according to the 6th Congress of the party
Dr. Kawa Mahmoud (The Secretary of the CC of Kurdistan CP – Iraq)
The legitimacy of the referendum
The legitimacy of the referendum lies in international charters that endorse the right of peoples to determine their own political destiny, in addition to the text of the Iraqi Constitution which affirms that "adherence to this Constitution preserves Iraq's free union as people, land and sovereignty." In practice, it is clear that there is non-compliance with the Constitution by the centres of power in the Iraqi central government more than 12 years after the adoption of the Constitution.
The reality presents us with the impossibility of implementing the basic articles and items contained in Iraq’s constitution of 2005, which pertain to the structure and administration of the state. These articles of the Constitution refer to the full guarantee of the rights of all individuals to freedom of religion and religious practice, such as Christians, Yezidis and Mandaeans. In practice, the result was the emigration of Christians from southern and central Iraq, and the Sabean Mandaeans left their historic areas. There was a campaign of genocide against Christians and Yezidis in Shangal and Nineveh. On the other hand, Article 4 of the Constitution has not been implemented. It refers to the use of languages, whether in issuing the official gazette in both languages, speaking, addressing and expression in official arenas, such as the Parliament, the Council of Ministers, the courts and official conferences.
Article 7 of the Constitution also prohibits any entity or approach that espouses racism, terrorism, religious extremism or sectarian cleansing, instigates, glorifies, promotes or justifies it, whereas in practice we see the promotion of sectarianism and its practice in political life. The constitution also prohibits the formation of military militias outside the armed forces, while sectarian militias have played an effective role in ongoing conflicts, and some have been legitimized by law.
Although the constitution recognizes the Peshmerga as part of the military defence system in Iraq, the government has not fulfilled its constitutional obligations in this area. In addition, the Iraqi Parliament has not yet initiated the law of oil and gas in Iraq in accordance with constitutional obligations.
On the other hand, Article 65 of the Constitution, which calls for the establishment of the Council of the Federation, has not been implemented as a legislative council that includes representatives of regions and provinces that are not set up as a region. The Constitution also referred in Article 106 to the establishment of a public body of experts from the federal government, regions and provinces, and representatives to monitor the allocation of federal revenues, to verify the equitable distribution of grants, aid and international loans, and to verify the optimal use and sharing of federal financial resources. Article 140 of the Constitution, which the central government does not want to implement, relates to an important and sensitive issue concerning the areas that are disputed between the Kurdistan Region and the Central Government. This article was supposed to be completed in all its steps in accordance with the requirements of Article 58 of the Iraqi State Administrative Law for the transitional period. These include the stages of normalization, conducting a census, and ending with a referendum in Kirkuk and other disputed areas, to determine the will of their citizens.
All the above-mentioned constitutional articles, in addition to the second article regarding the basis of the Constitution and the contradictions it has caused in practice, as well as issues related to the regulation of foreign relations and other points, all indicate that these constitutional articles, which 12 years have passed without being implemented, will not be implemented. It confirms that the solutions included in these articles, as part of opting for federalism to address the problem of the state in Iraq, are solutions that are impractical and unworkable, in addition to the loss of political will to implement them.
Methodology of the position of the party on the right to self-determination
The methodological issues adopted by the Kurdistan Communist Party in its position on the right to self-determination and expressing it in a referendum are:
First: that the national question and the national demands are a historical phenomenon that has its own process, and therefore has its beginnings and twisted paths that determine in one way or another their horizons and development.
Second: that the national question as a historical phenomenon in a multi-ethnic country is linked to reality with all its contradictions and conflicts.
Third: the concrete solution of the national question is affected by the daily lives of individuals. In general, prevailing economic and social conditions have negative or positive effects on the tendencies that influence the choice of concrete solutions.
Fourth: The slogan of forming a state does not rely on voluntarism or self-interest in choosing this slogan that relates to the fate of millions of people. The historical extension of the national question and its current evolution require us to propose solutions that take into account the art of the possible and the balance of forces, and to examine the internal, regional and international balances.
Conclusions that can be referred to through the methodology:
1- The culture of the prevailing nation and those who have an interest within the oppressed nation, as well as those who feel concerned about the choice of political separation, always openly promotee the option of remaining within the state and non-separation on the grounds that the principle of separation is not realistic, that the people who want the option of separation are not able to manage their new state. Or that the international situation is not favourable for separation. In fact they conceal an inferior view towards the people and the nation that seeks the option of separation.
2- Rationality and understanding of the balance of forces do not mean that the oppressed nation, the Kurdistani people, is made to bear the repercussions of the situation that the country has been led to because of the chauvinistic policies of successive regimes and the historical problematic structure and nature of the Iraqi state. Therefore, the Kurdistani side, as it analyzes the regional and international balances, must not expect the right of self-determination and the formation of the national state would be presented on a silver platter by the international community or the dominant powers at the international level. This task is entrusted to a political decision of the people of Kurdistan, backed by their previous sacrifices and based on the willingness to give in order to achieve this national project.
3- Achieving democracy in Iraq is an important factor in developing a mechanism for recognizing the right of the other in exercising the right of self-determination within peaceful civil democratic options. This does not mean that the realization of the right of self-determination for the people of Kurdistan is linked in a mechanical way to the democratization of Iraq, i.e. the Kurdistan people would not exercise this right and awaits or deals with the achievement of democracy for Iraq as one of the requirements of the right to self-determination.
The nature of the state and who decides the right to self-determination
1- Our choice is to establish an independent national state based on the principle of Kurdistani citizenship within the historical boundaries of the Kurdistan region of Iraq. A state that will be for the Kurdistanis regardless of their national affiliations of Kurds, Turkmen, Arabs, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Syriac, as well as constituents of religious character.
2- To avoid the idea of forming a nation state of the four parts of Kurdistan. It is an idea that we are not talking about its legitimacy but about how realistic it is within the concrete conditions. We must avoid what the pan-Arab nationalist thought and religious thought put forward that caused the failure of the experiences of the nation state emerging in the region after the Sykes - Picot Agreement and the distribution of remnants of the Ottoman Empire, by putting emphasis on achieving the state of Arab nation or the state of Islamic nation.
3- The idea of the Kurdistan national state in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq is a political choice. The right to decide this fate through referendum is to be exercised by all the Kurdistanis and not only those who adopt this option. Therefore this right cannot be monopolised by those who adopt the idea alone. It is the people of the Kurdistan Region with all its national components who exercise the right to self-determination with its two contradictory options, i.e. whether by forming a national state or staying within Iraq. This does not exclude promoting the idea of forming the state through political argument and persuading the public to do so.
4- The option of the state does not mean the realization of the concept of social justice in a mechanical manner. The right to self-determination is one of the national tasks that create more favourable conditions for social struggles, defending the interests of the toilers and achieving a society of social justice.
Factors supporting the plan for referendum and the right to self-determination
1- The effective independence of the Kurdistan Region since the 1991 March Uprising.
2- The general foundations of economic independence have been laid, although not completed.
3- The Kurdistani identity has crystallized into a specific national cultural identity.
4- The policy of openness and successes achieved in the external relations of the Kurdistan Region in the regional and international arena.
5-The existence of a state of co-existence among the Kurdistani ethnic and religious components.
6-The inherent defensive ability of the human forces in Kurdistan.
7-The transformations in the area which is experiencing chronic historical problems concerning the structure of the state, in addition to the ongoing conflicts which have taken sectarian and ethnic dimensions.
8- The history of struggle of the Kurdistan liberation movement, and the experiences and sacrifices of the struggle of the Kurdistan people for the attainment of their rights and preserving them.
Challenges to the referendum plan and the right to self-determination, include:
1- The political differences regarding the Presidency of the Kurdistan Region and the problems of the Reginal Government and Parliament, and the difficulty of finding a common formula for their resolution among the Kurdistani political parties, have impacted taking a stance on the issue of the referendum.
2- The negative approach in dealing with international factor by relying on it and thinking that this task will not be achieved without unlimited support and backing of the major powers, especially the US.
3- Using the position of Iraq and the regional countries that are opposed to the referendum plan to argue against it, thus negating the Kurdistani struggle character of exercising the right to self-determination.
4- The negative impact of the economic situation and the fragility of citizens' confidence in the Regional Government as a result of the economic crisis
5- The effects of popular tension as a result of the non-resolution of political problems with regard to the issue of the Kurdistan region’s presidency and the work of regional parliament and government. Also the lack of transparency and the populist political discourse in the media of political parties and their negative impact on citizens.
6- There is a state of legitimate concern among wide sections of the people for fear of the failure of the referendum. Such concern is exacerbated by the psychological war practiced by some of those who have taken a hostile stance toward the referendum as a result of partisan agendas and narrow interests.
7- The prevalence of a kind of the culture of the dominant nation which is promoted by neighbouring countries and their political forces about the inability of Kurdistan to declare an independent state, the possibility of civil war, and considering this state as an emirate of a certain group.
8- The existence of a kind of interests of bureaucratic administrative strata and parasitic groups associated with them since 2003, that see their financial and economic interests in continuing with the Iraqi state.
9- The situation in the Kurdistan areas that are covered by Article 140 [the disputed areas], and not resolving it so far, raises questions about the possibility of participation of citizens in these areas in the referendum process.
10- Challenges arising from countering terrorism.
11- Arguing that Kurdistan cannot be admitted to the United Nations after declaring its independence because of the lack of consensus among the major powers on recognizing it at the present time.
Our Kurdistani national option
• Work to reorganize the Kurdistani side and deal with holding the referendum as a Kurdistani national project.
• Announce a comprehensive national campaign to work for the referendum and its success, and to adopt the option of independence with the participation of all parties in order to mobilize the Kurdistani masses.
• Effectively ensure the rights of Chaldeans, Assyrians,Turkomen and Arabs in Iraqi Kurdistan, towards autonomy, and to ensure their effective participation in power and the administration of the new entity. To reach agreements with the influential political forces of the ethnicities in the regions covered by Article 140 [the disputed areas] that guarantee the rights of these ethnicities and their participation in governance, administration and decision-making to ensure the return of these areas in a democratic manner.
• Seeking to address the political issues related to the Presidency of the Kurdistan Region and the activation of the regional parliament and government.
• Finalising the draft constitution of the Kurdistan region and to vote on it immediately after the declaration of the results of the referendum.
• A constructive economic policy capable of tackling the deficit, providing the necessary revenues to manage the financial and economic situation, moving beyond the rentier economy and achieving political, administrative and financial reform.
• Constructive diplomatic action towards friends and neighbouring countries to gain more support for the referendum.
• Addressing the public opinion and political parties in Iraq and neighbouring countries with a rational discourse stressing the importance of peaceful coexistence and extinguishing the hotbeds of tension as a basis for the foreign policy of Iraqi Kurdistan, especially after the referendum, and emphasising respect for the sovereignty of neighbouring countries.
• Continued participation in international efforts to combat terrorism.
Summary of position
The summary of our position is that the concrete solution for the situation in Iraqi Kurdistan is for the Kurdistani people to exercise the right to self-determination through the referendum in the Kurdistan region and Kurdistan areas outside the region (the disputed areas). This will address the structural crisis of the state in Iraq, promote full political equality between peoples as political entities, develop relations of cooperation and friendship among peoples, ensure equal levels in economic and cultural development of all nationalities, and achieve real equality between them, by deeds not words. The choice of coexistence among the peoples of the region in a variety of state frameworks and within several states, and equality between them, is the alternative to the policy of infighting and conflict under the pretext of preserving the existing entities and the sanctity of the present state.