Less than a week prior to holding Kurdistan Region’s independence referendum, in Baghdad the central government’s handling of the crisis arising from the conflicting viewpoints of pro- and anti-referendum camps threatens to push Iraq into the abyss of the unknown.
Lack of prudence, diplomacy
In this sensitive juncture in Iraq’s history, the country’s political elite have lacked the prudence and discretion required in such situations. A fit of madness has overwhelmed many politicians and MPs, who issued statements on Kurdistan referendum that may risk exacerbating the crisis and undermining the country’s unity.
This comes as many scenarios are unfolding before the eyes of Kurdistan Region’s President Masoud Barzani amid proposals aiming to postpone or cancel the referendum in utter disregard of Kurdistan people’s aspirations and their right to self-determination.
Observers told The Baghdad Post that lack of wisdom in such critical moments can make Iraq pay dearly.
Kurdistan referendum issue is purely political; that is why it has to be dealt with by using diplomacy, they added.
Within the past few days, many Iraqi politicians issued inflammatory statements following Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi statements in which he said that he is prepared to intervene militarily if Kurdistan Region’s planned independence referendum results in violence.
In an interview with the Associated Press on Saturday, al-Abadi said if the Iraqi population was “threatened by the use of force outside the law, then we will intervene militarily”.
Abadi called the vote “a dangerous escalation” that will invite violations of Iraq’s sovereignty.
He added that Kurdistan authorities "play with fire" with their insistence to carry out the independence referendum.
Later on Sunday, Iraqi Minister of Foreign Affairs Ibrahim al-Jaafari said that Kurdistan referendum harms the principles of Iraq, its unity and territorial integrity.
In an interview with the Egyptian satellite TV channel "ON Live", he pointed out that the Kurds have a dream to establish a "Greater Kurdistan" in five countries including Iraq, noting that they have to abandon that dream.
Moreover, Iraqi Parliament’s rapporteur Niazi Memar Oglu made provocative and sarcastic remarks as he described those affiliated to pr-referendum camp as traitors and agents.
He also said that the parliament would take tough decisions to put an end to what he called an Israeli-Kurdish farce.
Accusations lead to nowhere
According to analysts, when Baghdad accuses Kurdistan Region of treason, the crisis will never be resolved.
On the contrary, the crisis will exacerbate if diplomacy is not exercised. Baghdad and Erbil will embark on a road of no return, they noted.
When Baghdad gives Erbil pledges that Kurds will regain their rights, particularly their financial allocations, the crisis will be resolved, they concluded.