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Published On: Tue, Oct 17th, 2017

Barzani addresses Kurdistan: Blood of martyrs and calls for independence not wasted

nsnbc : Masoud Barzani, President of Iraq’s Kurdistan Autonomous Region (KAR) has issued a statement urging unity among Kurds and the belief that Kurdistan will achieve independence sooner or later. Developments since September 25 created entirely new regional and international dynamics.

Masoud Barzani - blood of martyrs and referendum not in vain.

Masoud Barzani – blood of martyrs and calls for independence were not in vain.

Barzani’s statement was issued after two days of Peshmerga withdrawals from the disputed areas of Kirkuk, Shingal, Gwer, Makhmour, Khanaqin, and Snune and amidst heated discussions between the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), the Change Movement (Gorran).

The disputed areas are now in the control of Iraqi armed forces and Iranian-backed Shiite Hashd al-Shaabi. Barzani said the Peshmerga’s withdrawal was to return to the borders that existed before the Mosul operation began one year ago today. The military advancements followed Baghdad’s rejection of Kurdistan’s vote for independence.

In a statement on Monday following Iraqi forces taking Kirkuk, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said Iraq’s actions were “to fulfill our constitutional duty to extend the federal authority and impose security and protect the national wealth in this city.” Abadi called on the Peshmerga “to perform their duty under the federal leadership as part of the Iraqi armed forces.”

Iraq_Kurdistan_map Oct 17, 2017Barzani stated that the Kurdistan nation has repeatedly been under threat and oppression, but despite this has always sought peaceful solutions.  The loss of Kirkuk on Monday, Barzani said was due to “unilateral decisions of some persons within a certain internal political party of Kurdistan,” without naming any party.

Describing Kurdistan as “durable,” he concluded “The Kurdistan nation with the power of the brave ones, sooner or later, will eventually reach its right and sacred objective. Today is the day for believing in the power and the unity of our nation.”

Having lost all major oil fields to the federal government and the Iranian-backed hash al-Shaabi creates an entirely new regional and international dynamic. The Kurdistan Autonomous Region’s economic feasibility has been greatly reduced again.

The establishment of a Kurdish State with breathing straw access to the Mediterranean. Map plottings by Major (r) Agha H. Amin. (2012)

The establishment of a Kurdish State with breathing straw access to the Mediterranean. Map plottings by Major (r) Agha H. Amin. (2012)

This development is according to many analysts likely to result in renewed Kurdish internationalist tendencies aimed to create one Kurdish state on Iraqi, Iranian, Syrian and Turkish territory. Kurds are, however, split with regard to such policies.

The development has also put almost all of Iraq’s oil reserves under Shia and by extension Iran-friendly control. It is a development that can have not only an impact on oil prices and OPEC, but on how the USA, the UK, and other powers with interests in the region respond to the new situation.

Adding even more complexity are US – Russian rivalries with regard to NATO member Turkey, Ankara’s love affair with Moscow despite fundamental disagreements about Syria, and US support of Kurds in Syria.

The situation brings to mind the words of Atlantic Council President Frederik Kempe before the 2013 Atlantic Council Energy Summit in Ankara where he compared the coming period and developments in the region with 1918 and 1945.

CH/L – nsnbc 17.10.2017

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