DUHOK, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) - Iraq needs to be Balkanized and an independent Kurdistan should arise, vowed the former US diplomat Peter Galbraith who served as an ambassador to a newly-created Croatia and helped East Timor get its independence from Indonesia.
Galbraith was attending a Thursday and Friday conference on the prospects of Kurdistan Region's independence held at the American University of Kurdistan (AUK) in Duhok.
In his speech at the conference, Galbraith referred to one of the founding fathers of the United States, the English-born pamphleteer Thomas Paine whose pamphlet "Common Sense" advocated the independence of American Colonies from the Great Britain.
"It is common sense that Kurdistan should go for independence and should go for it now," said Galbraith to his audience which included Kurdistan Region's Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani, the region's Security Council (KRSC) Chancellor Masrour Barzani, ministers, diplomats and Kurdish affairs experts.
He recalled his first visits to Kurdistan and witnessing of the plight that Kurdish people were subjected to by the Iraqi Baath regime.
"The truth is the history of Iraq has been the history of repression of the Kurds," said Galbraith.
"To be here in 1991, myself fleeing with the people, I said how could I possibly want to live in a country that did that. As an American, I would never live in a country that did that to me," told Galbraith to his audience at the AUK.
He was referring to the exodus of hundreds of thousands of civilian Kurds leaving their homes behind toward Iranian and Turkish borders in the aftermath of the crushed March 1991 uprising.
Galbraith who was working as a staffer to the US Congress at the time also mentioned his uncovering of the use of chemical agents by the Iraqi Army against the Kurds, later instrumental in imposing sanctions on Iraq.
At the AUK panel focusing on the consequences of independence, Galbraith attacked the argument that Kurds' declaring of independence would be a destabilizing factor in the region.
"Well, I am sorry! Has this been a stable part of the world? Look at Syria. Look at Iraq. What has been destabilizing is holding Iraq together by force," objected Galbraith, who drew an analogy the to Balkans.
"The word balkanization is used to mean breaking up countries into smaller parts. It was a derogatory term. And the Balkans was a place that was constantly having wars. It is now peaceful. Why? Because it is balkanized! It is broken up into national states that people really want," concluded Galbraith.
Editing by Ava Homa