Barzani: Iraq is in dan­ger

The Kurds say that the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion is not ac­cept­able. Bagh­dad is us­ing pres­sure cards to stop Kur­dis­tan from ex­port­ing oil in­de­pen­dently

The Kurdish Globe - - FRONT PAGE - By Salih Wal­ad­bagi

At his strong speech at the burial cer­e­mony for the re­mains of 93 An­fal vic­tims of the Barzani tribe at Er­bil In­ter­na­tional Air­port, Kur­dis­tan Re­gion Pres­i­dent Mas­soud Barzani crit­i­cized the Iraqi govern­ment very strongly, say­ing they were seek­ing to “break the pride and dig­nity of the Kurds and Kur­dis­tan”.

He also stated that the Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Govern­ment (KRG) would re­ply to Bagh­dad in a way that they “have never imag­ined”.

Re­gard­ing the pend­ing is­sues be­tween Er­bil and Bagh­dad and a way to re­solve them, Barzani added that the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion be­tween the two cap­i­tals can­not con­tinue this way.

Ad­dress­ing Iraqi Prime Min­is­ter Nouri al-Ma­liki, Barzani said: “Some­one who is Prime Min­is­ter and the com­man­der of all a na­tion’s armed forces should be truth­ful.”

“Iraq is in dan­ger”, said Barzani, adding that democ­racy, fed­er­al­ism and co­ex­is­tence are at risk. In a strong mes­sage to Bagh­dad, Barzani said that: “Be­ing a part­ner in Iraq no longer has any mean­ing”.

He also shed light on the Er- bil-Bagh­dad dis­putes, say­ing that the is­sue is nei­ther oil nor the budget--it is big­ger than that: Bagh­dad wants to break the dig­nity of the Kurds.

He stated that hav­ing lost so many mar­tyrs and made so many sac­ri­fices, the people of Kur­dis­tan would never step back­wards. He stressed that the Kurds want to go for­wards.

He warned Iraqi Shi­ite lead­ers in Bagh­dad that if they con­tinue to use pres­sure against the KRG, the Kurds will take a stance strong be­yond their imag­in­ing. “Let them wait and see whether the Kurds can do so,” Barzani said.

The Pres­i­dent said that the prob­lem is rooted in the way Iraqi lead­ers think about rul­ing the coun­try. He stated they want the Kurds to be­come sec­ond­class Iraqi cit­i­zens, as they were un­der the for­mer ag­gres­sive Iraqi regimes.

Iraq’s lead­ers, Barzani said, don’t wants the Kurds to ex­press their opin­ion, adding that Bag­dad treats the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion like a prov­ince of Iraq.

“The Kur­dish del­e­ga­tion have vis­ited Bagh­dad sev­eral times to re­solve the prob­lems, but they have blocked the salaries of Kur­dish em­ploy­ees. This is a hos­tile and ag­gres­sive act. This is not ne­go­tiable.”

We have not learned, Barzani said, to live un­der tyranny. He an­nounced that the Kurds played a ma­jor role in draw­ing up the cur­rent con­sti­tu­tion, which has been vi­o­lated over the past years. He said the Kurds in­tended to see an Iraq whose ev­ery com­po­nent, in­clud­ing Arabs, Kurds, Turk­men, Chris­tians and oth­ers live in peace.

In a di­rect mes­sage to Bagh­dad, Barzani stated that Er­bilBagh­dad re­la­tions are in need of re­view, be­cause it is hard to con­tinue in this sit­u­a­tion.

The dis­pute be­tween the two sides has been sim­mer­ing since the Kurds de­cided to han­dle oil ex­ports through an in­de­pen­dent pipe­line to Turkey. The Iraqi govern­ment in­sists that sell­ing oil and nat­u­ral re­sources should be done through the State Oil Mar­ket­ing Or­ga­ni­za­tion (SOMO), but the KRG has thus far re­jected Bagh­dad’s sug­ges­tion.

The Kurds say the con­sti­tu­tion gives them the right to han­dle and use their nat­u­ral re­sources, but the Iraqi govern­ment in­ter­prets the con­sti­tu­tion in a dif­fer­ent way, say­ing the cen­tral govern­ment should su­per­vise the sale of all nat­u­ral re­sources.

How­ever, in an ear­lier speech, Barzani said that cut­ting Kur­dis­tan share of the na­tional budget is like a dec­la­ra­tion of war against the people of Kur­dis­tan.

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