Splitting Iraq: How Likely is an Independent Kurdistan?

By Shwan Zulal.

This article was originally published by Niqash. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

The disputes between Baghdad and Iraqi Kurdistan have led some local politicians to call for the semi-autonomous region to secede from Iraq and become its own country. But, as one Kurdish commentator argues, this is far from realistic. Because now it’s all about money and oil, not politics.

Recently there has been a lot of comment about an independent Iraqi Kurdistan. As tensions between Baghdad and the semi-autonomous, northern state of Iraqi Kurdistan continue, the Kurdish have been playing the “independence card”, with local politicians and commentators airing their views on the subject like never before.

It is no secret that the majority of Kurds, if not in fact, all of them, would love to see an independent Kurdistan. And the easiest way for a Kurdish politician to become popular is to call for an independent state.

Although the Kurdish president, Massoud Barzani, has recently given the impression that he wants to see an independent Iraqi Kurdistan, the political party to which he belongs, the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP), and the other major political party in the area, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), have so far resisted similar temptations. In fact, most Kurdish politicians are still talking about a “united Iraq” despite Kurdish public opinion against this idea.

And they have a point. If you are a Kurdish politician and you need to maintain diplomatic relations with your neighbours, and if you’re aware of the economic and political realities for Iraqi Kurdistan, then it’s very hard to call for Kurdish independence and really mean it.

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