Massoud Barzani, president of Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region, has called for a referendum on independence Wednesday. This came after the current crises in Iraq and Syria, involving the Islamic State. Many view the conflict in the area as an opportunity for the Kurdish ethnic group to advance their dream of independence.
"The time has come and the situation is now suitable for the Kurdish people to make a decision through a referendum on their fate," Barzani was quoted as saying in a Reuters report. "That referendum does not mean proclaiming statehood, but rather to know the will and opinion of the Kurdish people about independence and for the Kurdish political leadership to execute the will of the people at the appropriate time and conditions."
Barzani has called a referendum in the past, but it was not backed by details such as a timetable so that it could be put into motion. This time, the leader wants to hold the political exercise soon and has outlined possible frameworks in which it can be implemented. "The same way that Scotland, Catalonia and Quebec and other places have the right to express their opinions about their destiny, Kurdistan too has the right, and it's non-negotiable," he said in a Press TV report.
Several states in the Middle East are skittish about the prospect of an independent Kurdish nation. This is particularly true for countries that have sizable Kurdish minorities, who could demand the same call for self-determination. Barzani tries to address this concern by stressing that an independent Kurdish nation could help bring peace to the region as freedom is obtained without bloodshed, Rudaw reported.