“But the fragmented and indecent governance (in Baghdad) over the past 13 years has hardly been the answer to the plight of the people of Iraq,”
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region—A senior Kurdish politician says that the Iraqi state has repeatedly failed to provide a good model of governance despite ample opportunities over the past years, which inevitably entitles the Kurds to self-determination through referendum.
Mala Bakhtiar, a top member of the ruling Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) writes in an op-ed article that the referendum is “Kurdistan people’s undisputed right” which he hopes the Iraqi rulers would respect through further dialogue and negotiations.
“Support a genuine democracy in Iraq by implementing the constitutional article 140 regarding the so-called disputed territories and let people in Kirkuk, Khanaqin and Shingal be in charge of their destiny,” Bakhtiar writes in his op-ed for the PUK mouthpiece Kurdistani Nwe on Thursday calling on the support of the international community.
“But the fragmented and indecent governance (in Baghdad) over the past 13 years has hardly been the answer to the plight of the people of Iraq,” he continues.
The PUK has largely been hesitant to openly support the anticipated referendum in Kurdish-controlled territories in the past. But with recent acceleration of tensions in Baghdad with both government and parliament in constitutional deadlocks, the party has quickly adopted a clearer position regarding the referendum.
“I think our party has not had a discernable approach towards referendum over the past years, but now I really hope that we have a reason to be supportive of it,” said Azad Jundiani, a politburo member of the PUK at the Sulaimani University Conference Wednesday.
The Kurdish President Masoud Barzani announced recently that the referendum would go ahead as planned before the end of 2016 with both Kirkuk and Yezidi town of Shingal included in the public vote.
The PUK has over the past month showed wider support for the referendum after Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi’s failed attempt to reshuffle his cabinet members replacing, among others, Kurdish ministers with the so-called “technocratic non-partisan ministers.”
Mala Bakhtiar says Iraq’s crisis is larger than its government with further disintegration not only between the Sunnis and Shiites but also within the inner ranks of the Sunnis and Shiites.
“After collapse of the Baathist rule, the problem of Iraq has not been only its inability to produce a technocratic and active government, as the Shiite model of governance in Iraq has proved to be enormously inadequate,” Bakhtiar writes.
He also addresses the international community and says it is the morale duty of the West to support the Kurdish people in their aspiration towards self-determination.
“What do they expect more of the people of Kurdistan? Is it not enough that we see the security and freedom of the West as our own and fight our common enemies with everything that we have? Have we not done our part to secure the coalition’s victory over the ISIS?” Bakhtiar writes referring to European Union, the US and the United Nations.
“And Europe knows the answers to these and many other questions like that,” he concludes.