A Kurdish Peshmerga soldier holding a Kurdistan flag on Mount Shingal. Photo: Rudaw
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — The minister for the Kurdistani areas outside the Kurdistan Region Government’s (KRG) administration has announced that they are waiting for the command of the Council of Ministers to make preparations for the upcoming independence referendum.
“We have held a meeting with Kurdistan’s high electoral committee. But we haven’t made practical preparations because we are an executive party. For this reason, we are waiting for the command of the Council of Ministers. There is a lot we should do,” said Nasradin Sindi, the minister for the Kurdistani areas outside the KRG administration.
Kurdistani areas are called disputed areas in the Iraqi constitution, claimed both by Baghdad and Erbil, but largely under the control of the Kurdish Peshmerga.
He added that they haven’t yet officially kicked off preparations to hold the independence referendum in Kurdistani areas outside the administration of the Kurdistan Region.
Parts of Shingal have become divided with Shiite Hashd al-Shaabi paramilitaries controlling some towns and Kurdish Peshmerga and other fighters in other places. It is similar for the residents in the southern areas around Tuz Khurmatu.
Sindi said that they expect to face problems in some Kurdistani areas outside the administration of the Kurdistan Region with respect to making preparations for the upcoming referendum, “especially in parts of Shingal and Khurmatu which are under the control of the Hashd al-Shaabi. We expect to face problems there. That is why we should work from now on to solve these problems because there isn’t much time left.”
In a Washington Post editorial last month, Kurdish President Masoud Barzani reiterated that the Iraqi government refused in 2007 to implement Article 140 of the Iraqi constitution “that would have the people of the disputed areas decide their future democratically.”
“Nearly ten years later, we propose to give them that opportunity. We wish to incorporate into Kurdistan only those territories where the people overwhelmingly want to be part of Kurdistan as expressed in a free vote,” he wrote. “The last thing we want is a long-lasting territorial dispute with Iraq that could poison our future relations.”
According to the figures produced by the Kurdistan Region’s independent electoral commission and referendum, nearly 3,650,000 voters in the Kurdistani areas outside the administration of the Kurdistan Region can participate in the referendum.