ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Mohammad Ilkhani, a member of the Political Leadership of Kurdistan – Iraq council, told Kurdistan 24 on Tuesday that the Kurdistan Region could withdraw entirely from Iraq’s political system in response to the increased pressure and sanctions from Baghdad in retaliation to the Region’s Sep. 25 referendum on independence.
“It is possible for the political leadership of Kurdistan to withdraw from the Iraqi political process, in coordination with all [political] parties,” Ilkhani, the head of Turkmen Development Party and member of the Political Leadership of Kurdistan – Iraq council, stated in an interview.
The official described Baghdad’s stance against the Kurdistan Region following the Sep. 25 vote as “unacceptable.”
Ilkhani suggested that the Kurdish leadership could leverage its political participation in Baghdad to convince the central Government to agree to a dialogue. The legislative body of Iraq “would fail” if all Kurdish parties pulled out of Baghdad, he asserted.
In response to the Kurdistan Region’s independence referendum held on Sep. 25, Baghdad imposed several sanctions on the Region, including a flight ban, and even threatened military action. The Kurdish leadership, however, has repeatedly called for peaceful dialogue with Baghdad provided there is an “open agenda.”
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi called on the Kurdish leadership to cancel the results of the referendum immediately after they were announced by the Region’s electoral commission.
The Federal Government of Iraq on Monday announced new measures to be taken against the Kurdistan Region, including restoring Federal authority in the disputed territories currently under the Kurdistan Regional Government’s administration.
The statement also mentioned Baghdad had launched a lawsuit to prosecute state employees in the Kurdistan Region who participated in the Sep. 25 referendum.
Editing by G.H. Renaud