The Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government’s (KRG) President Masoud Barzani announced on June 7 that a referendum will be held in Iraqi Kurdistan on Sept. 25 this year. It will be a non-binding referendum — meaning that the proclamation of independence will be left to the discretion of the Kurdish leaders even if the outcome of the referendum is in favor of independence. An independent Kurdistan has always been an aspiration of many Kurds, be they in Iraq, Iran, Turkey or Syria. Barzani played his cards as cautiously as possible by not going too fast. This caution may be due to several reasons: The subsidies that he was receiving from Baghdad, being worried of solation in the international arena, advantages of holding various offices in Baghdad, etc. He kept saying that Kurds have their right to independence and that they will use it when the time comes.
The US invasion of Iraq in 2002 and Nuri Al-Maliki’s becoming prime minister contributed to preparations on the ground for Kurds to advance their claim to independence. Al-Maliki’s sectarian and divisive policy ushered in uncertainty and instability in Iraq. This gave the Kurds a pretext that the country has become ungovernable and that they want to govern themselves.
When Al-Maliki started to withhold the 17 percent national oil revenues that had to go to the KRG, Barzani decided to export northern Iraqi oil to Turkey through a questionable arrangement.
Full Article: An uncertain referendum for Iraqi Kurdistan | Arab News.