Secession Could Trigger Power Grab in Iraqi Kurdistan

Secession Could Trigger Power Grab in Iraqi KurdistanSecession Could Trigger Power Grab in Iraqi Kurdistan

Lawmakers said the planned referendum on secession in Iraqi Kurdistan would only escalate disputes among Kurds there, warning of a "power grab" that may even turn bloody.

In a recent talk with ICANA, lawmaker Mohammad Mehdi Boroumandi, deputy chairman of Majlis National Security and Foreign Relations Commission, said, "Kurds are made up of different groups and there is no consensus among them regarding the referendum. If [a yes-vote] wins, we would definitely see an ensuing power grab."

In April, representatives of the main Kurdish parties discussed the issue of a separation referendum and decided to hold the vote this year.

Masoud Barzani, the president of Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government, announced on June 7 that the vote would be held on September 25 in the three governorates that make up the Kurdish region and in areas that are disputed by the Kurdish and Iraqi governments. The move by the Iraqi Kurdistan, a landlocked territory, has met the strong opposition of its neighbors, namely Iran and Turkey. The Iraqi government has also rejected any "unilateral move".

In recent weeks, there has been speculations of political infighting among Kurds with the most prominent casualty being Ala Talabani who was relieved of her position as head of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan's bloc in the Iraqi Parliament on June 12 following the decision taken by PUK's political bureau.

The reason behind her dismissal was not stated in the announcement, but some observers believe it was because of Talabani's association with a bloc in the party that opposes the referendum.

Reminding Barzani of the consequences of such unilateral moves, Boroumandi said, "You cannot count on the oil revenues promised by some extra-territorial powers as these sources are scarce, leaving you in a bind at the end."

  Smell of Blood

Lawmaker Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, who is also a Kurd, wrote a letter to Masoud Barzani, addressing him as "dear brother", to share his concerns over the issue.

"God knows that I smell blood. As history tells us, all the independence-seeking claims in countries plagued by crises have all ended up in civil wars and instabilities," he warned.

"Any move destabilizing the federal government in Iraq would deprive the Iraqi people of peace and stability."

Falahatpisheh said war-ravaged Iraq is still engaged in fighting against the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group and faces a long way ahead to reconstruction.

"This is just a plot to fuel the sectarian conflicts that spell trouble for Kurds and Iraqis alike," he said.

Many observers have warned about the ill-timed referendum plan at a time when Iraq is still trying to dislodge IS forces from its territories.


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