AKRE, Kurdistan Region – Kurdish President Masoud Barzani has slammed Tuesday’s vote by the Iraqi parliament that rejected the Kurdish independence referendum.
He said the vote is a clear example of what the Iraqi parties call a political majority where Shiite and Sunni Arab MPs constitute the majority of seats in the Iraqi parliament.
Barzani said Wednesday evening that he calls on the Iraqi parliament to reconsider their decision as they cannot break the will of the people of Kurdistan.
“Yesterday, under the name of the political majority, against the will of the Kurdish nation, and against the existence of the Kurdish people, they political majority wanted to impose their decision on us. I say clearly to the Iraqi parliament to reconsider your decision because the will of the people of Kurdistan will not be broken by you.”
Commenting on the remarks made by the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi who said Tuesday that the Kurds will “lose” all their achievements they secured since the US-led Iraqi invasion of Iraq in 2003 if the vote goes ahead, Barzani said those who make such remarks think as though they are the ones who provided such rights to the Kurdish people.
“They say a lot that many achievements have been gained by [Erbil]. There are many achievements indeed, but at what price? Did someone do so because they wanted to be good to us, or that we gained them with our own blood?” Barzani asked.
He said the Kurdistan nation would not give too much weight to such “threats”.
Barzani said while they do not want to wage war against anyone, he warned those who want to try the military force against Erbil.
“If someone wants to try themselves, and to break the will of the people [of Kurdistan[ by force, the field is open for them to come and give it a try,” Barzani said in a warning message as he signaled the Kurdish government is ready to practice its right to self-defense.
The Iraqi government opposes the Kurdish vote calling it unconstitutional and one that threatens the unity of Iraq. The Kurdistan region which has called for the vote accuses the Iraqi government of having violated about one-third of the Iraqi constitution.
The Kurdish president criticized what he called the foreign friends of Kurdistan who say that now is not the right time for the referendum. He said that the Kurds “have been waiting for 100 years,” and yet they still say time is not right.
The United States, United Kingdom and many members of the European Union have expressed their opposition to the Kurdish vote in September, mainly citing fears that it may negatively affect the fight against the ISIS group that is still present in some parts of Iraq including in Hawija, southwest of Kirkuk. The Kurdish officials say they vote will strengthen the current cooperation between the Iraqi and Kurdish forces against ISIS.
“The fight against ISIS will not be affected even by a bit. We will have the same attitude, and we will continue,” the cooperation, Barzani said about the contribution of the Kurdish Peshmerga as part of the US-led Global Coalition against ISIS.
He said such countries do not have a “convincing alternative” to offer in place of the referendum that could secure the Kurdish objective–independence.
Video: The rally in Akre on September 13, 2017. Akre, about 65 km northwest of Erbil, has become the second city aftre Kirkuk that Barzani visited to gather support for the vote.
President Barzani reiterated that the new Iraq founded about14 years ago after toppling the former Iraqi regime has failed.
“It is becoming clearer day after day that the new logic too is not the logic that accepts partnership,” Barzani said as he drew similarity between the former Iraqi regime that committed a genocidal campaign against the Kurds and the new Iraqi government in place for over a decade.
Barzani told thousand of people in Akre waving flags of Kurdistan that the Kurdish people have to put the past era behind when foreign countries through various agreements decided to divide the Kurdish land without taking into consideration the will of the Kurdish people.
President Masoud Barzani attends the rally for independence in Akre on September 13, 2017. Photo Rudaw video
“The time has come for the people of Kurdistan to say enough [to] Algeria, Lausanne, or Sykes–Picot to come and determine our fate. The time has come for the people of Kurdistan to make its own decision and to determine its fate on its own," Barzani said as he mentioned the names for different treaties that disadvantaged the Kurdish people at different stages.
He said that the September vote will guarantee that there will be no further genocide committed against the Kurds, adding that “We have to pay whatever price it takes to achieve independence.”
Barzani added that that they will continue "friendly talks" with Baghdad and others after the vote, provided that the other sides will agree to the Kurdish call to have dialogue.