Six months after the Kurdish region of northern Iraq voted for independence in a controversial referendum, the region is no closer to establishing its own country.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) initiated the referendum, in which more than 90 percent voted "yes" to secession. Without any signs of change, some in the regional government are blaming the situation on Baghdad and foreign governments.

"The people of Kurdistan are being punished," says Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, the Kurdistan Regional Government Representative to the United States. 

She says the KRG did not expect the "unsophisticated" reaction to the referendum by the US and Europe. "With every statement they made against the referendum, they were emboldening our neighbours and Baghdad to think the Kurds were alone and that they could punish us."

According to Rahman, Baghdad continues to cut off the region's budget and has left them to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) and to accommodate 1.8 million displaced people and Syrian refugees.

While she says there's been some improvement in the relationship with Baghdad in recent weeks, Rahman also argues that the budget issue and Iraq's failure to establish a federal and pluralistic democracy is what led to the KRG's pursuit for independence.

There are currently hundreds of cases of alleged corruption within the KRG, according to its Commission of Integrity.

When asked whether corruption and nepotism, particularly among family members of the Kurdistan Democratic Party President Masoud Barzani, are to blame for the lack of progress in the independence movement, Rahman says "people know who they're voting for". She says "many people are proud of their record. Many people look up to them for leadership."

In this week's Headliner, we ask Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman of the Kurdistan Regional Government whether the Kurdish secession referendum has failed to deliver on its promises to the Kurdish people.

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Source: Al Jazeera News