The Iraqi Kurds’ Fateful Journey to Independence

Kurdish Flag
Kurdish Flag

The Iraqi army is now in full control of Kirkuk. The Iraqi security forces have retaken Kirkuk after days of the military standoff.

The military standoff between the Iraqi security forces and Peshmerga, the Kurdish military forces, has resulted in the Kurdish Regional Government’s complete loss of Kirkuk.

According to the sources of the Iraqi army, they have taken control of governorate building inside the city and key oil fields.

The loss of Kirkuk has angered the local Kurdish population and the Kurds in Erbil in general.

The total withdrawal of Peshmerga forces in the face of Iraqi army offensive disappointed the Kurds who recently voted in a disputed referendum for independence.

The Kurdish regional government based in Erbil held a referendum on September 25 on Kurdish secession that was opposed by Iraq, Iran, and Turkey.

The United States also urged the Kurdish government not to hold the referendum.

The determined Kurdish government held the referendum on the given date. Around 90% of the Kurdish people voted for independence.

The independence vote, however, escalated tension between the central Iraqi government and the Kurdish government in Erbil.

The Kurdish independence referendum also angered Turkey and Iran. Both Turkey and Iran executed military drills with Iraq after the Kurdish referendum.

Now, the latest loss of the Kurdish government in Kirkuk will further toughen the independence bid especially after the two major political parties of Kurdistan have again failed to continue unity efforts.

The division between KDP and PUK began to come into light again after all the unity efforts in last few months when the Peshmerga retreated from Kirkuk.

The Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani said in a statement, “The loss of Kirkuk on Monday was due to unilateral decisions of some persons within a certain internal political party of Kurdistan,” indicating to Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK).

Barzani added in the published statements, “the loud voices you raised for the independence of Kurdistan that you sent to all nations and world countries will not be wasted now or ever.”

“The Kurdistan nation with the power of the brave ones, sooner or later, will eventually reach its right and sacred objective. Today is the day for believing in the power and the unity of our nation.”

Earlier the Peshmerga command threatened the Iraqi central government to pay “heavy price” after the Iraqi military retook Kirkuk without any obstacles. Peshmerga described the move as “a declaration of war against the nation of Kurdistan.”

Peshmerga also accused the PUK of treason. It said, “Unfortunately, some officials from the … PUK helped this plot against the Kurdistan nation and committed a great and historic treason against Kurdistan and the martyrs who sacrificed their lives for Kurdistan under the PUK flag,” the statement said.

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