The coming referendum on independence for Iraqi Kurdistan

Regular visitors to my blog or Facebook page will know that I have been in Nairobi for 12 days visiting my son and his family. I flew back overnight and, in spite my tiredness, I found myself in serious conversation with the driver of my cab home.

When I asked him where he was from, he declared that he was a Kurd. He was surprised when I then identified him as an Iraqi Kurd and showed a little knowledge of the political situation there and the coming referendum on independence for Iraqi Kurdistan scheduled for 25 September.

He insisted that 99.99% of Iraqi Kurds would like independence but declared that the region was not ready for it. He argued that the Bargain regime is corrupt and that genuine democracy should precede any independence. He insisted that current military forces are aligned to specific political parties and that a genuinely national army should be achieved before any independence.

My driver was also well aware that the governments of the other countries with substantial Kurdish minorities – Turkey, Iran and Syria – are totally opposed to any independent Kurdish state and that the big powers, notably the USA, do not want an independent Kurdistan at this time which they would see as massively destabilising for the Middle East.

He himself declared his support for the Kurdish political party called Gorran (which means Change), which is the official opposition to the coalition government in Iraqi Kurdistan, but he noted that its elderly leader had just died. Interestingly he spoke warmly of the success of Israel in achieving a progressive and democratic state in the Middle East.

You can read more about the referendum on this Wikipedia page.

You can read more about the component parts of the Kurdish people in my book review.


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