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Independence not a Dream, It’s a Right: Barzani

For Kurds, obtaining independence is not a dream, it is a right, Kurdish political leader and president of the ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), Masoud Barzani, stated, arguing that the independence referendum Kurdistan Region held in 2017 laid a stable foundation for the process.

On 25 September, 2017, the Kurdistan Region held an independence referendum with results indicating that approximately 93.25 voted in favour of independence. However, the neighboring countries, including Iraq, Iran, Turkey, and Syria reacted to it and began to act against it, after which the Iraqi forces in cooperations with pro-Iranian Hashd al-Shaabi overran the areas disputed between Erbil and Baghdad, forcing the Kurdish fighters to withdraw from the territories.

During the second part of an interview with MBC 1 television channel published on Friday, April 10, Barzani, who previously served as the President of the Kurdistan Region, revealed that Erbil’s plan was to consult with Baghdad about the issue after the referendum so that the two sides could reach an solve their disputes through peaceful dialogue.

Before and after the referendum, we did not say that we would declare independence on the second day, we, indeed, said that this was a a chance for Kurds to express their opinions based on which we could begin talks on the matter with Iraq, he said.

“The biggest victory of the referendum was its outcome as 93% of people of Kurdistan voted in favor of independence,” Barzani added.

Concerning the position of other world countries, the Kurdish leader noted that there were many countries who had expressed their support to the referendum until it was held, while Turkey and Iran started to oppose it as well.

“The important thing is that the referendum laid a stable foundation for independence and independence is not a dream; it is a right for Kurds. Even if this generation doesn’t have a chance to see it, the next generation will do, and if that generation doesn’t do that too, the following one will surely do it,” he said.

Asked about the execution of Saddam Hussein, Barzani said the notorious Iraqi dictator paid the price for the crimes he had committed. “But he should have not been executed on the night of the Eid. It should have been before or later.”

In regards to the war against the Islamic State (IS) and fall of Iraq’s Mosul, Barzani pointed out that Kurdistan Region’s Peshmerga forces managed to defend the region with the help of US-led international coalition, noting that he had warned of the IS surprising attack on Iraq but that Baghdad did not take it into considerations.

The Kurdish influential leader said that he joined the Peshmerga forces on the front lines at the beginning of the war against the Islamic State so he could inspire them to fight for victory. Source