nsucurrent.com February 22, 2018

Iraqi Kurds face growing isolation after referendum

02 October 2017, 12:39 | Colleen Roy

Iraq Set To Impose Flight Ban On Kurdistan In Row Over Independence

Baghdad threatens to send troops to Kirkuk after Kurdish referendum

The move is part of an effort by officials in Baghdad to impose central government rule on the region after approval of a Kurdish independence referendum Monday.

Although the Kurdish region in northern Iraq already has a considerable degree of autonomy from Baghdad, its voters this week endorsed a nonbinding resolution calling for independence by a margin of 92.7 percent.

Iran, along with regional partners Iraq and Turkey, rejected the recent referendum on Iraqi-Kurdish independence and has vowed to oppose seperation.

The Saturday report by Iran's semi-official Tasnim news agency quotes Gen. Masoud Jazayeri, spokesman for Iran's joint armed forces staff, as saying the maneuver will be held in the coming days in northwest Iran near the Iraqi Kurdish region border.

A day after Baghdad cut worldwide air links with the region, Iran's state broadcaster said all transport companies and drivers have been ordered to stop carrying fuel products between Iran and Iraqi Kurdistan "until further notice".

On Friday, it also banned the transportation of refined oil products by Iranian companies to and from Iraqi Kurdistan.

The Iraqi government had given the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) until 1800 hours, local time, to surrender control of its worldwide airports at Irbil and Sulaimaniya.

Further raining on the Kurds' parade, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced Friday that the U.S. didn't recognize the results of the referendum and officially stood by a united Iraqi government.

Yildirim stated that that KRG authority in Erbil had made a grave mistake by lighting "the fire of separation", warning that this would fuel problems in the region, which has been suffering from Daesh and PKK terrorism as well as various Iraqi insurgents and occupations.

They also adopted the "necessary decisions to establish security along borders and receive forces of the Iraqi central government for deployment at border posts", he added.

For all this, the United States urged both Baghdad and Erbil - the Kurdish capital - "to calm down and put an end to reciprocal recriminations and threats".

Iraq's parliament asked Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to send troops to the Kurdish-held region of Kirkuk and take control of its oilfields following the referendum results.

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