Turkey, Iraq Threaten "Military Intervention" As Iraqi Kurds Hold Independence Referendum

One day after a "Nightmare Victory" for Angela Merkel in the German elections, which has unleashed a nationalist "earthquake" in the Bundestag, on Monday in another closely watched election, polls opened in Iraq’s Kurdish-run provinces and disputed territories as Iraqi Kurds cast ballots in support for independence from Baghdad in a historic but non-binding and furiously challenged vote.

Millions are expected to vote on Monday across the three provinces that make up the Kurdish autonomous region, as well as residents in disputed territories — areas claimed by both Baghdad and the Kurds, including the oil-rich city of Kirkuk.

The vote is being carried out despite mounting regional opposition to the move, including virtually every neighboring nation, except the odd stance by Israel whose Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stunned the region when he commented specifically of the referendum on Sept 13 saying, "Israel supports the legitimate efforts of the Kurdish people to achieve their own state." 

In an attempt to appease the vocal opposition, the prime minister of Iraq’s northern Kurdish region said the referendum doesn’t mean “redrawing borders” and will not result in immediate independence. Nechirvan Barzani says that even if the result of the vote is a “yes,” the region will resolve its disputes with Baghdad peacefully. He spoke at a press conference on Monday morning in Irabil, the Kurdish regional capital. Voting is taking place across the region and in disputed territories claimed by both Baghdad and the Kurds, including the oil-rich city of Kirkuk.

Last week, the United States joined the broader chorus, warning that the vote will likely destabilize the region amid the fight with the Islamic State group. As reported yesterday, Baghdad also came out strongly against the referendum, demanding on Sunday that all airports and borders crossings in the Kurdish region be handed back to federal government control.

On Monday, the diplomatic and economic noose around Iraqi Kurdistan tightened further when Turkey said it doesn’t recognize the Iraqi Kurdish region’s referendum on support for independence from Baghdad and insists its results will be “null and void.”

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry released a statement as polls opened in Iraq’s Kurdish-run provinces and disputed territories on Monday, with Ankara calling on the international community, and especially regional countries, not to recognize the vote either. It also urged Iraq Kurdish leaders to abandon “utopic goals,” accusing them of endangering peace and stability for Iraq and the whole region. The ministry reiterated that Turkey would take all measures to thwart threats to its national security. On Saturday, Turkey’s parliament met in an extraordinary session to extend a mandate allowing Turkey’s military to send troops over its southern border if developments in Iraq and Syria are perceived as national security threats.

As noted earlier, the price of Brent (and WTI) jumped this morning after Turkish President Erdogan warned that Turkey could cut off the pipeline that carries oil from northern Iraq to the outside world, further intensifying the pressure on the Kurdish autonomous region over its independence referendum. Erdogan spoke shortly after Prime Minister Binali Yildirum said Ankara could take punitive measures involving borders and air space against the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) over the referendum and would not recognize the outcome. Yildirim also said on Monday that officers and experts from Iraq’s army would join military exercises that Turkey launched along the border in an apparent warning to the Iraqi Kurds.

Iraq, of course, was just as livid, with Baghdad residents strongly criticizing the Iraqi Kurds’ independence referendum, saying it would raise sectarian tensions and create an “Israel in Iraq”... which may explain why Bibi is for it. An Arabic newspaper headline on Monday said “Kurdistan into the unknown,” a reference to the name Kurds use for their region. According to AP, journalist Raad Mohammad said the vote represents a “division of Iraq,” and added that it was “unacceptable for the Iraqi people as well as many other countries.”

Another Baghdad resident, Ali al-Rubayah, described the referendum as a “black day in the history of the Kurds,” adding that “today, the Kurds are trying to make an Israeli state in the north of Iraq.” Lawyer Tariq al-Zubaydi said the referendum was inappropriate amid the “ongoing threat of terrorism and Islamic State” and that a “unified country is better for all.”

As AP adds, an Iraqi lawmaker said the country’s parliament has approved several tough measures in response to the vote.  Shiite lawmaker Hakim al-Zamili says the measures will force Baghdad to act to “protect Iraq’s unity and to deploy troops in all areas” where they were before the 2014 blitz by the Islamic State group. Al-Zamili says measures approved on Monday also call for closing all border crossings with the Kurdish region and banning oil trade. He says the parliament considers the Kurdish referendum unconstitutional and calls for taking legal measures against all Kurdish officials and employees who took part in the vote. Bloomberg has a full breakdown of the measures adopted by Iraq today:

  • Iraq parliament voted to close border crossings with Kurdistan, return oil fields in north of Kirkuk, other disputed areas to the control and supervision of the federal govt, the legislature said on its website.
  • Also voted to prevent companies from carrying out exploration work in joint and disputed areas subject to lawsuits
  • Oil exports should only be done via federal govt
  • Army chief must take all legal, constitutional measures to protect Iraq’s unity
  • Deploy troops in areas that had been under Iraq’s control before 2014 and in Kirkuk

A "troica" against the referendum was formed when Iran joined Iraq and Turkey in describing the Iraqi Kurdish referendum as “untimely and wrong” and reiterated its support for Iraq’s territorial integrity. Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi told reporters on Monday that the vote could “lead to developments and happenings that could affect all people of the region and especially Kurdish people.” Ghasemi reiterated that Iran supports the “territorial integrity and democratic process” in Iraq.

As reported yesterday, Iran's Supreme National Security Council closed off the country's airspace to the Iraqi Kurdish area at the request of the central government in Baghdad. More from AP:

Since Sunday, Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard has been having a military exercise in its northwestern Kurdish region bordering Iraq in a sign of Tehran’s concerns over the Iraqi Kurdish vote.  Iran and Iraq have been close allies since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq toppled dictator Saddam Hussein. Both are opposed to Kurdish independence.


In June, the country’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, that Iraq “should remain integrated” and that advocates of Kurdish independence are “opponents of the independence and identity” of Iraq.

Even Syria jumped on the bandwagon, when its foreign minister said the country doesn’t recognize the Iraqi Kurdish referendum saying Damascus rejects any measure that could break up neighboring Iraq. The Syrian state news agency SANA says Walid al-Moallem spoke on Sunday in New York. Syria’s has a large Kurdish minority that last week had its own vote as part of a move toward a federal system within Syria.

As AP explains, "Syria, like Turkey and Iran, opposes the vote in Iraq, fearing that Kurdish communities within Syria might eventually do the same." Al-Moallem described the Iraqi Kurdish vote as a “step that we do not recognize” and stressed that the government in Damascus only recognizes a “sole, united Iraq. He says: “We reject any measure the leads to dividing Iraq.”

Finally, closing the loop on today's independence referendum, Turkish President Erdogan said he had spoken to Russia's president Vladimir Putin over the phone about the Kurdish vote and while he did not elaborate whether Russia, too, is against the vote, said that that Putin would visit Ankara on Thursday to discuss developments in the region, including the Kurdish referendum.

So with virtually everyone, not only its neighbors but also the US and potentially Russia, breathing down the neck of millions of Iraqi Kurds with warnings that the vote will not stand, and only Israel on the side of secession, we look forward to how Barzani will respond to the vote which is expected to pass overwhelmingly in favor of independence, and whether this will serve as the next military geopolitical strike point in the middle east.


evoila 07564111 Mon, 09/25/2017 - 11:04 Permalink

This is pretty funny. Israel and US pushing Kurdish autonomy, and the US/SDF made a mad dash for Omar oil field in Syria. Except, our genius planning hasn't yet thought what good oil and gas fields are when there is no way to transport it given the landlocked geography for them.....leading the Kurds to slaughter. Idiots. 

In reply to by 07564111

BobEore evoila Mon, 09/25/2017 - 12:18 Permalink

Good. We needed an opener to get this party started. You done real good in leading off the rush over the disinfo cliff!

a) Srael is the sole hegemon pulling for a puppet state KRG metamorphising into a full blown extension of its' de facto domain. The USA is sitting this one out.

b)the SDF has move to grab oil&gas fields in eastern Syria, to gain bargaining power with in post-ISIS negotiations coming soon.

c) which has nothing to do with the above point a)above.

Here's the way this "Kurdish thing" actually works =
KRG - THE REGION OF NORTHERN IRAQ WHERE THIS "REFERENDUM" IS BEING HELD... is a fiefdom of the Barzani Gang who are long-standing clients of Srael, and more recently, also clients of that same pirate states' new satrapy "Turkiye."

SDF - A COALITION OF SYRIAN YPG KURDISH MILITIAS AND an opportunistic collection of Syrian Arab tribes... is fighting for a federal system in which their norther cantons can remain a part of Syria but claim the same sort of independence in tax regime... defense...economy, etc; as the KRG now enjoys. THE KURDS IN THE KRG AND THE KURDS IN THE SDF CONTROLLED PORTION OF SYRIA ARE ENEMIES. The KRG actually kept the borders with the cantons closed for most of the past two years... making life even more difficult for the YPG Kurds.

You getting any of this yet?

KRG... Srael/Turkiye/Daesh allies fighting for a bigger piece of stolen loot via setting up a mini version of the tel aviv pirate state.

SDF... YPG Kurds and SOME Syrian Arabs fighting for autonomy from the central state... while cleaning up the Daesh mess that Turkey/Srael/Saudis/CIA etc., created. Some of the SDF Arabs are reconstructed Daesh allies who are CIA clients and nothing more than opportunists. Like the KRG Kurds... who have factional branches of their parties in the cantons, working to discredit the YPG Kurds... jus like you!

Meanwhile, the Turks are threatening to 'invade' the north of Iraq because its a perfect smoke screen by which to get at the PKK Kurds in Qandil and the mountains there. Which is another separate issue. The neo-Ottomans are stuck on their dreams of regaining Mosul and their 16th century fiefdom, while Iran is afraid of the Iranian Kurdish insurgency already under way with Sraeli direction.

You've been instructed to attempt the psyop of lumping the two opposites together...

and in this you will miserably fail.

Hang up yur skates scrubs. We are inside the gates of your LEGOLAND CASTLE... and will storm your last redoubt. Last stand for statist toadies and fellow travelers!


"Made to believe by all of these false storylines that nation states and the people who live in them are battling each other over some fundamental difference or other - we have lost sight of the real battle - that of citizen versus state! No real division of interests exists, in other words, between the regimes in charge of those various capitals where figurehead leaders wag their fingers at other puppet princes in other satrapies of the one and only power which really matters. All of them believe in the State - as the supreme and heaven-mandated entity with the right to reign over it's citizens, instead of being reined in by them!"

HoWdY DoOdIEs! It's over.

In reply to by evoila

thevekja Mon, 09/25/2017 - 10:40 Permalink

Israel has and always will support any non-Arab players in the region, so this should come as no surprise. Remember they want ALL the land between the Nile & Euphrates for 'Greater Israel', and most of this is Arab land. They will continue to play the various gentile factions in the region against each other until this goal is achieved.

Divide and conquer

OliverAnd thevekja Tue, 09/26/2017 - 01:45 Permalink

Turks are not Arabs; they are Turks from central Asia.  Iranians are not Arabs either; they are Persians.  Iraqis are the only Arabs and they too are missing the Assyrians of which both the Ottoman Turks and Kurds committed genocide against during the Ottoman Empire.  Divide and conquer first applies to the Turks and then everyone else.

In reply to by thevekja

HRClinton medium giraffe Mon, 09/25/2017 - 11:09 Permalink

Further info is useful though for deeper enlightenment...Israel Endorsed Kurdish Independence. Saladin Would Have Been Proud"The Kurds and the Jews, it turns out, go way back"  <-- or so haaretz claims     David M. Halbfinger, The New York Times Sep 24, 2017 2:25 PM     Source: http://www.haaretz.com/nyt/1.813871  A few notable highlights (whether true or false):Ties between the two have only grown warmer and more vital since the 1960s, as Israel and the Kurds — both minorities in an inhospitable region and ever in need of international allies — have repeatedly come to each other’s aid. The Kurds have long patterned their lobbying efforts in Washington on those of Israel’s supporters.And while Kurdish leaders have not publicly embraced Israel in the run-up to the referendum, for fear of antagonizing the Arab world, the Israeli flag can routinely be seen at Kurdish rallies in Erbil and across Europe.The Kurds and the Jews, it turns out, go way back.Back past the Babylonian Captivity, in fact: The first Jews in Kurdistan, tradition holds, were among the last tribes of Israel, taken from their land in the eighth century B.C. They liked it there so much that when Cyrus the Great of Persia conquered the Babylonians and let the Jews go back home, many chose instead to stick around.Sixteen centuries later, Saladin, a Kurd, treated the Jews humanely after he conquered Jerusalem, and notably hired a Jewish doctor, Maimonides, as his physician....Moreover, Israel stands to gain a potentially valuable ally in its struggle with Iran, he said.“Iraqi and Iranian Kurds have deep ties,” he said. “And to create trouble for Iran, one way is to encourage independence for Iranian Kurds. The Iranians are terrified and furious about exactly that: that the Israelis are doing it, and that an independent Kurdistan will be a base for Israeli operations against Iran, via Iran’s Kurdish population.”While United States policy is to try to preserve Iraq as one entity, the Israelis are more practical, said Peter W. Galbraith, a former diplomat with extensive experience in Kurdistan: “Why lose all of Iraq, when you could save (steal) part of it?”  

In reply to by medium giraffe

stiler HRClinton Mon, 09/25/2017 - 12:02 Permalink

The history goes further back to the first Jew, Abraham, formerly Abram, a Mesopotamian to whom God promised all the land from the Nile River to Turkey in northeast corner of Med and down to southern Iraq. So they will get it sooner or later. And Jesus the Jew will reign on his throne in the thousand years after this age is [soon to be] over. They might as well save the land from complete devastation now. Every knee shall bow every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. So neither Jews nor Gentiles want to hear this message. So let truth hit them over the head."And he who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust." The true children of Abraham must become broken in Spirit. 

In reply to by HRClinton

Yog Soggoth stiler Mon, 09/25/2017 - 17:27 Permalink

Moses is Akenhaton. That would be the first jew, if the word was not invented by purposeful misinterpretation in 1765 to hide the fact that they are the Pharisees of the bible so to infiltrate Western society. What god would you be referring to? Ea? Enki? You are just confused, and bad at history..

In reply to by stiler

Omen IV Catullus Mon, 09/25/2017 - 10:57 Permalink

Yes - Iran / Turkey / Syria / Hezbollah - all want the same thing - Iraq to remain as it isThe USA wants the Kurds to split - so inevitably the letter will be issued by Iraq to Washington to vacate the Iraqi premises - everyone out!then Iraq will have its partner(s) protect its territory on every side - from the USA  - the real problem !!! - fake opinions against the referendum by Washington fool no onewith Turkey in the mix US will finally abandon the 25 year questwe are closer to peace in the ME at any time since 1947 - all because the USA is leaving - Afghanistan is next Israel is going to figure out its options for peaceful coexistence

In reply to by Catullus

Yog Soggoth Omen IV Mon, 09/25/2017 - 17:37 Permalink

I kind of like the words in the article, that "now is not the time. It is true. Kurds have been messed with in Syria, Iraq, Iran, and especially Turkey as of late. It is the actions of these leaders that have put them at odds with these states and pushed them towards the real enemy who lies waiting. I can not believe all the articles of corruption that came out of Baghdad in the last decade. Still stealing after all these millenia even if you get your fingers chopped off.

In reply to by Omen IV

adr Mon, 09/25/2017 - 10:45 Permalink

This is being engineered to drive the Jew price of oil higher, nothing more. Everything else has been tried, so we need a fake long term supply disruption so they can Jew oil back to $80.Yeah, I said JEW, wanna fight about it?Reality is a bitch, and nobody should be scared to present facts.

HotelBread NoWayJose Mon, 09/25/2017 - 14:38 Permalink

Unfortunately so, even as Turkey jails journalists, buys weapons from Russia and blackmails Europe. The US has been dicking the Kurds around for too long, saying nice things about independence when it needed them and then going back on its word. The Trump Administration should recognize Kurdish independence as soon as General Kelly gives the the President his next weekend pass.

In reply to by NoWayJose

ogretown Mon, 09/25/2017 - 12:31 Permalink

For my short game - one which causes both the (worthless) left and the rabid right to heap criticism my way - is for the Coalition of Courage (Russia-Syria-Iran) to expand its membership to include Turkey, and most certainly Iraq.  The long game is for the expanded coalition to one day, in the not too distant future to topple the collection of mongrels (Saudi Arabia) who toppled the twin towers.  Hopefully this will not involve Russian and American ground troops. Because if it is only the Muslim duking it out between themselves, the end game means piles and piles of dead Muslims. Somehow that resonates.   And for those who criticize that goal as heinous, barbaric so be it. Because it is!  But these are exactly the same goals and tactics that were played out by Rome and the Crusaders.  But back then the goal of Rome was to loot and savage the Middle East for gold and historic treasures - and look where that got us.  This time it is all about oil. 

OliverAnd Tue, 09/26/2017 - 01:39 Permalink

A lot here fail to see that the troubles we have seen in the Balkans and the Middle East are from the times when Turkey was the Ottoman Empire.  In fact the Kurdish issue dates back during this period when the Turks asked the Kurds to help them wipe out the Assyrians.  In return they were promised their own nation.  Iran and Iraq need to catch up on their history.  Turkey once again is the root of the problem; this time it is directly going to unstabilize their nation and lead to a 30-35% decrease in size.  Turks are unable to effectively wage war on Kurds when nearly 20 million of their population are Kurds.  Ill trained Turkish armed forces cannot be fighting a war in a foreign country when there is a civil war going on in their own.  This is not Cyprus.  A lot of nations are waiting to take back lands that are currently occupied by the Turks, in Cyprus, Armenia, Ponto and Greece.  Turks are people of central Asia. They tried displacing and eradicating many people but in turn they created much hatred. They need to be held accountable for the many many many lives of Armenians, Syrians, Greeks, Cypriots, Pontians, Bulgarians, Illyrians, Serbs, Russians, Ukrainians, Romanians, Assyrians, etc.    

africoman Tue, 09/26/2017 - 02:58 Permalink

Mustafa Barzani was and is a Mossad/CIA Agent planted for this very reason from the beginning in case if things went wrong<<< I$I$ operation failed in regime change in Syria/Iraq>>> then the creation of independent Kurd state w/c none of the segmenting countries<<<Syria, Iraq, Turk, and Iran>>>willing to allow it.Then it's clear who is behind this as a legit operation in the name of a referendum.The timing is odd and people signed for it.Chunking out Syria by this would negate all the victory achieved in blood.Turkey is a problem if they gave Kurds their right, to begin with.What is the counter move Iran and Russia will do?