Controversy over the proposal of Article 140 to the Iraqi constitution continues, as Kurdish leaders push to renew efforts towards Kurdish independence. Article 140 would give the Kurdish Regional Government the ability to reacquire disputed territories lost during the previous referendum. Lahur Talabani, who leads the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan’s CTG (Counter Terror Group), addressed the issue of Article 140 and the previous “uncalculated” independence referendum over the weekend during a Q&A with Kurdish voters. Talabani said,

Yes there has been slacking. I think Kurds became arrogant for a long time and Article 140 was neglected. We should have tried harder while Mam Jalal was in Baghdad.”

Further questioning of Taliban revealed his condemnation of the KDP’s (Kurdistan Democratic Party) efforts towards a similar goal. Talabani stated, “Mam Jalal had a vision. It included coexistence. It included the right of self-determination, but not through the method our friends [the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP)] used. There were other paths. We could have made the dreams of the people of Southern Kurdistan come true through the implementation of Article 140,” in reference to the PUK’s founder Jalal Talabani. He continued by saying,

Certainly. I believe this [the return of Peshmerga to Kirkuk and disputed territories] is a thing that needs to happen. I think, after the elections, if Kurds especially garner massive votes, the Iraqi government is compelled to heed it. Based on the Iraqi constitution, these areas need to be administered jointly. We have had talks with Coalition forces, and we are on the line with Iraqi forces. But I believe these will only be concluded following Iraqi parliamentary elections.”

Specifically, Constitution Article 140 demands the stabilization of disputed regions in Iraq which are largely situated around Kirkuk. The article would also call for a voted by residents of those territories on whether they should be part of the autonomous Kurdistan region or Iraq and as such governed by the respective parliament. Technically Article 140 should have been implemented when the constitution was established in 2007 but for has yet to occur. Lahur was also quick to defend the PUK Ministers of Parliament and their inability to pursue Article 140 due to their party’s continued involvement with anti-Islamic State operations, the recent death of their founder Jalal Talabani, and the financial crises the still grips the nation. Elections for Parliament are on May 12 and Lahur said after this date passes, PUK affiliated MP’s will be focusing their efforts on executing Article 140. He told Kurdish voters that he was hopeful that problems such as joint administration within these territories would be resolved post-election as well. Kirkuk became disputed in October last year when the Iraqi government sent Hashd al-Shaabi paramilitary force in to push Kurdish military forces out.

Featured image courtesy of By Lawen Azad [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons