The President of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan Region, Masoud Barzani, accused certain parties among the Kurds on Tuesday of paving the way ahead of Iraqi government forces taking control of the oil-rich city of Kirkuk. The Iraqi army went into the city on Monday as the Kurdish leader claimed that his political rivals had ordered the withdrawal of the Peshmerga forces from the city, which the Kurds have held since 2014.
“Some people from a certain political party had unilaterally paved the way for such an attack,” said Barzani in a media statement, his first since the Iraqi forces took control of Kirkuk. The Kurds, he pointed out, had been exposed to several forms of “genocide” and “atrocities” throughout their history. “Despite this, the people of Kurdistan have always been against waging wars and have worked in the pursuit of peace.”
Barzani reassured the people of Kurdistan that all of the resources of the Kurdistan Region will be allocated for its security and stability. He also called upon the political entities in the region to work towards unity. This, he insisted, must include all of the media outlets working responsibly during these “arduous” times.
“Those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for Kurdistan have not been lost in vain,” the President concluded, “and the same shall be true for those who voted for an independent Kurdistan.”
On 25 September, the Kurds in the autonomous region voted for independence from Baghdad. The Iraqi governed declared the referendum to be “unconstitutional.”