The Kurdistan Referendum: Iraqi Communists Call For Dialogue

Statement by the Political Bureau of the Iraqi Communist Party on September 30, 2017, on the referendum of the Kurdistan region, calling for an unconditional dialogue on the basis of the country’s constitution.


Since the referendum in the Kurdistan region on 25 September 2017, our country has been facing an extremely difficult and complex situation that threatens its security and future. It calls for urgent and responsible action by the national political forces and all those who are genuinely keen to dispel the dangers.

The insistence on holding the referendum unilaterally, despite the rejection it was met with on Iraqi, regional, Arab and international levels, and despite the pressing calls for its postponement and the exclusion of the disputed areas from its framework, led to severe reactions that were not difficult to foresee. This is especially so as our heroic armed forces were continuing their great task of pursuing terrorist Daesh, after completing the battle of putting an end to it in Nineveh province and achieving outstanding victories.

Our party, which has always expressed respect for the right of peoples, large and small, including the Kurdish people and the people of Kurdistan in general, to express their will and self-determination, had suggested since last May that the referendum process should not take place under the existing circumstances. It pointed out that the country was still busy with the war against terrorist Daesh, while on the other hand there was a lack of consultation and understanding with the federal government in preparation for the referendum.

Matters were further complicated after the referendum as certain quarters, internal and external, resorted to muddying the waters, stirring up emotions and issuing extremist and provocative calls aimed at preventing a rational and realistic handling of the emerging situation on the basis of the Constitution. This approach would secure the rights stipulated in the Constitution for the citizens of all nationalities and sects, including the citizens of the Kurdistan region, and take into account their legitimate demands and aspirations.

Subsequent events and developments have shown that this new crisis is not isolated from the general crisis that has been weighing on Iraq for years, and is only one of the consequences of the crisis of the political system based on sectarian and ethnic quotas. It is no secret that the already strained relationship between the Federal Government and the Kurdistan Regional Government is one of the manifestations of the predicament of the country’s sectarian-ethnic quota system, and that the successive federal governments and the Kurdistan Regional Government bear responsibility for this relationship. They had both managed this relationship through secret bargaining and deals, away from the sight of the people and their interest and will, and away from their aspiration for stability, construction and establishing a system of constitutional institutions on the basis of citizenship and not on the basis of quotas.

On the other hand, our party believes that the formula of the federal state can still provide solutions that are satisfactory to all parties, and ensure the rights and interests of the Kurdish people and other social constituents in Kurdistan and the whole of Iraq, if political will exists among all parties and if the United Nations provides the necessary support.

In order to deal with the referendum crisis and overcome its interactions and repercussions, it is necessary to act on the basis of the public and national interest; the interests and rights of the Iraqi people with all its nationalities and other constituents, by exerting efforts to:

  • Reject escalation in all its forms, curtail the “warmongers” and advocates of nationalist hatred, completely renounce the logic of violence and military force or hinting at their use, and to adopt the logic of reason and its language.
  • Call on the Kurdistan Regional Government to cooperate in finding a safe and acceptable way out of the grave situation that has existed since the referendum, and to contribute seriously to this approach by taking positions that allow for dialogue within the framework of the Constitution.
  • Reject the irresponsible demands by those who are pushing for imposing a kind of siege on the Kurdistan region, and avoid taking any action that may contribute to a collective punishment of the people of Kurdistan, which will ultimately hurt first and foremost the toilers and the poor.
  • Embark as soon as possible on dialogue without preconditions, not only between the Federal Government and the Kurdistan Regional Government, but also between all the Iraqi national parties, within the framework of a comprehensive national dialogue according to a clear agenda and with a specified time limit.
  • Invite the United Nations to contribute to facilitating the launching of such a dialogue, facilitate reaching agreements on existing problems and provide guarantees for their implementation according to approved timetables.
  • Take quick steps to address the factors causing tensions in the disputed areas, especially in Kirkuk and the Plain of Nineveh, and to develop formulas for their administration that guarantee the rights and participation of their whole population, until the completion of the implementation of the stages stipulated in Article 140 of the Constitution.
  • Strengthen cooperation between the Federal Government and the Kurdistan Regional Government in the field of   assistance to the displaced people, and accelerate their return to their areas, along with continuing the cooperation and coordination between the armed forces and the Peshmerga forces in the war against Daesh.
  • We are confident that such an effort to achieve a national solution to the current crisis, through serious and frank dialogue, would shut the doors on regional and international interference which only aims to serve the interests of their countries at the expense of the Iraqi people.
  • At the same time, however, we are aware that the series of crises will not end unless we get rid of the destructive policy based on the quota system and the corruption, mismanagement and misrule that are closely associated with it.

We therefore appeal to all the democratic civil forces, to all those who are keen to get the country out of its deep crisis and open promising horizons for its new generations, to strive relentlessly to reach common positions on tackling the current crisis and to unify their efforts in general. Only by doing so will they be able to play an effective role in shaping the balance of forces necessary to launch the process of reform and change towards building a democratic civil state; a state of citizenship that provides security, services, rights and freedoms and achieving social justice.

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