Monday, July 11, 2016

‘Divorce inevitable if Kurdistan deprived from constitutional rights’

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – If Baghdad fails to provide what constitutionally belongs to the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), then separation is inevitable, said a Middle Eastern expert.
Recently, Kurdistan24 interviewed Dr. Sasha Toperich, Director of the Mediterranean Basin Initiative at the Center for Transatlantic Relations, at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC.
[Dr. Sasha Toperich during an interview with Kurdistan24 in the beginning of 2016. (Photo: Kurdistan24)]
In the interview, Toperich discussed the current situation in Iraq and stated that it is obvious that the country needs to reinvent itself.
“We should all be looking beyond [the Islamic State (IS)]. Iraq will have to be a significantly decentralized country,” he stated.
“It will have to be much more inclusive and will have to break this strong chain of controlling political pockets of power that are preventing it,” Toperich added.
He also mentioned that revenue shares would have to be fair and flawless for all, without blackmail.
According to Toperich, if Baghdad fails, yet again, to provide the Kurdistan Region with what constitutionally belongs to the KRG, then divorce is inevitable.
He also noted that he sees the independence referendum planned for the end of 2016 as a very important political statement from the people of Kurdistan.
Toperich revealed that SAIS aims to hold a conference in support of economic growth in Iraq, particularly in the Kurdistan Region.
The conference will be hosted in partnership with the KRG office in Washington, DC on Oct. 24. The event will focus on the US investment in agriculture, electricity, and energy.
“It is important to promote Kurdistan, and your office in Washington, DC is working very hard on all fronts to energize further support from the US,” Toperich said.
“With the October conference, we want to facilitate concrete business contacts that we will identify, together with the KRG, who are already interested in projects available in your Region, in particular, those who can diversify your economy,” he added.
The purpose of the conference is to support the KRG’s endeavors to revive the economy.
“We want to help KRG in their reform agenda, in spreading good news which is available to the American audience, and to help attract more businesses to come and invest in Kurdistan,” Toperich stated.
[Dr. Sasha Toperich in one of the panels hosted in Washington, DC on the Kurdistan Region. (Photo: Kurdistan24/Rahim Rashidi)]
The Director praised the KRG leadership for not getting involved in the sectarian conflict in Iraq.
Additionally, he believes that the world notices that Kurdistan has strengthened the pillars of growing democracy by opening its doors to all refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs).
“You have realized that reforms are needed, and you are embracing them. I think Kurdistan should remain open for business and partnerships with all good will and good intended nations,” he declared.
“Safeguarding Kurdistan and building prosperity for its citizens should remain a priority,” Toperich concluded.

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany
(Rahim Rashidi conducted the interview in Washington, DC)

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