Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Barzani: Kirkuk is Kurdish and Should Be Part of Kurdistan

From the Arabic daily, Asharq Alawsat: Masoud Barzani, president of the Kurdistan region of Iraq, in a statement in Irbil today asserted that "The idendity of Kirkuk is Kurdish, like that of Irbil and Suleymania and Dohuk" and that "it is a part of Kurdistan, and all the historical and geographical documents confirm that." He warned those that believe that the delays in resolution of the issue of Kirkuk will cause the Kurds to forget the matter "Never in thousands of years will we forget [the need to] implement this constitutional article, because it is the only solution." He was referring to Article 140 of the constitution that called for a referendum on the identity of Kirkuk by December 31, 2007, but has been repeatedly delayed.

The rhetoric is amping up ahead of the Kurdish regional elections scheduled for the 25th of this month (July) as politicians posture and burnish their credentials for the general electorate. The strong words, however, also heighten tension with the central Iraqi government and the non-Kurdish citizens of Kirkuk. The tensions highlight the unresolved issues that still stalk stability in Iraq and must be dealt with in the near term.

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