Newscast Media BAGHDAD—US Secretary of State John Kerry has again emphasized
the need for an inclusive government as he met Iraqi Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani.
The UN, meanwhile, says over a thousand people have been killed in Iraq in June.
During his second unannounced visit to Iraq, where he met Iraq’s Kurdish leader
Massoud Barazani in the regional capital Irbil, Kerry said “this a very critical time for
Iraq and the government formation challenge is the central challenge that we face.”
His visit in Irbil comes after Kerry met Iraq’s prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, for
closed-door talks in Baghdad on Monday.
Kerry reiterated Washington’s demand to “produce the broad-based, inclusive
government that all the Iraqis I have talked to are demanding.” The US hopes that a
power-sharing government will contain, if not end, sectarian strife in the country.
Barzani told Kerry that Kurds are seeking “a solution for the crisis that we have
witnessed”, but warned that it had created a “new reality and a new Iraq.”
Iraqi Kurdish forces, known as peshmerga, have been the only forces that have
managed to defend their territory against fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and
Syria (ISIS) group, a Sunni insurgency that has overtaken several key areas in Iraq’s
west and north.
Kerry acknowledged on Tuesday that they had been “really critical” in helping restrain
Barzani has repeatedly blamed al-Maliki, who is a Shiite, for the current wave of
violence in the country. Speaking to broadcaster CNN before Tuesday’s talks, Barzani
called for al-Maliki to step down.
Pressed on whether Iraqi Kurds would seek independence, Barzani said that “the time
is here for the Kurdistan people to determine their future and the decision of the
people is what we are going to uphold.”
Kurds make up 20 percent of Iraq’s population and are, therefore, crucial for any
political solution. The Kurdish north is home to several vast oil fields that have led to
relative prosperity and economic stability in the region.
Source: Deutsche Welle
Newscast Media DAMASCUS, Syria—While backers of a war against Syria continue to arm the rebels in a bid to overthrow President Bashar Assad, Turkey has fears of its own that are justified. Turkey has accommodated the West during this crisis, something that hasn’t amused its Arab neighbors. The tide could now turn against Turkey, if the Kurds have their own uprising and seek an independent superstate called United Kurdistan or Kurdistan People’s Republic.
Turkey understands this reality, and even Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has already made a trip to Iraq, in order to discuss future Turkish policy towards Syria and the Kurdish people. Wednesday’s visit did not sit well with Baghdad, and according to Haaretz, Iraq’s foreign ministry accused Turkey of violating its
constitution with the visit, saying that Davutoglu had neither asked for nor obtained permission to enter Kirkuk.
According to Turkish media reports, a Syrian Kurdish group linked to the separatist PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party) had taken control of several Kurdish areas in Syria. The reports enflamed Turkish fears that if Syrian Kurds were to gain autonomy, as their brethren did in northern Iraq, it would spark calls for greater autonomy among Turkey’s roughly 14 million Kurds.
France 24 reported that the worries of a Kurdish uprising are so severe, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime of “allotting five provinces to the Kurds, an obvious reference to the Democratic Union Party (PYD). The PYD organization is considered to be a Syrian wing of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and now has control over the 6 Kurdish regions bordering Turkey.
“It’s a very interesting time,” said Hugh Pope of the Brussels-based International Crisis Group in a phone interview with FRANCE 24. “I think Syria’s Kurds could definitely hope for a better deal.”
Referring to allegations that Syrian troops had ceded control to the PYD, Pope said it was “possible that it was a negotiated settlement,” in this recent news report published by France 24.
The leader of Turkey’s main opposition party Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who heads the Republican People’s Party (CHP), said the “sovereign powers of the West are preparing the ground to get Turkey to enter into Syria for an armed conflict.”
Turkey believes, since an Arab spring was possible, a Kurdish one could also occur.
“Unlike with Iraq, attacks in Syria can very likely draw Turkey into a prolonged military confrontation with the Assad regime, which has a formidable military and the political will to respond,” says Hayat Alvi, lecturer in Middle Eastern politics at the US Naval War College.