ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – A Kurdish official on Monday confirmed that many Iraqi and foreign diplomats have proposed a confederalist system as a means to resolve issues between Erbil and Baghdad that led to the controversial Sep.25 referendum.
The Kurdistan Region's leadership held the referendum on independence in what it described as a response to Baghdad's treatment of the people of the Kurdistan Region, and which ended with almost 93 percent of over 72 percent of eligible voters in the Region voting in favor of secession
While the Kurdish leadership has asserted the poll's result gave them a mandate to negotiate full autonomy with Baghdad, the Iraqi Federal Government has refuses to recognize the outcome of the vote, deeming it “unconstitutional.”
Ties between Baghdad and Erbil have deteriorated since the Federal Government implemented sanctions against the Kurdistan Region, including a flight ban, and threatened to close the borders with neighboring countries.
“Many Iraqi officials and foreign envoys have proposed the system of confederalism to address the issues between Erbil and Baghdad and de-escalate current tensions. They have acknowledged federalism has failed in the past decade in Iraq,” Abdullah Warti, a member of the Political Leadership of Kurdistan – Iraq told Kurdistan 24.
The concept of confederalism in Iraq has been proposed in the past by various political analysts, politicians, and diplomats.
“You should, first of all, try confederation. If it doesn't work, then independence,” said Lauder Professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania (USA), Brendan O'Leary in a previous interview with Kurdistan 24. “The argument for confederation is that you develop a proper relationship with Baghdad.”
The Federal Government of Iraq has refused to negotiate with the Kurdistan Region's officials unless they cancel the referendum's result. The Kurdish leadership declared it would be “unacceptable” to ignore the will of the people, which has been voiced peacefully and through a democratic process.
Iraqi Shia lawmaker Mowafaq al-Rubaye recently told Iraqi local news agencies that if the Kurds want confederalism, they could discuss it in the Iraqi Parliament, seek its approval, and eventually, change the Constitution.
“Confederalism is a good option to consider, but if it requires going through the Parliament of Iraq, it means it would never pass because Iraqi Shia lawmakers hold a majority of seats. They will most likely vote against it,” Fazil Mirani, the secretary of the political bureau of Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) told Kurdistan 24 on Sunday.
On Oct. 3, Iraqi Shia lawmakers prevented Kurdish lawmakers in Baghdad from attending a Parliamentary session as punishment for their participation in the Sep. 25 referendum.
The Shia coalition collected 100 signatures asking the Iraqi Parliament’s leadership to prevent the Kurdish MPs from attending the session as a response to them publicly voting in favor of the “division of Iraq,” which they claim is a violation of the Constitution.
According to the Shia bloc, the Kurdish MPs should only be allowed to return to Parliament if they publicly renounce their vote and express regret for taking part in the vote.
An independent Kurdistan has been a long-awaited dream of over 40 million Kurds all across the globe. The Kurds are labeled as the largest stateless nation in the world.
Editing by G.H. Renaud