ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – A senior Kurdish politician affirmed the Kurdistan Region would proceed with independence peacefully and without bloodshed, despite threats from Shia militias against such a move.
Hoshiyar Zebari, a Kurdish politician and member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) Political Bureau, in an interview with the MSNBC, stated that Kurdish independence is a dream every Kurd shares and not a "project" of the Kurdistan Region’s President Masoud Barzani.
"We have had enough. We believe that our hopes of building a new, democratic federal Iraq where all Iraqis can peacefully live together are based on a mirage," he said.
Zebari represented Iraq as Foreign Minister for over a dozen year.
Zebari said he spent the last 14 years in his political life defending this country [Iraq], the unity of the country and how to reintegrate it into the international and regional community. However, he concluded that “it just does not work.”
Asked about whether the Kurdistan Region was taking advantage of the collapsed states of Iraq and Syria to secure their own peace and declare independence, Zebari responded there is no such thing as "the perfect timing or conditions to do so.”
He recognized the Islamic State (IS) fractured Iraq into multiple pieces but denied Kurds were trying to worsen the situation, declaring that independence has been a Kurdish ambition and a right "long before IS was born."
Regarding the disputed province of Kirkuk, which is currently under the control of the Kurdistan Region’s Peshmerga forces, Zebari said that Peshmerga forces were present "before IS emerged" and that they retook an area "that was always ours."
Zebari added that Kurdistan Region is seeking independence from Iraq through an “amicable divorce.”
Despite threats from Shia militias who claim to oppose Kurdish independence, Zebari believes that “the goal of the Kurdish leadership is to achieve [independence] peacefully, without any further war or bloodshed.”
The Kurdish politician cautioned, should Shia militias attack Kurdistan, Kurds and the Peshmerga forces would "definitely defend themselves."
Editing by G.H. Renaud