|Italian Researcher Says Time for Kurdish Independence in Iraq|
8 Aug 2010 (Rudaw) ERBIL, Iraqi Kurdistan: As the Arab parties of Iraq are deadlocked over the formation of a new government,
an Italian researcher suggests that time for an independent Kurdistan has come here in the north of Iraq.
Luca Bellusci, Italian freelance researcher working for the Italian Center of Turkish Studies, argues that if the Kurds do not take advantage of Iraq’s situation now, the prospect of an independent Kurdistan will be more difficult in the future once the Arab parties settle their differences.
“I believe that Kurdistan Regional Government should start pressuring Baghdad in order to secede,” said Bellusci.
“They should do it now before forming a new Iraqi government; otherwise the situation will be harsh for the Kurds.”
He recently published a study on Kurds titled “Iraqi Kurdistan: the Possible Raise of a New State on Ethnic Identity.”
Unlike Bellusci, many other people argue that a possible Kurdish state will not survive in a region landlocked among four politically unfriendly nations.
Turkey, for example, is not expected to tolerate such a move which could spark similar aspirations among Turkey’s Kurds to enjoy self-determination right.
But Bellusci believes that none of the neighboring countries can do much since such the Independence of Kurdistan will likely be supported by the European Union, Israel and the U.S.
Furthermore, just like Kosovo, an independent Kurdish state will not be a violation of the International Law, he said.
“If Kurdistan region solve the problem of PKK then Turkey doesn’t stand against Kurdish independence,” said Bellusci adding “we know that Turkey has big interests in Iraqi Kurdistan.”
He clarified that “with the help of US and EU, Kosovo declared its independence. I believe that US is supporting the Kurdish independence too. Israel and EU are supporting this as well” he added.
Since Kurdistan has been emerging as an economically viable actor, the Western countries are keener to cooperate with the Kurds, he said.
In an interview with CNN, Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region, Barham Salih, has said that Kurdistan’s gas can be a great source for European countries once it is exported via Turkish Nabucco pipeline. It can largely shift West’s dependency on Russian gas to Kurdistan, a more friendly and pro-Western region.
“We believe that we have abundant gas resources in Kurdistan possibly 3-6 trillion cubic meters. This is huge,” said Salih adding that “this will place Kurdistan and place Iraq firmly on the energy map for Europe and the international community at large.”
The Kurds of Iraq have enjoyed self-rule since 1991 over three province of Erbil, Dohuk and Sulaimani.
There are some other places with an apparent majority of Kurdish population and vast oil resources claimed by the Kurds.
One of such regions is the oil-rich city of Kirkuk. According to the Iraqi Constitution, the people of the city should democratically through a referendum decide whether they want to be part of the Arab Iraq or the Kurdish region.
This right of the people of the city, as mentioned in Article 140 of the constitution, has yet to be respected as the Arab ruling government has made antagonistic moves since 2003, fearing that Kurdish control of the city would end up in their independence.