areas.