Masoud wants to realize his father, Mulla Mustafa Barzani's, dream

News ID: 4093529 -
TEHRAN, Sep. 21 (MNA) – A professor of political science at Georgetown University says Masoud wants to realize his father, Mulla Mustafa Barzani's, dream of an independent Kurdish state, but this will not be easy and in all likelihood and would lead to a region -wide conflict which could last for many years.

A professor of political science at Georgetown University says “the Iraqi government would not like to see its Kurdish inhabited parts separate from it, especially that this might encourage the formation of other local governments in other parts of the country such as the Sunni majority regions, and eventually lead to Iraq's territorial disintegration.”

“The US and the UK at the moment oppose the referendum and an independent Kurdish state because they are not certain that it can come about easily. They are concerned about the impact that it might have on Turkey, a NATO ally,” Shireen Hunter told the Tehran Times.

She also adds that “Turkey's position on Iraqi-Kurdistan's independence is ambiguous, Despite Ankara's declarations of opposition to the referendum, Turkey can live with an independent Kurdistan in Iraq.”

Following is the text of the interview:

The Kurdish Referendum is to be held on September 25 despite the opposition of Kurdish movements such as the Gorran Movement. How will this referendum influence Kurdish movements within the region?

Kurds of Iraq and Turkey and even some of Iran's Kurds have for sometime wanted an independent Kurdish state. Therefore, if the referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan is held and the people vote for an independent Iraqi Kurdistan, this event could encourage other Kurdish populations in other countries also demand independence or at least large scale autonomy from their central governments.

Of course, in those states where Kurdish minorities' are not treated equally and face discrimination such sentiments are more likely to rise.

Concerning the objection of Baghdad and the Prime Minister himself to this referendum which described the referendum as “playing with fire”, is there a possibility of military conflict between Baghdad and Arbil following the independence referendum?

Obviously, the Iraqi government would not like to see its Kurdish inhabited parts separate from it, especially that this might encourage the formation of other local governments in other parts of the country such as the Sunni majority regions, and eventually lead to Iraq's territorial disintegration. The Iraqi government will try to prevent this from happening if need be by resorting to military force. However, the success of such operations cannot be guaranteed, especially if some other states help Masoud Barzani in the pursuit of his ambitions. It is useful to remember that the Kurds fought a long war with Baghdad in the 1970s.

It seems that Masoud wants to realize his father, Mulla Mustafa Barzani's, dream of an independent Kurdish state. However, this will not be easy and in all likelihood, any attempt at Kurdish independence would lead to a region -wide conflict which could last for many years.

The US and UK have objected to the referendum. Are these two countries against the separation of Kurdish Regional Government from Iraq or do they think that the timing isn’t quite appropriate? What exactly is their objection based on?

The US and the UK at the moment oppose the referendum and an independent Kurdish state because they are not certain that it can come about easily. They are concerned about the impact that it might have on Turkey, a NATO ally.

The start of another civil war in Iraq is also not something that they want at this point. In general, the unpredictability of the consequences of Kurdish independence is what is making them cautious regarding Barzani's referendum plans.

How will Turkey react to the KRG referendum? Will it lead to a clash between Ankara and KRG?

Turkey's position on Iraqi-Kurdistan's independence is ambiguous, Despite Ankara's declarations of opposition to the referendum, Turkey can live with an independent Kurdistan in Iraq. At least, Ankara thinks, that an independent Iraqi Kurdistan will be dependent on Ankara economically and in terms of access to outside world. Turkey also thinks that it can control its own Kurdish population.

 This is why Iran should be very careful and not trust Ankara on this issue. Iran also needs to walk a tightrope between Erbil and Baghdad and not throw all its weight behind Baghdad, especially that the Iraqi government has been courting the Saudis and other Arab states , at the expense of relations with Iran.

Considering the fact that conflicting regions like Kirkuk will take part in the referendum, how will non-Kurdish movements and residents like Turkmens take this referendum, will they accept its results?

Turkmens will not be happy to live under a Kurdish state, but because their numbers are few , unless they are supported by Ankara, there is nothing much they can do should Erbil become independent. They can only move to other parts of Iraq or to Turkey.

Interview by Javad Heirannia

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