Kurdish leadership to set independence vote despite criticism from Baghdad
Kurdish president Massoud Barzani called on MPs Thursday to set a date for the autonomous region's independence vote despite Iraqi leadership's discouragement earlier this week, according to Al Arabiya News.
President Barzani allegedly called on the Kurdish Regional Government "to form an independent electoral commission to carry out a referendum in the Kurdistan region and determine the way forward."
However, Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki said that such a move would be "unconstitutional" earlier this week, adding that Kurdistan is still very much a part of Iraq.
Barzani has been very public and open with his criticism against Maliki in the past weeks, describing the current crisis in Iraq as the handiwork of Maliki.
“We warned Maliki six months ago about what's happening but he did not listen and these are the consequences. What we see today on the ground is due to the failure of Maliki's policy in Iraq,” Barzani allegedly told Kurdish lawmakers.
Barzani also added that Kurdistan's Peshmerga forces would maintain their presence in the disputed areas of Kirkuk, Nineveh and Diyalah that have fallen outside the control of Baghdad over the past month.