BAGHDAD � Iraqi Kurds efforts for independence are major challenge to the stability of the country, the head of the US Defense Intelligence Agency, Lieutenant-General Vincent Stewart, said.
"The Iraqi Kurds' ability to communicate and understand with the government in Baghdad will play a key role in averting renewed conflict," he said during a Senate session on Tuesday night.
Stewart, whose role is to prepare intelligence reports rather than drawing US policies, said Kurdish independence was "when, not if, or probably." "This is an important referendum in October."
He explained that "resolving the issue of Kirkuk oil field and revenue associated with oil fields and resolving the issue of eligibility in the city of Kirkuk will represent major political challenges for the Iraqi government."
He warned of the negative consequences if Baghdad could not or did not have the willingness to reach an understanding with the Kurds or Sunnis.
"The inability to address the challenges associated with a political solution will ultimately lead to a conflict between all parties to resolve the issue and return to what may become a civil conflict in Iraq," he said.
The main Kurdish parties in Iraq announced in April a plan to hold a referendum on independence this year after the defeat of Daesh organization.
Source: National Iraqi News Agency