News / Middle East

Instability in Iraq Fuels Kurdish Independence Move

Instability in Iraq Fuels Kurdish Independence Movei
X
Al Pessin
July 03, 2014 8:19 PM
The president of Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government has told VOA the situation in the country has increased the urgency of creating an independent Kurdish state. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Al Pessin

The president of Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government has told VOA the situation in the country has increased the urgency of creating an independent Kurdish state.

Peshmerga fighters from the Kurdish autonomous region have responded to territorial gains by Sunni militants with moves of their own, taking the disputed city of Kirkuk, and surrounding areas.
 
Now, Iraqi Kurdistan regional President Massoud Barzani told VOA this was the time to create a Kurdish state.
 
“This is a natural right that must be achieved. Independence must be achieved. I believe now the conditions are also favorable for independence,” he said.

The United States continues to oppose Kurdish independence. "No change of policy here.  We've said that a unified Iraq is the strongest Iraq," said State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf.
 
But Kurdish leaders have a strategy designed to make independence palatable to the United States.
 
Speaking via Skype, Bill Park of London’s King’s College said, "They want to present themselves as not so much declaring independence from a functioning, ongoing Iraqi state, but being forced into independence as a consequence of the chaos around them."

That was clear in Barzani’s interview with VOA's Persian Service.

“The situation is chaotic and scary. Now along a 1,050-kilometer border we face terrorists and radical groups and people who are unknown to us. This is a new situation. I doubt if Iraq will go back to what it was,” he said.
 
And Barzani said the past strong opposition to Kurdish independence was no more.

“We have discussed this with the United States, with all sides, and with the Europeans. In the past, reaction was severe, but we don’t see that anymore,” he said.
 
Bill Park said still, Barzani had to be careful not to alienate his old friends in Washington, new friends in Turkey and Iran, and even some of his own people.
 
“It is a kind of high risk strategy, but it’s a lot less risky now than it’s ever been in the past,” he said.

Indeed, many experts believe that, whatever happens in Kurdistan, Iraq will never be as it was before the Sunni militants took over large areas in the west and center of the country.
 
American political consultant Sam Patten has advised Iraqi Kurds and moderate Sunnis and spoke to Alhurra television.

“The relationship that existed until now between Baghdad and the regions will never be the same," he said. "The regions that are no longer under Baghdad’s control are going to have to enjoy some degree of autonomy that they haven’t seen before,” said Patten.

The militant Sunni fighters now call themselves the Islamic State.  Whether they can make that stick remains to be seen, but they may have created the opportunity for Kurds to fulfill their long held dream of statehood, and placed the future of the Iraqi state in question.  

You May Like

Video Anti-Muslim Sponsor of Texas Cartoon Contest Draws Ire

Pamela Geller's supporters say she speaks truth about sensitive topic, while critics say she preaches 'that Islam is inherently evil' More

East Meets West in Exhibition Showing Chinese Influence on Fashion

Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition juxtaposes influence of art, imagery and culture, from Imperial China to the present day, on Western fashion and design More

South Africa Begins New Love Affair With Vinyl Records

Enthusiasts say the 'rebirth' of vinyl is resulting in a rebirth of music in South Africa More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: 1worldnow from: Earth
July 04, 2014 2:38 AM
Obama insisted on pulling out of Bush's mess, without ensuring the Iraqis that he was aware of the consequences they would be facing. So what if this was anybody's mess, done for whatever reason, even in lies. Bush lied, OK, we got that from you Obama. Bush made a mess of Iraq, OK, Obama, we heard that from you over and over again! Even that the majority of our great nation agreed with what Obama was spewing about Bush, and with a lot of credibility (Bush lied), Obama let the US and the entire world know that he, the magnificient Obama, knew what to do and how to do it, for Iraq and the Iraqi people. Obama pulled our guys out of Iraq as quickly as he could once he was sworn in! All the top brass and military experts ALL told him that doing such would jeopardize the Iraqi people because their own defense was not ready, their own government had no control over the country. But being the Commander-in-Chief, Obama knew better than the people who had spent their entire careers in the military machine. Bush didn't do that, Obama did. Nobody will stand up to this fiasco that Obama hasn't taken any, not one single iota, responsibility that HE promised everyone that he knew what to do and HE would do it right! Bush is bad, m'kay!

OK, let's say Bush started a fire, but said it was done by lightning. We found out later that Bush was the arsonist behind the fire. Everyone was furious, and Obama said that he had the best strategy to put that fire out if you elect him. We did elect him. He told the firefighters, that had been fighting the fire, to stop and go home, there is no need to fight this fire anymore. Even though the firefighters said that the fire will get worse, Obama said that HE has it all under control. The fire is now spinning out of control, but no one will give any credit to Obama for allowing this to happen to a nation that WE were responsible for crippling in the first place!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
In Response

by: huron from: chicago
July 04, 2014 8:50 AM
Funny, try watching Obama in 2002 before he went to the Sebate in washington, he said Iraq war should not happen and bush cheney went ahead.

Obama said the war if it was allowed to happen would fragment Iraq into 3 with Kurds, Sunnys and Shia fighting each other, as the 3 cant live side by side.. Obama was proved 100% correct, the 3 ethnic groups have there own problems.

Now Iraq as not one Dictator that it had with Saddam Hussein, its as 5000 dictators, some in Kurdistan, some in Baghdad, and others in the Ba-athist parts of Iraq like Mosul.

Iraq is not Americas problem, its the Middle Easts Problem as the Saudi's fund the Sunny's and have been found to be funding ISIL, so as Turkey.. Iran funds the Shia, and the Kurds leaders just sell anything or smuggle anything to enrich themseleves .

Obama said troops out, the USA citizens have backed that 85% in favour, the USA needs to stay out, let the Russians, Chinese, Iranians sort out the carp. Its not our war, we have lost enough of our people, fighting in Iraq for nothing

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Mass Grave Exposes Entrenched Trafficking in Thailandi
X
May 05, 2015 5:50 PM
Police in southern Thailand have found two more camps believed to have held human trafficking victims -- one containing a buried skeleton. This comes just days after officials announced arrests in connection with the grisly discovery of 26 bodies in a mass grave at another location. Officials suspect as many as 400 mostly ethnic Rohingya from Myanmar were being held for ransom at the remote camp near the Malaysian border. Steve Sandford reports on developments in the case.
Video

Video Mass Grave Exposes Entrenched Trafficking in Thailand

Police in southern Thailand have found two more camps believed to have held human trafficking victims -- one containing a buried skeleton. This comes just days after officials announced arrests in connection with the grisly discovery of 26 bodies in a mass grave at another location. Officials suspect as many as 400 mostly ethnic Rohingya from Myanmar were being held for ransom at the remote camp near the Malaysian border. Steve Sandford reports on developments in the case.
Video

Video Russia's 'Victory Day' Glory Over Nazis Overshadowed by Ukraine

ussia is preparing to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, known since the Soviet era as “The Great Patriotic War,” with a massive parade on May 9th of military hardware and millions of medals handed out to veterans or their relatives. But critics say the Soviet-style display of power and nationalism overshadows tragic scars during and after the war that still influence politics and foreign policy, especially in the current Ukraine crisis.
Video

Video WWII Anniversary Brings Old Friends and New Worries

The 70th anniversary of the end of World War II has special significance, with Russia becoming more assertive in Ukraine and sending its military planes to the edges of western countries’ airspace. Changes in the geostrategic balance and the transatlantic relationship are felt across the continent, not least in German towns that have hosted U.S. military bases since the defeat of Nazi Germany. VOA’s Al Pessin visited Schweinfurt, Germany, where a large base closed last year.
Video

Video Abraham Lincoln Funeral Re-created for 150th Civil War Anniversary

Over the last four years, commemorative events to mark the 150th anniversary of the U.S. Civil War have brought thousands of visitors to battlefields and historic landmarks across the country. As VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, the final event in the Civil War's sesquicentennial honors the final journey home of the slain American President, Abraham Lincoln.
Video

Video Campaign Raises Money to 'Uncuff' Journalists

Beginning Sunday – World Press Freedom Day – the Committee to Protect Journalists, a private U.S. group, is launching a campaign to bring attention to their plight and encourage efforts to free them. Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Volunteers Pull Together to Aid Baltimore Riot Victims

Calm has returned to Baltimore, Maryland, after authorities lifted an overnight curfew imposed almost a week ago to stem the rioting that followed the funeral of Freddie Gray - the 25-year-old black man who died of spinal injuries suffered while in police custody. Six police officers, three of them African-American, have been charged in connection with his death. Baltimore is now trying to get back to normal, in part with the help of volunteers who responded to calls to help those in the city'
Video

Video From Aleppo To Berlin: Band of Brothers Escapes Civil War

Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have fled the civil war in their country and journeyed to Europe by boat across the Mediterranean. It is a terrifying ordeal with dangers at every turn. A group of Syrian brothers and their friends describe their ordeal as they try to reach Germany. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports. ...
Video

Video Rural Nepal Suffers Brunt of Quake’s Devastation

Nepal is still coming to grips with the full extent of the devastation and misery caused by last Saturday’s magnitude 7.8 earthquake. Some of the hardest-hit communities have been cut off by landslides making it difficult to assess the precise toll. A VOA News crew has been among the first to reach a few of the smaller, remote communities. Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Sindhupolchak district, east of Kathmandu, which suffered greatly in Nepal’s worst quake in more than 80 years.
Video

Video Obama Praises Work of 3 Immigrant Journalists

President Barack Obama met with three immigrant journalists at the White House Friday to praise them for their work ahead of World Press Freedom Day, May 3. In attendance: Dieu Cay (his pen name) a blogger from Vietnam recently released from prison; Lily Mengesha from Ethiopia who was harassed and detained for exposing the marrying off of young girls as child brides, and Fatima Tlisova, an ethnic Circassian from the North Caucasus region of Russia, who works for VOA's Russian Service.
Video

Video Middle East Atheist Channel Defies Taboo

In Egypt, a deeply religious country in a deeply religious region, atheism is not only taboo, it is dangerous. It is sometimes even criminal to publicly declare nonbelief. Despite the danger, one group of activists is pushing back with a new online channel that defends the right not to believe. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Nepal Quake Survivors Tell Their Stories

Against all hope, rescuers have found a few more survivors of the devastating earthquake that hit Nepal last Saturday. Mountain climbers and hikers trapped in remote places also have been airlifted to safety, and aid is finally reaching people in the areas closest to the quake's epicenter. Survivors and rescuers are now recounting their experience. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Lessons for Germany, Europe Remain on Anniversary of WWII's End

The 70th anniversary of the end of World War II will be marked May 8-9 in all European countries except Germany, which lost the war. How is the war viewed there, and what impact is it still having? From Berlin, VOA’s Al Pessin reports.
Video

Video Nepal Town Destroyed By Quake Counts Itself Lucky

Foreign search teams on Wednesday began reaching some of the communities outside Kathmandu that suffered worse damage than Nepal’s capital from last Saturday’s massive earthquake. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman is in Sankhu - a town of about 10,000 people - where there is relief the death toll is not higher despite widespread destruction.
Video

Video Somali Hotel Chain Owner Strives to Make a Difference

Many in the Somali diaspora are returning home to make a new life despite the continuing risks. Since 2011 when a military campaign against Al-Shabab militants began making progress, members of the diaspora community have come back to open hospitals, schools, hotels, restaurants and other businesses. Abdulaziz Billow in Mogadishu profiles the owner of a chain of hotels and restaurants who is helping to bring change to the once-deadly Somali capital.
Video

Video Child Migrants Cross Mediterranean Alone, Face Unknown Future

Among the thousands of migrants making the deadly journey by boat to Europe, there are unaccompanied girls and boys. Some have been sent by relatives to earn money; others are orphaned or fleeing war. From a shelter for young migrants in the Sicilian town of Caltagirone, VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.

Poll: Baltimore Police Charged

Poll archive

VOA Blogs