MESOP NEWS TODAYS GREAT ANNOUNCEMENT : Referendum on Kurdistan’s independence to be held this year: Barzani

25 March 2017 – HEWLÊR-Erbil, Iraq’s Kurdistan region,— A referendum on the independence of Kurdistan Region is set to take place this year to gauge support for leaving Iraq, Kurdistan Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani said.“Yes, there will be a referendum this year. No question,” PM Barzani has told Trudy Rubin, according to a column published on Times Record News.

“The outcome doesn’t mean we will immediately embark (on independence) but it will show the international community what the population wants.”

Kurds are often described as the world’s largest ethnic group without their own state, with populations divided among Turkey Iraq, Iran and Syria since post-World War I.

In February 2016, Massoud Barzani called for a non-binding referendum on independence from the rest of Iraq.

Massoud Barzani announced on November 16, 2016 that the Kurdistan Region would not need to hold a referendum on independence if an agreement with Baghdad was reached to allow the region to become independent and maintain friendly relations between Erbil and Baghdad.

Massoud Barzani, whose term as Kurdistan President ended on August 20, 2015 but refused to step down and remains unofficially in office, has been accused by Kurdish politicians of using the self-determination issue as means to stay in power and monopoly it.

Iraqi Kurds say “whenever Massoud Barzani appears on TV to talk about independence, we all laugh. We know he’s trying to distract us from some crisis or corruption scandal. But nobody buys it anymore.”

Massoud’s nephew, Nechirvan Barzani, however, said discussions between senior Kurdish and Baghdad officials in favor of holding a referendum have seen “no progress at all,” the Kurdish official said.

“We can’t go back to the old days,” he added, saying that the current political and security climate was an opportunity for the Kurds to have an independent state.

“Iraq after Mosul is not the same as Iraq before Mosul,” he said.

Kurdish leaders are likely to face opposition from neighboring countries, including Turkey and the central government in Baghdad.

“Officially, we have not addressed this issue with Turkey, but we think they are ready to listen,” Barzani said.

In August 2016 senior Iraqi Kurdish politician and the head of PUK Politburo, Mala Bakhtiar said only Israel and Hungary back the establishment of an independent Kurdish state in Iraqi Kurdistan region.

In February 2017, up to 18 consulates from the European Union informed the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) they were not with the split of the Kurdistan Region from Iraq, Member of the PUK Leadership and lawmaker in the Iraqi Parliament, Arez Abdullah said.

Since October 2015 the Kurdistan parliament has been in recess after parliament speaker Yusuf Mohammad Sadiq was prevented by the ruling KDP party forces from entering Erbil city on October 12, 2015 and Kurdistan PM Nechirvan Barzani has removed four members of his cabinet from the Change Movement and replaced them with KDP politicians.