WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — An autonomous Kurdish region could help establish a new political framework within the Middle East, former Central Intelligence Director (CIA) Gen. Michael Hayden said.
"This is all about a new structure in the Middle East. I think a pretty useful building block would be the Kurds," Hayden said at the American Enterprise Institute discussion on Friday.
Earlier this week, Kurdish Regional Government President Masoud Barzani announced his government would hold a popular independence referendum by year’s end.
"I would not constrain myself to old lines," Hayden argued, stating that the previous 20th century Middle East political architecture had collapsed. "If the old is gone and the new is yet to be created, I think a good conversation to have is — what is the future of the Kurdish people and a Kurdish autonomous region."
Kurds are a Middle Eastern ethnic group with the population of some 30-35 million living mainly in Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria.