Iraq’s Borders Will Not Be Drawn In Blood: Iraqi Kurdish Say They’re Willing to Negotiate Disputed Territories
For over almost a year the military forces from the semi-autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan have been fighting the extremist group known as the Islamic State. This has involved the Iraqi Kurdish military gaining territory that wasn’t previously theirs – it was part of Iraq proper rather than their partially independent region, which has its own borders, parliament and laws.
Some of the terrain that they are now controlling has been part of what are known in Iraq as the disputed territories. Basically this is land that Iraqi Kurdistan says belongs to them, but that the federal government in Baghdad says belongs to Iraq proper.
As a result of the fighting, Iraqi Kurdistan’s President, Massoud Barzani, has made several sweeping statements saying that, because the Iraqi Kurdish had fought for the land, that it was now theirs. Article 140 of the Iraqi Constitution, which is supposed to settle the dispute between Baghdad and Iraqi Kurdistan through things like censuses and referendums, no longer needed to be applied, Barzani stated.
Other politicians have made similar statements saying things like, if other ethnic groups believe they should get a stake in the disputed territory like the city of Kirkuk, “then let them come and join the Iraqi Kurdish military in defending it”.
But strangely enough, that confrontational tone now seems to have changed with several leading Iraqi Kurdish politicians saying that once the fighting is done, and the security problems caused by the IS group have been resolved, then they will go back to the negotiating table and work out whom the disputed territories really belong to.
More than one local politician told NIQASH that during the last meetings with representatives of the federal government, the issue of the disputed territories had come up and that the Iraqi Kurdish administrators had agreed to discuss them.