Iraqi Kurdish leader steps down

The president of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region, Masoud Barzani, announced Sunday that he will step down.

Barzani is being blamed for causing confusion resulting from last month’s controversial independence referendum that he spearheaded.

The vote was held on September 25th in the autonomous Kurdish zone in northern Iraq. The Iraqi government deployed troops to take control of areas the 2 sides claim the right to rule.

There are growing accusations that Barzani deepened the regional crisis. That has led the Kurdish leader to announce in a speech Sunday that he will resign effective immediately.

Barzani claimed the Iraqi government’s military campaign had been planned well before, and that the Kurdish referendum was used as an excuse to take action. Barzani was adamant that the independence vote was valid.

Barzani indicated that he will continue to lead the Kurdish troops as before, and will exert influence over the autonomous government’s decision-making process.

Barzani’s resignation after 12 years of rule apparently is aimed at ending the Kurds’ internal clashes, as well as to gain concessions from the Iraqi government.

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