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Rudaw

Kurdistan

Calls Grow Louder for Kurdish Independence from Iraq

By Rudaw 13/4/2014
Kurds in Erbil wave the Kurdistan flag in defiance of Baghdad. Photo: Rudaw
Kurds in Erbil wave the Kurdistan flag in defiance of Baghdad. Photo: Rudaw

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - As relations between Erbil and Baghdad continue to sour, some Kurdish leaders speak of an inevitable divorce from Iraq to establish an independent Kurdish state.

“By all standards, the Kurdistan Region has the right to become a sovereign state,” said Ali Bapir, leader of the Kurdistan Islamic League (Komal), at a press conference last week.

Bapir’s comments, which he called a road map, came just hours after Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani told Sky News Arabia that, “A Kurdish state is on the way.”

Bapir said that a committee within the party has been studying the ways and possibilities of a Kurdish state.

“At this stage, we have an opportunity to prepare the ground toward creating a Kurdish state,” he told reporters. “Therefore, Komal will adopt this goal into its strategic agenda and exhaust its political, diplomatic and humanitarian efforts to reach it.”

The main Kurdish parties have raised their rhetoric about going independent, complaining about  Baghdad’s repeated breaches of the Iraqi constitution. In the meantime, some have said they would seek to change the nature of relations with Iraq from federalism into a confederation, as a way to end the historical troubled relations with successive regimes in Baghdad.

The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, whose leader Jalal Talabani continues to be the Iraqi president despite his hospitalization since Dec 2012, has also raised the question of confederation in campaigns for the April 30 polls. “Implementation of constitution or confederation,” reads an election poster of the PUK.

Bapir, whose party is competing in both the Iraqi legislative and Kurdistan provincial polls that run simultaneously, summarized the roadmap into three main points: First, overcoming the barriers that have been holding back the Kurds from reaching this dream; second, presenting the view of Islamic political parties about self-determination for Kurdistan; finally, outlining the mechanisms to reach this goal.

When asked whether the Kurdish political parties are ready for this challenging move when they cannot even come to an agreement about forming the new government, Bapir said: “If we were a sovereign state where no political parties believed the ministries of Peshmarga, natural resources and finance belong to them, the formation of the government would have been a piece a cake.”

The Komal leader said the roadmap would be presented to the Kurdistan Region president, and the authorities, in detail.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has locked in several serious issues that include oil, budget, Kurdish Peshmarga forces and the authority of the Kurdish Region to conduct its own affairs. Barzani has dismissed Baghdad’s claims that the problems between the two sides are about oil and gas. He said that authorities in Baghdad want to treat the autonomous Kurdistan Region as a province, which is unacceptable.

The idea of declaring a Kurdish state might be easier said than done, especially given the fact that vast areas of disputed land claimed by both Baghdad and the KRG, still lie outside the boundaries of the Kurdistan Region.

Rudaw spoke with a number of people on the streets of Erbil, who said that it would not be fair to Kurds living in those areas if Erbil declared independence and left them out.

The so-called “disputed territories” include most of Kirkuk province and parts of Nineveh and Diyala.

In response to Kurdish threats of separating from Iraq, Iraqi MPs in Baghdad said that if the Kurds go ahead then Article 140 of the constitution, which aims to decide the fate of the disputed territories, will automatically become irrelevant, and the Kurds will have no right to seek its implementation.

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Herdem Kurdman | 13/4/2014
The largest Nation without state has right to have its own state. In the past ten years the kurds have showed to world that they are peaceful and they can create a safe heaven in the bloody middle east. And to correct the cardinal faults of world powers in the last century, for the security and freedom in the world,for more justice in it, for improving kurdish culture and language for the education of kurdish new generations and most important of all to prevent new attempts of genocide, we kurds must get our independent and sovereign state! The arabs have more than 22 states, and many of them have only a small population. For example Qatar, Bahrain,Djibouti etc. To have a kurdish independent state is a present for the world and its future. I will support president Barzani´s and other kurdish leaders purposes toward an independent kurdish state!
Qaraman | 13/4/2014
What a shock! our Arab "brothers" are threatening to take Kurdish territories outside KRG, well then in case they think it will be "a walk in the park" they should be reminded that 1. it's not the 70's or 80's where an professional army was fighting a few dozen guerillas in the mountains, it will be an equal fight and we all know what that means, we might even have a few surprises for them. 2. Kurds would never take such a step without having the backing of at least one regional power. 3. All of Iraqs water runs through Kurdish territories even without the disputed territories. 4. They can never export any oil to Turkey as any pipeline will have to go through Kurdistan, same with trade. 5. If Kurds wanted to they can raze hell in Iraq by arming Sunni insurgents and many other groups opposing the Shia government, it will make the low intensity war raging now look like a picnic, there are a dozen more moves Kurds can take that will lead to the total destruction of Iraq so think again. We've just had it with their lies, deceit and their breaking of every agreement before the ink is dry, by which law are they allowed to withhold Kurdistans budget for 4 month? they are punishing the entire Kurdish population and think they can get away with it.
Muraz Adzhoev | 13/4/2014
According to the Constitution of the Iraqi federal state all these areas are not the subject of any disputes. The only party that could claim the right for these areas of the Kurdish land is the Kurdistan Autunomous Region. The procedure and fixed timing shedule for the transition of these lands into federal or regional jurisdiction regarding the will of the local population has been provided by the Constitution, but were not fulfilled through the fault and due to the purposeful relactant of the federal Government. The Regional authorities have the legal grounds to complete this matter within the framework of the regional referendum on secession of South Kurdistan from federal Iraqi state. The referendum should be conducted from the moment of the official declaration of the independence of South Kurdistan. There is no need for any special "road maps". All that is necessary today is to be fast, deliberate and active in supporting the Regional authorities and the people of South Kurdistan.
Renas | 13/4/2014
It is not acceptable that Kurdish land outside the KAR stays under the occupation of Iraq. It is time to annex the region, because there is no trust in any agreement with failed and fake state of Iraq.
Hersh | 13/4/2014
"Iraqi MPs in Baghdad threatened that if Kurds go ahead then Article 140 of the constitution, will become irrelevant" unbelievable, for 7 years Kurds have tried to get them to implement article 140 and for 7 years the Arabs have blocked it saying that article 140 is irrelevant! now suddenly they're pretending that they're on the verge of implementing it? we all know that article 140 will be settled by guns, the only language Arabs understand.
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