Will Sept. 25 be Kurdish Independence Day?September 21, 20172 min read
On Sept. 25, a lot of the world’s important eyes will be watching the results of a referendum few have heard about. The Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) is finally holding a referendum on its independence. It’s a referendum many object to – including those in Baghdad and in the United States.
There are concerns that this path to independence will not be a smooth one and could further destabilize this already tumultuous region. Efforts and negotiations are ongoing in hopes that this historic vote can be delayed or even postponed.
The stakes in this are high. In this region, relationships between the Kurds and Turkey are not good. Separating from Iraq could also see consequences. The threat of violence is very real and who will be there to support an independent KRI is also in question. There are many pieces at play. This involves a century of history, territory and tribalism all in an area that cannot afford another conflict.
So, will the referendum take place even though Iraq's Supreme Court on Monday ordered the suspension of the referendum? If it does, what will be the outcome? Can America not support a group of people using democracy to determine its own fate? Are the costs of preventing this referendum worth it in the long run? How will the referendum affect politics in the Middle East and globally?
Missouri State University’s Dr. David Romano, an expert in Middle Eastern politics, particularly the Kurdish region, is available to provide his insights on this complex and developing issue. He has been contributing to international discussion on this topic in his weekly column on Rudaw. Romano spent six months last year in Iraqi Kurdistan, behind the lines near Mosul. He believes the time is right for Kurdish independence. It’s also relevant to American interests due to the oil market and the international political landscape. Click on his icon to arrange an interview.