Monday’s referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan closed with high turnout, and an expectation of an overwhelming victory for the pro-secession vote. The neighbors of the soon-to-be nation are already turning on the Kurds, likely fearing spillover ambitions among their own Kurdish minorities.
Iraq’s central government itself forbade the vote, and is demanding that the Kurds surrender all of their airports and border crossings. Syria ruled out recognizing the vote, and Iran has closed the border with Kurdistan.
With questions about what parts of Iraq will be seceding, the Iraqi parliament also voted to deploy ground troops into the Kirkuk Province and well as other disputed areas. The move aims to prevent the Kurds taking more of Iraq with them, but also risks a military confrontation with the Peshmerga.
Perhaps the biggest threats came from Turkey, however. President Erdogan waned that Turkey “has the tap” on Iraqi Kurdistan’s oil pipeline, and could cut off all their oil exports if they wanted to.
Turkey has the most to fear from an independent Kurdistan, as they’ve been fighting a war for decades against their own Kurdish minority trying to prevent a similar secession. At the same time, cutting off oil exports through Iraq would be a major step, threatening oil exports from the region.
Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz
- Scores of Civilians Killed in Eastern Ghouta Attack - March 23rd, 2018
- Ceasefire Announced for Part of Syria's Eastern Ghouta - March 22nd, 2018
- Turkey Will Expel All Kurds From Border Unless Deal Reached With US - March 22nd, 2018
- Pentagon: Nukes Will Be Useless Without New Plutonium Cores - March 22nd, 2018
- State Dept. Announces $1 Billion in New Arms Sales to Saudis - March 22nd, 2018