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Iraq's Kurdish Leader Massoud Barzani Steps Down

Source: VOA

Iraqi Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani has confirmed he will be stepping down, dissolving his position as president of self-ruled northern Kurdish region and distributing his dutuies between the Kurdish prime minister, parliament and the judiciary.

Masoud Barzani's political suicide
artwork by Iranian daily Hamdeli

In a letter to parliament Sunday, Barzani said he will not be seeking re-election, with his term set to expire on November 1.

The parliament had already decided to halt Barzani's governmental activities, and on Saturday said it would read a statement from Barzani during its upcoming meeting.

Despite securing an overwhelming "yes" vote in the independence referendum, Barzani finds himself in a tough position after Iraqi federal forces moved to reclaim territory near the city of Kirkuk.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi called the referendum illegal, and in response he sent his forces to retake control of disputed areas that were in control of the Kurds.

In recent days the government in Iraq's Kurdistan region offered to freeze the referendum results and start dialogue with the central government in Baghdad, but Abadi rejected that offer.

Abadi said in a statement his government would accept only an annulment of the referendum and respect for the country's constitution.

The areas retaken by Iraqi forces were mostly under Baghdad's control in 2014, when Islamic State militants swept into the region. Kurdish peshmerga fighters and coalition forces recaptured the land, and the Kurdistan region has since held them.

The Iraqi military and the Kurdish minority had been clashing for several weeks in mostly low-level firefights until Friday, when they agreed to a cease-fire, and Kurdish forces abandoned the land they held, largely without resistance.

... Payvand News - 10/29/17 ... --

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