“Kurds can build an independent state in their three provinces”
Head of Shiite State of Law talks to
leaders about possibility of withdrawal. We don’t believe that they would, since this is no more than propaganda and a means to put pressure on the others.
Tensions between the Kurdistan Region and the central government have never reached their current level since the fall of the Baathist Regime. What is the reason and how could this be solved?
The issue is that Kurdistan wants to act as a state with no connection, control and monitoring from Baghdad. Let’s start from the most recent issue between two sides. If Kurdistan Region wants to solve the issues it should first withdraw its forces from Kirkuk and the disputed areas and there should not be any Peshmerga forces inside the cities; then the negotiations could be fruitful.
But the tensions started after the formation of the Dijla Operations Command in these areas, which both the Kurds and the Turkmens labeled as “unnecessary”. Wasn’t the formation of this command a mistake?
No, the formation of Dijla Operations Command was a right decision in the right time. This is a constitutional force established due to the widespread existence of terrorist organizations, and especially al-Qaida, in these areas. The Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Iraq who is the Prime Minster of the Country has the right to form armed forces where necessary. And this force was necessary in Kirkuk. Kurds should not have been so concerned about this.
But these areas are still to be managed on a mutual basis and Article 140 is still not implemented.
It is true that these are disputed areas and are mutually managed, but al-Qaida threats are a lot in this area. Additionally, this issue should definitely be solved and we are committed to implementing all phases of Article 140. What has been done now is to implement the phases one by one. A census should be conducted later and the situations should be normalized but it seems that Kurds do not want this article to be implemented.
It is argued that the actions of Maliki are major factors why the Kurds talk about announcing their own independent state more than ever. What would be your reaction in such a case?
We are not for the separation of Iraq and do not like any kind of division in Iraq, but in the end the decision is with Kurdistan’s nation and it is a Kurdistani decision. If Kurds want to separate it is their rights and the United Nations has made this decision. However, this should be on the blue line. I mean we do not have any reservations or problem with the establishment of a Kurdish state if it is only in the three current provinces, i.e. inside the borders before the fall of the Baathist Regime. But if they want to include the disputed areas as well, we will prevent that and these areas should in no way be part of such a state. This is due to the fact that these areas are shared among all the ethnicities, and if Kurds insist on including these areas to the Kurdistan Region, then a war would erupt between the Kurdistan Region and Iraq.
Iraq’s Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi severely attacked Maliki in his most recent statement, and argues that he is the factor behind the war between Sunnis and Shiites and the conflicts between the Kurds and Arabs. What is your response?
Tariq alHashemi is a criminal and the Iraqi courts have convicted him with the death penalty, hence his statements are worthless and are not considered valid. He is a murderer.
Kurdish Peshmerga troops are deployed on the outskirts of Kirkuk, some 250km (155 miles) north of Baghdad, November 24, 2012. Iraq's Kurdish region has sent reinforcements to a disputed area where its troops are involved in a standoff with the Iraqi army, a senior Kurdish military official said, despite calls on both sides for dialogue to calm the situation. Picture taken November 24, 2012.