Iraqi Kurds’ Secession Drive Lacks Key Factors

Iraqi Kurds’ Secession Drive Lacks Key Factors

A lawmaker said Kurdistan Regional Government's push for gaining independence from Iraq is lacking key elements needed to form an operating state, noting that KRG's stance indicates an unrealistic approach toward statehood and governance.
In a recent interview with ICANA, Masoud Goudarzi, a member of Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, said "Kurds come from a wide spectrum with opposing views that do not allow them to converge … They have their own disagreements regarding governance and power-sharing."
The lawmaker said KRG's positions indicate that they have no idea of how a state is run, commenting that "this [the independence bid] is just a psychological game to get concessions."
Iraq's Kurdish region, with a population of about five million, already enjoys a high degree of autonomy, including its own parliament and armed forces.
Last month, Masoud Barzani, the president of Iraqi KRG, announced plans to hold an independence referendum on September 25 for the northern Kurdistan region.
The regional government, a landlocked territory, also heavily relies on its two main trade partners Turkey and Iran, both of which have come out against the referendum. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on July 8, "If a Kurdish state is planned to be created in southern Turkey, we will not allow it."
Baghdad has already rejected the referendum call.
"No party can, on its own, decide the fate of Iraq, in isolation from the other parties," Saad al-Haddithi, Iraqi government spokesman, said in June.
As of 2007, KRG has started to export oil independently through Turkey, much to Baghdad's annoyance, creating crucial wealth for the semi-autonomous region.
However, in February 2016, crude oil exports from the region to Turkey's Ceyhan Port was interrupted following attacks by Kurdish PKK rebels on the pipeline, depriving their Iraqi fellow Kurds millions of dollars in revenues.

Goudarzi said the regional countries' opposition to the planned secession make it a nonstarter, arguing that the push, however, could further strengthen the Kurdistan region's autonomy and helps it win more concessions.
The referendum on whether to secede from Iraq will be held in the three governorates that make up the Kurdish region and in the areas disputed by the Kurdish and Iraqi governments but are currently under Kurdish military control.
The disputed areas include swaths of northern territory claimed by both Kurdish Iraq and Baghdad, including the key oil-rich province of Kirkuk.
"KRG cannot materialize what it is planning to do, but they may be able to tighten their grip on Iraqi Kurdistan," the lawmaker concluded.


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