Kurdish President Raises ‘Secession’ Option

Sadr in Kurdistan for Talks as Barzani Warns Against Authoritarian Rule

The ongoing political dispute in Iraq looks to be coming to a head, with Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in Kurdistan for crisis talks and Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Massud Barzani openly talking about secession.

As always, the center of the dispute is Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, whose ongoing centralization of power and efforts to have opposition figures arrested as “terrorists” have many fearing a growing dictatorship. Of that possibility Barzani said “they have to decide if they are willing to accept to live under a dictatorial regime or not,” adding that a secessionist vote could come as soon as September.

Sadr, the head of the Iraqi National Alliance faction, pushed for everyone to consider Iraqi unity a primary concern, while warning that Maliki had to appoint security and defense ministers instead of just keeping those jobs for himself.

For the Kurds, a secession sooner rather than later might be the safer choice, as Barzani and other officials have expressed concern that the central government’s military might, once the US delivers its F-16 warplanes, would be sufficient to crush any secessionist movement.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.