Kurdish Referendum Today


 "The Kurdish Independence referendum despite the pressure from Iraq and many other Middle Eastern and European countries opened its polls this morning.

The ballot contains a single question:Do you want the Kurdistan region and the Kurdistani areas outside the region’s administration to become an independent state?

People will cast their ballots in about 2065 polling stations until 8PM (GMT+3) while Iraqi Kurds living abroad had the ability to vote the day before. The vote covers the territories of Northern Iraq. All combined, 5.6 million Kurds are eligible to vote according to the High Referendum Council.

With Israel being the only country to support the vote, the number of detractors is overwhelming: Turkey, Iran, Syria, Russia, the United States and the United Nations, not to mention Iraq itself, have all opposed the referendum. Amongst them, Turkey is the most vocal, threatening blocking Kurdistan, unless the plebiscite is cancelled altogether.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday that Ankara would close the Habur border crossing with northern Iraq over the plebiscite and also threatened the Iraqi Kurds with blocking their key oil exports. These measures are understandable, considering there are 14 million Kurds living in Turkey that can be considered a fifth column. The rest of the detractors, on the other hand, are more reasonable: they demand that the fate of Kurdistan is to be decided by reaching an understanding with Baghdad first." SF


" … and the Kurdistani areas outside the region’s administration … "  That, pilgrims, is a direct threat to the territorial integrity of Turkey, Iran, and Syria.

I sympathize with the Kurdish desire for their own state, but the referendum is a recipe for regional war and/or sanctions, a struggle of all against the Kurds and their Israeli "friends."

I expect that the referendum will yield a positive result .  IMO the Kurds will then have the nasty experience of having the US start to distance itself from the attempted creation of a new state.  Up to this point the US has limited its objections to the usual bleating from Foggy Bottom but the need to keep the governments more or less "on side" will quickly lead to abandonment by the US.  There is an American saying that describes an unwanted relative or acquaintance as being treated like "a red-headed step child."  The Kurds should ready themselves for that.  pl 



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24 Responses to Kurdish Referendum Today

  1. Joviangate says:

    What’s your take on the Russian 3-star death in Syria?

  2. mike says:

    Chaldean Catholic Archbishop of Erbil is casting his vote. Much of the Christian community in the north has many times stated their support for Kurdistan Region independence.

  3. robt willmann says:

    A related issue: Russian Lieutenant-General Valery Asapov was killed near Deir ez Zor–

  4. Lemur says:

    i see there is some positive media coverage from Borg organs. Might a faction of the deep state seize on this as a way to compensate for loss of influence in Syria and Iraq? They would have to deal with Turkey, but Israel may view Turkey as a lost cause.

  5. turcopolier says:

    What do you mean by “deep state” in the US context? pl

  6. turcopolier says:

    The Russians have said that the three officers were killed by mortar fire in a Syrian Army CP. That can happen to you anywhere on a battlefield. the assertion that the US played a role in that is not established. pl

  7. Lemur says:

    i’m thinking the Israeli lobby, the neoconservatives on congressional intelligence/defence committees, anti-Arabists at State, and ideologically aligned CIA elements. Perhaps ex military men in the Trump administration might amplify the message.

  8. turcopolier says:

    Quite possible that those groups share certain beliefs about policy but “Deep State” as a term coined by Erdogan implies a conspiracy of government elements to subvert the state. He, of course, means Gulenists, I don’t see that here. pl

  9. Kunuri says:

    “a red-headed step child.”
    I knew at least two red headed, freckled and fair, Irish looking Kurds, both good friends, one in Switzerland and one in USA. Both hated being mistaken for an Irishman, but neither had about them the baggage that comes with being a step child. They were themselves, and I liked them a lot for that reason alone.

  10. mike says:

    I suspect Lemur is talking about neocon John Bolton who has publicly endorsed the referendum on Israel’s behalf – and others of his ilk. He has never been ex military as Lemur seems to think. Bolton denies the neocon label, but is a member of both PNAC and Jinsa.
    I myself, as your readers know from my past comments, would like to see an independent KRG living in peace with its neighbors. But douchebags like Bolton endorse it because like Bibi Nuts-and-yahoo they are trying to get the US into a war with Iran.

  11. Kunuri says:

    Albayim, “Deep State” in Turkey was coined long before Gulenists were on the map in Turkey, it mainly referred to Gladio left behind unconventional ultra nationalist warriors from cold war days. Who were later on merged with deep Mafia types and completely broke free of state control. Erdogan is trying to benefit from a false equivalency which his supporters will know nothing about. I suggest for reading material Sibel Edmond’s site,boilingfrogspost.com for further reading for everyone .

  12. Babak Makkinejad says:

    You omitted the Protestant Christians – the Puritans.

  13. VietnamVet says:

    Kurdistan Referendum is clearly being pushed by Israel to divide and conquer Arabs. For the USA, Kurds are a proxy force of mountain people to be used and tossed aside. The USA, Russia and China are Empires with numerous ethnic groups more or less united. The EU is a German Empire but un-united. Brexit, Catalonia referendum and the Greek occupation are tearing it apart. In the USA due to the end of conscription, the Deplorables were tossed under the bus. America is falling apart too. 11 NFL Presidential tweets verses 0 Puerto Rico tweets. Nation States resist dismemberment. An artificially separated ethnic group tries to reunite; a possibility if supported by outsiders.
    If there is ever going to be peace and prosperity, humans must learn to live together. If the aristocratic rich and their paid technocrats don’t start redistributing their wealth, revolutions will happen. In the nuclear age, today in Ukraine, Iraq, Syria and Korea; Empires are playing with fire.

  14. Jony Kanuck says:

    The Yazidis do not want to go along for the ride: In fact they do not trust the KRG at all; being left to ISIS is on their minds. See Rania Khalek’s good write up at: http://www.alternet.org/grayzone-project/field-yazidi-fighters-tales-genocide-isiss-hands-and-more-conflict-come
    It appears the Yazidi may fight to stay out.

  15. eakens says:

    I wouldn’t mind watching those innovative Israelis to learn how to airlift oil and gas out of there.

  16. mike says:

    Jony Kanuck –
    Other reports say that a majority of Yazidis do want Kurdish independence. The Yazidi, like the rest of the Kurds, are not monolithic and do not speak in a single voice. However, the spiritual leader of all Yazidis worldwide, Mir Tahsin Beg, claims that 80% of Yazidis in Shingal (Sinjar) want independence with the rest of Iraqi Kurdistan.
    The Yazidi that are against independence are under the thumb of the Hashd al Shaabi.

  17. mike says:

    Eakens –
    Zionist zeppelins? Bibi’s hot-air balloons?
    Joking aside, the bigger problem is for Rosneft and Exxon. Turkey has stated they will shut down the Kurds oil pipeline. But Putin has some shares in Rosneft so will probably be whispering in Erdogan’s ear.

  18. Bandolero says:

    Oil may be just a long time worry of the Barzani-Israeli axis.
    I think joint Turkish-Iraqi “major maneuvers” at the border area should be a more urgent worry for the Barzani-Israeli axis. As per Reuters, quote:
    “Iraqi soldiers arrived in Turkey on Monday night to join a drill on the Turkish side of the border near the Habur area in the southeast, Turkey’s military said in a statement. Iraq’s defense ministry said the two armies started “major maneuvers” at the border area.”
    It will be interesting to see what the Barzani-Israeli axis decides if the Turks and the Iraqis decide they will work together to secure the Iraqi-Turkish borders. And an even more pressing question may be, what would they do if the Turks and the Iraqis decide to proceed together to secure the Northern Iraqi-Syrian border.
    Would Barzani order his man to shoot on Turkey? I think that may soon become a tough question for the Barzani-Israeli axis.

  19. The Virginian says:

    The referendum is as much about the effort of Massoud Barzani to bolster his position (and his son’s) and that of the KDP as it is about a genuine independence movement, to include a perception of leverage in dealings with Baghdad. He can only go so far, however, as his wealth is tied up in part in Turkish banks (in the same bank as many Turkish businessmen –
    including relatives of Erdogan – and politicos that make millions off the Kurds) or risk losing it all. Regardless of the Turks, Iranians and Syrians the Iraqi Arabs – including the regular army and PMUs now bloodied in years of combat – will not take lightly any effort to retain the post-2003 expansion of disputed territories into a new state (or prolonged autonomous zone). Erbil remains extremely exposed to military action by Baghdad. Should it come to that, much blood will be spilled on all sides, and absent a regional or international power stepping in there will be a return to conflict of old, Kurd against Arab, Kurd against Kurd, Kurd against Turk, and Kurd against Iranian.

  20. Matthew says:

    Bandalero: “Would Barzani order his man to shoot on Turkey? I think that may soon become a tough question for the Barzani-Israeli axis.”
    Let’s hope so. It would be good watch all of Israel’s Muslim allies quickly humiliated.
    The only referendum I want to see in the ME is the one establishing Palestinian independence.

  21. Matthew says:

    The Virginian:
    If your prognosis is correct, it means the Kurds lack the wisdom to avoid fighting ALL their neighbors and among themselves.
    A “free Kurdistan” would then be another South Sudan.

  22. Mac says:

    Forgive my tone as I understand it sounds alarmist, but this is madness, and must fail.
    The problem though is not just Kurdish secessionism, it’s also found in Ukraine and elsewhere.
    If our course remains unaltered, the American people must prepare for a collision course against a coalition of deep historical forces. And that no matter how loud we howl, those forces cannot bow.

  23. Kooshy says:

    Iraqi PM just announced if Iraqi Kurdish airports, not handed over to Iraqi government in 3 days, all flights to and from Iraqi Kurdistan will be forbidden (Iran has already closed it’s air space) . He also said any country buying Iraqi oil from Kurdistan will be legally pursued. I believe all 4 countries will tighten and chock Barezani economically forceing him to escape, or as Kurds usual preferred elimination will have a sudden illness or accident. Nevertheless, Israel and her beholders got thier little post ISIL state of I in stability in Iraq. But IMO this will pass too and is not going to fair better for Israel and her beholders any better than ISIL did.

  24. Bandolero says:

    That’s part of what I meant. If Barzani’s current bid for an “independent Kurdistan” shall get any possibility to survive he must be friend with Turkey.
    From Baghdad, Teheran and Damascus he cannont expect to get any help for creating an Israeli-backed Kurdistan and other neighbors for his landlocked “Kurdistan” he simply doesn’t have. So, Barzani is betting everything on that Turkey in the end will support him. If not, Barzani is doomed.
    If Turkish tanks would move forward into his Kurdistan, and Turkish-Iraqi military exercises point in my view stringly in that direction, Barzani would be caught in a catch 22 he can’t escape from.
    If he’ld order his men to shoot on Turkish soldiers, in short Turkey, he’ld turn Turkey into his enemy, and if he’ld let Turkish and Iraqi troops control the borders together, his Kurdish independence bid would have failed.

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