Despite many efforts to stop or postpone it, the Iraqi Kurdistan referendum has become a fait accompli and must be taken into account in shaping future developments, and Iraqi Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani (also known as “Kak Masoud” — “Brother Masoud” in Kurdish), the man who orchestrated the exercise, must be as pleased as Punch.
In contemplating the future, it is important to know exactly what we are talking about. Supporters of the referendum have pinned their flag to two concepts: independence and self-determination.
They say Iraqi Kurds want independence. However, like all other Iraqis, Iraqi Kurds already live in a country that is recognized as independent and a full-member of the United Nations.
The concept of the quest for independence applies to lands that are part of a foreign empire or turned into “possession” of a colonial power. Legally speaking, at least since 1932, that has not been the case in Iraq. If Iraq isn’t independent, then we must assume that Kak Masoud, rather than being a prominent leader contributing to the development of Iraq’s new but fragile democratic process, is a satrap for an unknown empire or an agent for a mysterious colonial power. But Kak Masoud isn’t a satrap precisely because his country, Iraq, is independent.
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