Timing for holding a referendum on Kurdish independence is the heating debate today, both among regional and international actors as well as the people of Kurdistan; but they should bring an important point into consideration that is: there is no “perfect time” for such approaches. As David Romano says it’s time for political leaders to bring referendum rather than waiting for a “perfect time”.
For more than a century, Kurds have been fighting — under the name of Peshmerga — to achieve one goal that is Kurdish statehood. On this way, they have been trying different methods, including armed conflicts, international lobbying and negotiation with regional players. For their dream of a sovereign state, Kurdish men and women have made great sacrifices throughout the history.
However, Kurds survived the tough days and are now playing a significant role in the region with the bravery they have shown in the war against terrorism. Kurdistan Region is now being treated by the world powers as an independent state with its officials being received like leaders of sovereign countries. That is the outcome of a right strategy put in place by the president of the region, Masoud Barzani, who has won the trust of world powers and proved them that Kurds may no longer be neglected.
Despite independence itself, the post era is of significant importance; the achievement must bring stability, security and a brighter future for the people. Also, unity of the people is another key factor to the issue. During the past decades, the threat that Saddam Hussein imposed against the Kurdish identity had gathered them on the same point; with that threat fading away, internal conflicts also emerged among them. One of the things that may keep the Kurds together is their dream for independence.
But, the dream now seems to be part of the problem since some Kurdish factions are using the case against each other.
To build a sustainable country, Kurds need to prepare the basis of the governing system before moving to the next step which is declaring independence. One of the main preparations is developing institution and make sure they go along with the designed system. Also they have to develop protection of power, transfer elections, democratic laws and equality for the people. They should build meaningful diversity and respect differences in order to establish a strong country.
Indubitably, Kurdistan is now going through tough economic situation, but at least it is exercising an independent economy from Iraq’s. Kurds previously lost many chances to develop their independent economy but they are now committed to strengthen the infrastructures of an independent Kurdish economy as they have no desire to live on Baghdad’s budget any longer.
The first step for a developed Kurdish economy seems to be improvement of the privet sector so the people start having desire of working in privet companies and, as a consequence, the pressure on government for providing job opportunities to the public decreases. Depending on the public sector and wages from government puts the state under financial pressure and faces the people with economic instability.
Furthermore, Kurds should realize that none of the countries in the world will directly support the Kurdish independence because of the diplomatic customs. After all, freedom is not given, it’s taken; and it is important for the world to differentiate between ‘independence’ and ‘secession’ when it comes to the Kurds and their right to have a country of their own.
Once Islamic State is defeated and Kurds wins the war, Kurdistan Region should declare independence from Iraq even without a referendum; but it is crucial to further strengthen the basis and develop unity before the time comes. Otherwise, Kurds will find themselves forced into a possible sectarian bloodshed that could happen in Iraq in the post-Islamic State phase. To sum up, the matter for Kurdish independence is ‘now or never’.
[The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily represent the views of BasNews]