Iraq’s Kurdish president resigns
by Onize Ohikere
Posted 10/30/17, 11:13 am
Iraqi Kurdish President Masoud Barzani on Sunday said he would resign following an independence referendum last month that triggered a crisis between the autonomous region and Iraq. Barzani did not name a successor but asked the Kurdistan Parliament to distribute his presidential powers among the Kurdish prime minister, the Parliament, and the judiciary. Barzani’s senior assistant, Hemin Hawrami, said the leader “will stay in Kurdish politics and lead the high political council.” Barzani accused Iraq of using the referendum as an excuse to attack the Kurds and criticized the lack of global support. “Without the peshmerga, the Iraqi army would never have been able to liberate the city of Mosul,” he said, referring to Kurdish fighters. “We thought that the international community would reward the peshmerga and the people of Kurdistan in return.” Several countries, including the United States and Turkey, cautioned the region against going ahead with referendum. The vote triggered military and economic backlash from Iraq. The Kurds lost much of their disputed territory, including the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, to Iraqi forces. The government also imposed international flight bans over the region. Barzani had served as the region’s president since 2005. After two four-year terms, he received a two-year extension in 2013 as the Islamic State (ISIS) insurgency continued, and he remained in power since then.
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Onize is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Abuja, Nigeria.