Kur­dis­tan, the open file

Kuwait Times - - LOCAL - Lo­cal By Muna Al-Fuzai

Iraqi Kur­dis­tan, of­fi­cially called the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion by the Iraqi con­sti­tu­tion, is a proto-state lo­cated in the north of Iraq and con­sti­tutes the coun­try’s only au­ton­o­mous re­gion, with Irbil as its rec­og­nized cap­i­tal. This week, the sub­ject of Kur­dis­tan took head­lines of Arab news outlets. The Min­is­te­rial Coun­cil of the Arab League is­sued a res­o­lu­tion re­ject­ing the ref­er­en­dum on the in­de­pen­dence of the Kur­dis­tan re­gion from Iraq at a time the Iraqi par­lia­ment voted on Septem­ber 12 to re­ject the ref­er­en­dum on the se­ces­sion of the Kur­dis­tan re­gion.

The of­fi­cial spokesman of the Iraqi For­eign Min­istry stated that the re­jec­tion came be­cause the re­quest is against the Iraqi con­sti­tu­tion and to pre­serve the unity of Iraq, es­pe­cially that the state’s unity is a key fac­tor for the se­cu­rity and sta­bil­ity of the re­gion and the abil­ity of its coun­tries and peo­ples to con­front ter­ror­ism.

I think the in­de­pen­dence of Kur­dis­tan is not a dream or il­lu­sion, but a file that has been open for years, and to­day, the Iraqi vote came to end all spec­u­la­tions and, prob­a­bly, hopes.

Mas­soud Barzani, head of the Kur­dis­tan re­gion of Iraq, said in a pre­vi­ous in­ter­view with the Wash­ing­ton Post that es­tab­lish­ing an in­de­pen­dent state is the goal of the Kur­dish revo­lu­tion since its launch against for­mer Iraqi Pres­i­dent Sad­dam Hus­sein in the 1990s. The Kur­dis­tan Demo­cratic Party be­lieves it is dif­fi­cult to co­ex­ist be­tween the cen­tral gov­ern­ments in Bagh­dad and the re­gion in Irbil due to the grow­ing prob­lems be­tween the two par­ties on fi­nan­cial and oil dues, which prompts the Kurds to in­sist on com­plete se­ces­sion from Iraq. But the cri­sis of the dis­puted areas in the Nin­eveh Plain, Sin­jar and Kirkuk will stand in the way of the Kur­dish dream. Clearly, the re­gion wants to an­nex these areas to its bor­ders, while Bagh­dad re­fuses to give them up, which may pro­long the pe­riod be­fore the sun rises over the in­de­pen­dent Kur­dish state.

I think the sub­ject of the in­de­pen­dence of Kur­dis­tan has two sides, the first sup­ports in­de­pen­dence and the other re­jects the in­de­pen­dence, and all have log­i­cal rea­sons. Yes, the Kurds have the right to hope to have an in­de­pen­dent state, and every peo­ple of the world have the right of self-de­ter­mi­na­tion be­cause they have suf­fered greatly from the for­mer regime.

On the other hand, the cur­rent Iraqi regime sees that the ref­er­en­dum is un­con­sti­tu­tional. The fact that Iraq is one unit, cou­pled with the ar­gu­ment that such re­quest threat­ens civil peace and re­gional se­cu­rity, be­sides be­ing re­jected by the Iraqi par­lia­ment in Bagh­dad, are jus­ti­fied too. The Amer­i­can, Ira­nian and Turk­ish stands were clear. All have dif­fer­ent rea­sons. Ev­ery­one fears that the in­de­pen­dence of the Kurds may be used against the regime in Bagh­dad. It was clear that the Arab coun­tries too do not sup­port the di­vi­sion of Iraq and the in­de­pen­dence of the Kurds be­cause there are com­mon bor­ders and out­stand­ing is­sues. The area al­ready is fac­ing many chal­lenges right now. I be­lieve that Iraq is go­ing through dif­fi­cult cir­cum­stances now in many as­pects, es­pe­cially in terms of com­bat­ing ter­ror­ism and pre­serv­ing of the coun­try’s wealth and bor­ders. There­fore, pre­serv­ing the unity of the coun­try and the con­sti­tu­tion are re­quired, ap­pro­pri­ate and even wanted in these cur­rent sit­u­a­tions, and I be­lieve that the tim­ing of the dis­cus­sion is not proper to give the Kurds what they want or wish.

I think that the in­ter­na­tional con­sen­sus to re­ject the ref­er­en­dum was cor­rect, and this may not be what the Kurds want to hear now, but I guess con­sid­er­a­tion of the sub­ject will re­main open, talks will not stop and the Kur­dish file will not close any sooner, at least from the Kurds’ side.

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