Neither violence nor silence - By Baqi Barzani

We can not and should by no means continue to remain indifferent to the affairs and developments that affect molding our fate. We should not allow others to make decision on our behalf, as well. We should not resort to violence, nor can we afford to remain silent. Things should not be ceded to the hands of destiny. We should not capitulate to every demand inflicted upon us from the US administration just because they partnered with us in liberating Iraq. While we should constantly remain grateful and should continue to strengthen our economic, political and military ties with all Kurdish allies, we should retain our independence, especially in our internal affairs.

For 7 years, we set aside our worries in the hands of US administration because we did not wish to interrupt with their mission in Iraq. We desired Iraq to be permanently stabilized before we can start pressing for our rights. Our American counterparts were abreast at the very inception about each and every one of our demands, and we did reiterate them time and again to stress their critical weight. We tolerated and presumed that they will bear in mind our concerns, and ultimately support us achieve our goals. Likewise, for years we prayed for their success and did not refuse anything feasible in our power to uphold them. We hinged on their trust so much, and overestimated their partnership. We obeyed their behests and pushed for their agendas in Bagdad, while overlooking ours. We remained in anticipation, but in stead, they betrayed us and ignored our pleas. They will soon draw down their troops out of Iraq, and ostensibly, they will soon let us down again.

We lost a number of opportunities and sacrificed many key issues because of our comradeship. Many political and historical experts argue the fact that Kurds could have gotten the maximum out of this never-to-repeat historical chance. Most analysts concur if the Kurds can not gain something now, they will never be able to do so in future. We have not been able to achieve the minimum yet.  What we claim to have gained, and dub it freedom, we could have gained even more in 1975, 1991, and 2003, if we were not ill-advised.   

They made decisions on our behalf and when they were not in a position to directly intervene, they manipulated our leadership through consultation. Most of our security, political and national advisors are non-Kurds. It proves the degree of trust, role and scope of US influence in our government affairs. Nonetheless, this reality should not be viewed as a new phenomenon in the history of Kurdistan and Iraqi.

Nothing has been accomplished, and if the status quo persists, nothing is due to be accomplished either, especially as regards Kirkuk and the disputed areas.

Who is to reprimand?  We turned to our leaders. The vast majority of power rests upon our leaders. They represent our voices. Had they expressed some sort of opposition or reluctance, things would have ended much in our favor. They could have persuaded the US administration to some extent. In stead, they adopted every instruction and carried them out without hesitation or any stipulation.

Leadership comes in tandem with responsibility. Someday, our leaders will be asked to account for their shortcomings. The ensuing Kurdish generations will pose questions and expect some real, convincing answers. They will ask why our leaders did nothing to reclaim Kirkuk back, and why did not they declare independence for our masses when the world was of the same opinion that we were capable of performing it.

Left on our own again, Kurdish political parties should act in sync to work for a cohesive goal. In stead of attempting to conspire against one another, they should seek a joint effective strategy, and push for the implementation of Article 140 and our secession rights.  If no affirmative outcomes, the best alternative would then be resorting to "civil disobedience" catalyst, as proposed by some friends in Kurdish National Congress (KNC).

If the Kurdish elected parties take no action,

We, the citizens of Kurdistan are liable to take affairs in our hands. The citizens of Kirkuk should rise up, stage protest rallies and voice their objections. They should make their voices heard loud. Whether the US administration is going to approve of or disapprove of their act, whether Kurdish political parties are going to like it or dislike it, it should not matter. When the people stand up for their respective rights in unison, there is not much that can be done to curb them.

Some critics may disagree with my view suggesting that Kurdistan will not survive devoid of foreign backing for a split second. Kurdistan is under siege by a set of hostile, formidable regimes that are tarrying for their chance to ruin Kurdish Regional Government if it is not due to the US presence in the region. Kurdish government officials argue that they have been untiringly pursuing the Kirkuk case, and it should be coped with meekly and constitutionally. Some prefer the status quo more than something vague. Some may view this article biased, radical and scathing to American-Kurdish ties.

In 2003, the Kurdish Peshmarga forces had gained control of the entire Kirkuk and its surrounding regions, but they were warned to abandon it. Kirkuk could have been incorporated into KRG back then. Kurds could have maintained the security state of Kirkuk, salvaged it from terrorism and insurgency, and transformed it into an economic boom. There was a calculated scheme to keep it out of Kurdish reach. Neighboring states are trilled to perceive the US forces pull out. Arab leaders would like to postpone the execution of referendum and a final determination on the status of Kirkuk. Kurdish representatives have not been able to obtain the endorsement of their Arab coalition partner to put the first phase of the constitutional agreement into action after seven years. What can be anticipated now?  With the velocity of ongoing process, presumably, it will prolong another decade before an ultimatum can be sought. The Kurds kept their pledges. Now it is time for the US to honor its p
art of commitment before departing.

In the interim, this article is not purported in any form to flay my government. Rather, it aims to divulge governments that are behind my government.

To encapsulate, the obligation to resuscitate the existence of Kikruk rests on the general public. It is the people constituting parties and governments, not vice versa. We will soon lose our hegemony in Kirkuk and the disputed regions. Something must be done, and it should be done promptly and if deemed necessary, unilaterally. And no body is able to do it, but the Kurdish citizens of Kirkuk.


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August 15, 2010
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