Analysis: Will the disputes between Baghdad and Erbil lead to Kurdistan's separation?

12/04/2012 12:02AMSTERDAM, April 12 (AKnews) - Thinkers and intellectuals agree that the present time is critical in the relationship between the federal government in Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) amid the historic changes taking place in the region imposed by the Arab spring revolutions.

Head of the Kurdistan Region Massoud Barzani criticized Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on the eve of Nawroz last month, saying: "It's time that we say enough, because Iraq is moving towards the abyss and a few are about to drag Iraq to dictatorship."

Barzani called on all political party leaders to "rectify the situation and meet as soon as possible to develop mechanisms and to accelerate solving this situation in a very short period, otherwise, we'll resort to our people, who will make the final decision in order not to blame us anymore". This was an apparent reference to Kurdistan's separation from Iraq.

With the emergence of new, escalating disputes between Erbil and Baghdad after the issuance of an arrest warrant against the Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi and arguments over the management of oil wealth in the country, analysts describe the event as a "passing phase". They assure that the relationship between Baghdad and Erbil will remain close despite the tension between the two sides.

Writer Basira al-Dawoud, who is also a professor in contemporary political and civilized history at Saudi Arabia's Princess Noura Abdul Rahman University, said: "The evolution from differences to disputes and therefore to a complete separation from the region will not be possible in the near future [due to] several political and strategic problems related to the neighboring countries of Iraq."

Kuwaiti writer Jacob Ahmed al-Sharrah found in the political analysis on the relationship between Kurdistan and Baghdad a number of indicators which confirm that the continuing tension will not be in Iraq's favor. This is especially because of problems that became difficult to be resolved because of the tense security situation, the control of religious and sectarian aspects, the continued political differences between these communities and continuous foreign interference in Iraqi affairs.

Iraqi researcher and academic Qasim Hussein Saleh meanwhile believes that the establishment of a Kurdish state in the future is inevitable.

"The Kurdistan Region of Iraq will make the Kurdish dream true on behalf of Kurdistan, Iran and Turkey, as it gained experience and elements of a state that needs nothing else but to proclaim itself.

"The psychology of the Iraqi government and chauvinistic Arab regimes consider the separation of Iraq's Kurdistan as separating lungs from the human body. They resorted to psychological mobilization against the Kurds, showing them as if they were born disobedient.

"If we exclude the official authorities, the two peoples, the Arabs and Kurds, believe that it's better for the two peoples to live in a prosperous Iraq under a citizenship country, such as America and Canada, to avoid many risks and concerns.

"Some of the Arabs believe that the establishment of a Kurdish state would serve the interests of other countries interested in the division of Iraq, and some of the Kurds believe that the declaration of their state may make them a victim of international interests under a new treaty similar to the Treaty of Lausanne.

"In addition to that, Iran and Turkey would expel the wayward Kurds from northern and eastern Kurdistan to their state in southern Kurdistan, particularly since the major countries are now planning to implement fundamental changes in the Middle East."

Saleh called for paying attention to the belief that "no major Iraqi political decision should be taken during a crisis".

By Adnan Abu Zaid