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Rudaw

Kurdistan

Kurdish Independence from Iraq: The Ball is Rolling

25/5/2014
Kurdish leaders appear to have reached a point where they believe that full independence might be the best and only solution for the country’s five million Kurds. Photo: Rudaw
Kurdish leaders appear to have reached a point where they believe that full independence might be the best and only solution for the country’s five million Kurds. Photo: Rudaw

By Ghazi Harith

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The Kurdistan Region appears to have set the ball rolling toward independence from Iraq.

The first signs of this emerged last week when the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) announced -- despite threats from Baghdad -- the sale of one million barrels of Kurdish oil that had been stored at the Turkish port of Ceyhan.

With this move Kurdish authorities in Erbil not only defied Iraq’s central government, they also ignored warnings from the United States, which has consistently stood against Kurdistan selling its oil without Baghdad’s consent.

America’s main concern is Iraq’s territorial integrity: Washington fears that economic independence would lead the Kurds toward declaring independence from Iraq and dividing the country.

These concerns notwithstanding, Kurdish leaders -- among them Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani -- have said time and again that they cannot tolerate Baghdad’s hostile actions and constant blackmail of the Kurds.

Earlier this year, Baghdad cut the autonomous region’s budget, depriving more than one million civil servants of their monthly salaries. Erbil regarded this as “a violation of the constitution, and blamed the maneuver on Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

After 10 years of disagreements with Baghdad, Kurdish leaders appear to have reached a point where they believe that full independence might be the best and only solution for the country’s five million Kurds.

In Paris on Friday, Kurdistan President Massoud Barzani told his French counterpart and members of the French government that if Baghdad fails to change its current policies towards the Kurds, the Kurds “have other options on the table” to emerge from the crisis. Observers believe that “other options” is a couched reference to breaking away from Iraq.

Two weeks ago the Kurdish president had already reiterated to leaders of Kurdistan’s political parties that, if Maliki remains Iraq’s premier for a third term, the Kurds will hold a referendum on seeking independence.

Nonetheless, the Kurds are busy forming a special committee to hold talks with Iraqi groups on their participation in the next Iraqi government and parliament, following the April 30 elections.

On the other hand, the Kurdish president’s presence in Europe and the clear message he delivered in France, as well as the Kurdish prime minister’s visit to London last week, are seen by some as a campaign to seek international support for Kurdish independence.

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KIM | 25/5/2014
Russian Federation is the only ally of Kurds who can help our oppressed nation in South Kurdistan achieve their long-sought aspiration of independence. Obamas Admin is involved in corruption in Kurdistan. A simple example of corruption is the miles of land occupied by the US Consulate in Hawler without any prior announce.We ask the US Consulate to demonstrate their documents that they legally purchased this land from KRG.
longlivetheunited iraq | 25/5/2014
Hahaha not possible, I think there will be a time that the Kurds will appreciate and accept to say "I am Iraqi". Once we Arabs not only Iraq whole Arabia knew the Kurds as strong, brave, generous.... We had them as leaders like Salahaldin who was Kurd but he represented Iraq, if someone says he wasnt from Iraq he was from Kurdistan, then I cant agree with him because he was the leader of Arabia.
Muraz Adzhoev | 25/5/2014
If "America’s main concern is Iraq’s territorial integrity", then Washington should recognize the territorial integrity and admit the independence of Southern Kurdistan in appropriatel respect of the universal democratic principle of self-determination and lawfully grounded political will of the Kurdish people. Declaring independence of South Kurdistan, the authorities of Kurdistan Autonomous Region, in particular the President, the Parliament and the Government, would like to give the Iraqi authorities, the Federal Parliament and the Government in particular, the last chance to keep the territorial integrity of the country by transforming the statehood system from the failed and ineligible federalism into probably more stable and suitable con-federalism. However, it seems much more likily, "that full independence might be the best and only solution for the country’s (South Kurdistan) five million Kurds". Washington is obliged not to forget the existing norms of the international law and universal principles relating to justified rights of indigenous peoples for their national, political, social and territorial self-determination. The President and the State Department of USA should strictly and honestly follow the well-known rule - do not harm, when providing help, support and assistance.
Jonjo | 25/5/2014
Hurray!
Kevlar | 25/5/2014
Nothing wrong with keeping all options open, we need good relations with everyone even Iraq, better that we build our case gradually and convince both Iraq and the west then start a war.
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