Baghdad, October 22 (AKnews) – Izzat Shabandar, a leader in the ruling State of Law Coalition (SLC), called on the Kurds to found their own state.
Shabandar said that the time has come to achieve the nationalist demand of the Kurds to form their independent state, now that the tensions between the federal government and the Kurdistan Region Government (KRG) have risen again.
“I suggest putting the disputed areas under national control and forming international committees to discuss mechanisms to solve the problem of disputed areas according to international standards,” Shabandar said, disclosing the catch of his announcement.
The fate of the disputed areas — cities and areas along the border between the Republic of Iraq and the Kurdistan Region — is the reason for an ongoing argument between Erbil and Baghdad.
Shabandar said he believes that most of the strategic problems between Baghdad and Erbil are solvable. However, “no satisfactory decision for both parties can be reached as far as the distribution of joint wealth and the issue of Kirkuk and the disputed areas are concerned. So I call on Kurdish leaders to declare their independent state and achieve their national dream.”
Shabandar’s statement comes only days before another delegation of Kurdish politicians will arrive in Baghad to continue negotiations about the outstanding issues between Baghdad and the KRG.
The tensions between Baghdad and Erbil are sparked by a list of demands that the Kurds believe they are entitled to after they lent their support to Prime Minister al-Maliki after the last election: the integration of the Kurdish defense forces (the Peshmarga) into the Iraqi army, paid for by the Iraqi government; drafting a new hydrocarbon law; and the implementation of Article 140 into the Iraqi constitution — which authorizes payments to Kurds who were forced from their homes under Saddam Hussein, a comprehensive census of ethnic groups and a referendum to decide if disputed areas should fall under the control of Kurdistan Regional Government.
Especially the recent incident, known as “Khanaqin flag order”, sparked Kurdish-federal animosities.
Khanaqin administer Mohammed Mala Hasan, a Kurd, claimed that he had been handed a written order from Maliki to raise only Iraqi flags on government buildings and lower the Kurdish flag, the official flag of the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan.
The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) supported Hasan when he refused the order and referred to a previous agreement between Baghdad and Erbil after the U.S. invasion in 2003.
Government Spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh tried to deny responsibility, saying the order was “carried out by the local government at an inappropriate time” and the dispute was sparked by “external political parties and powers”.
KRG and Baghdad also fight over a new oil and gas law. The Kurds accused the federal government of passing a draft law without taking the Kurdish opinion into consideration.
On the other hand, Baghdad criticized Erbil for signing contracts with international oil companies without the consent of the federal Oil Ministry.
Last month, Maliki supposedly gave his approval for all Kurdish demands, except one to finance the Kurdish Army, or Peshmarga, as part of the federal defense budget, according to Aref Tayfur, second deputy speaker of parliament and member of the Kurdish Blocs Coalition.
However, this was not the long awaited solution for the dispute, since Tayfur also claimed that Maliki’s only condition was that the demands were not contrary to the constitution. This has always been Maliki’s standpoint.