Iraqi Kurdish leader Massud Barzani speaks during a joint press conference in Arbil, the capital of Iraq's autonomous region of Kurdistan. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai- An independent Iraqi Kurdistan could very well be in sights. Leader of the autonmous region of Iraqi Kurdistan told the BBC in an interview that he intends to hold a referendum on independence ‘within months’. Masoud Barzani said that Iraq was in effect already partitioned. He said that while the Kurds would play a part in a political solution to the country’s crisis, independence was what he described as their natural right. “From now on, we won’t hide that that’s our goal. Iraq is effectively partitioned now. Are we supposed to stay in this tragic situation the country’s living? It’s not me who will decide on independence. It’s the people. We’ll hold a referendum and it’s a matter of months.” The cause of Kurdish independence was supported by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the weekend who said that it was a necessary response to gains made by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil). So far Isil militants have stayed clear of Iraqi Kurdistan, but Kurdish peshmerga forces have deployed to the oil-rich region of Kirkuk, a territory under dispute, following advances by Isil. Independence has long been a dream of Kurds which are spread out between Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran and but have been met with strict resistance by ruling governments who do not want to carve up land to give to the Kurds. Both Kurds and Sunnis in Iraq blame Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki for the current situation and complain they have been marginalised by the Shiite-led government. While Kurds do not support Isil, they are actively taking advantage of the weakness of the central government and its preoocupation with fighting Isil, to achieve their long stated goal of independence.