US diplomat: Door open for Kurdish independence

'Kurds are prepared for independence more than any other nation.'

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – Kurds are prepared for independence more than any other nation, a former US diplomat said on Monday.

During the official opening ceremony of the American University of Kurdistan–Duhok, former US Ambassador Peter Galbraith told Kurdistan24 that it is time for the Kurdistan Region's independence referendum to take place.

Galbraith has advised the Region on constitutional negotiations with Baghdad over the last decade.

“I think it is the right time for a referendum. I personally participated in many cases of independence such as Bosnia, Croatia, and East Timor,” Galbraith said.

He mentioned that Kurdistan Region is significantly ahead of those countries in most aspects, and ready for independence. “Now the door is open for the Kurds toward independence. The only thing Kurds have to do is step through,” he asserted.

Galbraith also mentioned that though most US officials are in favor of Iraq’s unity, the majority of American citizens are fond of Kurds.

In another part of the interview, Galbraith touched upon the US arming Kurds through Baghdad. “It does not make any sense, the policy of the United States and the West. The correct policy is to arm your friends, who are the Kurdish Peshmerga, not the ones who do not fight--which is Iraqi Army. Iraq is an ally of Iran, and thus, this policy doesn’t make sense.”

“My view is to provide good weapons directly to Peshmerga,” he clarified.

Peshmerga forces have been one of the most effective ground forces in the fight against Islamic State (IS). Kurdistan Region defends its border against IS extremists, which stretches over 1,000 kilometers (622 miles).


Reporting by Mewan Dolamari
Editing by Ava Homa and Benjamin Kweskin