Masud Barzani, president of Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), is in the habit of dangling from time to time the idea of independence for Kurdistan.
For example in an interview with Judith Miller in 2006 he insisted: “Having an independent state is the natural legitimate right of our people.”
In another interview with the BBC in January 2012 he stated: “I like the Kurdistan Region to evolve day by day. But what I really wish is to see an independent Kurdistan.”
The latest such example was during the celebrations of Nowruz, the Kurdish new year.
In his speech on March 21, 2012, he threatened by implication to declare independence for the Kurdish region if the political deadlock in Iraq continued.
He further insinuated that the oil-rich Kirkuk had to be incorporated into a future independent Kurdistan.
What is one to make of these declarations? Are they merely empty talks as his critics say, or trial balloons intended to prepare the ground for such an eventuality? In approaching the issue of independence Barzani is on a horn of a dilemma. On the one hand it seems that the Kurds are facing the best window of opportunity for such a move...