Kurdish President Barzani Says Partnership With Iraq Is Over

Referendum Means Kurds 'Never Going Back to Baghdad'

Iraqi Kurdistan is set for a referendum on independence on Monday. It is widely assumed that the vote will overwhelmingly pass, with the Kurds having long sought an independent nation and now seemingly having the means to effect the establishment of one in northern Iraq.

President Massoud Barzani says the referendum will go on as planned, despite warnings from across the region to stop it. Barzani says the Kurds are “never going back to Baghdad.” This also seems to indicate he expects a victory.

Barzani, whose family has been driving Iraqi Kurdistan toward secession since the US occupation, insisted that the “partnership” with Iraq’s central government is over, and they seem determined for that to be a permanent split.

The big question will be what happens after the referendum. Iraq has opposed the referendum, and neither Iran nor Turkey seems any more supportive. Likewise, the US has opposed the idea of secession, and the only real public supporter has been Israel. This may make the logistics of a landlocked independent at least somewhat problematic.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.