In a recent article in Kurdish, Mustafa Hijri, the leader of PDKI, presents his analysis of the fall of Kirkuk and its ramifications.
The PDKI leader challenges the argument that the independence referendum in southern (Iraqi) Kurdistan was the cause of the fall of Kirkuk.
Instead, he argues that a conflict between Iraq and southern Kurdistan over the so-called disputed territories was to be expected, especially in view of Iran’s hostility toward the Kurds and its increased influence in Iraq following the emergence of the militias known as “Hashd al-Shabi” – the most powerful of which answer to the Iranian regime.
Two years earlier, Mr. Hijri had predicted a conflict over Kirkuk, writing: “Once Daesh is defeated, a war between the Peshmerga Forces and the militias of Iran in Iraq is likely. This is likely to start in Kirkuk and other strategically important places.”
What the independence referendum did, Mr. Hijri writes, was to provide a pretext for the enemies of the Kurdish nation to come together and conspire to end Kurdish rule in Kirkuk.
Mr. Hijri also highlights divisions among Kurdish political parties as another reason for the defeat in Kirkuk.
Peshmerga demonstrated in the battles after the fall of Kirkuk that they can defend Kurdistan against an attack by Iran’s militias in Iraq.
Mr. Hijri therefore calls for Kurdish unity and coordination to counter the Iranian regime’s schemes against the Kurdish nation.
The fall of Kirkuk, he writes, is not the end of the road. The Kurdish people and the Kurdish national liberation movement have experienced similar setbacks in the past, he reminds, but the Kurdish nation will rise again and continue the struggle for sovereignty over its homeland.