Iran, US align against Iraqi Kurdistan Referendum

If Gorran does not reach an agreement with other Kurdish parties, the PUK, KDP and their partners could technically resume the work of the Kurdish parliament as they hold the majority of seats — 81 out of 111 — and still hold the referendum. This option will be catastrophic for the Kurdistan region, according to another Gorran official who attended the meeting with McGurk.

It is not clear what the Kurds will come to agree on in the days leading up to Sept. 25. But if history is anything to go by, the stubbornness of the Kurdish leadership could create yet another headache for the Kurdish people — and Washington.

Indeed, the words of a prominent American diplomat made persona non grata by Saddam Hussein’s regime over his persistent contacts with the Kurds may prove to be particularly relevant these days. “The Kurds themselves are so incredibly badly split … [that] if you were to hand them their independence tomorrow, they would be unable to sustain it. This virtually happened, as you know, after the Gulf War [1991] when we took over Iraqi Kurdistan and essentially said to the Iraqi Kurds, ‘Here you are. Please set up the state.’ Of course, we didn’t say those words and we would never admit to such a thing, but that’s effectively what happened,” lamented Haywood Rankin in a 1998 interview.

“The individual Kurdish leaders have all been incapable of compromise. That has been the story for years and years and years,” Rankin concluded.

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