A career ambassador in the US Foreign Service, James Jeffrey, sat down with Rudaw's Majeed Gly to discuss the Kurdistan Region's 2017 referendum on independence. Jeffrey most recently held the posts of Ambassador to Iraq and previously the Ambassador to Turkey.
The former diplomat sees the referendum similar to the 2005 vote with the same large support for the referendum; however, the conditions for achieving independence, Jeffrey believes, are different questions to be addressed. He re-iterated the "fixed" US position of a unified and federal Iraq being the best solution for all Iraqis including people in the Kurdistan Region.
Pragmatically, Jeffrey said it is difficult for the United States to change its policy of the break-up of its allies. He did note that if Iran's influence continues to build in Iraq, resulting in chaos similar to Syria or Lebanon, then the United States may have to reconsider its position on an independent Kurdistan. Jeffrey's question is: Would an independent Kurdistan actually be a stronger, safer place than it has been since 2003?