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Rudaw

Interview

Kurdish independence debate in DC: Is the timing right?

By Namo Abdulla 10/8/2017
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Rudaw's correspondent in Washington, D.C., Namo Abdulla, recently hosted a debate between an American diplomat and a professor well-versed on the issues of Kurdistan, who have expressed differing views on the Kurdistan Region's process to independence.

Peter Galbraith was the US Ambassador to Croatia from 1993 to 1998. He has advised Kurdish leaders and is a proponent of Kurdish independence. Previously, as a staff member in the US Senate, he worked on Kurdish issues beginning in 1979. He visited Kurdistan in 1987 and 1988 after the chemical attacks in Halabja and then worked to advocate for strong US sanctions against the Baathist regime, thereafter.

Galbraith says "I wouldn't say there should be a declaration of independence the day after [the September 25 referendum], but within a reasonable period of time if that's what the people of Kurdistan vote for, then independence should follow." He says there are technical discussions that will have to occur regarding boundaries, assets, and liabilities between Erbil and Baghdad; however, "he has never met a Kurd" who prefers Iraqi to Kurdish citizenship when given the choice. Additionally, he sees “no chance” of the referendum being cancelled. He speaks on the failed state of Iraq providing the example of "1,000 men with pickup trucks" taking over Iraq's second-largest city. 

Daniel Serwer is a conflict management professor at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies where he recently has written and researched the issues of the Kurdistan Region extensively. Serwer in the 1990s served as a US special envoy to Bosnia. He mediated peace talks between the Croats and Muslims.

Serwer explained that his recent Washington Post article that opposed the timing for Kurdistan breaking away from Iraq shouldn't be seen as an opposition to Kurdish independence. He stresses "the process by which it is achieved" is important because independence needs "recognition" to truly achieve sovereignty. He believes the referendum is not really necessary because Kurdish aspirations are well known; however, an agreement between Erbil and Baghdad on independence allows countries like the United States to more easily recognize a sovereign Kurdish state.


Comments

 
Spass-be Galbraith | 10/8/2017
Galbraith is a brave and noble person and this is why he loves the Kurds.Let him know that many and many Kurds we have immense respect and apprrciation for him . A true friend and champion of a nation with few friends. Galbraith spass-be .
Schkak , the Painter | 10/8/2017
Galbraith , man of courage, high values and great heart. Schkak would love one day paint your portrait for the high gallery of the history of art, and the history of the Kurdish civilization .
FAUthman | 10/8/2017
The guy in the blue striped shirt is wrong and Peter Galbraith is right!
duroi | 11/8/2017
The timing is a bit delayed because of Obama administration opposition. For a smooth and fast transition, a Dayton framework is needed so that the 2 parties (e.g. KRG president and Iraq prime minister and their staff) who negotiate terms of agreement do it in a secure site (like in Dayton, Ohio), removed from their comfort zone in order to have more incentive to negotiate and prevent them from terrible mistake of negotiating via media. US secretary of State should lead such an effort in another US city and if US is not ready, the other option is for Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov to lead the effort in Suchi or another Russian city. Many of the terms of Dayton on arbitration of disputes and demilitarization can be copy and pasted and the referendum provides the input for the border settlement.
iranian mollahs fanclub | 15/8/2017
look tihs guy serwer is clearly a dillusional romantic leftist from the times of the russian revolution. second john hopkins university receives big donation from iranian government "scholarship grants" via the likes of alavi foundation and imam khoei foundation etc....iran basically send all its foreign exchange students to jhu ro receive their "phds".(holding a phd degree is a big thing among iranians=show off)..galbraith on the other hand is true american patriot and knows very well whats best 4 americas longterm interest unlike dillusional scholars with personal connections to academic agents etcccc......btw kurds been at war since iraq was created as british military outpost..and has never been a country like most other british military basis from the past including syria iran and and etc....this war threats comes always from same people who later commit commited genocides against kurds.....so have we to lose? nothing already.
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