Kurdish Leader In Iraq Steps Down As Independence Movement Stalls

  • Kurdish Leader In Iraq Steps Down As Independence Movement Stalls

Kurdish Leader In Iraq Steps Down As Independence Movement Stalls

The US also welcomes the recent decision from Iraqi Prime Minister Gaider al-Abadi to begin a new dialogue with the KRG, she noted.

The announcement comes after Iraqi Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani said he would give up his presidency on November 1, after the independence referendum he pushed for backfired and triggered military action by Baghdad.

Yet it is unclear if Sunday was the final curtain for Barzani, an ardent Kurdish nationalist since the age of 16 who took up the mantle of his father, the Kurdish leader Mustafa Barzani, after his death in 1979.

The protesters broke into the assembly and attacked lawmakers and journalists until police subdued them.

The Kurdish region has found itself increasingly isolated after holding a non-binding independence referendum on September 25 that was opposed not just by Baghdad but also Iran, Turkey and the Kurds' Western allies. Within weeks, a backlash from the vote revealed Barzani had miscalculated.

Both Iran and Turkey conducted military exercises along their borders with the Kurdish region in response to the vote. The city was retaken by Iraqi forces earlier this month.

In a rapid advance, Iraqi forces took full control of the oil-rich province of Kirkuk which Kurdish Peshmerga fighters had seized after the Iraqi army fled a major offensive by ISIL in 2014.

Barzani's request, which was approved by the regional parliament late Sunday, was to distribute his presidential powers among the Kurdish prime minister, the Kurdish parliament and the judiciary. He said "a committee is overseeing the redeployment of federal forces to areas taken under the control of the Kurdish region after 2003", the year of the US -led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein. However, as of Wednesday, he will no longer be president of the region.