ERBIL – The US government keeps supporting a united Iraq, a US state department spokesperson said.
Masoud Barzani, the president of the Kurdistan region in northern Iraq previously said in an interview that after the scheduled referendum in October this year, his region is certainly going for independence. Moreover, Barzani said that he hopes the United States will support it, in spite of opposing it in the past.
“Nobody can play a big role like the role the US can play, if they want to play that role. US security guarantees are vital for the viability of the Kurds, and we will be grateful if they don’t oppose our independence,” Barzani told Al Monitor in an interview published on 22 March.
However, the US State Department said they are against it.
“Again, we support Kurdish region as a part of Iraq. We supported its efforts, certainly considerable efforts, to fight Daesh and ISIL and remove it and drive it out of Iraq,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner said on Thursday. “I just don’t have anything to say. I’m not going to talk about a political process that we still haven’t seen or a referendum that we still haven’t – hasn’t materialized,” he added.
US analysts say the statement is nothing new and it doesn’t indicate any change in the ‘one Iraq policy’ of the US.
“Sounds like they are just being consistent with what they’re always said,” Michael Knights, a fellow at the Washington Institute, told ARA News. “If they said something different it’d be surprising but they just stick to their line,” he added.
Speaking to ARA News, Turkey’s former Erbil consul Aydin Selcen said that the move of Barzani towards an independence referendum is related to the presidential elections in the United States scheduled for 8 November this year.
“There is a difference between supporting, ignoring, tacitly or openly approving. Obviously President Barzani times it in view of the November US presidential elections on October,” Selcen said. “The US needs to consider that timeline and observe battlefield priorities against ISIS regarding Syria and Iraq. Also one must take into consideration that going ahead with the referendum is one thing but managing to implement the result is another story,” he added.
“In brief, I believe US-led international community is in the course of re-instating the Syrian-Iraq boundary deleted by ISIS and that is the priority,” he stated.
Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg
Source: ARA News
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