"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