Iraqi parliament speaker: Anbar is on its way to becoming a 'new Kurdistan'

author_image Hiwa Shilani
Iraqi Parliament Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi in a previous interview with Kurdistan 24. (Photo: Kurdistan 24)
Iraqi Parliament Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi in a previous interview with Kurdistan 24. (Photo: Kurdistan 24)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraqi Parliament Speaker Mohammad al-Halbousi said on Tuesday that western Anbar province is continuing to transform into a "new Kurdistan" in progress and reconstruction, a reference to the autonomous Kurdistan Region's levels of security and foreign investment that is the envy of many Iraqis living in other parts of the Middle Eastern nation.

In an interview that the Al-Sharqiya news agency broadcasted late on Tuesday evening, Halbousi said that political forces who wrote the Iraqi constitution in 2005 "are now objecting" to those who want to create a region in Sunni areas, while they do not reject it in the Shia south.

The Iraqi constitution does not oppose the formation of regions in Iraq, and according to Article 119, each province or more has the right to form a region based on a request for a referendum on the matter.

The idea of ​​forming regions in Iraq often raises a division between citizens and politicians. And in the past, calls were repeated in Basra and Salahuddin provinces.

According to the constitution, the formation of a region takes place in one of two ways, either at the request of one-third of the members in each of the provincial councils aiming to form the region or by submitting a request by one-tenth of the voters in each province.

Speaker Halbousi, from Anbar himself, said that any province can constitutionally become a federal region, provided that the change does not affect the "centralization of Baghdad."

When asked about the possibility of Anbar becoming similar to Kurdistan in terms of construction and development, but not as a region, Halbousi replied, "Yes, it will become one," but pointed out that the province's Sunni majority "did not propose the formation of a region."

"I made Anbar a center for Sunni political decision-making" after the country used to rely on the "Kurdish-Shia equation," he concluded.

Editing by John J. Catherine