Friday, 22 September, 2017

Kurdistan Lawmakers Vote To Hold Referendum For Independence From Iraq

People celebrate to show their support for the upcoming September 25th independence referendum in Zakho Iraq US Special Envoy: Kurdish Referendum Could Undermine Fight Against IS
Saul Franklin | 17 September, 2017, 00:48

Speaking to Panorama.am, political scientist Alexander Markarov said Iraqi Kurdistan's leader strongly supports the independence vote when, according to world powers, it can pose serious threat to the regional security and the issue of self-determination in a number of regions.

In a phone conversation on Thursday, Chairman of the General Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri and his Turkish counterpart, General Hulusi Akar, said the referendum would have adverse impacts on the interests of the region's people, Tasnim News Agency reported.

Iraq's Kurds plan to hold the vote on September 25 in three governorates that make up their autonomous region as well as disputed areas like Kirkuk that are controlled by Kurdish forces but claimed by Baghdad.

Iraq's neighbours Iran and Turkey also oppose the plebiscite, fearing an independent Kurdish state could fuel separatism among their own Kurdish populations.

The referendum is planned to be held in Kurdistan and disputed areas including the oil-rich province of Kirkuk.

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Mr Barzani was adamant that the vote would not be delayed.

Last month, Kirkuk's provincial council voted to join the referendum in a vote boycotted by Arabs and Turkmen in the multi-ethnic city after the Kurdish governor Najmaldin Karim called the vote.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said in an interview on Friday that Barzani's decision not to postpone the referendum was "very wrong". But relations with Baghdad have grown strained in recent years over oil and the disputed areas.

Barzani has been in dispute with Gorran since he blocked its parliamentarian speaker from Irbil and shuttered the legislature in 2015. It is clear that the Iraqi authorities can maximally grant a broader autonomy to the Iraqi Kurds seeking independence.

Iraq's Kurdish region has enjoyed a high degree of autonomy since the USA imposed a no-fly zone over northern Iraq after the 1990 Gulf War.

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