ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Tuesday reaffirmed Baghdad's commitment to controlling the Kurdistan Region's border “without violence” and welcomed the Kurdish government’s decision to respect the Supreme court’s interpretation of Article 1 of the Constitution of Iraq.
Baghdad has cracked down hard on the Kurds since the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) held the Sep. 25 referendum on independence, which Abadi deemed illegal.
“We will regain control of border areas without escalation,” Abadi said at a news conference in Baghdad. “We will not wait forever, we will take action regarding the border areas,” he warned.
The KRG on Tuesday released a statement declaring they respected the Iraqi Federal Supreme Court's recent interpretation of Article 1 of the constitution regarding secession in Iraq.
“We believe that this decision must become a basis for starting an inclusive national dialogue between (Kurdish authorities in) Erbil and Baghdad to resolve all disputes,” the KRG said in a statement.
The court is responsible for settling disputes between Iraq’s federal government and the country’s regions and provinces. Its decisions cannot be appealed, though it has no mechanism to enforce its ruling in the Kurdistan Region.
“We welcome the decision made by the Kurdistan Regional Government,” Abadi added.
He mentioned that Iraq’s constitution aims to preserve the integrity of the country, ensuring security, stability and the implementation of the federal government’s authority on all of its territory “which is in the interests of all the people in Iraq,” especially the Kurds, he claimed.
Ties between Erbil and Baghdad have considerably deteriorated following the Sep. 25 independence vote in the Kurdistan Region.
On Oct. 16, Iraqi Forces along with the Iranian-backed Shia Hashd al-Shaabi militia launched a military operation and took over Kirkuk and other disputed territories which have been under the protection of the Kurdish Peshmerga Forces in the past few years. Since then, Baghdad has been introducing measures to undermine the Kurdistan Region’s constitutional integrity.
The erasing and renaming of the Kurdistan Region into ‘northern Iraq’ is seemingly becoming a policy enforced by the central government since the holding of the independence referendum. Baghdad is allegedly attempting to dissolve the KRG by trying to deal with provinces individually.
In the draft 2018 budget introduced earlier this month, the bill referred to the Kurdistan Region as ‘the provinces of northern Iraq,’ opting to completely ignore the constitutionally-enshrined terminology and removing Kurdish rights.
Editing by Nadia Riva