the Causes behind appointment of Kurdistan Regions Separation Referendum

Document Type : Original Article




Extended Abstract
The Middle East is the ocean of crisis which there is many conflicts in everyday news about conflict among different sects, ethnics and tribes. Regarding to this fact, numerous analysts consider West Asia as the region of “Fault lines”. One of the deepest and the most controversial “Fault Lines” is “Kurdish Divergence and Separatism” which recently (Last year) resulted in holding a referendum; A referendum in which as KRG claims, up to 90% voted for “Independence”. This event concerned Iran, Turkey and Iraq because the governments felt a big threat from Kurdish separatism. Besides, some other actors such as the U.S and Israel considered the referendum, related to their interest and played role in it. Eventually despite Masoud Barezani and so many other separatists, the referendum did not culminate in a “Prosperous and independent Kurdistan”; the result of the referendum was nothing more than Frustration of separatists. In this article we are intended to scrutinize the causes of this frustration by answering this question: “Why did separation referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan face with a defeat?”
To answer the question, we relied on the sources among books, articles, media and think-tank reports. Based on the studies we have done, we firstly described the roots of the referendum and in the next step we analyzed the causes of the frustration. By using media reports we made a content analysis. So in sum, the method which has been used in this article is descriptive-analytic.
To understand the causes of the referendum frustration, we utilized “Motivational Realism” and analyzed that political (not actual) Turkish government opposition, “Passive policy” of the U.S and “serious disagreement” of Iran and Iraq, stopped Barezani led project for an “Independent Kurdistan”. In other word, when Barezani was planning for referendum, he thought the U.S for standing against Iran’s influence, will support the move because Iraqi government was supposed to be on the Iran’s hand. According to KRG leaders’ evaluation, it was supposed Turkey government, as a result of flourished economic ties between Erbil and Ankara, will turn a blind eye to the referendum or even maybe support that. Regarding to Iran, KRG thought Iran will not have ability nor interest to dismiss the referendum because, Masoud Barezani repeatedly stated “an Independent Kurdistan will not threat neighboring countries integrity; in contrast it can help Iranian and Turkish government to solve their problem with their Kurds minorities”. And last but not the least, regarding to Iraqi government, Erbil officials was wrongly thinking that Baghdad which had received big blow from terrorism will not be able to confront with the Referendum and its outcomes.
All these calculations were False. Regardless of passive policy which was taken by some Kurdish groups within KRG such as Gorran, the U.S administration insisted that “it is not a good time for holding referendum”. It means Washington was not considering Baghdad as “Iran’s Puppet State” so did not want it to be decompositioned. Ankara, in contrast of Kurdish separatist leaders’ calculations, at the political level, strongly opposed the referendum although never implemented its threats about cutting oil import or closing borders. Tehran, in such context, did not step straightly but after Baghdad’s request, did close the border and cut oil import. Obviously, I.R.I in political level strongly opposed the referendum and didn’t recognize its results. And Baghdad was not weak enough to give up; Hashd al-Shaabi, made Iraqi government strong enough to take military action against some Peshmerga positions, after political warnings. In such a context, Israel hidden and obvious supports from separatist Kurdish movement in Iraq would not be effective. So as the world saw, after holding referendum, nothing but frustration happened in KRG. 
What happened for Iraqi Kurdistan after the separate referendum showed KRG officials miscalculate regarding to other actors’ reaction to hold referendum. The only actor strongly supported the move was Tel- Aviv. Washington emphasized “it is not right time for holding referendum”. Ankara although did not act economically but politically, opposed referendum. Baghdad by PMF and Iran’s supports could take some limited military action and liberate some really important areas such as Kirkuk. After these failures, Separatists in KRG figured out that they cannot put the results of the referendum into the effect. That’s why separatist referendum in KRG resulted in frustration.


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