Shia Leader: Referendum risks Iraqi masses uprising against Kurdistan

"Iraq should not allow the Kurdistan Region to hold referendum or declare independence."

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – The leader of the largest Shia political party in Iraq threatened the Kurdistan Region over the independence referendum.

In a meeting with four of the Kurdistan Region’s blocs in the Iraqi parliament on Saturday, Ammar al-Hakim, the leader of the Shia’s National Alliance threatened to use the Iraqi masses against the Region should they proceed with the referendum or declare independence.

Muthanna Amin, a Kurdish MP and head of Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU) bloc told Kurdistan24 on Sunday that Hakim's remarks in the meeting were "direct threats" against Kurdistan and "shocking."

“Hakim said that Iraq should not allow the Kurdistan Region to hold a referendum or declare independence. Otherwise, they could not be held responsible if the masses stood up against [Kurdistan] because then the government would not be able to control them,” Amin stated.

Amin, who also attended the meeting, said that Hakim’s remarks encouraging the Iraqi people to rise were "a serious threat," criticizing representatives of other Kurdish parties for remaining silent.

The head of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, Gorran [Change] Movement, KIU, and Islamic Group of Kurdistan-Iraq blocs in the Iraqi parliament also attended the meeting.

Amin added that during the meeting, he responded to Hakim’s remarks.

“Unfortunately we have received threats from you," he claims to have said. "This is a new Iraq, a new era different that previous ones, and we should hear a different rhetoric, not the language of threats.”

“The right of self-determination is recognized in the constitution, democracy, and religion, in particular, Islam, and it is one of the most basic human rights principles. People should, therefore, be allowed to determine their future by themselves,” Amin told Hakim during the meeting.

Ammar al-Hakim is known for having close ties with the Kurdistan Region and regularly makes visits to the Kurdistan Region to meet with the Region’s leadership and political parties.

Editing by G.H. Renaud