Turkey, Iraq, Iran's united front on Kurdish referendum

22 September, 2017, 00:28 | Author: Brian Mcdaniel
  • Kurdish girls hold posters showing Iraqi Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani

The highest court in Iraq has approved a request by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to suspend an independence referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan. Economic sanctions on Iraqi Kurds would be a double-edged sword, while any military action could drag Turkey into a quagmire and possibly isolate the country.

Police deployed overnight Monday in the northern Iraqi oil city of Kirkuk to prevent a deadly dispute from developing into ethnic clashes ahead of a referendum on Kurdish independence, local residents said. Some of those groups have condemned the approaching vote for fear of losing the country's disputed territories to Arbil and have moved fighters into heavily contested areas, including Diyala and Kirkuk.

"We know about the existence of four Kurdish enclaves - in Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey". However, those in favour of creating an Independent Kurdish state count on USA support via Israel, the only regional country that has supported the creation of an independent Kurdistan in northern Iraq.

These Arab-populated areas were historically Kurdish, Turkmen and Assyrian inhabited areas but were affected by Saddam Hussein's Arabisation policy.

With conspicuous timing, Turkey on Monday launched a military drill involving 100 vehicles including tanks on the Iraqi border, which was continuing for a fourth day according to Turkish media reports.

"As the national security council, we will advise the government on our decision".

The US and United Kingdom have objected to the referendum. Although some, especially among the older generation, genuinely believe that the vote will reward the Kurds for their decades-long struggle for autonomy, others, mainly among the younger generation, see it as a cynical ploy by Kurdish leaders to remain in power.

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Turkey must become aware and understand that the PKK has strengthened its base and may well seek to take many seats in the future parliament of Kurdistan Region if Barzani is weakened.

The UK holds the same stance, complaining about timing.

Responding to Fallon's comments, Massoud Barzani reiterated, "Referendum and dialogue are both tools for independence and that, since no alternative had been presented that could guarantee independence talks and Baghdad's readiness to commence such talks, the referendum cannot be delayed".

"In the meeting, the three ministers emphasised that the referendum will not be beneficial for the Kurds and the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), and agreed, in this regard, to consider taking counter-measures in coordination", the statement said. In contrast to this, Iranian officials have taken a more subtle and soft tone towards the referendum.

The Kurdistan Region of Iraq, also called Iraqi Kurdistan, is an autonomous region, with its status enshrined in the country's constitution.

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

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