In a week, the Iraqi Kurds will be called to the polls for an independence referendum. The government of Kurdistan wants to leave Iraq. The electoral campaign is in full swing in the autonomous region. Every day, hundreds and thousands of Kurds in favor of the “yes” go down the streets. But not everyone wants independence, at least not for now. This is the case of a Kurdish parliamentarian met by RFI, one of the few in favor of the “no”.
As the independence referendum approaches, fervor seizes the streets of Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan.
Perhaps less vocal but equally determined is the camp of “no for the moment”. For Rabun Marouf, an opposition MP, the Kurdish government is not yet ready for independence. ” We do not have a democracy, we do not have viable institutions, we do not have an independent judicial system, and so on. That is why, in this situation, an independent state could create a hell for the Kurds and the others. This is not the right time to hold a referendum and declare an independent state.”
The parliamentarian particularly challenges Kurdish President Massoud Barzani, who heads a clan that controls part of the government, army, media, and telecoms. ” Mr. Barzani’s term expired almost four years ago, and he is not about to leave the presidency. He could abuse the result of this referendum to legitimize his position. ”
The “No” camp also feared a conflict with Baghdad. A political battle but perhaps also armed. The stake, in particular, is the disputed city of Kirkuk, rich in oil, and for the moment under Kurdish control. At the same time that the referendum on 25 September could take place the battle of Hawijah against the Islamic State group. This would place thousands of Iraqi soldiers only a few kilometers from Kirkuk.