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Iraq's Kurdish Region Votes In Controversial Independence Referendum

26 September 2017

The referendum is opposed by the Iraqi central government in Baghdad as well as the neighbouring countries of Turkey and Iran, besides major global powers.

Barzani has attracted the wrath of Ankara as well as Baghdad and Iran with the move to hold today's non-binding vote on independence for the Iraqi Kurdistan region.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is refusing to weigh in on a Kurdish independence referendum in Iraq, saying he appreciated that other countries held their tongues during Quebec's referendums.

Turkey on Monday warned the Iraqi Kurds would face sanctions over the vote, while Iran closed its border with the autonomous region.

Pointing to the military drills along the border, he said "we could arrive suddenly one night". However, it is created to give Masoud Barzani, who heads the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), a mandate to negotiate the secession of the oil-producing region.

"Let's see where - and through which channels - will they sell their oil".

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"An assistant to the Syrian foreign minister told the pro-government Syrian newspaper al-Watan that what is happening in Iraq "is a product of American policies that aim to fragment the region's countries and create conflict between its parts".

The Iraqi army started "major maneuvers" with the Turkish army at the border, the Iraqi defense ministry said, outlining coordinated measures by the two countries against the Kurds in retaliation for the referendum.

Veteran Iraqi Kurd leader Massud Barzani, who initiated the vote, cast his ballot early in the morning, smiling and wearing a traditional outfit.

Erdogan said traffic was only being allowed to cross from the Turkish side of the border into Kurdish areas of Iraq. "Discrimination between Iraqi citizens on the nationalist and ethnic foundation exposes Iraq to dangers known only by God", al-Abadi said from Baghdad.

"The referendum does not mean independence will happen tomorrow, nor are we redrawing borders", he said in Erbil. They have also argued over the sharing of oil revenues, with the Kurds exporting through a Turkish pipeline over objections from Baghdad.

The statement said they would vote yes in the polls because they supported independence "like every Kurd".

Iraq's Kurdish Region Votes In Controversial Independence Referendum