UN Security Council Expresses Concern Over Kurdish Independence Vote

Kristopher Drake
September 24, 2017

The Turkish parliament on Saturday approved a one-year extension of a mandate to use troops overseas in Syria and Iraq, two days before Iraq's Kurdish region is due to hold a controversial independence referendum.

On the Iranian front, a commander of its elite Revolutionary Guards, Major General Qassem Soleimani, held talks with Barzani in Arbil. Tensions between the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) and Baghdad hinge on oil revenue the Kurds see as the mainstay of a future Kurdish state.

The council urged "dialogue and compromise" to address differences between the Iraqi government and the regional authorities.

"(Our fathers and mothers) think it's a betrayal not to vote "yes", said Muhammed, a researcher from Sulaimaniyah who is in his 30s.

Despite opposition from Turkey, Iraq and Iran as well as the United States, Iraqi Kurdish leader Massud Barzani insisted on Friday that the referendum would go ahead.

Barzani also rejected an initiative from Iraqi President Fuad Massum, a Kurd, for negotiations.

Kurds feared by capitalist rulersThe capitalist rulers in Ankara, Baghdad, Tehran and Damascus - which sit on some 15 million, 6 million, 8 million and 2 million Kurds respectively - all live in fear of their Kurdish populations winning independence.

In the town of Tuz Khurmatu in the province of Salaheddine, an official from the Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary umbrella group has said he will not allow the poll. "In terms of the consequences of the referendum it's not something that we can fully control, (it) just carries a lot of risks".

Ankara opposed the referendum, saying that it will damage Iraq's territorial integrity and have negative repercussions in terms of fueling tensions in the region.

Addressing parliament on a motion to extend the government mandate to deploy troops in Iraq and Syria, Nurettin Canikli signaled that he supports a peaceful resolution of the disputes between the KRG and the central Iraqi government in Baghdad. "Baghdad believed the Kurds were divided and could not complete the referendum".

"Holding a referendum is the decision of the people", Barzani said as he met with French ambassador to Iraq Bruno Aubert at his residence in Erbil, according to a statement issued by his office.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on live television yesterday the vote posed a threat to Turkey's national security and that Ankara would "do what is necessary" to protect itself.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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