Tensions as Iraq Kurds defy Baghdad in independence vote

IIRAQ, Erbil: People celebrate in the city of Erbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq, on September 25, 2017 during the referendum vote on independence.


The vote in the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq and some disputed areas is non-binding and will not lead automatically to independence, but is seen by the Kurds as a major step towards a long-cherished dream of statehood.

Voters flocked to the polls, eager to show off their ink-stained fingers after casting their ballots, and an overwhelming “Yes” outcome is expected.

Polling stations closed at 7:00 pm (GMT) after voting was extended for an hour. Results were expected within 24 hours.

The vote took place peacefully and in a festive atmosphere, but signs of potential trouble mounted as the day progressed.

In Baghdad, which has declared the vote unconstitutional, lawmakers demanded the government send troops to disputed areas where the referendum was taking place.

In Istanbul, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned that Turkey — which fears the effects of the vote on its own sizeable Kurdish population — would shut its border with Iraqi Kurdistan and threatened to block key exports.

And in Kirkuk, a disputed city where the vote controversially went ahead, security forces deployed on the streets after a curfew was imposed in parts of the city.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday expressed concern about the potentially destabilizing effects of a referendum held by Kurds on independence from Iraq.

The referendum on Monday was proceeding peacefully but there were fears of potential unrest, especially after lawmakers in Baghdad demanded that troops be sent to disputed areas where voting was taking place.

Guterres again called on Baghdad and the Kurdistan regional authorities to resolve differences through dialogue and compromise.

The UN chief also told Iraqi Kurd authorities to ensure that the work of the UN mission in Iraq “will be allowed to continue unhindered.”

More than 5.3 million people were registered to vote in the referendum, which has been opposed by the United States and major regional powers.

Soon after voting began in the Iraqi Kurdish capital Arbil, many men headed to polling stations dressed in traditional Kurdish dress of brown shirt and billowing trousers for the occasion.

“I came very early to be the first to vote for a Kurdish state,” said Diyar Abubakr, 33.

“It’s a day of celebration today. That’s why I’ve put on our traditional outfit, which I bought for the occasion.”


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned that the Kurdish Regional Government’s independence referendum could spell wide-ranging consequences for the area, including Turkish military action and the blockade of a key fuel pipeline.

After members of the KRG voted for independence, Erdogan proffered a veiled threat that military force could be used to preserve the status quo in the region.


the splintering of iraq is now in motion..the turks arent happy..the iraqis arent happy..who is happy? one (((guess)))..

watch this space..


~ by seeker401 on September 27, 2017.

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