KRG Referendum Will Harm Iraqi Kurds

KRG Referendum Will Harm Iraqi Kurds KRG Referendum Will Harm Iraqi Kurds

The plan by Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government to hold a referendum on independence would be to their own "detriment", a MP said, stressing that an "integrated, stable and democratic" Iraq will serve the interest of all Iraqi peoples.

Masoud Barzani, president of KRG and leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iraq, renewed the call for a referendum on independence for Iraq's Kurds last week. The referendum is scheduled for September 25 in the three governorates that make up the Kurdish region, and in the areas that are disputed by the Kurdish and Iraqi governments but are currently under Kurdish control. In a recent talk with ICANA, Abolfazl Hassanbeigi, a member of Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, stressed the need to preserve Iraq' territorial integrity, arguing it is essential to regional security.  

"KRG officials should know that [Iraqi] Kurdish people would be the first to be hit [by this move]," he said, adding that any dispute must be resolved within the bounds of the Iraqi constitution. Iraqi Kurdistan is a semi-autonomous landlocked territory that remains dependent on Baghdad, as well as neighboring Iran and Turkey, which are opposed to any secession of Kurdish regions.

  Unilateral Decision

Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi has denounced the "unilateral" decision by the Iraqi Kurds, saying it would only exacerbate the uneasy conditions there. The government in Baghdad said Friday it would reject any unilateral move by Kurdish regional authorities to press for independence.

"No party can, on its own, decide the fate of Iraq, in isolation from other parties," Iraqi government spokesman Saad al-Haddithi said in a statement. Turkey, which has a sizable Kurdish population of its own in the southeast, has strongly criticized the push for independence, labeling the plan as a "grave mistake".

Iraqi Kurdistan exports most of its oil via a pipeline leading to the Turkish port of Ceyhan, but also overland through Turkey by tanker trucks.

Potential opposition from Turkey could thus pose a major economic challenge to Iraqi Kurds.

Hassanbeigi reminded the Kurdish officials about the sacrifices made by the Popular Mobilization Forces and the Iraqi people to repel advances by the self-styled Islamic State terror group, saying that had it not been for the PMF, Iraq's Kurdistan region would now be under IS control. "So they [Kurdish officials] must not regard themselves as an entity apart from the Iraqi people."

In addition, the parliamentarian said disintegration of Islamic countries has been on the US agenda for decades, a move he believed was in line with US policies to prop up Israel.

"They [the American rulers] try to break up large countries into small ones so that they can dominate them," he said, adding that all the powerful regional nations are against the independence push and the interference of foreign countries in Iraq's internal affairs because they know it would only lead to the "destabilization of the region".  


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