“Kur­dis­tan to sep­a­rate from Iraq in an ‘am­i­ca­ble way,” KDP Of­fi­cial

The Kurdish Globe - - FRONT PAGE -

KRG’s in­de­pen­dence would be con­ducive to sta­bil­ity in the Mid­dle East, ar­gued He­men Hawrami, a mem­ber of the KDP Lead­er­ship Coun­cil and the Head of its For­eign Re­la­tions Of­fice.

“This [in­de­pen­dence] is a process that is hap­pen­ing and it’s go­ing to hap­pen. The ref­er­en­dum will be held very soon, I mean in less than two years. It will be for all Iraqi Kur­dis­tan cit­i­zens,” said Hawrami dur­ing a panel dis­cus­sion at the Mid­dle East In­sti­tute, Ru­daw re­ports. “Frankly speak­ing, Iraq is bro­ken.”

“The first cap­i­tal we are go­ing to talk with is Bagh­dad. Bagh­dad is im­por­tant for us. We want to do it in an am­i­ca­ble way. We want to add to the sta­bil­ity of the area and Kur­dis­tan is the an­chor of sta­bil­ity,” he added. “It’s time for the world to re­al­ize that a failed sys­tem needs a re­view.”

Hawrami sug­gested that a new sys­tem based on so­cioe­co­nomic re­al­i­ties should re­place the gov­er­nance sys­tem cur­rently in place in the Mid­dle East, which he said has failed.

The new sys­tem can be used as the foun­da­tion for draw­ing a new map of the re­gion, he ex­plained, not­ing that Kurds will reach out to Bagh­dad for a peace­ful di­vorce.

Hawrami called on the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion to rec­og­nize the KRG as in­de­pen­dent from Bagh­dad and ac­knowl­edge the ac­tual re­draw­ing of the re­gion by the var­i­ous com­mu­ni­ties in Iraq.

“The United States is an in­dis­pens­able ally for us and we are not go­ing to do any- thing with­out con­sul­ta­tion,” he ex­plained. “But for the United States, the fact is Iraq on the ground is now di­vided. So any pol­icy to deny this re­al­ity and this frag­mented Iraq is not help­ing the plans for more sta­bil­ity in the re­gion.”

“In the Shi­ite ar­eas, Shi­ites are fight­ing to draw their own borders, and we are fight­ing to de­fend our borders as well,” added the KDP diplo­mat. “So we have to col­lec­tively work with the Sun­nis to pro­tect their borders.”

The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion is against di­rectly arm­ing and equip­ping the Kurds in their fight against the Is­lamic State IS, choos­ing to pro­vide mil­i­tary as­sis­tance through Bagh­dad in­stead.

“When we pro­vide arms to the Kurds we do it with the con­sent of the Iraqi gov­ern­ment in or­der to in­di­cate that we sup­port the idea of a sin­gle Iraqi gov­ern­ment in Bagh­dad, but we also want the Kurds in the fight and armed and that has not de­layed our arm­ing of the Kurds,” ar­gued De­fense Sec­re­tary Ash­ton Carter be­fore a Se­nate Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee hear­ing on Tues­day.

Some Kur­dish of­fi­cials have com­plained that Bagh­dad has slowed the de­liv­ery of U.S.pro­vided weapons to Kur­dish forces.

Cur­rent law pro­hibits the U.S. gov­ern­ment from send­ing weapons to au­ton­o­mous re­gions within na­tions like Kur­dis­tan.

The United States is only al­lowed to arm in­ter­na­tion­ally rec­og­nized sov­er­eign gov­ern­ments; there­fore, the Kurds have to rely on Iraq’s cen­tral gov­ern­ment to share equip­ment supplied by the U.S.

Ef­forts to change the law so that Amer­ica is able to pro­vide di­rect mil­i­tary as­sis­tance to the Kurds have failed in the Repub­li­can-led Congress.

Some Iraqi of­fi­cials be­lieve the Kurds will more force­fully push for in­de­pen­dence once ISIS is de­feated if they re­ceive di­rect mil­i­tary as­sis­tance from the U.S., al­le­ga­tions that Hawrami de­nies.

“We have not car­ried out ter­ri­to­rial ex­pan­sion. It was [for­mer Iraqi Prime Min­is­ter Nouri] Ma­liki’s army, as a friend of mine de­scribed, that peace­fully handed over ter­ri­to­ries to ISIS. Ma­liki’s army sur­ren­dered to ISIS and they with­drew from all those ter­ri­to­ries, if we were not there, ISIS would have taken Kirkuk and other ar­eas,” he said, later ask­ing, “If we leave those ar­eas, which is go­ing to fill in? the ISIS?”

“Fight­ing ISIS does not mean that Kur­dis­tan is fight­ing for in­de­pen­dence. They are two dif­fer­ent is­sues,” Hawrami added.

Although Kurds have been al­lowed to par­tic­i­pate in the cur­rent Iraqi gov­ern­ment, there is no power-shar­ing in Bagh­dad, said the KDP of­fi­cial, point­ing out as ex­am­ple the mar­ginal Kur­dish and Sunni rep­re­sen­ta­tion in Iraq’s Shi­ite-con­trolled de­fense min­istry.

“Even if ISIS could be de­feated in the longer term, and it can be de­feated, that will not be the end of ter­ror­ism in the Mid­dle East,” Hawrami main­tained. “ISIS is a symp­tom of a big­ger ill­ness in the Mid­dle East. The ill­ness is the failed sys­tem that we have– that the borders of the Mid­dle East don’t re­flect re­al­i­ties on the ground- do not re­flect the wish and will of the peo­ple.”

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