Iraqi Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani wants to hold a referendum in October 2016 in an attempt to gain independence for Iraqi Kurdistan. Will this referendum make Iraqi Kurdistan a sovereign state? If not, how would Iraqi Kurdistan become a sovereign state?

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    It's only a formality. If Kurdistan declares independence, Iraqi Government is in no state to stop her. But a referendum would add certain degree of legitimacy to the decision. Iraqis would most likely dismiss it and so would other countries with Kurd populations such as Iran, Syria and Turkey. Friends of these three countries would also avoid souring the relationships by recognizing Kurdistan.
    – NSNoob
    Commented May 30, 2016 at 11:04
  • There is one possibility: If "Freedom Eagle" finds some oil in Kurdistan land. Oh wait! You talked about sovereignty.. Commented May 31, 2016 at 13:33

1 Answer 1


A state is souvereign when other states accept it as such. Whether or not one accepts a state is usually a question of what's in ones political interest. You might want to look at Wikipedia's list of states with limited recognition and look at the backgrounds for more information about why a state would or would not recognize another state.

So if a Kurdistan state would be proclaimed, we can assume that those state(s) which currently claim(s) its territory would likely be hard-pressed to recognize it and also try to pressure others to not recognize it.

Supporters could be those who believe that the new Kurdish government will be easier to deal with than that of those who were there before. Who that could be is hard to say at the moment because we don't know yet how that hypothetical Kurdistan would position itself on the geopolitical landscape.

  • I have an Iraqi Kurdish friend and if he can be believed, according to him Kurds are not sure themselves. Syrians Kurds at least don't want to be overwhelmed by Iraqi Kurds.
    – NSNoob
    Commented May 30, 2016 at 11:02

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