ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Former Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani on Sunday said Kurds should realize their rights will not be granted but must be taken amid a controversial budget bill passed by the Iraqi Parliament which contains an unfair allocation for Kurdistan.
In a statement to mark the 27th anniversary of the historical Kurdish uprising against the former Iraqi Ba’ath regime under Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship, Barzani reminded of Kurds’ achievements in the past.
“The achievements of the uprising are an important lesson for Kurdistan,” he said. “Our rights and freedoms cannot be granted to us; our people must take them.”
During the 1991 uprising against Hussein’s oppressive regime, the Kurds were victorious in their efforts to gain autonomy in northern Iraq paving the way for what seemed a bright future.
It seems now, as the Iraqi Parliament approved the country’s controversial 2018 budget bill on Saturday in the absence of Kurdish politicians who boycotted the session, the Kurdish struggle will continue.
Baghdad did not consider Kurdish demands in the budget bill and reduced the Kurdistan Region’s share to roughly 12 percent, a significant drop from its previous 17 percent allocation.
“What happened in the Iraqi Parliament was another clear move in undermining consensus, power-sharing, balance, and the constitutional rights of the people of Kurdistan,” Barzani stated, calling for a “united response” against the decision.
“We need all parties in Kurdistan to convene and unitedly express a suitable response and decision against the Iraqi Parliament’s passage of the budget,” he added.
Following the adoption of the budget bill in the absence of Kurds, many Kurdish parliamentarians called for a “comprehensive withdrawal” from the political process.
Some Kurdish lawmakers stressed that a withdrawal would be “the most appropriate option” after Baghdad ignored the rights of the Kurdistan Region once again.
The Kurdistan Regional Government, meanwhile, said the reduction of the allocation was unfair, and the proposed share could not even cover the needs of residents in a single province let alone four (Dohuk, Erbil, Sulaimani, and Halabja).