A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Barzani Moving Towards Kurdistan Independence Referendum?

A couple of days ago Kurdistan Regional Government President Masoud Barzani told the BBC he hoped to hold a referendum on Kurdish independence "within months,"

Now, Reuters is reporting that yesterday he asked a closed-door session of Parliament to set up the machinery for just such a referendum:
The president of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish north asked the region's parliament on Thursday to prepare the way for a referendum on independence, according to lawmakers who attended the closed session . . .
"The president asked us to form an independent electoral commission to carry out a referendum in the Kurdistan region and determine the way forward," said lawmaker Farhad Sofi, a member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).
Some of the traditional impediments to KRG independence — a landlocked Kurdistan surrounded by potentially hostile states — have been ameliorated by improved relations with Turkey and to some extent Iran, and as the impression that the KRG, after two decades of self-government, is the only part of Iraq that is functional deepens, centrifugal factors are strengthening, reinforced by the KRG's occupation of Kirkuk. If the Arab provinces split on sectarian lines,the Kurds could achieve their dream of independence at last, but that could prove a long and difficult achievement.

1 comment:

David Mack said...

The Kurds should beware of over reaching. They would not be the first nation to place patriotic enthusiasm above practical realities. Indeed, "civilized" Europe saw a great deal of that in the 19th and 20th centuries. Prudence would suggest that the status quo -- maintaining a formal relationship as part of Iraq, along with practical arrangements with Turkey, other governments and major foreign companies -- has significant advantages for Iraqi Kurds.