On Sunday, Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani announced in a letter to the Kurdistan Region Parliament that he is stepping down as president but will remain serving his nation as a Peshmerga member.
“I refuse to continue the position of president of the Region after November 1, 2017,” Barzani said. “I, as Masoud Barzani the Peshmerga, will continue with our nation and beloved Peshmerga in endeavors to achieve the just rights of our nation and protect the achievements of our nation.”
Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) said in a statement that Barzani will continue work to “develop and further strengthen democratic principles in Kurdistan, protect the achievements of our nation, and maintain and develop Kurdistan’s legitimate institutions.”
In his letter, Barzani also called on the Kurdistan Region Parliament to resolve the matter of the duties and powers of the president to ensure there is no “legal vacuum.”.
The Iraqi-Kurdish TV channel Rudaw reported that tensions erupted in the Kurdistan Region Parliament after the Gorran Movement opposed Barzani’s suggestion to distribute his powers between the local government and the Parliament and the Judicial Council temporarily.
Rudaw said that Gorrran Movement requested that Barzani powers be given to the Kurdistan Region Parliament only.
Barzani decision to step down from Kurdistan Region presidency is a direct result of the failed Kurdistan Region independence referendum that was organized by Barzani himself. Another result is the ongoing negotiation between the Iraqi Army and the Kurdish Peshmerga force to hand over more disputed areas to the Iraqi Federal Government.
Iraqi sources reveled that a new negotiation session between the Iraqi Army and the Peshmerga was held in Mousl city on Sunday. The Mosul meeting was reportedly sponsored by the US. US officials attended the meeting.
According to reports, the Iraqi Army insisted in the previous meetings that the Peshmerga should retreat to the 2003 borders. The Iraqi Army also asked the Peshmerga to hand over all border crossings and airports to the Iraqi Federal Government.
The Peshmerga and the KRG may approve the Iraqi Army demands in the upcoming days in order to avoid more violense that could lead to losing more ground in favor of the Iraqi Federal Goverment.