Iraqi Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani to step down

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Iraq, Oct 30 (ANI): Iraqi Kurdish President Massoud Barzani is to step down, just weeks after a referendum on Kurdish independence that he orchestrated backfired. Barzani’s mandate was due to end next week, but he confirmed on Sunday that he would not seek to extend it. Iraqi Kurds voted overwhemingly to break away from Iraq in the September referendum. But Baghdad opposed the vote and retaliated with a military offensive that has left Kurdish autonomy in tatters. Barzani, who fought with the Kurdish Peshmerga for decades, was an architect of the autonomous Kurdish state carved out after Saddam Hussein was toppled. Earlier this year, Barzani said he wouldn’t stand for another presidential term.

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