Kurds will hold in­de­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum be­fore 2016 U. S. elec­tion

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS -

Kur­dish lead­ers have an­nounced an in­de­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum in Novem­ber—a day af­ter Pres­i­dent Mas­soud Barzani rec­om­mended hold­ing one be­fore the U.S. elec­tion.

“It doesn’t mean in­de­pen­dence. It is the de­ci­sion of the peo­ple,” Barzani’s ad­viser, Kifah Mah­moud, said.

Last week, Kur­dis­tan Pres­i­dent Mas­soud Barzani chaired a meet­ing with 22 Kur­dish political par­ties in Er­bil where a com­mit­tee was es­tab­lished to ac­ti­vate Kur­dish par­lia­ment and con­duct a na­tion­wide ref­er­en­dum.

The Kur­dish lead­ers also hailed the role of the Kur­dish Pesh­merga forces in fight­ing the most dan­ger­ous ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tion, Is­lamic State, in the world.

The par­ties are ex­pected to hold a fol­low-up meet­ing af­ter 10 days. They also par­ties agreed to in­ten­sify the ef­forts to pro­vide the salary of the pub­lic ser­vants.

2016 marks the 100th an­niver­sary of the SykesPi­cot Agree­ment, which shaped the Middle East af­ter the fall of the Ot­toman Em­pire. It also left the Kurds with­out a state. They are cur­rently semi­au­tonomous but rely on the cen­tral govern­ment in Bagh­dad. Some Kurds be- lieve in­de­pen­dence would help the re­gion.

“Our eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion gets worse and worse day by day, and one day we will all go bank­rupt,” said shop owner Di­dar You­nis. “All the blame must be put on Bagh­dad be­cause they cut off our na­tional bud­get. In­de­pen­dence will solve all the trou­ble we have been fac­ing. The KRG should de­cide and de­clare in­de­pen­dence. We need sep­a­ra­tion from Bagh­dad.”

“I think that within them­selves, [world lead­ers] have come to this con­clu­sion that the era of SykesPi­cot is over,” Barzani said in an in­ter­view with The Guardian. “Whether they say it or not, ac­cept it or not, the re­al­ity on the ground is that. But as you know, di­plo­mats are con­ser­va­tives and they give their as­sess­ments in the late stage of things. And some­times they can’t even keep up with de­vel­op­ments.”

“There must be a [new] agree­ment, it is im­por­tant to see what type of agree­ment it is, what mech­a­nism it can bring and rely on to for­malise things, and what will be its sta­tus,” Barzani said.

“When the for­mal­i­sa­tion of that agree­ment will be is not known yet. It’s il­log­i­cal to con­tinue or in­sist on re­peat­ing a wrong ex­per­i­ment that was re­peated for 100 years and is lead­ing nowhere.”

“Right now, Iraq is di­vided. We are not re­spon­si­ble for it. On the con­trary, we have done our best to pre­serve Iraqi unity and a demo­cratic Iraq. In 1991, we went to Iraq and ne­go­ti­ated with those crim­i­nals that were re­spon­si­ble with the chem­i­cal bom­bard­ment, the An­fal cam­paign [launched by Sad­dam Hus­sein against the Kurds],” he con­tin­ued.

Iraqi Prime Min­is­ter Haider al-Abadi’s spokesper­son Saad al-Ha­dithi crit­i­cised the de­ci­sion. “Any uni­lat­eral po­si­tion from any party with­out co­or­di­na­tion or ap­proval will be against the con­sti­tu­tion and il­le­gal,” he said.

In early Jan­uary, Is­rael Jus­tice Min­is­ter Ayelet Shaked wel­comed the idea of an in­de­pen­dent Kur­dis­tan.

“We must openly call for the es­tab­lish­ment of a Kur­dish state that sep­a­rates Iran from Turkey, one which will be friendly to­wards Is­rael,” she said.

“The Kurds are an an­cient, demo­cratic, peacelov­ing peo­ple that have never at­tacked any coun­try,” she added. “It is time to help them.”

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