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Kurdish unilateral independence and a deadly impasse

30 September 2017

"We will impose Iraqi law in the entire region of Kurdistan under the constitution", he said.

An Iraqi government order that global airlines halt all flights in and out of the cities of Irbil and Sulaimaniyah will kick in Friday evening local time.

The Kurdistan Regional Government warned in a statement on Thursday that any ban on worldwide flights to Irbil and Sulaimaniya would be "completely illegal and unconstitutional" and amount to "collective punishment against the Kurds".

Iraq's military was preparing to take control of the worldwide borders of the northern Kurdish region as a flight ban halted all global flights from servicing the territory's airports on Friday as the central government in Baghdad stepped up moves to isolate the Kurds following their vote on independence earlier this week.

Baghdad, Ankara and Tehran have dismissed the results of a secession referendum by the Iraqi Kurdistan region. The objective of the symposium was to discuss the referendum effort and to discuss the Kurds' ongoing efforts to protect religious minorities in the region from Islamic persecution. The same day, the Council of Ministers, chaired by the Prime Minister, decided that all border crossings into the KR-I were to be controlled by the Federal Border Port Authority starting immediately.

The Kurdish government stated that this referendum does not mean a separation from Iraq, but a process of negotiations to resolve the interests of the people of Kurdistan.

The United Nations offered on Thursday to help solve the problem between the KRG and Baghdad, the Iraqi foreign ministry said following a meeting between Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jafari and Jan Kubis, the top UN envoy in Iraq.

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The KRG refused to meet that demand and has criticized Baghdad for pursuing "unlawful" measures that amount to "collective punishment". Those calls, however, have fallen of deaf ears.

In its statement, the United States urged both Baghdad and Erbil to remain focused on fighting the Islamic State.

Earlier, the U.S. said it would be willing to help facilitate conversations between Iraqi Kurds and Baghdad in an attempt to ease tensions between the two sides after a controversial Kurdish referendum vote. While the vote is not binding, the KRG hopes it will give it a mandate to negotiate the secession of an autonomous Kurdish region from Baghdad and the neighboring countries.

Turkey and Iran fear the impact this could have on their own Kurdish communities, our correspondent adds.

That, he said, would hurt many Iraqi officials whose family members live in the Kurdish region.

Turkish fighter jets on Saturday also targeted gun positions, caves and shelters used by militants from the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). That's something, at least, since Iraq, Iran, and Turkey all seem to be preparing war against Kurdistan to bring it back under Baghdad's thumb. The conflict has since claimed some 40,000 lives.

Kurdish unilateral independence and a deadly impasse