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Iraqi Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani to step down

Iraqi Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani to step down”

As the Iraqi Kurdish independence project has now resulted in failure, it will be interesting to see how this impacts developments in Syrian Kurdish areas across the Iraqi and Turkish borders - no doubt the example of Iraq has now provided further incentive for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF, whose core component is the Kurdish YPG) to go to the negotiating table with Syria and Russian Federation, in the hope of retaining some kind of autonomous or federalized union with Damascus, as opposed to all-out war, which would result in being squeezed by Turkey from the north and Damascus from the south.

Kurdish parties in opposition to Mr. Barzani reported attacks on their offices in several cities and towns through the semi-autonomous area of Iraq presently controlled by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

Iraqi Kurdish President Massoud Barzani is to step down, just weeks after a referendum on Kurdish independence that he orchestrated backfired.

The Puk, which has been the main rival of Mr Barzani's Kurdish Democratic Party, KDP, for decades, supported the president's decision to hold the independence referendum on September 25.

The move prompted speculation on whether it was Barzani's exit from politics but his senior assistant, Hemin Hawrami, told The Associated Press on Sunday that Barzani "will stay in Kurdish politics and lead the high political council", though as of November 1, he will no longer be president of the region.

According to the statement, the U.S. will actively engage with the Iraqi PM Haider al-Abadi and the KRG PM Nechirvan Barzani and his deputy Qubad Talabani, stating that "a strong KRG within a unified and federal Iraq is essential to its long-term stability".

Baqeri warned that if the Kurdish autonomous region seceded from Iraq "there would be bloodshed in Iraq and neighboring countries would be affected".

Mr Al Abadi wants to take control of the border crossings between Iraq's Kurdish region and Turkey, Iran and Syria, including one through which an oil export pipeline crosses into Turkey. Multiple global reports characterized Barzani's speech as "bitter" and it further appears that violence erupted during or after his televised speech before parliament.

The Baghdad-based Communication and Media Commission accused the two networks of "inciting violence and hatred". The PUK supported the vote half-heartedly.

Mr. Barzani, himself a former guerrilla leader, has run the KRG since 2005, presiding with a firm hand as the region prospered while the rest of Iraq struggled in civil war.



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