Leaders respond to Kurdistan independence referendum

Laura Christensen
September 22, 2017

The Iraqi supreme court announced on Monday that the election will be suspended until it studies cases related to the constitutionality of the vote.

It continues: "The United States urges Iraqi Kurdish leaders to accept the alternative, which is a serious and sustained dialogue with the central government, facilitated by the United States and United Nations, and other partners, on all matters of concern, including the future of the Baghdad-Erbil relationship.".

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Tuesday called on Kurds to scrap the vote after Kurdistan President Masoud Barzani asked Baghdad for a deal good enough to convince him to forgo the vote.

The Kurds are hoping that an end to the war in Syria will leave them with an Iraq-style autonomous region on the Turkish border - an aspiration that Turkey, like in Iraq, vehemently opposes.

The Turkish Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli revealed on Tuesday the referendum on independence, which will take place next week represents a major risk for both countries.

These Arab-populated areas were historically Kurdish, Turkmen and Assyrian inhabited areas but were affected by Saddam Hussein's Arabisation policy. If powerful OPEC members like Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait reach out to the KRG in a way that provides worldwide recognition of Kurdish independence, they could cause a serious rift with Iraq and Iran.

Around 100 tanks and military vehicles, backed by rocket launchers and radar, deployed in open farmlands near the frontier, guns pointed south towards the Kurdish mountains. The first big obstacle comes here because none of the 5 permanent members - China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the USA - must veto the application.

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Disputes over territory, power and resources between and among Sunni Muslims, Shiites and Kurds fueled the rise of Islamic State in Iraq.

Northern parts of Ninevah, Diyala, Kirkuk and Selahaddin governorates of Iraq are defined as disputed areas in the Iraqi constitution. He told an Iraqi news agency that the Kurds would be "playing with fire" by pushing for the vote in the Kurdish autonomous region.

The UK holds the same stance, complaining about timing.

In response, Massoud Barzani, the KRG leader, gave Baghdad three days to come up with an alternative plan that was guaranteed by "the global community, the U.S. and Europe".

France, on the other hand, has used a more measured tone for the referendum plans.

She also adds that "Turkey's position on Iraqi-Kurdistan's independence is ambiguous, Despite Ankara's declarations of opposition to the referendum, Turkey can live with an independent Kurdistan in Iraq".

Israel and Russian Federation have been supportive of Kurdish plans to hold the referendum.

Other reports by My Hot News

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