Baghdad puts pressure on Kurds after independence vote

Deadline approaches for Iraq's Kurds to hand over control airports
Turkey stops training Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga after independence vote

02 October, 2017

In defiance of Iraq's stiff opposition, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) held a non-binding referendum on September 25 on secession from the central government in Baghdad.

In the referendum on Monday, 92.7 percent of voters supported a measure proposing creation of an independent Kurdish state.

"A military exercise joint between iranian armed forces and units of the iraqi army will take place in the next few days along the common border", said to journalists the spokesman of the iranian armed forces, Massoud Jazayeri.

It comes as Iraq's military prepared to take control over the Kurdish region's worldwide borders and join Iranian forces in joint military exercises near the Iran-Kurdish border.

Hours before the suspension came into force, the Erbil airport was crowded with passengers waiting to leave the northern region, which borders Turkey, Iran and Syria - countries with substantial Kurdish minorities of their own.

Iraqi troops began joint military exercises with Turkey along the border.

"This involves border claims, military action directed against (Iraqi city) Kirkuk and the pressure on airlines to cease operations into the Kurdistan Regional Government".

Spain to send extra police to Catalonia if independence referendum goes ahead
The " Mossos " - as they are often referred to in Catalonia - are the largest police force in the northeastern region. Colonel Diego Pérez de los Cobos has been put in charge of Catalan police forces in the autonomous region.

However, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a statement "the vote and the results lack legitimacy" and that the US will "continue to support a united, federal, democratic and prosperous Iraq".

Turkey, which is home to the region's largest Kurdish population, is battling a three-decade Kurdish insurgency in its southeast, which borders northern Iraq.

Iraq's Transport Ministry ordered global airlines to halt service to Irbil, the Kurdish regional capital, and Sulaimaniyah, its second city, beginning Friday evening.

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".

While Iraqi Kurd leader Massud Barzani said the vote would not lead to an immediate declaration of independence but should instead open the door to negotiations, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi rejected the approach.

Overseas flights were canceled on Friday from the global airport in Erbil, hours before a ban by the Iraqi government took effect, while officials in Baghdad warned that land borders might also be closed.

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