Middle East Iraqi Shia ruling coalition opposes Kurdistan’s independence referendum

Iraqi Shia ruling coalition opposes Kurdistan’s independence referendum
Masoud Barzani (R), President of the Kurdistan Region, and Shia leader Ammar al-Hakim of the influential Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council hold a joint press conference after their meeting in Erbil, March 17, 2012. (Photo: Getty Images)

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – The Shia ruling alliance of Iraq would stand against the Kurdish plan of holding a referendum on self-determination following the defeat of the Islamic State (IS), the president of the alliance said on Thursday.

Kurds shall avoid any unilateral action in annexing the disputed territories to the Kurdistan Region which they have liberated during the fight against the extremist group, said the head of the Iraqi Shia National Alliance parliamentary bloc Ammar al-Hakim during an interview with Reuters.

“If this referendum happens, it will be unilateral,” Hakim said.

He mentioned that the coalition would continue a dialogue with the Kurds if the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) insists on holding the referendum.

“We believe that the politics of accomplished facts and drawing borders with blood hasn't succeeded in any country in the world and won't have good results in Iraq either.”

Following the emergence of the IS in June 2014, Kurdish Peshmerga forces stood against the jihadist group and freed many areas that were captured by the IS due to the failure of the Iraqi army in defending the territory.

Some Kurdish officials previously called Hakim one of the Iraqi top Shia clerics that supports the Kurdish cause.

The President of the Kurdistan Region Masoud Barzani has pushed the Kurdish long-awaited aspiration plan of holding independence referendum forward, emphasizing “It is the right of the people of the Kurdistan Region to decide on their future.”

The neighboring countries like Iraq, Iran, Turkey, and Syria have always opposed the creation of a Kurdish state in the region as each of them have a large Kurdish population in the country.

“Kurds will take the legitimacy of declaring Kurdistan independence neither from Mr. Hakim nor from anyone else, but the people of the Kurdistan Region,” Shakhawan Abdulla, head of the parliamentary security and defense committee told Kurdistan24 on Thursday.

Hakim also mentioned during the interview that only Israel would recognize a Kurdish state in the Middle East.

“There are many Arab and world countries that support the creation of a Kurdish state, and they [Hakim] will witness this fact in the future,” Abdulla said in response to Hakim’s statement.

Following the removal of the dictatorship system in Iraq in 2003, Kurdistan as an autonomous federal region started to develop its diplomatic ties with different countries around the world.

Currently, the KRG has representatives in 14 countries, and there are over 27 foreign consulates and representative offices in the Kurdistan Region.


Editing by Ava Homa