Time to redraw Middle East boundaries, KRG president says

Time to redraw Middle East boundaries, KRG president says

Time to redraw Middle East boundaries, KRG president says

Iraq's Kurdistan region's President Masoud Barzani speaks during a news conference with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Erbil, Iraq December 8, 2015. REUTERS/Azad Lashkari

Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Masoud Barzani has called on global leaders to acknowledge that the Sykes-Picot pact that led to the boundaries of the modern Middle East has failed, urging them to broker a new deal paving the way for a Kurdish state in an interview with the Guardian.

Barzani said the international community had started to accept that Iraq and Syria in particular would never again be unified and that “compulsory co-existence” in the region had been proven wrong.

“I think that within themselves, [world leaders] have come to this conclusion that the era of Sykes-Picot is over,” Barzani told the Guardian. “Whether they say it or not, accept it or not, the reality on the ground is that. But as you know, diplomats are conservatives and they give their assessment in the late stages of things. And sometimes they can’t even keep up with developments.”

The political map of northern Iraq has changed drastically in the 18 months since the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) overran Iraq’s second city, Mosul. Kurdish forces are now in full control of Kirkuk and Sinjar and have claimed control of thousands more kilometers of land that had been under control of Iraq’s central government. 

Now, four months before the centennial of the Sykes-Picot agreement under which Britain and France carved spheres of influence from the ruins of the Ottoman Empire, Barzani said maintaining the status quo would ensure further regional disintegration and destruction.