IRBIL, Iraq - The president of Iraq's self-rule Kurdish region demanded Wednesday that Shiite leaders agree on sharing power with their political opponents by September or else the Kurds could consider breaking away from Baghdad.
The warning by Kurdish President Massoud Barzani in an Associated Press interview underscores that Shiite domination in Iraq's government is reviving secession dreams that the now-departed U.S. military had tried to contain.
"What threatens the unity of Iraq is dictatorship and authoritarian rule," he said in a 45-minute interview in his sprawling office outside of Irbil, the capital of the Kurdish region he leads in northern Iraq. "If Iraq heads toward a democratic state, then there will be no trouble. But if Iraq heads toward a dictatorial state, then we will not be able to live with dictatorship."