By Arian Mufid:
When President Barzani recently told a UK newspaper that there was going to be a referendum on the independence of Kurdistan, it left me wondering how he had calculated his proposal. For the last four years he has been telling his own people that the day of the declaration of independence is looming and this has made him a laughing stock to ordinary people who wonder how the President of Kurdistan has reached such a conclusion, considering that the Kurds in the south are still not a self-reliant nation. Masud Barzani has never encouraged an open debate about this issue but has rather relied more on the promises of neighbouring countries such as Turkey. For the last three years the KRG (Kurdistan Regional Government) and its President have not constructively addressed the issue of independence and separation; for that reason not a single agreement has been reached. At the beginning of September Barzani visited the UK and France and only a week after this trip, in which he revealed his strategy for declaring independence, he appeared to take a 180 degree turn when he decided to visit Baghdad with some PUK leaders. At the press conference following his meeting with Iraqi government leaders, Barzani indicated that he plans to remain in power for good and that he will reach agreements with Baghdad on all disputed issues such as oil, the budget, etc. There was no more promise of a referendum on independence. As Jonathan Randall (1) has observed, the Kurdish leaders have missed so many opportunities to build an independent state and it is hard to compensate for this now.