Baghdad, April 7: Northern Iraq’s Kurd is planning to hold a referendum to get separated from Iraq after the most dangerous terrorist organization Islamic State is defeated. Notably, a senior member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) Hoshiyar Zebari on Wednesday said “The idea of a referendum has been re-energized.”
Zebari’s statement came after the two main Kurdish parties the KDP and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) met on Saturday and further agreed to hold a referendum this year. Although Kurds expect the referendum for the “best deal” on self-determination to be approved, the Kurdish official noted that the success of the vote would not mean the Kurdish population would automatically declare independence.
However, Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces were a major U.S.-led coalition ally against ISIS, currently on its last legs in Mosul, the terrorist group’s last major stronghold in Iraq. ISIS’s expected defeat in Mosul is projected to split the group’s so-called “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria, essentially pushing militants out of Iraqi territory.
During the Obama’s administration, the United States adhered to the One Iraq Policy, expressing opposition to an independent Iraqi Kurdistan state. But Iraqi Shiite militants, including some backed by Iran, have threatened the Sunni Kurds in Iraq which could be a big reason of this referendum.
Meanwhile, “U.S. policymakers have opposed Kurdish independence on the grounds that the breakup of Iraq would spill more Iraqi bloodshed, undermine Turkey’s security, and provoke conflict with Iran,” explained the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), arguing that an independent Iraqi Kurdistan may provide opportunities for Washington in an unstable region.
Interestingly, Iraq’s Kurdish population have been asking for independence for years despite residing in an autonomous region within the country. But Iraqi Kurdish independence has been historically opposed by Iraq and also its neighbors, Iran, Turkey and Syria, as they fear the contagion for their own Kurdish populations.