Kurdish people fly an Israeli flag and Kurdish flags during an event to urge people to vote in the upcoming independence referendum in Erbil on September 16, 2017. Photo: AFP / Safin Hamed
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The deputy speaker of Kurdistan’s parliament has slammed comments from the Iraqi vice president about a “second Israel” in Kurdistan, saying the Iraqi leader killed more Arabs during his tenure than Israel ever did.
Maliki told US Ambassador to Iraq Douglas Silliman on Sunday that they will not allow a “second Israel” in Iraq, referring to Kurdistan’s planned referendum on independence.
“Israel has not killed as many Arabs as this man did,” Jafar Imniki, the parliament’s deputy speaker said in a statement. “He cut the bread of Kurdistan, Israel did not.”
The Iraqi government under then-Prime Minister Maliki decided to withhold the Kurdistan Region’s share of the Iraqi budget in 2014 following plans to export oil to international markets independent of Baghdad.
The Iraqi parliament voted on Tuesday to reject the Kurdistan vote on independence, set to take place seven days from now. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who is from Maliki’s ruling Dawa Party, threatened to use force against Erbil if necessary.
Following the vote, President Masoud Barzani stated that decisions made by the Iraqi parliament “will not reach Kurdistan, so don’t even bother.”
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated last week that they support the establishment of a Kurdish state. The Kurdistan Region does not have any direct diplomatic ties with Israel, but the two nations share historical relations.
Imniki called Maliki a “dictator” like no other in Iraq, and vowed to keep him and his likes away from “ruling” Kurdistan.
Iraq’s Supreme Court ruled on Monday to suspend the Kurdistan referendum temporarily until it makes a final decision. Abadi said the court decision came at the request of his government. At least two Turkmen members of parliament made a similar request