The prime minister of the regional government of Iraqi Kurdistan has said that he is planning to discuss the independence of the autonomous area immediately after liberating Mosul from Daesh, Safa news agency reported on Friday. In an interview with the German newspaper Bild, Nechervan Barzani said that the situation has been ripe for this for a long time. "Currently, though, our concentration is on the battle against Daesh."
Immediately after the liberation of Mosul, he added, the Kurds will meet with their "partners" in Baghdad to discuss independence. "We have waited for a long time and thought that, after 2003, there would be a new start for a democratic Iraq, but this did not happen." Barzani pointed out that the people of his region "are not Arabs" and called for the international community to keep this in mind.
The region in question has been autonomous since 1991, but has had many political, economic and military differences with Baghdad. Nevertheless, in February this year the regional President, Masoud Barzani — Nechervan Barzani's cousin — called for a referendum on having a Kurdish state in the north of Iraq. This escalated the tension with the federal government in Baghdad. "This is the only way for the Kurds in the region to protect themselves, redeem themselves from the tragedies and disasters and to achieve development," insisted President Barzani in August.