Erbil, Iraq Kurdistan – Massoud Barzani, President of Iraqi Kurdistan, demanded the Kurdistan Regional Parliament to arrange a date for Kurdistan independence referendum.
“Referendum procedures are complete and arranging the date will not take more than one month time. Iraq is already divided under current circumstances and it is a decision made only by Iraqi Kurdistan citizens,” said Barzani.
On Thursday, Barzani urged the parliament to agree on a referendum date saying: “Iraq’s current situation indicates the failure of the Iraqi Prime Minister’s policy, Nouri al-Maliki. We warned al-Maliki six months ago of what we witness today. However, He did not listen.”
“The Peshmerga-held areas will remain in the hands of the Kurdish forces,” he stressed.
Barzani also stated that Kurds’ right to self-determination is supported internationally, but at the same time did not consider non-supporters as foes.
Many Kurds rallied before Iraqi Kurdistan Parliament’s building on Thursday to show their support to the independence declaration, following Barzani’s announcement, last week, to hold a referendum in Kirkuk and other areas as being parts of “Kurdistan” despite of their previous approval on Kirkuk-related article 140 of the Iraqi constitution –which emphasizes holding referendum in disputed areas.
“For ten years, we have been waiting with the Federal Government to solve the dispute over these areas but in vain. Iraqi forces withdrew leaving security vacuum after control of militants of ISIL, which led Peshmerga to head there and hold Kirkuk, “Barzani said. “Article 140 is no longer valid.”
Talking to ARA News, Dr. Kawa Azizi, leader of the Kurdistani Democratic Party- Syria (KDP-S) said: “Masoud Barzani is the only person in Iraqi Kurdistan who is able to declare the Kurdish State due to his charismatic and moral influence in southern Kurdistan (Iraqi Kurdistan) as well as on most political forces in the region.”
“All political forces announced their support to the independence. Iraqi Kurdistan has its own national institutions; the most prominent is the parliament where Barzani headed. Consequently, it is a correct legal procedure,” said Azizi.
Abd al-Aziz Temmo, member of the Kurdish Democratic Forces Union, told ARA News: “For more than 11 years following the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime, Barzani was able, with his political experience and sophistication, to transform the destroyed and devastated region of Kurdistan into a developed area.”
“Barzani was keen on not giving up any of the Kurds’ rights, especially Kirkuk and other contested areas. While Nouri al-Maliki, with his wrong policy, changed Iraq from a federal political state to a sectarian country.” Temmo said.
Temmo considered al-Maliki’s hesitation towards implementation of article 140 of the Iraqi constitution (which recommends holding referendum concerning disputed areas between Kurds and Arabs), and surrendering the biggest Iraqi cities to al-Qaeda splinter group known as the Islamic State (previously called the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant ‘ISIL’) under the pretext of fighting terrorism, as a “unveiled ludicrous play to stay in power”.
“This made Barzani think seriously about the future of Iraqi Kurdistan which lost hundreds of thousands of souls to be built,” Temmo told ARA News. “It is also normal to protect Kirkuk and other Kurdish cities from terrorists of ISIL as well as al-Maliki government’s potential attacks against Kurds.”
Temmo asserted that article 140 is “invalid” as Peshmerga forces control the whole of Iraqi Kurdistan.
“Kurdistan Region’s security and sovereignty is an integral part of the general Kurdish national security. We condemn the terrorist attacks on the Kurdistan territories whether from ISIL or the central government,” he concluded.
Following the incidents of the 9th of June 2014 in Iraq, where the Islamic State militants imposed control over several areas, Iraqi Kurdistan held the contested areas with Iraq such as Kirkuk, which is considered by analysts one of the reasons of the independence demand.
Reporting by: Azad Jamkari
Source: ARA News
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