WASHINGTON, United States (Kurdistan24) – The upcoming independence referendum is an opportunity for Kurds to gain international support for an independent state, according to a former US diplomat.
Peter Galbraith, the former United States Ambassador to Croatia, spoke to Kurdistan24 about the independence referendum on Sep. 25, 2017.
A former staff member of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations from 1979 to 1993, Galbraith had uncovered the use of chemical weapons by Saddam Hussein against the Kurds.
“The vote on Sep. 25 will be a once in a century opportunity for the people of [the Kurdistan Region] to achieve what they’ve always dreamed about which is independence,” he stated.
Galbraith pointed to criticism the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) received from neighboring countries regarding the decision to hold a referendum.
The former diplomat said some nations had highlighted the risk an independence referendum poses in the region, but stressed staying in Iraq was riskier for Kurds.
“The alternative [to a referendum] is to be a part of Iraq, and I think Kurds have to consider whether that isn’t even more risky,” he said.
Galbraith said the history of Kurdistan and Iraq was not positive, especially as Kurds had always been treated as second-class citizens.
He also pointed to the Anfal campaign “which involved the destruction of almost every village in Kurdistan [and] the extensive use of chemical weapons.”
Despite some countries who will oppose the result, the former US Ambassador reassured holding the vote would lead to Kurdistan’s aspirations being internationally recognized.
“Once the people of Kurdistan make their decision then you have new facts, and the world adjusts,” Galbraith told Kurdistan24.
“I think there is a lot of support in the world community for an independent Kurdistan,” he concluded.
(Kurdistan24 team in Washington, DC conducted the interview)