In a letter to the people of Iraq on Tuesday, Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani denounced accusations by Baghdad against the Kurds and their alleged role in the current turmoil.
“Some people today are inciting anti-Kurdish voices under different pretexts,” said Barzani. “They have launched a deceitful campaign against the Kurds and they are using state money for this kind of propaganda.”
In recent weeks several Iraqi leaders, mainly from the State of Law coalition of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his Dawa Party, have appeared on Iraqi media and accused the Kurds of “being part of a plot to divide Iraq.”
Barzani said that Maliki himself, and his bid for a third term, is the likely cause of Iraq’s undoing.
“If Maliki insists on a third term, then Iraq will be driven towards a precipice and no one can predict what will happen,” he said. “And no decision will bring the country back to its previous state.”
The Kurdish president said that the Iraqi premier has violated the constitution in many ways and on many occasions.
“Abiding by the constitution is the only guarantee of Iraq’s integrity,” Barzani said. “The one who violates the constitution should blame himself,” he added. “All these years, we have only been asking for the implementation of the constitution.”
Kurdish leaders have long accused Maliki and his government of ignoring the constitution, particularly articles on an oil and gas law, “disputed territories” that are now under Kurdish control and Erbil’s share of the national budget.
At the end of his message, Barzani said the Kurds maintain the right to hold a referendum on self-determination.
“The Kurdish people will not relinquish their right to a referendum and they will make their decision,” he said.
Last week, Barzani asked the Kurdish parliament to set a date for a referendum on independence, as Iraq slides closer toward a full civil war under a jihadi-led insurgency, getting the ball rolling on Kurdish independence and the break-up of Iraq.