Speaking today from Washington after holding talks with President Obama and Vice President Biden, Kurdish President Masoud Barzani insisted that not only is Iraq’s unity “voluntary,” but that an independent Kurdish state is coming.
“Independent Kurdistan is coming. It’s a continued process. It will not stop, it will not step back,” Barzani said, saying that there are no immediate plans to secede from Iraq.
Iraqi Kurdistan has been seen moving closer to secession in recent months, however, securing more disputed territory around Kirkuk, and continuing to dispute oil revenue.
President Obama has made clear he opposes Kurdish secession, saying Iraqi unity is US policy, but the military spending bill making its way through Congress seeks to recognize both the Kurds and Sunni militias as separate countries for the sake of shipping arms directly to them.
The Iraqi government has opposed such arms shipments, believing they will strengthen the Kurds even more than they already are and make secession much easier for them to unilaterally declare without fear of war.