Context and Scenarios after the Referendum on Iraqi Kurdistan’s Independence

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Series Details No. 87, September 2017
Publication Date 22/09/2017
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The Polish Institute of International Affairs is an analytical institution established by an act of Parliament in 1996 to carry out research and provide expertise in international affairs. PISM disseminates information on contemporary international issues and maintains contacts with academic and political centres in Poland and abroad. The Institute runs courses for public servants, maintains a library (open to the public; 165,000 books and journals), organises conferences, and publishes books, periodicals and documents on Polish foreign policy and international matters.

The funding for PISM comes from the budget. The director is appointed by the prime minister for a term of five years, following consultation with the minister of foreign affairs. The minister supervises the Institute and appoints its advisory council, which includes a representative of the President of the Republic of Poland, academics and officials.Regardless of whether the referendum on Iraqi Kurdistan’s independence would take place as planned on 25 September 2017, its result had always been known: most Iraqi Kurds would vote in favour of independence. Depending on how the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) used the result, a negative scenario — the outbreak of violence and further disintegration of Iraq — is still more probable than a positive one that would lead to incremental, peaceful negotiations with the central authorities in Baghdad on greater Kurdish independence. The pressure from regional allies of the Kurds, the U.S., EU, and the UN, seemed to be intense enough to stop the Iraqi Kurds from unilaterally declaring independence even if they went ahead with the referendum.

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