ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – President Masoud Barzani has told some members of the Arab tribes of Nineveh and Makhmur that he is “concerned” that what is to come after the defeat of ISIS in Mosul compared to the current bloodshed would be far more “catastrophic” and that the Kurdish referendum later this year is to “prevent a new cycle of killing.”
“After the outcome of the referendum, we will enter serious talks with Baghdad and the political parties, so that we will reach a mutual understanding because the current situation is not sustainable, and would take us to a catastrophe,” Barzani told the tribal leaders in Erbil on Wednesday, “The catastrophe will be so great and to an extent that things you call catastrophe now compared to what will come look trivial. I swear to God my main objective is to prevent a new cycle of killing.”
“I will not hide it from you that I am concerned about the forthcoming events and forthcoming developments,” Barzani said as he addressed the attendees.
A spokesperson for the Kurdish-backed tribal forces of Nineveh released a statement following the meeting in which he said that they live in the “so-called disputed areas” and that want to be included in the Kurdistan referendum for independence.
Sheikh Muzaam Ahmed Al-Uwet also said that they do not want any armed force other than the Peshmerga to be stationed in their areas.
A tribal leader who has been living with Kurds in those areas voiced their unconditional support for the referendum.
“The right to self-determination for Kurdistan is the only [solution],” Sheikh Hasan Fars, Sheikh of al-Tay tribe told Rudaw after the meeting, “We hope that it would end sectarianism and its fallouts. The referendum would maintain the relationship between Arabs and Kurds just as strong as they are. Like President Barzani too highlighted it in the meeting. We support the right to self-determination. We would be a loyal soldier to execute an orders that will tasked to us. “
President of Mosul University who also attended the meeting with some other academics hoped that the referendum would create a positive atmosphere between the Kurds and Arabs.
“Every society strives to achieve their rights in a proper and sound way,” Dr. Obay Saeed al-Dewachi said, “We hope that this process would go in a proper way in a way that keeps the love between Arabs and Kurds both before and after the referendum.”
President Barzani said that the military defeat of ISIS in Mosul is “within days, give or take,” but added that this does not mean the end of the extremist organization.
Barzani told France 24 in an interview published on Wednesday that they do not want to “impose their desires” upon the Arab people in the outlying areas of the Kurdistan Region, claimed both by Baghdad and Erbil, and expect that the Arabs do not try to impose theirs on the Kurds either.
The Kurdistan Region has already recruited and trained some Arab Peshmergas from Nineveh to be tasked with security missions around Mosul.
Barzani added that the new Iraq that came to existence after the US-led invasion in 2003 with the help of Kurds resulted in the budget cut by Baghdad since early 2014, something he said was no less sinister than genocide and chemical attacks of the previous regime.